Sunday, 29 November 2009


WINOL is well and truly up and running. The same could be said for me.

On Monday, I had two weeks worth of listings that hadn't been put on the site, so I used the morning to push them onto the site. The what's on section is slightly unique in the way that it does not need to be checked for grammar or whether it is decent or not. It was just my job to push it onto the site.

I missed the features conference in the afternoon with permission from Chris to help out Grant on the sports team. The Winchester City manager Stuart Hussey happened to live very close to my house in Southampton, so I took him to his house to help him film an interview with him. At the start of WINOL, Chris said the sports team was small in number, so I was glad to be able to help out.

As per usual, I had my what's on feature filmed on Tuesday. The piece as a whole is coming together well week-by-week. I am getting used to the style of script needed for what's on, and how it should be delivered in a lighter way than the bulletin, for example.

For the first time, the what's on piece was put after the main bulletin, instead of a stand alone item. Chris must have thought that it was worthy of being associated with WINOL's 'flagship,' so I'll take it as a compliment.

Overall, the WINOL site is a bit rough round the edges but is getting tidier thanks to discussions in the debriefing. The new 'flannel panel' has also improved the front page aesthetically.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


The features team seem to be getting into a rhythm on WINOL now after the two dummy editions.

As the weeks go on, I feel a lot more comfortable that I am able to deliver what is expected of me when it comes to Monday afternoon's conference.

On Monday evening, me and Kayleigh went to watch Vagina Monologues at the Mayflower in Southampton. Not only was it an enjoyable show to watch, but something of a luxury to have got access to the press area with the 'proper' journalists. It was pleasing to meet the press officer in person after making myself known via the phone; being given the password to their press centre was also an achievement.

The free drink wasn't too bad either!

Chris asserted that he wanted my what's on video piece to be permanent feature. After last week's 'debut,' I was more comfortable in front of the camera and matters improved on the technical side as well. Inevitably I could be more natural when recording and the editing could be better, but things are progressing well.

As Tuesday is now used for the planning and execution of the video feature, I now use most of Wednesday to do my main job, the full local listings. I am now in the habit of knowing where to look to compile the listings - I even know a lot of the web addresses for local venues off by heart! In many ways this is the easiest part of my job, but it's also the most fiddly.

In terms of WINOL as a whole, the website is coming together well. The bulletin actually gets recorded now and the ticker actually has news on it (only joking guys)!

Oh, almost forgot: it might help if the listings go on the site some time before the event takes place!

Friday, 20 November 2009


Walking to my seat. Uninspiring set. Surrounded by women. I thought the worst of my Monday night.

Four stools, a few tables, I expected a knock off episode of Loose Women talking about vaginas.

Talk about vaginas they did, disappoint they DID NOT. Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues at the Mayflower in Southampton will have you laughing from start to finish.

The blend of youth and experience between the four ladies was faultless, and their varying characters complimented each other on the stage.

Ex-EastEnders Anita Dobson's attitude and hilarious accents were truly side-splitting while South Today's Sally Taylor subtly was equally effective.

Louisa Lytton, also Ex-EastEnders, added sexy and sassy while Waterloo Road's Zaraah Abrahams came out of character the most, delivering the story of the devastating rape of women during the Bosnian war. This was the most poignant moment of the night, but there were quite a few, bringing such credit to the tales that Eve Ensler put together.

The comic timing often brought the show from the sublime to the ridiculous, which was the sheer class of the Monologues. Its ability to jump from suffering, to true love, to downright hilarious was extremely impressive.

Anita Dobson was undoubtedly pick of the bunch. She portrayed her characters with such authenticity, making each of her monologues all the more powerful. If that wasn't enough, her wild 10-minute orgasm (that seemed to go on for an eternity) gave the crowd by far the biggest laugh.

Aside from the set-up of the show, the script was simply an exhibition in English. The richness of the language was there for all to see, and only contributed to the amusing idea of women talking about their vaginas.

The show has been branded the "ultimate girls' night out," but as hard to believe as it may seem, it is funny and entertaining on many levels - whether you own a vagina or not.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Sunday, 15 November 2009


This week at WINOL was more hectic, but a lot more productive.

On Monday, the features news conference was more brisk and it appeared the team had better material to bring to the table. I worked closely with Jon and he was more than happy to preview and review the events I found for him.

I also asked Chris about the possibility of getting press passes at local venues, and we agreed that there would be no harm in asking. So when I went home, I rang the Mayflower Theatre's press office and was pleasantly surprised at my success. I managed to get two press passes for 'Vagina Monologues' on Monday 16th.

This week had a high focus on the ongoing battle between journalists and press officers (especially our own), so I was extremely pleased to win one over.

I was happiest with the what's on video piece that was recorded on Tuesday. It was practically my first time in the studio not including training sessions, and I enjoyed the session with Leanne, Rich and Matt. We faced the usual technical difficulties with the sound, lighting and the auto-cue, but once these issues were resolved, it took a relatively low amount of takes to get it right. A bit disappointing that I haven't been able to see the result of my efforts, but a learning experience nonetheless.

