Useful Stuff Edition 23 – May 2006
Stories, ideas, inspiration, hints, tips and links to help you do your journalism better.
Compiled by Peter Stewart at BBC Training & Development
"Every man has a right to be wrong in his opinions.
But no man has a right to be wrong in his facts."
Bernard M. Baruch
So, the big announcement from the Beeb on future creativity.
There’s loads of ideas here on what’s happening in this country and around the world in news and in
media in general. Ideas to adapt, steal, clash with existing ideas … or laugh at and then work out why
you’re doing so! And then realising that in fact it’s a great idea after all…
• How to connect with ethnic audiences
• How men and women use news differently to manage anger
• Hoaxers who’re scamming google news
• Courses and meetings on investigative reporting
• Why news media have an incentive to distort information
• How to write English for journalists
• New radio formats around the world: talk formats, Bacardi radio, ‘All Jewish All the Time’
radio, radio for prisons, ‘The Voice of Iraqi Women’ radio, radio for farmers, radio from
• Why 17 stations played the same song over and over .. for a whole day
• Instruction on creating and broadcast your own radio
• Ideas on stunts and competitions (‘look into my eyes’!) and features … and what not to do with
a cream cake
• The impact of TV on Arab families
• The Turn-off TV campaign
• Why violent TV costs children their friends
• What TV can learn from The Apprentice
• Jon Snow who says news channels have no long-term future, and CNN’s founder Ted turner
who says cable news is ‘crap’
• Why potential organ donors are scared off by TV
• Stats that say British TV is the most popular in the world
• Why networks are turning to the Web to get ideas for attracting men to watch TV
• The new device that could force viewers to watch TV ads
• And what TV news themes are conveying in their music
Plus more stuff where the worlds of TV/radio/web/mobiles collide and what we can learn from what’s
happening elsewhere on the planet, the Two Minute Top Up on basic radio and TV reporting from our
exclusive serialisations of the best books on the market, links to nearly a dozen news story ideas that
you may not have considered, ethical journalism (a couple of great stories this month), journo books
and films to rent or buy … and some fun stuff (Mug of the Month, how to funk up your i-Pod, why
‘Siemens’ is a banned word, brutally honest film reviews, and the survey that works out if you’re a
We have a special birthday edition of Useful Stuff next month, and ahead of that I’d love to know what
you find most interesting.
Useful Stuff 1
Complied by Peter Stewart
Feel free to message me with any comments on what you’d like to see more or less of.
“Thanks for this. It just gets better.”
Mark Turnbull, BBC R Cleveland
“This is stuff that’s very useful for me to know, as we need lots of bits of knowledge like you send out,
and my boss sends me stuff all the time to stay on top of media developments –
I can now tell him about you!”
Kate Saunders, Research Assistant, Research & Learning
General Useful Stuff about Media and Journos
China bans foreign broadcast news sources (UPI)
China has prohibited local TV and radio stations from using international news coverage from foreign
news services. Local broadcasters must restrict their coverage of overseas events to reports
generated by state-run China Central Television and China Radio International.
Media tune in to ethnic audience
As immigration rates soar, broadcasters, cable channels, newspapers and magazines are taking
notice. Wall Street's estimation of ethnic media could skyrocket depending on the outcome of
Univision's current search for a buyer. The Spanish-language broadcaster is valued at some $10
Mass media giving way to participatory media
People no longer passively "consume" media and advertising but actively participate in them, a
change that has profound implications for traditional media business models, says a special report on
new media in The Economist. The gazillion dollar question: So what is a media company?
James Murdoch: 'Media is the most exciting industry in the world'
BSkyB head James Murdoch is rumoured to be the heir apparent to father Rupert at News Corp., but
he won't discuss any such possibility. Media "is the most exciting industry in the world," he says. "It's
the business of ideas, of developing customer habits, of macro-societal change."
Media hiring bias?
Following the blogging debacle at washingtonpost.com, Howard Kurtz asks: Do the hiring practices of
big newspapers, magazines, networks and Web sites tilt toward people of the liberal persuasion,
thereby requiring hand-wringing about intellectual diversity?
see for yourself….
“The old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left' , established for the seating arrangement of the
French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For
example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the
reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher? After
you've responded to the following propositions during the next 3-5 minutes, all will be explained. In
each instance, you're asked to choose the response that best describes your feeling: Strongly
Disagree, Disagree, Agree or Strongly Agree. At the end of the test, you'll be given the compass, with
your own special position on it. Remember that there's no right, wrong or ideal response. It's simply a
measure of attitudes and inevitable human contradictions to provide a more integrated definition of
where people and parties are really at.” Take the test:
Useful Stuff 2
Complied by Peter Stewart
Men and women use news media differently to manage anger
Does this article make you angry? Men choose to read articles that will fuel their anger, while women
choose articles that will dissipate it, says a study published by Human Communication Research.
News consumption is sometimes motivated by "a need to regulate our moods."
Hoaxsters love scamming Google News (CSM)
Are "aggregators" providing the news — or are they diluting it with fakery, hucksterism, and puffery?
An entire industry has sprouted up to ensure that press releases pop up next to stories from major
newspapers when users of Google or Yahoo go trolling for news.
• Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to
improving the quality of investigative reporting.
• Investigative Journalism – UK site: The 2006 Summer School will be held at the Cass
Business School, City University, London. A full programme of speakers, fees, topics,
debates, workshops and accommodation
Accuracy ... or not?
If a media outlet cares about its reputation for accuracy, it will be reluctant to report anything that
counters the audiences' existing beliefs because such stories will tend to erode the company's
standing. Newspapers and news programs have a visible incentive to "distort information to make it
conform with consumers' prior beliefs."
Media professionals come 14th in ‘happiness ratings’
People who work in the media are said to be "rather happy." They rank 14th in a poll of the happiest
workers in the United Kingdom, according to the City & Guilds. Media workers enjoy their careers
more than bankers and lawyers, but are not as happy as social workers and clergy.
This site checks 21,703 news sources every five minutes.
They say ‘where the futures of journalism and news technology intersect’ and then ‘a skunkworks for
the news industry and journalism education’
The Flying Eye
Get satellite images and maps from news events across the world, and sign up to get an alert when a
new one is published.
The Screen Writers Store
Software, seminars and script consultancies … how to write comedy, articles, news, "The resources
and backup you get from The Screenwriter's Store are beyond what anyone who has ever dialled
HELP has a right to expect. It's like calling your mother..." - John Madden (Director - Shakespeare in
Love, Mrs Brown, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Proof, Killshot...)
