Useful Stuff Edition 26 – August 2006
A digest of media-related news stories and links to inspire you and help you make better programmes
Compiled by Peter Stewart at BBC Training & Development
Total links this month:
“The number one trait that I look for in all talent is that they're the same person on the air and
off the air...that translates to the viewer as somebody who's genuine."
Bill Fine, WCVB's president and general manager in The Boston Herald
Your friendly Useful Stuff man who trawls the media pages, so you don’t have to! How do I do this? I
read several zillion newspapers a day. Just for you. With this:
What caught my eye while compiling this month’s extravaganza:
Loads of links about the media in the Middle East. And I’ve uncovered the best and most
straightforward and unbiased explanation of the history of the conflict, and the site that lets
you watch the news bulletins from that region.
Discussion about - at what age is a ‘girl’ a ‘woman’ for news stories?
Why more and more people are signing up at journalism schools
The radio phone-in show without a presenter .. and another one that (allegedly) faked its calls
Radio for immigrants and prisoners... and a station that just plays the choruses of songs!
How to listen to your iPod through your car radio
Claims that British media is ignoring new talent … a U.S study that shows that the number of
women and minorities in radio is dropping … and another that says that female TV presenters
are better than their male counterparts … and a skills strategy survey for the UK’s media
The new ‘must-do’ TV content battleground
The TV that reads to your kids … and a gizmo that stops them watching too much
More rows and disagreements over the value of ‘user-generated content’ … how ‘social
networking’ influences news content … the importance of youth news ... why there are so few
magazines for teenage boys... and the optimum time for viewing a news story on the web.
There’s a focus on radio in India
A proposed TV tax in Sri Lanka
The launch of a new ‘BBC’ local station
Three separate stories about broadcasting … and … chickens!!
And at least one article from a publication in the Ukraine!
Plus Vocal Vitality reading techniques, Useful Ideas to kick-start creativity, training advice for TV and
radio (right here, no courses, no catches), other training events through the wonderful world of BBC
Training and Development, story ideas to steal from the States, media books and films, ‘My Useful
Stuff’ from Hereford and Shropshire, Smarter Surfing, Mug of the Month … and some incredible time
wasters in the ‘and finally’ section.
Finally - we need more subscribers to this list!
Can’t be more direct than that...
Useful Stuff 1
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Would you help me to double the subscriber number by next month?
Forward this newsletter to your three favourite colleagues or contacts and suggest they subscribe.
Well, it IS free!
Until next month’s end of summer edition,
“I heard about Useful Stuff from my colleague Rosie Goldsmith. I'm producing for the next series of
‘A World in Your Ear’ and she thought it would be useful.
And it is - especially the radio stuff for me!”
“I'm particularly interested in tidbits from around the world as I train for the World Service Trust.
New sources of views and discussions are particularly interesting.”
Kevin Burden, Senior Trainer, BBC World Service Trust
General Useful Stuff about Media and Journos
Israel and the Palestinians
Confused about what’s happening and how it all started? Go here:
Before you go here:
Israel's TV News station, direct from Jerusalem.
“The Mideast conflict of 2006 allows journalists to roam freely, not just watching rocket attacks
but interviewing victims' families, neighbours, refugees and just about anyone else. It is
Vietnam on satellite steroids.”
With the war in Iraq in its fourth year, newspapers and television networks have cut back on
their coverage, particularly of troops in the field. The thesis of "MTV News Presents: Iraq
Uploaded," is that the troops are filling the vacuum with their own videos relayed in real time to
The show aired on MTV on 21/07/06, but the viral videos can be viewed here:
Fox News Channel and CNN are experimenting with new graphical treatments during the
Middle East crisis coverage. The cable channels are increasingly placing logos with titles like
"Mideast Turmoil" and "War Bulletin" in the corner of the screen. They're also trying on some
alternatives to the typical "Breaking News" or "Fox News Alert" banners.
