Dissertation – 2011 and The Collapse of Media Ethics: Public Shaming and The Boundaries of Disclosure

Since the downfall of the Press Council and its replacement with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in 1991, there has been an increasing tension between journalists and public figures over the disclosure of their private information. Public shaming in this form has become an emerging tradition in the media, as the definition of privacy has become an ever-shifting notion in our increasingly invasive popular media culture with the likes of reality TV shows and social media. With the introduction of the Human Rights Act (HRA) in 2000 as well, public figures are now able to go straight to court on privacy matters, which has ‘encouraged a new wave of challenges to the media on privacy issues in the UK courts’ (Tambini and Heyward 2002: 4).

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Content Analysis: The Reporting Of Amanda Knox in the Case of Meredith Kercher’s Murder

On 1st November 2007, British exchange student Meredith Kercher was murdered in her shared apartment in Perugia, Italy. The case received worldwide press coverage, particularly in England and Italy, and has been of high media interest on an international magnitude for over four years. However, since the release of suspect Amanda Knox on 3rd October 2011 the media’s shift in the spotlight has left Kercher’s family to believe that, ‘Meredith has been hugely forgotten’ (Kington 2011). So why did this change of focus from the media happen? And how and when did it first come into place?

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How has Stranger Collective adapted to survive as a small, independent business as the role of Journalism itself is changing?

(Published on Liquid News Room)

For my BA(Hons) Journalism course at University College Falmouth, I am undergoing a three-week work placement at Stranger Collective, a creative service and copywriting agency based in Penryn, Cornwall. Starting out as a bimonthly lifestyle publication titled ‘Stranger’ that launched in September 2004, the magazine offered a flavour of life in Britain today, shining the spotlight on the talent of young people in Cornwall, focusing on the creative side of Cornwall’s culture with a mix of music, film, environment, current affairs, surf, skate and fashion. The last printed edition of the magazine was published in August 2007 after 16 issues; Stranger now continues through Stranger Collective, publishing features, reviews and news on their website, and creating one-off print projects, such as zines, produced to coincide with local events and festivals.

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Case Study Proposal

For the third term of my BA(Hons) Journalism course at University College Falmouth, I will be undergoing a work placement at Stranger Collective, a creative service and copywriting agency based in Penryn.

Stranger Collective started out as a bimonthly youth, lifestyle publication titled ‘Stranger’ which launched in September 2004. The magazine offered a flavour of life in Britain today, shining the spotlight on the talent of young people in Cornwall and focused on the creative side of Cornwall’s culture with a mix of music, film, environment, current affairs, surf, skate and fashion. The last printed edition of the magazine was published in August 2007 after 16 issues; Stranger now continues through Stranger Collective, publishing features, reviews and news on their website as well as one-off print projects, such as zines, produced to coincide with local events and festivals.

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Discuss The Ethical Implications For Journalists Raised In Trying To Balance Article 8 and Article 10 of The 1998 Human Rights Act.

The Human Rights Act (HRA) came into force in October 2000, giving effect in the UK to the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 8, The Right to Privacy, and Article 10, The Right to Freedom of Expression, are the two most important articles for journalists in the UK. A journalist’s right to express their views publicly always needs to be balanced against another’s right to private life, but many ethical implications are raised when trying to find a balance between the two. How do we know when somebody’s private life comes in the public’s interest to know, and how do we define the difference between the two? This conflict has become widely debated in the role of journalism, demanding a balance to ensure the best standards in reporting.

Continue reading “Discuss The Ethical Implications For Journalists Raised In Trying To Balance Article 8 and Article 10 of The 1998 Human Rights Act.”

Guest Speaker – Oliver Poole

War correspondent for The Telegraph, Oliver Poole, visited University College Falmouth this week to share his experience of being a journalist at war and explain the importance of the media’s role in it.

As a journalist for The Telegraph, Poole was an American correspondent for the 9/11 terrorist attack. He was then sent to Afghanistan at the beginning of the war as an ’embedded journalist.’

Poole travelled with a tank unit who he spent all of his time in Afghanistan with. Everything he owned was bought in Baghdad so that he could blend in with the crowd. “To be absolutely blunt, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing,” he said. “It was a chaotic start.”

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Are The Characters of “Skins” Realistic & Do They Influence Teenagers’ Lives?

Skins is a British ‘dramedy’ portraying the lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol. The TV programme first aired on 25th January 2007 on E4; a channel renowned for its diverse and controversial programming. The programme has had four series so far, with a new cast for the last two series, and two more series currently in production. It focuses on a group of friends, aged 16-18, during their two years in sixth form and deals with the situations that teenagers are faced with, using comic exaggerations of characters to give a comedy edge. The programme deals with issues such as family problems, sexuality, drugs, death, teen pregnancy, mental illness, eating disorders and relationships.

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Guest Speaker – Nicholas Brett

Journalism students were taught that persistence is vital in the career of journalism by a guest speaker at University College Falmouth yesterday.

Nicholas Brett, Deputy Managing Director and Group Editorial Director for BBC Magazines, visited UCF to talk about the importance of the audience for the BBC as a worldwide company.

“It’s a really bad time to get a job at this time; there has never been a worse time. You have to keep being persistent,” said Brett.

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In what ways is the practise of journalism influenced and affected by objectivity?