Secrets of Pulp Fiction (Slate)
Bryan Curtis: Dan Brown, author of the mega-selling The Da Vinci Code, has brought forth his most
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thrilling piece of writing to date: a court document. Like the hidden ciphers the heroes of his book
pursue, this is the Dan Brown Code — the key to understanding the secrets of a pulp novelist.
English for journalists
The unique English course developed by the National Union of Journalists as an online interactive tool
providing grammar and literacy skills. English for Journalists comprises eight modules. Each of these
covers a different aspect of English usage and regulation, from the strict rules of Grammatical Terms
to advice and assistance in What Not To Write. Each course is comprised of information pages and
New Media Knowledge events
25 April 2006 - 06 June 2006
Various locations, London
Events and courses hosted by New Media Knowledge (NMK), covering e-marketing, internet
innovation and digital storytelling.
Voice of the Listener & Viewer conferences
26 April 2006 - 18 May 2006
VLV holds regular Conferences and Seminars at which you can find out about the latest developments
in broadcasting of concern to listeners and viewers.
Voice of the Listener & Viewer
01 May 2006 - 17 May 2006
Events and screenings organised and hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts,
London, covering all aspects of film and TV production.
May 3 - 4, 2006 London
We Media is about how we create a better-informed society by collaborating with one another.
Sony Radio Awards
08 May 2006 - 08 May 2006
Grosvenor House Hotel, London
For nearly 25 years now the Sony Radio Academy Awards have truly celebrated excellence within the
UK radio industry.
Sony Radio Awards
09 May 2006 - 11 May 2006
Earls Court 2, London
Internet World is the UK’s leading business event for internet professionals. The event has leading
exhibitors as well as a free educational programme.
Red Button - The iTV Applications Event
16-17 May 2006, Renaissance Hotel, Seattle, Washington, USA
Red Button '06 is the first live industry event to show-off the next generation of interactive services –
and the developers, artists, and engineers who create them.
Interactive TV Advertising Show
23 May 2006, CBI Conference Centre, London, UK
Useful Stuff 4
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The IPTV World Forum is aimed directly at the industries supporting the markets growth; telcos,
broadcasters, content providers, device manufacturers, technology providers, software providers,
system integrators and broadband providers.
Streaming Media East
23 May 2006 - 24 May 2006
Hilton, New York
Streaming Media East is an event for business and technology professionals to meet, discover the
latest advancements in streaming and digital media and do business.
Streaming Media East
The Digital Radio Show
1-2 June 2006, Olympia, London, UK
Leading Digital Radio Show - with key platforms speaking; Digital One, VDL, Sky Interactive
Key European radio broadcasters speaking; RTL, Chrysalis, GCAP Media, BBC, Danish Broadcasting
Corporation, NRK, Channel 4, NRG International, Virgin Radio
Leading digital radio technology enablers; Arquiva, RadioScape, VT Communications, WRN
Manufacturers & Retailers at the forefront of the market; Roberts, Morphy Ricahrds, Comet, House of
Networking area with 20 companies exhibiting - and exhibition only passes available
Industry networking party on 1st June
06 June 2006 - 06 June 2006
Gotham Hall, New York
The leading international award honouring excellence in Web design, creativity, usability and
Broadcast Digital Channels
6-7 June, 2006, London
With the digital switchover timetable now confirmed the UK is well underway to becoming a wholly
digital TV market by 2012. But what will these changes mean for broadcasters, producers, advertisers
and audiences in the future?
19-20 June 2006, Copenhagen, Denmark
A world class conference where broadcasters and network operators meet the production companies
and channels to discuss exciting new opportunities in the world of media convergence.
20-22 June 2006, London
Exciting new business opportunities are opening up across the content chain in HD, IPTV, desktop-
editing and mobile TV. Brought to you by Broadcast magazine, Broadcast LIVE is the new exhibition
and conference to address these issues and the future of the industry.
Eastern Europe IPTV World Forum
22-23 June 2006, Marriott Hotel, Budapest, Hungary
Eastern Europe and the Balkans are likely to become one of the most exciting marketplaces for
broadband and IPTV over the next ten years as the combined effects of privatisations, EU accession
and continued deregulation in candidate EU countries leads to more competition, network upgrades,
greater broadband penetration and falling DSL access line costs.
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Monte Carlo TV Festival
26 June 2006 - 01 July 2006
Grimaldi Forum, Monaco
As well as the awards ceremony, the Festival's conference programme covers new trends and
developments in the TV industry.
Monte Carlo TV festival
29 June – 8 July 2006 Sheffield
Showcomotion is the longest established children’s film festival in England and Wales: we’ve been
entertaining, educating and inspiring young people since 1999
The Radio Festival
03 July 2006 - 05 July 2006
Cambridge - An essential event for anyone working in radio.
The Radio Academy Festival
Royal Television Society events
Various dates throughout the year
Broadcast magazine: events
Broadcast magazine's list of events and important announcements.
Radio Academy Events
The Radio Academy organises a range of events throughout the year, throughout the UK
Visit http://www.radioacademy.org/calendar/index.shtml for more information.
Useful Stuff about Radio
What local talk radio could be
Mike Siegel was a host on all-talk WLIE in 2002-2003. He has hosted radio talk shows in New York
City, Boston, Miami and Seattle.
Talk radio listeners want entertainment
US talk radio listeners are tired of political preaching and would rather be entertained, a study called
‘Talk Radio in America’ indicates.
Music stops for a pirate radio station; 2 held.
For months, Creole and Caribbean music had flowed from a pirate radio station stashed behind a Fort
Lauderdale music store.
Skillnets backs radio training project
Skillnets Ltd, the State-sponsored body which backs enterprise-led training networks, recently
approved €300,000 in funding for the radio industry training.
Lothian radio station's new licence bid
It seeks to improve community understanding and collaboration between the varied groups and
organisations, and to continue delivering radio training skills ...
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Bacardi to start radio station
The spirits company is launching a branded online radio station, Bacardi B Live Radio, that will be
available via the Internet and mobile.
CRTC OKs Jewish AM radio station for Montreal
The Montreal radio station whose slogan is “All Jewish, All the Time” has received approval from the
Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a spot on the AM band
World Bank organises training for women radio journalists
Ten women journalists from community radio stations across East Timor have been participating in a
16-week media training program organized by the World Bank. ...
The station director and most of the D.J.'s are convicted murderers
KLSP, a radio station with one turntable, six employees and a $48 weekly payroll, has limited reach
over this patch of swampy farmland and razor wire northwest of Baton Rouge. It is meant to be that
(read more - NY Times)
Government licenses first two private radio stations
Residents of Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, have heard their first independent radio broadcast.
Radio Al-Mahaba, Baghdad's "Voice of Iraqi Women."