"It is absolutely critical that anchors travel to stories … When you send an anchor, you focus
not only the programme, but the entire news division, on an important issue. And there is no
more important an issue now than what's going on in Israel and Lebanon, because this is all
wrapped up in our broader Middle Eastern policies"
While the networks and news channels often heavily promote the dispatching of their big
names to the middle of the big news stories, it's really hard to find a good journalistic reason to
Useful Stuff 2
Compiled by Peter Stewart
“Take Monday's coverage of the conflict on NBC's popular Today Show who asks: "So just
who is Israel at war with in this latest chapter of an ancient conflict?" Not only does the
reporter assume that Israel's war targets only Hezbollah (and not the Lebanese civilians,
government, private businesses and the military, which have all been attacked) but even
contradicts earlier reports on her own network indicating Hezbollah's founding to be in the
early 1980s; hardly considered "ancient" times.
China to fine foreign media
China defended a proposed law that would fine media reporting on riots and disasters without official
approval, saying the law would likely also apply to foreign news organizations. The proposed law
comes amid a government campaign to tighten controls on media. NYT: The proposed law calls for
fines of up to $12,500 for unauthorized reports on outbreaks of disease, natural disasters, social
disturbances or other so-called sudden incidents that officials determine to be false or harmful to
China's social order.
A secret the media kept
Towards the end of 1979, hundreds of journalists and news organisations got hold of a news story that
would have made reputations and careers and sent circulation or broadcast ratings soaring. And yet
not one ran with the story until given permission to do so by the governments involved.
When is a girl a woman?
Ever since the case of the raping and killing of an Iraqi, the age of the victim had been in dispute. Then
Reuters and others news agencies produced proof that she was 14. Most news organisations then
started calling her a girl — but some persist in referring to her as a "woman."
French first: black man presents evening news
Non-white television journalists are common in Britain and the United States but France's ethnic
minorities are less visible in news media, particularly on the two flagship news shows broadcast daily
at 8 p.m. and watched by millions. Harry Roselmack, 33, fills in for presenter and national celebrity
Patrick Poivre d'Arvor for the summer in a move that has been making headlines in France for weeks.
Mark is Top of the Pops
Top of this year's Media Guardian 100 is BBC Director General Mark Thompson. Rupert Murdoch is in
third place for the second year running. Candidates are judged on three criteria — their cultural,
economic and political influence in the U.K.
Back to your Roots
There are 11 Roots Project Co-ordinators based around English Regions to increase the profile of
multicultural arts and activates across TV, Radio & Online. They all have 100's of stories , news and
contacts that may often fall through the mainstream net. This is the Online page at Radio Newcastle...
More go to journo school
Many institutions are cheerfully touting the creation of new journalism programmes because, they say,
the writing and information gathering skills are an entrée to an increasing number of jobs as the media
comes to include both magazines and Webzines, both broadcasts and podcasts.
Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival
25 August 2006 - 27 August 2006
Useful Stuff 3
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Edinburgh
The annual conference and festival addressing the future of tv in the UK and globally, with particular
emphasis on the policy and production issues surrounding domestic programme making.
The MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival
07 September 2006 - 12 September 2006
Annual event for electronic media professionals with five days of themed presentations from industry
10 September 2006 - 13 September 2006
Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, USA
Conference exploring learning and technology with sessions tackling technology-based learning, skills
development and workforce performance improvement.
NAB Radio Show
20 September 2006 - 22 September 2006
The NAB Radio Show is a once-a-year opportunity to network with thousands of your peers from
stations of all formats and market sizes.
NAB Radio Show
Asia IPTV World Forum
27-29 September 2006, Oriental Riverside Hotel, Shanghai, China
Asia IPTV World Forum
Tapeless Production Conference
19 October Central London
Royal Television Society events
Various dates throughout the year
Events and screenings organised and hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts,
London, covering all aspects of film and TV production.
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.
Voice of the Listener & Viewer conferences
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
Is there someone else that you think would like to get Useful Stuff? Then feel free to copy this to them
… but mention that they’ll only get it automatically if they subscribe to the list themselves.