Joomla was up to its usual mischief again. Once I had done this week's listings and submitted the article, it came up with a message saying 'session expired!' So there's a time limit to produce an article is there?! Anyway, less said about Joomla, the better.

Roll on next week.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


The lecture about American expansion and Europe helped me understand why the individuals I am learning about are relevant to Journalism.

The first evidence of photojournalism as we know it today came from the American Civil War in the 1860s. Chris said that we could see those iconic images from that war were in our minds, in some way or another, I certainly could. He couldn't have emphasized his point any clearer.

William Randolph Hearst's methods appear to be the reason why News City was taught to us in the way it was last year.

First rule: 'Tell' the news (although Hearst made a fortune with the San Francisco Chronicle by exaggerating what he told of where the gold was in 1849!)

Second rule: Be aware of your audience. Much of his readership were semi-illiterate migrants whose first language varied massively, so simplified English was employed to reach out to them. This became known as the 'yellow press.'

Back in this country, Lord Northcliffe was adding his part to Journalism history, and it is still relevant today. He had a lot of success with what could be described as the early 20th century's version of 'reader response.' We have comments and blogs. They had letters.

In his paper Answers, readers would send letters with questions...and yes, you guessed it, they would be answered. This is a clear example of what is now known as a feature.

Louise Owen, Northcliffe's Private Secretary 1902-1922 said: "...his gift of acquiring information startled me; his knowledge of affairs was uncanny. He had a curious instinct for asking questions, and seemed to know each subject as thoroughly as the specialists themselves."

I am being trained to be something resembling this description.

More comparisons between Reporting Skills and Northcliffe: The 250-word rule. When churning out stories to fill a newspaper, this is the guideline. However, if you're doing September 11 - the morning after, it would probably be wise to temporarily ignore this!

In the words of Chris and Brian: "Give it what it's worth!"

(P.S - I originally thought it would be clever to make this post exactly 250 words, but I'm trying to get marks for my degree, so gave it a tad more depth!)

Sunday, 8 November 2009


As expected, this year's Winchester News Online started with a few issues to deal with.

Chris, in his typical style, piled the pressure on the whole team on Monday. He made it clear from the outset that we would all have to pull our weight to make it work. He also emphasized the importance of always bringing relevant ideas to the table in news conferences.

There was some confusion at the features news conference on Monday afternoon. As it was the first one, most of the team weren't aware of the preparation that was needed. It may have been beneficial if the first conference was used to as an opportunity to explain what would happen in them every week, and to share contact details. However, being thrown in at the deep end usually helps in the long run, and the requirement of delivering material at set deadlines was made clear.

As Features Listings Editor, my main task for most of Tuesday was to fill the 'What's On' section of WINOL. I was pleased with the listings I created and submitted the article hours before the deadline, but there were problems with it, as pointed on by Production Editor, Rich Taylor.

He pointed out that, although I put the events in chronological order, the reader-friendly element was lost and it would have perhaps been better categorised by type of event. So I went away and revised the listings accordingly, which Features Editor Alice Rimes was pleased with.

Friday, 6 November 2009


When Samantha Alexander asked Charles Foster Kane of their affair: "what would people think?" he replied, "I tell people what to think." Power of this magnitude became the success and ultimate downfall of one man's life.

His popularity gained from the New York Inquirer was such that he ran for Governor of New York and married Emily Monroe Norton, President Monroe's niece. However, Kane's extensive involvement with the Inquirer and criticisms of the President in it saw the gradual breakdown of their nine-year marriage.

His affair with Samantha Alexander ended any hope of salvaging the marriage and winning his political campaign in New York. His image of an honest journalist was dented after every paper - apart from his own - ran the story of their 'love nest' on the front page.

His second marriage mirrored his first, in that Kane wanted to make Samantha Alexander happy, but he seemed only capable of doing what he thought made her happy, and not what truly did.

Kane took a high interest in Alexander's singing from the first time they met, and with the power of his headlines, elevated her mediocre ability to high profile opera shows. Their marriage was plagued by Kane's brainchild to make Alexander a famous opera star, even though she had little aspiration to carry it out.

Kane eventually realised the limitation of his newspaper. All the propaganda-like headlines in the world couldn't disguise the fact Alexander was in a false position on centre stage. This was epitomised by one scene at El Rancho; the camera cut back and forth between Alexander and one man in the crowd, and each time his restlessness became more and more evident.

Kane's over-exaggerated applause at the end of the show was quite significant. It may have been the point when he realised it was a mistake for his wife to be on the stage, yet another example of him pushing her - or even both.

Overall, it appeared that Charles Foster Kane thought the power and wealth acquired from his work life would be enough to give him a happy private life, but by the end of 'Citizen Kane,' it was clear it had the reverse effect. He told New York what to think every day, then found it difficult to accept that he couldn't do the same with Emily Monroe Norton or Susan Alexander.