The station, which debuted a year ago, wants to educate women about their rights in a country where
those rights are in a state of flux. It also gives Iraqi women a chance to express their opinions on
everything from husbands to politics
(read more - Deseret News)
Radio Free Palmer
It hopes to serve its listeners by providing community news and music -- and by sparing them lengthy
government meetings. Members of the newly formed non-profit hope to create a radio station in
Palmer that's big on citizen participation. Supporters of Radio Free Palmer are seeking a Federal
Communication Commission broadcast license to operate as a community radio station
(read more - Anchorage Daily News)
Now, exclusive radio station for farmers
Asia’s first broadcaster dedicated to the farm and the field.
Bob Dylan playing weatherman in XM Radio debut
Bob Dylan will on May 3 unveil his XM Satellite Radio show "Theme Time Radio Hour With Your Host
Washington Post's big radio play debuts
The Washington Post is launching a broadcast operation on two local frequencies, delivering news
and commentary from the newspaper's reporters and columnists. Washington Post Radio is expected
to be a major promotional vehicle for the Post and its news staff.
Public radio plays same song all day in protest
The 17 stations of the Mexican Radio Institute, a decentralized public radio network, have played the
same song over and over all day long…
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Radio ads targeting aging boomers: report
Radio advertisers are shifting their attention away from younger listeners to the growing population of
aging baby boomers.
Report: Americans still rely on radio
Americans rate the importance and relevance of local commercial radio very highly, according to a
survey commissioned by radio brokerage firm American Media Services.
Jones Radio network
See what talk and music programmes they’re syndicating across the States … maybe some ideas that
you could develop? (Such as the Something You Should Know programme…)
Music & the Spoken Word
On Sunday morning, April 30, KSL Newsradio 1160 AM and 102.7 FM, along with KSL 5 Television,
will broadcast nationwide a special edition of Music & the Spoken Word, featuring, among other
elements, a recorded introduction from President George W. Bush. That April 30 broadcast will be the
4,000th consecutive broadcast of the weekly program, which aired its first edition on July 15, 1929,
and is the world's longest-running continuous network radio broadcast.
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM
Radio firm offers phone downloads
The company behind the Heart and Galaxy radio networks is to test a scheme where songs played on
the stations can be downloaded to mobile phones. ...
Musiwave launches Smart Radio
The Smart Radio service allows mobile consumers to access customized and streamed music
programming, based on their personal tastes.
Welcome to custom-made online radio
Pandora.com and Last FM do their jobs in different ways, but both are that future: music boiled down
to a science, where radio plays only the music you like.
Create and broadcast your own radio station
Thousands of people just like you have created Internet radio stations! With Live365, you're the DJ.
Start a station to share your tastes and talents with a global audience.
The One Hit Wonder Weekend!
All weekend, you dig into the dustbin and pull out those cosmic one hit wonders. It sounds great on the
air because it's interesting and fun musically, and it's packed with information. What happened to this
artist? Where are they now? If you're considering a One Hit Wonder weekend, here's a great website
to help you get prepped.
What’s happening at BBC Radio Newcastle
“We're using little MP3 flash music players here with some success as a recording tool.
They have a Dictaphone function which is pretty high quality, they're very small and store hours of
audio. And the big thing is they only cost £70 so if they're lost or broken, it's not the end of the world.
Here's the model we use: http://www.iriver.com/html/product/prpa_product.asp?pidx=71 “
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Satellite radio to compensate music industry?
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is said to be introducing legislation that would require satellite radio
companies to compensate the music industry for downloads. The legislation is aimed at compensating
copyright holders as satellite radio services become distribution services.
Station’s audience getting good reception
Relatively new Australian station Vega, which broadcasts to baby-boomers in Melbourne and Sydney,
has had a far from spectacular launch with unexpectedly disastrous ratings. So executives were not
amused when the pranksters from ABC-TV’s “The Chaser” program, which specialises in cheeky
stunts, turned up at the studios of Vega 95.3FM with a group of 12 extras and told a receptionist they'd
brought the station’s entire audience into the studio, to save the station the cost of broadcasting.
A toast to digital radio
Dualit, the company behind those swish expensive toasters, has decided to launch a digital radio, that
rather disappointingly doesn't make toast. But it looks just like a toaster. Designed to complement
other products in the Dualit collection the new radio promises DAB and FM reception and a polished
aluminium casing and softly rounded corners similar to its Vario toaster. Sound is provided by the 8W,
4-inch speaker and there are a measly five presets for FM and DAB modes allowing you quick and
easy access to a few of your favourite radio stations. Between the two control knobs on the top of the
unit is a large white-on-blue easy-view LCD display. The radio incorporates a built-in rechargeable
NiMH battery and promises 3-4 hours in DAB mode and 7-8 hours for FM. Those short of a kitchen
timer will also be pleased to hear that the radio has one built in so you don't burn the dinner. The
Dualit DAB radio comes in three colours: polished aluminium, black and cream, and will be available in
the UK from mid-May 2006 at John Lewis.
American radio engineers website
The Public Radio Exchange
A non-profit service for distribution, peer review, and licensing of radio pieces. This site is a superb
resource for speech radio producers.
UGC story ideas?
Go to this site and see intriguing questions and answers that you could adapt for user generated
content of your own.
The good old days
Oldradio.com's mission is to find and share information about the pioneer broadcast radio stations and
current industry issues, as well as links and references to other locations containing accurate materials
on broadcasting. The emphasis is on professional broadcasting, but we can "wander" a bit from time
to time. The goal is to shed light on your questions, and clear up some myths.
The National Broadcasting Society
This US group “goes beyond the classroom to prepare college students and entry-level professionals
for careers in the electronic media.”
Listen on line
Listings for internet radio stations worldwide
TV and radio bits
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Old TV idents and radio jingles, Radio Times covers, TV schedules, station histories (BBC Radio
Southend anyone?), screen grabs of old presenters, key dates … and for some reason a special
feature on BBC tv news in London and the South East (Town and Around, South East at Six, Sixty
Minutes, London Plus, Newsroom South East …)
What are you looking at?
Consider this novelty, which comes to us by way of Pensacola, Florida. It’s called StareMaster, and it’s
basically…a staring contest. After a warm-up phase during which eye blinking is allowed as long as
eye contact with the competitor is maintained, the two contestants enter the “Dry Eye Death Phase”
where any blinking interruption ends the match for the offending party. The contests became so
popular at bars in Florida, that originators Jaimes Miller and Sean Linezo made a documentary,
appropriately titled “StareMaster: The Movie”. Before you soften the contest elements (like the Dry Eye
Death Phase) for AC radio and stage your own staring contest at a club, car dealer, or shopping mall,
conduct your own research by “Googling” the category or visiting www.staremaster.com. It’s
Danish radio hosts fined for cake-throwing prank
A Danish court fined three radio talk show hosts 10,000 kroner each for urging a listener to smash a
creamy cake in the face of a bakery shop employee.
