Thursday, 27 December 2007


It's been pretty busy in the news over the last few days, what with Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto killed today, and much happening in the Middle East. Our lecturer Tony Harcup said there would almost certainly be a house fire on Christmas Day's BBC 10'o clock News, because nothing else happens. Well this year lots of things did happen on my birthday, and I wanted to highlight the pick of the bunch.


This was a good story. The Siberian tiger that mauled a keeper last year managed to kill one visitor and two others at San Francisco Zoo. How many people are killed by tigers every year, especially at zoos? Not many, which made this such a rare treat for journalists, and such a surprise on Christmas Day. There are plenty of debates surrounding this:

a) What will animal protection campaigners think of shooting the animal dead? Surely it was justified, or should the animal have been given a second chance?
b) How will this affect business at the zoo, and other zoos worldwide? Children (and adults) may be too scared to look at dangerous animals, with fear of a King Kong-esque escape.
c) Was the tiger helped to escape? Perhaps it's manslaughter or murder from somebody who wanted to kill a specific person, or it could be another serial killer wanabee - there seem to be plenty of them in America at the moment.
d) The zoo had spent £126,000 to make sure Tatiana didn't escape and she did. Should the zoo have spent more, or was it just badly invested?
e) Is this particular breed of tiger too dangerous? Should they all be shot, even though there are only 1000 left of the endangered species?

I thought this was a superb story, and would love to see what happens as the investigation is launched to determine how it happened. It's sad about the 17-year-old who was killed, Carlos Sousa Junior, but the hope now is that authorities at zoos across the world will ensure nothing like this happens again.


I have no interest in EastEnders whatsoever. I live in Southend which is east of London, not East London as many think. But the thing which attracted me to this article was: "The BBC scored a festive ratings success with nine of the 10 most watched TV programmes on Christmas Day." Now that is a successful Christmas for the BBC. Although the proportion of people watching terrestrial television has fallen this year, as they move to digital channels, the BBC has been hit nowhere near as badly as Channel 4 and Five. And they've capped off an instantly forgettable year, in terms of phone in scandals and the like, with a great schedule of programmes for 25/12/2007 - they have won the audience by a country mile.

It just goes to show that when it comes to sitting in front of the TV on Christmas day, people will go for the BBC. Whether that is down to the name itself, or the quality of programming is up for debate, but I'm inclined to side with the latter. Highly successful shows like Dr Who and Strictly Come Dancing were mixed with family films such as Finding Nemo and Shrek 2. Channel 4 could only offer Deal or No Deal (1.9m viewers) and Five predictably had Most Shocking Celebrity Moments of the 90s (1.1m). This compares to the two parts of EastEnders (11.8m and 13.9m), Dr Who (13.8m) and To the Manor Born (10.1m).

And I am very pleased to announce that the BBC 6'o clock News claimed over 10m viewers. Fantastic stuff - who ever said the BBC was in a crisis? And who ever said that people think BBC News is of a poor quality and high bias? At least not 15% of the UK, according to these statistics, which is good news in my book.


OK, so I've covered topics of human interest news and media - now it's time for some economics. People seem to be fed up of relatives and TV on Christmas Day (contrary to the above!), and instead they're going online to shop. Now I can understand this, because the last three years in a row I have bought something reasonably expensive (in my books, anyway) just after Christmas - a pocket DAB radio, a portable DAB radio and a portable CD player.

It's great that the sales result in really low prices, but the problem is that it makes people buy things they didn't really want before, just because they're getting a great deal. For example, Selfridges (Birmingham) were selling a Fendi leather bag worth £1080 for £270. Now if I was a woman I would probably think that was a great deal, but still far too expensive for a bag. But I suppose many have thought otherwise, as I don't understand how women think and never will.

This year I'm not buying anything major in the sales because, quite simply, I don't need to. If I was to go shopping then I probably would spend a fair but, but instead I'm going to stay at home and enjoy the new presents I've received over the last few days. Why would I need anything else? Of course, I'd love to buy my own mansion house, a Ferrarri and as a result of that, a fast girl(!), but it's not going to happen, and I'm quite content to play FIFA at home and dream on.

And another point - I don't want to get into debt. How could you possibly continue buying stuff in the knowledge that you don't actually have enough money to pay for it? I couldn't, and won't get myself into that situation. Hopefully. Anyway, that's enough ranting for now. It's a good job the whole world's not like me, or it would be a very boring place indeed.

Saturday, 15 December 2007


So here we go then. A blog. The main reason I've set this up was after Robert Freeman (Guardian Unlimited) said that journalism students have no excuse for setting up one. His comments on MediaTalk (23/11/2007) convinced me: "The publishing platform is so easy it's almost unforgivable not to start putting your opinions out there." OK then, I oblige.

Most of you who know me will know who I am. I'm a first-year Journalism Studies student at The University of Sheffield, and I also work for Premier Christian Radio and Sorted magazine. I am a big football fan, supporting Southend United and Newcastle United, and I come from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. I play the tenor saxophone and clarinet to Grade 8 standard, and also sing. I came to university following A-Levels in English, French, Maths and Economics. At university I am involved in the Sheffield Steel Press, Steel TV, Sure Radio, Ceilidh Society, Music Players' Society (friNJE) and Christian Union. I am a Christian and attend St Thomas Church at Philadelphia in Sheffield, and back home it's Leigh Road Baptist Church. My father is a banker, my mother a musician and my brother is studying for his GCSEs at Westcliff High School for Boys, where I learnt my trade too. And I have 592 Facebook friends, giving me a label of "the networker" from some of my closer ones. I do actually know most of them too!

I'm looking at getting into journalism in general - I have done for a very long time - and haven't particularly decided on a certain discipline yet (that's why my course is great as I can try out everything), although I've always loved broadcast. At the moment I'm doing lots of revision for my exams early next year, and I've got a big essay coming up too. So I'm keeping busy and looking forward to Christmas! Hopefully I'll be able to use this blog as a place to proclaim my views on the news and the press, and hopefully you will find it interesting. Hopefully...