Objectivity is an important aspect which needs to be considered in the practise of journalism. It is seen as a professional ideal which has become a troubling debate in modern journalism, leading to many questions. Does objectivity undermine the press as being the eyes and ears of the public? Or is it better serving the public to offer a variety of views? These questions only lead to a more complex one. Is objectivity even possible? The influence of objectivity needs to be explored closely to identify whether its effects on journalism are positive or negative and to conclude whether journalism can truly be objective.

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Guest Speaker – Brian Cathcart

Brian Cathcart visited University College Falmouth on March 9th, 2010 as part of UCF’s ‘Approaches to Journalism’ evening lecture series. Cathcart is a professor of journalism at Kingston University and media columnist at the New Statesman. He presented students and visitors with a presentation entitled ‘Collective Amnesia at the News of The World’, concerning the royal phone tapping scandal in late 2005/early 2006.

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Guest Speaker – Eileen Devaney

Journalism students at University College Falmouth were told about a guide to reporting about people in poverty by a guest speaker yesterday.

Eileen Devaney is a member of the UK Coalition Against Poverty. She visited UCF to give an awareness of UK poverty and to talk about the training she offers in related reports.

“We have almost come to regard the poor as the moral villains of society rather than its victims,” she quoted the Bishop of Putney.

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Guest Speaker – Kirstie Newton

Journalism students learnt about the option of becoming a freelance journalist and how to present a good quality pitch at a guest lecture held at Univeristy College Falmouth today.

Kirstie Newton, Editor of Cornwall Today, visited UCF to talk about her career as a magazine journalist and to share her knowledge to help students become successful journalists in their future careers.

“There are much bigger horizons for you and different ways to work,” she said. “Keep your options open.”

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Critical Analysis: The Effect of Media Content

James Curran and Jean Seaton ask in Power Without Responsibility whether newspapers, broadcasting, and mass entertainment change society. They argue that it has an independent influence and consider arguments from different traditions. They conclude that on one hand, the media appears to have no influence on what people know and on the other that media reflects the balance of forces within society.

Marx also analysed the effect of media content. He asserted that media “reproduced the viewpoints of dominant institutions not as one among a number of alternative perspectives, but as the central and ‘obvious’ or ‘natural’ perspective.” This also links to the view discussed by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel that journalism can be seen as a ‘gatekeeper’ where journalists have power in what they write which has a huge effect on their readers.

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Critical Analysis: The Purpose of Journalism

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel discuss the purpose of journalism in their book The Elements of Journalism. They ask “What Is Journalism for?” and first state that “journalism was for building community. Journalism was for citizenship. Journalism was for democracy.” They then say that “journalists take it as a given that they work in the public interest.” Kovach and Rosenstiel conclude that journalism was not defined by technologies or techniques but rather that its principles are defined by the function it plays in people’s lives.

The only facts that Jan Moir discusses in her article, A Strange, Lonely and Troubling Death about Stephen Gately’s death, are the ones that she denies as truth. She believed that “healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again” and commented that it was a “strange and lonely death.” The article is in no way respectful. She rather takes the chance to insult Stephen and his family. Moir describes Stephen as “the Posh Spice of Boyzone” and says he “could barely carry a tune.”

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Critical Analysis: Jan Moir’s ‘A Strange, Lonely and Troubling Death’

George Orwell, in his article The Politics of English Language, discusses why he believes that language should be used in its simplest form. He believed language was beautiful enough without having to burden it with layers of explanation. He argued that you should never use a metaphor, simile or other figures of speech.

Jan Moir’s ‘A Strange, Lonely and Troubling Death‘ is one of the most memorable and controversial articles of 2009, written shortly after Stephen Gately’s death in October. In her article, Moir used such language to hide the defamatory meanings of her article.

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Critical Analysis: Robert Kilroy-Silk’s ‘We Owe Arabs Nothing’

Robert Kilroy-Silk’s ‘We Owe Arabs Nothing‘ is a biased article expressing his prejudice opinion that Arab’s contribute nothing to the rest of the world as they are all “suicide bombers, limb-amputators and women-repressors.”

Kilroy uses binary opposites to give an obvious distinction between the East and the West. He refers to Arabs negatively as “they” whilst to the readers as “we” to show an opposition between us. He says “What do they think we feel about them?” By using 2nd and 3rd person, he forcefully involves the reader in a persuasive manner as if we all agree with his unbalanced view. To add to the distinction, Kilroy also manages to dehumanise Arabs by saying “the Saddam Hussein.”

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Guest Speaker – Leo Hickman

A guest speaker at University College Falmouth told students yesterday about the importance of blogging during their academic course.

Leo Hickman, a journalist for The Guardian, spoke to BA(Hons) Journalism students at UCF about his experience in journalism and shared some of his ‘tricks of the trade.’

My own experience would show that blogs are a great form of practise,” said Leo Hickman. “I would recommend writing blogs as much as possible.”

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Guest Speaker – Robert Pinker

A guest speaker visited University College Falmouth today to tell students about the ongoing process of the Press Complaints Commission.

Robert Pinker, an ex-Chairman of the PCC, talked to BA(Hons) Journalism students at UCF about the purpose of the PCC. This was essential for Journalism students to understand for their future careers.

The PPC was set up in 1991 as the regulatory body for news print. It deals with complaints from editorial content in newspapers and magazines to keep a high industry standard in the media.

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