Radio show isn't just fun and games
Rafael Pulido's blend of bawdy humour, on-air jokes and popular Mexican music has turned his
Spanish-language radio show into a ratings smash on WOJO-FM 105.1.
DCF may discipline worker for radio stunt
A child abuse investigator from Palm Beach County may face disciplinary action for disrobing twice on
Howard Stern's Sirius satellite radio show.
• This went out in the New Music Express (NME) and is for XFM's new Manchester based
station. They are using a ticket giveaway to tempt listeners
• This second piece is for Manchester United Radio (yes, they have their own radio station).
The ad is pointing to an upcoming fixture that can be listened to on the AM band.
• The last piece of creative is for Premier Christian Radio and uses a small girl with her 2
"grandparents" to pull on our heart strings. They give out all their ways of listening including
Freeview, NTL and Sky.
RCS rolls out GSelector
Billed as “music scheduling reinvented,” RCS has rolled out its newest product, "GSelector."
Study: All-Xmas music the gift that keeps on giving
Christmas music can be the gift that keeps on giving -- even until the end of the year -- for AC and top
40 stations that flip to all-holiday formats.
Law of the Playground
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Releasio, bulldogs, half-circle and other games, taunts, tricks and jokes from your playground years. A
relatable phone-in starter? “A Puerile and Disturbing Dictionary of Playground Insults and Games”.
Green is the colour
greenbookofsongs.com gives information about finding songs about any subject instantly through "The
Green Book Of Songs By Subject: The Thematic Guide To Popular Music"-5th Edition-Expanded &
Updated. This new music reference book locates songs and album tracks by themes and concepts,
representing all genres and eras, with listings including titles, artists, discographies and labels.
Budding radio presenters wanted
Wiveliscombe’s own radio station could be back on air later this year and locals are being asked to join
Who wants to be a … radio presenter?
The company behind the Millionaire show has radio aspirations
Aircheck of the Month
History of Rock and Roll – 1981
Presenter of the Month
Kevin Sylvester and guests tell you what's happening in your world - whether it's down the road or
around the globe. Ontario Morning is the wake-up show for listeners in Southern Ontario outside of
Toronto, from Sarnia in the west to Cornwall in the east, to Parry Sound in the north, and to parts of
the Upper Ottawa Valley.
Station of the Month
NewsRadio 750 KXL’s morning newscast has been named the “Best Newscast” in Oregon by the
Associated Press. The morning newscast, hosted by Steve Leader and Rebecca Marshall airs
weekdays from 5:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Webcam of the Month
Live Webcam in studio - Radio SiTy 107FM in Bratislava, Slovakia.
What do you think? What idea has worked at your station? What great angle, phrase or music have
you used on a recent feature? Don’t sit on it – tell us: Peter.Stewart@bbc.co.uk
Useful Stuff about TV
Meet discusses impact of television on Arab families
Impact of the media, especially television channels on Arab families were discussed by a panel of
experts at a seminar organised by the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.
Possibly the hottest set of letters in Hollywood, it stands for Internet-protocol television - something
few studios are using at present …
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Study: Violent TV may cost kids friends
The kind of television shows children watch and whom they watch them with can be just as important
as the amount of time they spend in front of the tube.
Just say no to the television
TV-Turnoff Week begins. The goal of the campaign is to get children and adults to watch less
television to promote healthier lives and communities.
TV Turnoff Week
Empowering people to take control of technology and not letting technology take control of them so
they can live healthier lives.
TV industry to remind parents who controls the remote
In a bid to avoid a government crackdown on content, a coalition of television broadcasters, networks,
cable operators, satellite television and the consumer electronics industry are banding together for a
$300 million ad campaign in June to urge parents to monitor what their kids watch. "We want to tell
American parents that they and they alone have total power to control every hour of television
programming that comes into their home," said Jack Valenti, the former head of the Motion Picture
Association of America, who is helping to lead this effort.
The Boob Tube Respected— television without the villains
A lot has happened to television in the last few years, and all of it, down to a description of reality-
show impresario Mark ‘The Apprentice’ Burnett.
Spielberg, Burnett to create reality show for directors
Movie director Steven Spielberg is joining reality producer Mark Burnett to create a series called "On
the Lot," which will seek to find the "American Idol" of unknown movie directors. The series is expected
to air on Fox next summer.
The New York Times
The Hollywood Reporter
BBC Mundo to provide news on Latinamerica Television
BBC Mundo, the BBC's international radio and internet service in Spanish will, for the first time,
provide news content on television.
Developers make use of movies and television in mobile games
Mobile game developers are clamouring at the gates of Hollywood, hoping to obtain licenses to
capitalize on popular movies and television programs in their games.
Uncut TV may be headed for your handheld
Will television shows soon be produced specifically for portable devices? Programming for mobiles
could allow for racy material not regulated by the FCC. Also: While television "will never go away," the
Internet will allow consumers to control their experiences, says an AOL exec.
MTV Networks to debut show via mobile phones in Europe
MTV Networks International said it will premiere the show "Barrio 19" on April 24, well ahead of the
international TV debut on May 7. The move is a first for MTVNI, which is focusing heavily on a
multiplatform content delivery strategy.
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Snow: "No tremendous future" for news channels
Channel 4 news anchor Jon Snow has predicted that rolling TV news channels will become
increasingly irrelevant in the years ahead. The news veteran, recently named journalist of the year by
the Royal Television Society, thinks that the likes of Sky News and BBC News 24 will lose out as
viewers turn to the internet for on-demand news.
Turner dislikes the crap on cable news [TVNewser]
Ted Turner took shots at the media for its coverage of sex and violence, at himself for losing control of
the news network he founded, and at the Bush administration for going to war in Iraq.
'Reality' television usually not worth watching
”I realise that television programming has never been near the zenith of human achievement.”
Why the EU shouldn't prematurely extend Television Without Frontiers
Intellect, the trade association for the UK hi-tech industry, voiced its concerns over the proposed
extension of Television Without Frontiers.
Film, television scares off potential organ donors
Emotionally charged television shows have featured fictitious stories about a black market for organs,
doctors who murder their patients for their organs.
BBC HDTV service to kick off with World Cup coverage
The BBC has announced that it will provide high-definition television coverage of the World Cup and
Wimbledon as part of a trial service starting in the summer, coinciding with the launch of HDTV by
satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
The media mash
Primetime is dead, and television networks are scrambling to keep eyeballs tuned in to their
programming. Welcome to the media mash, where traditional media as we know it is starting its
metamorphosis into something new.