Useful Stuff 4
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Useful Stuff about Radio (R*)
UK Ofcom plans to advertise 2nd national radio multiplex licence
The Office of Communications said that in its next steps in the expansion of digital radio it plans to
advertise the second national radio multiplex licence.
Terrestrial radio strikes back
Terrestrial radio stations aren't letting satellite take over the airwaves. They're showing signs of striking
FM Radio gets sexy again
The mainstream press is touting a hot, trendy broadcast medium: It’s called terrestrial radio.
Podcasts gaining on radio’s heels
'We’re a radio station, if you want to call us that.' Indeed, podcasting is starting to dance on traditional
Users like Internet radio, but...
A new survey says that among those Americans who have listened to streaming Internet radio, 40%
do so at specialized sites.
“One reason local media, including radio, is suffering is because consolidation of local retail
businesses has reduced the number of local advertiser prospects.”
Tennant: commercial radio is playing it safe
Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant has hit out at commercial radio for being "corny and
uninteresting" and for "blackmailing" artists.
Radio ‘ignoring new talent’ claim execs
Leading executives in radio, including the BBC’s Jenny Abramsky and GCap Media chief executive
Ralph Bernard, have admitted they need to do more to encourage more new talent.
Canadian commercial radio profits soar
Despite a continued decline in the amount of time Canadians spend listening to commercial radio,
profits for Canadian commercial radio operators continues to rise.
Technology forces Chicago radio station to confront change
You can add radio to the list of media that will be facing new challenges for survival in the face of new
Russia dramatically curtails Western radio broadcasts
Authorities have dramatically curtailed the number of stations broadcasting Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty and Voice of America news programmes.
Useful Stuff 5
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Indecency Law tripped up by Bush slip-up
President Bush's use of the S-word points out the quandary that the nation's indecency laws ensnare
Women and minorities in radio drop
An annual study on women and minorities in radio news in the US, and the results are disappointing.
Hiroshima Children's Museum visitors speak via Ham Radio:
Youngsters visiting Hiroshima Children's Museum in Japan were among the latest to have the
opportunity to speak via Amateur Radio
Radio managers to attend course in Sofia
Executives and managers from national or private radio stations in Southeast Europe will participate in
a course on new strategies and development in the sector.
Formats and content:
UN opens radio in south Sudan, blocked in north
The UN mission in Sudan has launched a radio station in the south to educate people about a
peace deal that ended years of civil war.
Film and radio hoped to lure kids back to class
It is hoped a new program using film and radio editing to help educate youths in remote
communities will bring some students back to school.
What killed the radio star?
Chrysalis Radio's speech station LBC is to conduct a three-hour phone-in show without a
host, putting callers straight to air without being screened.
£6,000 prize for budding radio writers
BBC Radio Drama is looking for bold and original writers in the North of England with
compelling stories to tell.
Music blogs: It's the new radio
Music radio, at its best, does three things: plays your favourite tunes, introduces you to new
sounds and draws you into a wider community ...
This station will not only broadcast the latest news from Latin America, but will also offer a
virtual tutorial in the American way of life to the tens of thousands of Latin American
immigrants living within the sound of his voice. There will be news they can use about local
school boards, citizenship requirements, local Hispanic politicians and other topics too small
for mainstream stations
Radio behind bars
Useful Stuff 6
Compiled by Peter Stewart
An ambitious project aimed at putting a radio station in every jail in the country.
The station that just plays choruses of songs. It's a wacky radio stunt designed to draw
attention to the "local, independent alternative radio station," as it's actually calling itself. http://
Chick Chat radio
ChickChat will feature iVillage content, interviews and quizzes weekly.
Transform this DAB radio into a personal picture frame
Tired of having your radio look just like a radio? The Intempo PP01 DAB radio may be just the
thing for you.
iPod radio transmitters may become in the UK
Stereos to tune in to iPod signals and play music were outlawed because it was feared that
they would interfere with commercial radio, but that may change.
