December 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

In my advent calendar, I have a Bible verse for each day. I’ve had one of these for a couple of years now, and I always get so excited to wake up and read a section of scripture, a small segment of story which, when read together slowly reveals the truth of the greatest mystery known to man; God coming down from perfect heaven, coming into this broken world to live among us, and ultimately die in the place of us.

I was thinking about how much I love this time of year and the whole run up to Christmas as a preparation of his birth, and it makes me really sad that some people might never have known this excitement, heard this great news, might never had read the Bible at Christmas time or might have when they were a child, but have forgotten it. So this is why I’m going to share my calendar on twitter, so that we can get excited about Christmas together.

I will tweet each day with a Bible quote in the run up to Christmas and end on Christmas day, follow it at #BibleAdventCalendar

I’m a few days behind, being it day 3, so bear with me as I catch up.

Social media: my practice and pitfalls

April 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

I have been an on-and-off tweeter for about a year now, but never really undertook the task with much enthusiasm. I knew that it was the ‘thing to do’ in the media world, which is how my curiosity lead me to it, as well as everyone around me seemed to be doing it religiously. 6 weeks of dedicated  tweeting and I can now say, I am a fan.

The most exciting element for me has been the real connection you have with real people, not just across the world, but who, regardless of varying status’ and professions, can belong to this community. As well as this, the topics are current. It’s like everyone is in on a secret, a tweeters secret where we can share our joy at Lucy finally getting a date!

I must admit, I did use it as a bit of a facebook-alternative for a while *cringe*, but I think to those who don’t get the ball game, the best advice I can give you, is practise makes perfect. You really get used to the style of writing, just by doing it and seeing others do the same.

From a journalistic point of view, Twitter is THE only place I now read the news. Of course these tweets from Guardian, BBC, Daily Echo link to their own websites where you can read the full article. But it is no longer necessary to bookmark these websites.

As for this blog, I must admit, it has been a bit more challenging to keep up with. I am the sort of perfectionist type who doesn’t like the write-and-go attitude of blogging. And therefore, I was doomed from the start. I found my self spending whole mornings re-working, and re-editing posts, so they were fit to see the world. Ok, I have improved (and by improved, I mean, cared less about every little world). But overall, I can say, I’m never going to be a committed blogger.

Thankfully, fortune has shined her face upon me, as the world of blogging is diminishing and micro-blogging (aka. Twitter) is on the rise. Yay for me because i’m keeping up with that. If you’re not already, you can follow me @srmbailey, for all the latest news updates, human interest and funny things.

Opinion, lifestyle, profiles: what makes a feature a feature.

March 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Browsing though a Wired magazine, makes me realise how much of a magazine is made up of features alone. But what is a feature? here are some quick facts to help you (and me) understand this all a little clearer;

A good feature has a logical structure

The lead should draw people in, this will make or break a good feature so make sure its interestingly written with lashings of decorative language. Not like the language you would find in news reporting.

The middle is what tells the reader the point of the story. As Tony Harcup describes it, “…it might beat about the bush, it might go round the houses, and it might take a leisurely, scenic route to its destination. As long as there is a destination and as long as the reader goes along for the ride too.”

Types of Feature

There are many types of feature, that may written on the feature itself, but can be descovered through the way the feature is written and the content of that feature. These are Lifestyle, backgrounder, How-to-do-it, profiles, interview, horoscope, Opinion Columns, News Features.


Features are usually a lot longer than a news story, anything from 700 words to 1,000’s of words.  Because of this, they often avoid going straight to the point, but ease the reader into the tone of the story slowly.


The language and tone of a feature usually is more descriptive,  as this helps to be more visual, and reads more like creative writing than factual writing. It is therefore easier to take in if there is a lot of imagery. This compared to a new story, where their are the hard set facts of news which only informs and rarely entertains the reader.

The Runaway General

Have a look at this example of a profile feature by the Rolling Stone. It is written in an entertaining way by the description of the profile. This is through writing about his mannerisms which adds colour to the feature because it is information that mentally places the reader in the room. But remember don’t characterise someone in lots and lots of paragraphs. There’s a time and a place to waffling, and it’s not here!

The ethics of journalism

March 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

The ethics of how journalists report is one of the most challenging factors affecting journalists. As journalists have a responsibility to uphold, by reporting the truth and being as balanced and unbiased as they possibly can.

These are what I think, some of the most important areas journalists have to be aware of :

News Manipulation – When reporting news, journalists have to be as objective as possible. However goverments and large corporations may attempt to manipulate media and the way news is censored. This can be voluntary or involuntary and those who are manipulated may not be aware of this.

Truth – Reporting truth is a reporters job, and the problem with this is that, it can sometimes conlict with peoples views and opinions on the subject.

Public interest may be contrary to the revelation of military secrets, and government information, even if it’s true.