Media stunt 'crosses the line'
The chairwoman of the Winnipeg School Division was livid after a television reporter went into boys'
washrooms at three elementary schools to illustrate how easily the sexual assault of a Grade 2 girl in
Edmonton could have occurred. The male reporter asked for and received directions from adult staff in
two of the schools without being asked who he was or why he was there.
The Daily Herald Tribune
Tween shows tap big audience
At a time when niche programming rules, shows aimed at the tween market, including "Zoey 101" and
"Drake and Josh," are the exception in their ability to reach a broad swath of the 9- to 14-year-old
population, according to tween series creator Dan Schneider.
Networks turn to Web to reach young male viewers
After years of the Internet and videogames siphoning young men from television, networks are
employing the tactics and services of sites like YouTube to win them back.
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Television Q&A: Odd Times an Old Tactic to Keep Viewers
Q: Why are certain prime-time programs starting before or ending before or after their normal time?
Recently "Lost" ran past the normal 10 pm ending time.
AOL wins first iPod Emmy
The first recipient of the historic new Emmy Award -- "video content for nontraditional delivery
platforms" -- turns out to be AOL's coverage of the Live 8 concerts. However: The tiny-screen iPod is a
"godawful way to watch a movie," writes critic Ty Burr.
Will the iPod culture keep shrinking our beloved big-screen treasures until they're this tiny?
A film critic looks at the little picture and the legal and technical issues behind it.
Broadcasters focus on the challenge from the web
Local television stations, seeing their networks potentially bypassing them in the rush to offer shows
online, are meeting this week at the annual gathering of the National Association of Broadcasters to
figure out how to keep from becoming "less relevant." Ironically, TV-Turnoff Week starts today.
Television stations urged to break a few rules on the web
The Web site of WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., generates more advertising revenue than the site of a
local newspaper. Television stations are being encouraged to do more "thinking out of the box" with
muliplatforming. Says NBC Universal exec Beth Comstock: "It's about staying in business."
Broadcasters gather to discuss multiplatform content
The theme of this year's gathering of the Television Bureau of Advertising, an organization that
promotes broadcast TV, was the importance of the multiplatform. And speakers such as Beth
Comstock, president for digital media and market development at NBC Universal, pushed attendees to
break with the past: "This isn't just about driving growth. It's about staying in business."
TheSmokingGun takes aim at video
Court TV's TheSmokingGun, which exposed memoir faker James Frey, is planning to launch a
broadband channel, offering video clips of public officials and celebrities engaged in obnoxious
behavior. TheSmokingGun "minutes" will also air on Court TV.
Viewers to help pick all-star "Big Brother" cast
For this summer's all-star version of its "Big Brother" reality competition, CBS is giving the TV
audience a say in the casting. Viewers will help choose the final cast from a group of 20 previous
NBC Universal, affiliates form broadband venture
NBC Universal and its affiliates are forming a joint venture to sell news and other video generated by
local stations. The new company, tentatively called National Broadband Co., aims to give NBC
stations access to millions of dollars in advertising migrating from traditional television to the Internet.
New device could force TV viewers to watch ads
An invention from Royal Philips Electronics prevents television viewers from switching the channel
during commercials or fast-forwarding past commercials when watching DVR content. Viewers would
be released from the freeze only after paying a fee to the broadcaster.
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TV's pundit professors need to be quick with a quote (Chronicle of Higher Education)
University administrators applaud professors who engage in public debate, yet they acknowledge that
by going on television, academics risk appearing less scholarly. Fellow faculty members may criticize
them for oversimplifying complex ideas, yet those colleagues may also envy their popular success.
Mediocrity takes over television
A wave of mediocrity has taken over the (Indian) television medium as a result, the more gimmicks
and shock value you add to the programme, the higher the ratings.
TV stations still can't resist pre-packaged video news
Local television stations are again coming under fire from media watchdogs and the FCC for using so-
called video news releases during their newscasts without full disclosure. Ethical standards are
softening as cost pressures increase, writes Joe Flint. "Using VNRs is about saving money."
ABC exec says iPod platform increases audience
Selling programming through Apple Computer's iTunes has increased, not cannibalized ABC's
audience, according to ABC Media Networks co-chair Anne Sweeney. In her keynote address at a
National Association of Broadcasters luncheon, Sweeney said it was time to give up old business
BBC looks beyond TV
The BBC, saying it no longer thinks of itself as primarily a TV or radio company, announced plans to
expand its already-prominent Web presence. Chief among the new projects is a social networking site
similar to MySpace.com.
Are you sure screenwriting is for you? [MBToolbox]
Are you an aspiring screenwriter? Think that your movies ideas are the shizz? That your wonderful
scripts are the only thing that will keep Brad and Jen in communication? You're ready to hang out at
the Ivy and give up all walking privileges? You might want to read this blog entry by screenwriter Josh
Friedman before you pack your bags and move to L.A.
U.S TV consultants
“Frank N. Magid Associates, the world leader in research-based consultation, applies the most
rigorous research methods available to study behaviours, attitudes, and intentions of your audience.
Our knowledge base is substantive, encompassing thousands of research studies and consultation
engagements. Our 350 experienced professionals and operations staff serve clients around the world
from offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Marion, Iowa.”
TV News theme tunes
“We started to wonder about the message behind the evening newscasts' theme songs. What kind of
message are they imparting? Does it work? We decided to take a few of those questions to some
professionals, who listened to the opening themes of the CBS “Evening News,” NBC “Nightly News,”
and ABC “World News Tonight” from last Thursday evening.” (with audio links)
IF YOU THINK THIS ISSUE IS WORTH READING...
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Please forward this entire issue to five of your friends and/or colleagues!
Useful Stuff about New Media
• CNN.com presents a new homepage
CNN.com is redesigning its home page, aiming to provide "faster access" to news and other
resources. The new look highlights the news network's exclusive coverage, most popular
stories, live and on-demand video, podcasts, radio and more.
• Survey Offers a 'Sneak Peek' Into Net Surfers' Brains
Internet surfers pay little attention to pricey banner ads screaming for attention, according to
an eye-tracking study by Nielsen Norman Group. Also, people read Web pages in an "F"
pattern and are more inclined to read longer sentences at the top of a page.
• Study: US web radio listening up 50%
The percentage of Americans that regularly listens to Internet radio rose sharply this year.