Turning off radio – does it increase a car’s mileage?
“Dear Tom and Ray: My husband says using the radio in the car uses gas. Is this true, and
could you explain how?”
iLuv i552 Portable AM/FM Radio and Docking Speaker System
Pause buttons, plus a mode switch to toggle between twin docks - one for Dock Connecting
iPods, one for iPod shuffle - and the internal AM/FM radio, and the ...
Radio NZ International launches BBC Pacific exchange
Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) will launch a weekday 30-minute programme
exchange with the BBC Pacific service.
Joyce urges measures to protect local radio
The Queensland Nationals are calling on the Federal Government to mandate local content in
local radio in any cross-media mergers.
Radio talkback rival hits Jones below the belt
Radio host Mike Carlton has told listeners a book about rival broadcaster Alan Jones might
have been dumped by the ABC board because it makes accusations of homosexuality.
Taking over as host of the much-praised weekday current affairs program Hack on Triple J
has got to be the best gig in town for a 20-something broadcaster.
Radio 2Day FM's Kyle and Jackie O breakfast show has been rocked by further claims of
bogus callers after management confessed the show had used two fake callers. It's now
claimed that a segment earlier this year - in which a woman threatened to leave her husband,
egged on by the shows hosts - is believed to have been "a set-up between two staff members"
“Our programmes are very interactive. We make the listeners feel very important. We are
sensitive, patient yet humorous when talking to those who call in on our programmes. We try
to keep our language simple, the kind used in our day to day lives. We don’t say anything that
Useful Stuff 7
Compiled by Peter Stewart
might make our classy listeners cringe nor anything that might have someone running for the
The first edition of the 2006 Promax India Radio Awards, which rewards creative brilliance in
Content differentiation key for FM radio business
Indian radio has the potential to grow at a compounded rate of 30-35 per cent over the next 10
Speculation: Google to begin selling radio ads through AdWords
TechToolBlog said he received a survey from Google specifically asking questions about radio
Radio snips a minute off each hour
U.S. radio stations have chopped off one minute from their commercial stop sets, according to
a new Media Monitors study revealed today.
WRKO AM radio talk show host John DePetro was suspended by station management for using a slur
normally aimed at homosexuals in reference to the embattled chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike
'F-Bomb' gets two Tampa jocks fired
Two staffers at Clear Channel adult top 40 WMTX Tampa were fired after a taped weather update with
profanity accidentally aired on the station.
McConnell foils radio wind-up bid
First Minister Jack McConnell has revealed on air how he scuppered a wind-up by radio prankster
Local radio station gets chicken of their own
It was a promotional spoof for radio station 107.9 The Duke. The radio station’s chicken may emerge
Radio chicks in egg-laying frenzy
A chicken farmer has claimed that playing BBC Radio 2 to his flock has resulted in a "staggering"
increase in egg production.
Interview: Sarah Blunt
“I'm a Senior Radio Producer at the Natural History Unit in Bristol. No two days are ever the same,
which is the great thing about this job. I can be doing anything from editing material that's just come in,
running a production meeting, researching a programme idea - which might mean talking to people on
the phone, talking to scientists or conservationists, doing web searches, reading through scientific
articles and journals - or I could be out on location recording. That could be anywhere from a reed bed
to a sea bed or up a tree, in the middle of a moor - the range of things I get up to is quite incredible.”
Useful Stuff 8
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Listen to the full interview here (MP3 21mb)
Memo to Marketing Department
As our radio station’s called ‘Hits FM’, please
ensure that the name still works when we open
the door to the OB vehicle…
Aircheck of the Month
Melvin X. Melvin, WMEX Boston, January 31, 1965
Presenter of the Month
Paul Brian - WLS 890 Chicago
(Nominate a Presenter)
Station of the Month
Radio Dum Dum - The first and only Malayalam internet radio, and is broadcast from Kerala. The
station broadcasts light music, film songs, talk shows, and stories in Malayalam.