Reporting the lives of public figures including details can be defamatory and can result journalists being liable for slander.

Over exaggerating a news event can mix fantasy with truth and confuse readers. As well as this it can be insensitive to readers affected and result in ethical dilemmas.

And of course, any reporting that conflicts with the law and  compromises human rights in order to get a story, can result in ethical problems and even lawsuits.

A taste of investigatory journalism

February 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

So, I had my first experience investigatory of journalism today. Abbie, my esteemed colleague , and I put of our detective hats and headed for Boscombe (the patch we had been assigned to report from). We scoured the town, looking for anything that would give us a lead. We looked at posters on walls, new house developments, spoke to shop owners and kept and eager eye out for any unusual activity.

Thankfully, we had done our fill of research before we left. Reading the Daily Echo and finding press releases online, to point us in a direction. We found a lot of reporting about the regeneration of Boscombe and the Surf Reef so decided to head down to the sea front, to see what we could see.

First things first, we wandered in to the Bournemouth Council Office, with our pads out, ready with questions. It was nervy at first, but after we got chatting it became a lot easier and the questions just developed themselves from the conversation.

With the success of this improving our confidence, we had a little more courage to step out and speak to locals, passers by, and even stopping surfers running into the sea to ask their opinion on the reef.

It was an encouraging experience, and definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I look forward to going back next week for a bit more investigatory journalism.

Why study journalism?

February 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

When asked this question by the lecturer of the unit, my initial thought was fear as I knew the fundamental reason why I was sitting in that class. I had decided just a few weeks before, that advertising wasn’t for me and so switching to Journalism might be my last chance at figuring out where I fit in the communication and media merry-go-round that I had been on for two-and-a-half years. But after a little bit of a think I realised that there were some pro-active reasons I was taking this unit.

Firstly, it’s not something I know much about practically or academically. And advancing my skills in every possible area seems very recommendable amongst communication and media students who know a bit of everything but aren’t specialised in anything.

But saying this, I’m not knocking the course at all. It’s helped me realise my love for writing, using language, being creative etc. However, I’m not quite sure I understood how my interest in creative writing could be used in the very structured, formulaic and hopefully not made-up world of journalism. But this leads me onto my next reason;

Personally, I’ve not had the greatest year. I’ve had quite negative experiences of the press, misunderstanding facts or completely abandoning the truth. I felt the harsh side of journalism and it’s made me quite sceptical about how truthful every news story I read is. I might be naive in thinking this (and I might be shunned for my honesty) but I believe that good can be in everything and come out of every bad situation. I also know that being cynical or bitter towards any industry that has mistreated its responsibility wouldn’t achieve anything great on my part. I have to be active, take up my responsibility and use the opportunities I have been given to make changes. Obviously I’m not expecting to change the world, but if it’s just the difference between ignoring facts or considering all sides of a story, then I will try my hardest to do the latter.

We’ll see how far I get, I may be ready to rid myself of the whole industry by the time I graduate, but for now, I’d like to do journalism the way it should be done by communicating truth. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Paul Verlaine’s poem

January 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

So, I was writing my marketing report on Starbucks and wanted to find a way to distract myself a little bit, but not too much. I decided that the best bet was to listen to a bit of music, but nothing with any lyrics in as this always ends up with me singing along, and I’m sure the rest of the library would not appreciate that at 1 in the morning. So decided to whack on a bit of Beethoven into Grooveshark, and listened to Moonlight Sonata. Safe choice, i thought, but it’s actually ended up being the biggest distraction of the lot.

As you do, I researched Beethoven on Wikipedia and started learning about his life and many crisis’s …this then lead on to looking at Romantic music (as in the era, not just soppy love music) and eventually I got onto my favourite, Debussy. But what I didn’t know about my old friend’s favourite piece is that its actually named after a poem, Clair de Lune by Paul Verlaine. The things you learn on Wikipedia.

So here it is for you. I think I might have a slight obsession with the moon, not to mention that my profile pic on Facebook at the moment is actually just a pic of the moon. But anyway, back to the poem, hope you enjoy it and I hope I can get back to learning about beautiful Starbucks and it’s market share, and stop posting on my blog which is obviously very important in the middle of the night! Oh, and I forgot to mention, there’s a full moon out tonight. I blame her. It’s the moons fault.


Clair de Lune

Your soul is as a moonlit landscape fair,
Peopled with maskers delicate and dim,
That play on lutes and dance and have an air
Of being sad in their fantastic trim.

The while they celebrate in minor strain
Triumphant love, effective enterprise,
They have an air of knowing all is vain,—
And through the quiet moonlight their songs rise,

The melancholy moonlight, sweet and lone,
That makes to dream the birds upon the tree,
And in their polished basins of white stone
The fountains tall to sob with ecstasy.

Paul Verlaine, 1890.

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