• BBC looks to MySpace for web site revamp
The BBC is planning to overhaul its Web site to include more blogs, home videos and other
user-generated content. It also aims to become the "premier destination" for unsigned music
groups. BBC head Mark Thompson admits: The foundations of traditional media are being
• What will it take to be the next MySpace?
Dozens of start-ups are trying to do to MySpace what MySpace did to the first big social-
networking site, Friendster. The upstart TagWorld has video and blogging features that are
more advanced than on MySpace, claims its creator. TagWorld is also keen on introducing
• More Americans using the web for life's critical decisions
The Internet is playing an increasingly significant role in helping Americans handle critical
events, such as buying a home or sending a child to college, according to a survey by the Pew
Internet and American Life Project. Better online content is cited as one reason for the
• Yahoo redesign to highlight original news
Yahoo is planning to launch a redesign in the coming week to "reflect lessons learned" from
the introduction of its original reporting area, "The Hot Zone with Kevin Sites." Yahoo News
head Neil Budde says the site will be easier to navigate and will highlight both video and text
• Students asked to find 'the next Google of online content'
Through a relationship with mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network, Cisco Systems is launching
a "Digital Incubator" contest that will award 10 student groups with $25,000 in cash to fund
projects aimed at developing content for broadband users.
• A state b’caster charging for pods? (ABC Australia)
“The ABC making money from programming? Is that kosher? Under the ABC’s charter,
commercial sponsorship is definitely out, but through its Enterprise Division it can package
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and sell material to the public – which it does very successfully online and through its chain of
ABC shops. So why not charge for Podcasts says Management? “
• The new Ouch podcast
It has a strange politically incorrect authority about it.
• What have these sites got in common?
Examiner.com, CA (http://www.examiner.com/); InTheNews.co.uk, UK
(http://www.inthenews.co.uk/ ) ; ISRIA, DC; Al-Manar, Lebanon; KABOBfest, DC; Trading
Markets, CA. They're six of the 136 sites that Newsknife found during March for the first time
at Google News.
• Podcasting shakes up local media
The rise of on-demand programming may mean a wider audience, but radio and television
affiliates fear losing advertising dollars. The 350 member stations of National Public Radio
are worried that making programs available to iPods could bring a drop-off in listeners.
We host your podcast, letting you publish and transmit audio files across the world via our
service. We provide lightning fast hosting, excellent bandwidth and all the support you need to
upload, publish and broadcast your own podcast. And all for as little as a one-off setup fee
• No Technical Knowledge Needed to Create Podcasts at Gabcast.com
If your goal is to create your own Podcast but you want a zero technical curve, then
Gabcast.com might be your service.
• New TiVo boxes let users record two shows at once
TiVo is to start selling digital video recorders with dual tuners that allow users to record two
television programs simultaneously. The new feature can help TiVo boxes compete against
generic recorders provided by cable and satellite television operators, which are often
distributed for free.
• Products woven into mobiles
Jon Fine: If advertisers have their way, brands and products will be woven into mobile
programming to an even greater degree than they have already invaded movies and TV.
Cell Phones, iPods May Be Next Frontier for Product Placement (BusinessWeek)
• Aggregators, weblogs and portals
A whole stash of links and information
• Handwringing by 'old' media execs at broadcasting powwow
New-media platforms must be tested to reach younger audiences, says CBS Radio exec
Harvey Nagler. "We don't know how much of it is working, but we know we have to be out
there." Dan Rather says that blogs can be "a useful addition" to news, but "accountability must
play a larger role."
• Blog readers have distinct characteristics
A new survey by Blogads says that different segments of blog readers have distinct
characteristics. The majority of mom, gossip and music readers visit blogs for their humour,
while most political blog readers like blogs because they provide news they can't find
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What do you reckon to U/S?
What do you want more or less of?
Please let me know so it can be made even more useful!
Two-Minute Top Up
Further thoughts on basic ideas
“The Emergency Services
The police, fire, ambulance and coastguard services have a unique relationship with the media - both
sides need the other. Information from these sources is often the staple diet of dramatic stories
featured in local radio news bulletins. As publicly-funded organisations, the day-to-day work of the
emergency services should be accountable. They often need to use the media to put over preventative
messages about crime and safety as well as appealing for witnesses.
Regular check calls must be made to all the emergency services, usually to a recorded voicebank
system. Sometimes, the emergency services will call you with tip-offs. Make sure you have met the
press officers in each service and ensure that a good relationship continues. If you fall out (maybe a
story was given to your rival station), make it your business to resume friendly relations as soon as
Stories from the emergency services are made available to the media via regularly updated voicebank
recordings on special phone lines. Some police forces also use the Internet with access through
password-protected websites. Some district reporters still have regular meetings at local police
However press officers are not the only sources of news stories. For example, a good local newsroom
will not only make a point of speaking to the press office or listening to the voicebank recording
regularly, but also talking direct to the operational officers on the ground and ‘teasing’ out some of the
offbeat stories which occur.
Build relationships with people when the news is good. Then when a bad story breaks, you already
have the contacts – and they owe you a favour! Visit your emergency services PROs as often as you
can. Then when there is breaking news, they can put a face to a name at an incident. Information is
much more forthcoming and you may be put top of the call sheet or given the interview ahead of your
A word of warning: the police do not always observe the laws of libel and contempt as well as they
might. Treat all information from them with care and subject it to the same legal tests as you would any
News releases are an excellent source of basic information but need to be looked at carefully. They
are distributed by people who want you to express a story in their terms. In reality, what they want to
say may not be a story - for example, shops putting out ‘statements’ about winter sales. Alternatively, it
may be genuine news but one-sided - for example, a release from a political party. (FIGURE 3.6)
In most cases, you will need to contact the source of the release to verify facts, get more information
or set up an interview.
Phoning people about their releases can be an education, particularly when public relations
companies are involved. There are good, efficient PR companies who earn the fees they charge their
clients by releasing factual, well-researched and well-angled information and make covering a story
easier. There are also incompetent firms who waste time and money all round. Be particularly wary of
any PR company sending out a press release to radio stations enclosing photographs (think about it!),
referring to your ‘readers’, inviting you to a photocall, omitting phone numbers or forgetting to include
the date of a forthcoming event.
When you do make contact, among the most idiotic responses are: ‘Why do you want to talk to
anyone? It’s all in the press release...”; “We could get someone to talk to you about this towards the
end of next week”, and “You won’t actually want to record this, will you?”
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Transitions between sequences
The most obvious transition words or phrases are those like and, so, but, with that, even so, and so.
These connect one sequence of pictures or interview to the next and achieve a sense of flow through
At its very simplest:
SCRIPT: “….worried that school exclusions have now reached record levels.”
[NEW SEQUENCE - TEACHER]
SCRIPT: “So Teachers like Sue Bloggs have decided…”
Adding ‘so’ makes the transition from one sequence of pictures to the next. Similarly:
SCRIPT: “..by rationing the number of students from private schools.”
[NEW SEQUENCE - UNIVERSITY]
SCRIPT: “But This new university in east London has chosen a different method. It…”
Or this could have been:
“But that’s not what this new university in east London is doing. It….”
Crucially, that little ‘but’ gives a sense of continuity - it flows from the previous sentence - and takes
you seamlessly from one set of pictures to the next. Referencing back to the previous sentence has
the same effect:
SCRIPT: “….will stop at nothing less than independence. “
[NEW SEQUENCE - TROOPS]
SCRIPT: “But however hard they fight for that independence, these troops…..”
Or into a graphic:
SCRIPT: “…are worried that the measures go too far.”
[NEW SEQUENCE - GRAPHIC]
SCRIPT: “So, what exactly would the measures mean to someone earning £30,000 a year?”
Some other transitions:
“Two miles away….”
“Two hours later…”
“And this is why:…”
“And here’s the reason:…”
These are all phrases which help to ‘hold hands’ with the previous sequence or sentence . But try to
avoid the over-used, “meanwhile” and “in a separate development”.
Too often, correspondents start a new sequence of pictures almost as though they were starting a new
piece. Consider these sentences - each beginning a new sequence of pictures in the same piece:
SEQUENCE 1: “It’s the first religious festival they’ve been able to have….”
SEQUENCE 2: “These survivors may be celebrating today, but the reality…”
SEQUENCE 3: “These three sisters are cyclone orphans…”
SEQUENCE 4: “This place is between relief and reconstruction..”
SEQUENCE 5: “Yet another legacy of the cyclone…”
The beginning of each sequence could be the beginning of an entirely new piece. There are no
transitions from sequence to sequence. No connections. No flow.
Sometimes a transition can be more sophisticated. In a report from Kosovo, for example, one
correspondent moved from a sequence of a funeral to one of a soldier returning home with the words:
“The funeral was over by the time this man returned home from the fighting at the front.” Again, this
took the viewer seamlessly from one sequence to the next. As does this:
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involved with and even the football team he supports can all help my investigation by narrowing down
His email address is perhaps the most powerful clue you can find. There's every chance that John
Smith himself has an online presence, but whilst there may be millions of John Smiths on Google,
only one of them will have the email address email@example.com.
Not many people think of putting an email address into Google's search box, but as it is unique to the
individual it will produce anything they have sent to online message boards, email lists and
communities they belong to. If I find nothing for this particular email address I will try searching for the
'user name' on its own as there's every chance he may also have registered
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
It is easily possible that any personal keywords I find, together with the lateral thinking and sheer
persistence I use in my searches, will produce the exclusive information that makes it all worthwhile.”
Paul Myers specialises in internet research and teaches web page design and image production. Paul
writes for bbc.co.uk and regularly produces internet live chat shows with guests as diverse as Ken
Livingstone and Westlife. He also acts as an online research consultant for Watchdog.
Improve your research skills:
Investigative Research on the Net Part 1
Investigative Research on the Net Part 2
If you are reading this outside the BBC, you can find out more by visiting www.bbctraining.com
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SUBSCRIBE NOW: Peter.firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how you heard about it.
Continuing until June, the online and large-scale investigation into what goes on in UK classrooms.
With special sections for pupils, parents and teachers.
Every day new words enter the language. This site looks at the more interesting arrivals and makes up
new ones. Look up ‘madeupwordino’!
Where’s it gone?
Vast amounts of content have vanished from the internet, but you can retrieve it if you know where to
look. Here you can browse 55m pages archived from 1996 to today.
Don’t forget our training can be done at one of our sites – or with you round at your place at a time to
suit you. We can also do weekend courses or ones in the evening to fit with your rotas. And we can
tailor-make or slightly alter a course to make it more appropriate to you and your team. Just ask us
what we can do!
Useful Stuff on Stories
WBZ-TV in Boston made some troubling discoveries when it looked into how safe local ambulances
are. Many are not property equipped to save lives. The station analysed hundreds of state inspection
records and complaints involving local ambulances. Among the disturbing findings: ambulances
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caught without the equipment or drugs needed to treat patients. Some ambulances were unsanitary,
and others had crews that didn't appear properly trained.
Source: "I-Team Uncovers Ambulance Violations," WBZ-TV, February 9, 2006
An investigative report by KCTV-TV in Kansas City took viewers inside the world of college cheating.
Fuelled by the internet, it's easier than ever for students to avoid doing the work themselves to get a
The station showed just how simple it has become for students to purchase papers and hand them in
as their own. The reporter bought a term paper, ironically on "ethics," from a man claiming to be a
Harvard grad. The man charges $25 per page to write students papers for them. Colleges are onto
this type of cheating and are fighting back with their own high-tech weapon. Some schools now use a
system called TurnItIn.com, which can spot whether a paper has been plagiarized and is not a
student's original work. For example, the term paper the station bought was analysed by this system
and flagged as a fake.
Source: "Purchased Papers," KCTV-TV, February 9, 2006
Illegal ID cards
An investigation by WBBM-TV in Chicago showed just how easy it is to get fake identification. The
station went undercover and was able to purchase ID, a fake Social Security card and a permanent
residency card for $220. IDs like these are often needed by identity thieves to commit larger
crimes, such as loan scams.
Source: "Avoid Becoming A Victim of The Credit Con," WBBM-TV, February 9, 2006
WHDH-TV in Boston reported on a strange new lifestyle choice: freegans. As a statement against
America's waste and over-consumption, freegans eat food they find for free. Often this found food
comes from restaurant and grocery store dumpsters. They are also vegans - they don't eat any meat
or dairy products. The report included comments from freegans in both New York and Boston. Most
have jobs and make enough money to pay for their meals.
Source: “Dinner from the dumpster," WHDH-TV, February 6, 2006
WFTS-TV in Tampa looked at how the latest technology in video surveillance cameras is impacting
the fight against crime. So many stores now have cameras that it's leading to a rise in arrests and
successful prosecutions. Digital cameras are now providing clear images of suspects. One police
officer says the switch to digital is leading to a "tenfold" increase in the conviction rate.
Source: "More crimes being solved thanks to surveillance video," WFTS-TV, February 6, 2006
WEWS-TV in Cleveland says a medical breakthrough first developed for patients suffering from AIDS
has now become a hot new beauty treatment. A substance called Sculptra was originally approved by
the FDA as a treatment for drawn-looking facial deformities caused by AIDS. It's injected to make
faces seem fuller and healthier. Now the substance is being used to fight wrinkles. The effects last for
about two years.
Source: "New Procedure Helps Get Rid Of Wrinkles," WEWS-TV, February 7, 2006
Dollar store dangers
An investigation by KGTV-TV in San Diego found dangerous electrical appliances being sold at deep
discount and dollar stores. The station found hair curlers, nightlights and other products that did not go
through inspection by Underwriters Laboratories to make sure they are safe. Some had forged UL
certificates. Others didn't have any at all. Many of the products apparently come from China. Without
UL testing and approval, the products pose a fire risk.
Source: "Discount Store Dangers," KGTV-TV, February 10, 2006
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Fighting bad customer service
WHDH-TV in Boston aired a report on a new way consumers can fight bad customer service. Many
companies try to discourage their customers from seeking help or filing complaints by using confusing
voicemail systems. Consumers get put on hold or can't figure out the right buttons to push to get help.
Now a new website, GetHuman.com, is publishing the codes that instantly get callers to actual human
beings for customer service help, bypassing the automated recordings. The site also allows people to
vote on which companies have the best and worst customer service.
Source: "Live on the line," WHDH-TV, February 8, 2006
WCCO-TV in Minneapolis aired a report about a problem that millions of Americans might be wearing
on their ring fingers. The station looked at the price consumers ultimately pay for shoddy jewelry
appraisals. The station took a ring to local appraisers and found the work and expertise varied greatly.
There were inconsistencies about the quality and weight of diamonds, something you'd think would be
standardized and beyond question. Many people insure their jewelry, but those policies won't pay to
replace the full value of a stolen piece without a proper, detailed appraisal.
Source: "Jewelry Appraisals," WCCO-TV, February 8, 2006
Any ideas on what can be made more useful about Useful Stuff?
Dilemmas, Doubts and Decisions
“ Your station participates in the plan, whereby you broadcast the name, photo and relevant
information about a child as soon as possible after an abduction occurs. If the child is returned, and
the police report that the child had been sexually assaulted or abused, how do you handle that news?
Do you keep using the child's name, or do you stop? ”
The New York Times has an ethics handbook which you can download right here
as does the Radio and Television News Director Foundation
Ethics in a sex sting
A broadcast ethicist believes Dateline NBC crossed the line journalistically when it compensated
Perverted-Justice as "consultants" for a weekend Internet sting that netted 18 people on attempted
unlawful sexual conduct charges.
"There are several ethics issues involved in this … There's concern when news departments become
an arm of law enforcement. There should be a separation of journalists and police, and our job is to
cover what they do but not enable and become a participant in the enforcement."
When should a r eporter help? (CSM)
Daily journalism involves many dilemmas. But Western reporters covering developing countries often
face unique conundrums: A little humanity — just the change in their pockets — can sometimes feed
10 or 20 people. Such giving can violate a basic tenet of journalism: Observe, don't engage.
Fake TV news is a real-life problem
Last September, KABC, the ABC affiliate for Los Angeles, aired a story during the 5 p.m. Tuesday
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newscast about a blood test to find allergies in kids. It looked like a legit news story, with interviews,
graphics, cute kids and a voice-over by a KABC news reporter. It wasn't, though. The report was a
canned video news release, or VNR, produced for and paid by Quest Diagnostics, a company that
runs labs around the country that do this very sort of testing. There was no disclosure by the station
that the piece was an advertorial.
Useful Stuff is interactive – tell us your thoughts, what you do well and what you’d like help with and
we’ll try and help in a future edition. Peter.Stewart@bbc.co.uk
The Shop Floor
The Best Media and Journo books and films.
Scoop: A Novel About Journalists - Evelyn Waugh -- One of Waugh's most exuberant comedies,
Scoop is a brilliantly irreverent satire of Fleet Street and its hectic pursuit of hot news.
The Parallax View - Joe Frady is a determined reporter who often needs to defend his work from
colleagues. After the assassination of a prominent U.S. senator, Frady begins to notice that reporters
present during the assassination are dying mysteriously. After getting more involved in the case, Frady
begins to realize that the assassination was part of a conspiracy somehow involving the Parallax
Corporation, an enigmatic training institute. He then decides to enrol for the Parallax training himself to
discover the truth.
Mug of the Month
Dunker mug - Ahhh yes, the perennial British favourite of tea and biscuits goes together like
strawberries and cream, rhubarb and custard, Canon and Ball. Ok, so the last example wasn't so hot
but this simple yet excellent idea from the designer Dominic Skinner now lets you enjoy your favourite
brew with up to three of your favourite biccies close to hand. Dunking marvellous!
Celeb face recognition.
Upload your face photo (or not, it will find your face) and get a slideshow of celebrities that resemble
Top Ten Things You Don't Want To Hear From Your Weather Forecaster
(From the "Late Show with David Letterman," 8/6/01)
10. "It looks like there's about a 70% chance of rain and about a 100% chance I'm going to get blind,
stinkin' drunk tonight"
9. "It's going to be a hot one today, so use this as an opportunity to make fun of a fat guy in a tank top"
8. "I hope the heavy rains don't uncover the bodies I buried"
7. "Today I am feeling unseasonably sexy"
6. "Rain, sun, snow, sleet -- what's the difference? We're all gonna die someday"
5. "I have no idea what any of this means, I should probably take a class or something"
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4. "There's a light trickle going on right now, which reminds me -- Sheila, would you get an
appointment with Dr. Fisch for me"
3. "Enough with the weather, let's take a look at my recent oral surgery"
2. "After all this talk about rain, I gotta take a wicked leak"
1. "Die, you millions of tiny, pathetic people, die!"
Quiz for you: computer programmer or serial killer?
50 ways to funk-up your iPod
Siemens – a banned word
This site claims the US government reads your mail looking for banned words … among them
‘Siemens’. Click here for all the words they’re watching and listening for.
Brutally honest film reviews
If you've ever looked forward to a movie, and ended up wishing you could throw a tomato at the
screen, this is the movie site for you.
75 bands in the picture
They give you one example: a basket containing stem roses and shotguns... "Guns and Roses", get
it? How about the number "20" shaped out of matchboxes? Mmm, I found "Smashing Pumpkins"
Useful Stuff is produced by
BBC Training and Development
(The small print: Links were checked just before distribution – though some news sites archive their pages and may
not be available when you click. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Some sites require free
registration. Some links are BBC-sensitive and so are only available via the BBC intranet. Story titles and taster-
paragraphs are taken from the sites to which they link, and are not the views of the BBC or suggest endorsement.
Other online book/video stores are available)
Previous editions of Useful Stuff are archived at www.bbctraining.com/usefulstuff
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