(Nominate a Station)
Talk Presenter of the Month
Doug McIntyre – 790 KABC California
(Nominate a Talk Presenter)
Webcam of the Month
Webcam of the knightcast.org studio at the UCF Campus in Orlando, Florida. The webcam is more
active during the afternoons and evenings.
(Nominate a Webcam)
Got some feedback? Seen a great site? Want to crow about the success with a brilliant idea you had?
Don’t sit on it – tell Useful Stuff: Peter.Stewart@bbc.co.uk
Useful Stuff about TV (TV*)
Sri Lanka President to decide on the television tax
Sri Lanka President will meet the heads of private television channels and artistes to decide on the
controversial television tax.
CBS News President continues rebuilding
Sean McManus is in the first stages of rebuilding a legendary news organization beaten down by
years of scandal and failure.
Useful Stuff 9
Compiled by Peter Stewart
“I remember, years ago, when the networks would break in to say "We interrupt this program with a
special news bulletin," we'd stop dead in our tracks because we knew what they were about to tell us
was something big. That makes the phrase "Breaking News" pretty much of a joke these days, when it
often means nothing more serious than a kitten stuck in a tree.”
A discovery about broadcast news
"The marketplace is exerting a far more dangerous influence on what gets on and what doesn't get on
television news programming these days than any ... fear of political repercussions or consequences."
PCs beat TV for the internet generation
Britain's young people are for the first time spending more time looking at internet sites than watching
TV, a new survey has revealed. The lives of youngsters aged between 16 and 25 are dominated by
their computers. The average youth spends 23 hours a week online and 67 per cent of youngsters say
they would be "lost" without their PC.
Men, signing off
"It's actually more difficult now to find a strong male anchor than a strong female…"
Happy 65th Birthday to U.S commercial television
Then, one day, commercial television was invented and screwed it all up. Well, at least some people
My father, the genius behind television
The son of John Logie Baird, inventor of television, Malcolm Baird has been in Scotland for the launch
of Sky TV's high-definition service in the UK.
The BBC's new Television Centre will be the "Hollywood" of the TV world
The west London complex has seven television studios. ... "Its function is to produce about 1,500
hours a year of programme material for television."
They’ve recently published the skills strategy document for the UK TV sector. The action plan makes a
fascinating read - not just in terms of the research findings with regard to the size and make-up of our
industry, but also in terms of action plans for nationwide TV academies, media course accreditation,
freelance training subsidies, skills gaps, entry level schemes, and lots of other stuff extremely relevant
to freelancers. It's here:
TV's consumer watchdogs are growling at each other
Can we interest you in a TV news battleground that's heating up? It's consumer reporting.
More Zambians can watch television
The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation has set aside over about $2.94 million to
implement phase two rural television projects.
Reality shows you won't see on television
You already know that you can watch recent episodes of Big Brother and other reality shows
after they air on television. But did you know that you can also watch original reality
Useful Stuff 10
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Native American Television shoots for media launch
A Washington-area group, hopes to launch Native American Television some time this year.
How low will they go?
“One is tempted to say here that this show is completely unacceptable for young children
sitting in front of the television, with its violence, profanity and ...”
Pitch and Win
“Sure we've all had great ideas for a television show, but were never able to really do anything
about it. Now we can! The New York Television Festival (NYTVF), in partnership with MSN,
Rainbow Media and IFC, is holding its first-ever online Pitch Contest. If you have a great idea
for a TV show, submit a 1-minute video clip to NYTVF. It cost absolutely nothing to enter. Oh,
and ... the winner will receive an $8,000.00 development deal from Rainbow Media and IFC! If
you know some creative type who is always saying, "You know what would be a great idea for
a television show?" be sure to pass this information along. The deadline is August 4th or
Open Student Television Network to showcase talent
Open Student Television Network (OSTN), the only 24-hour, 7-day global channel exclusively
devoted to student-produced programming, today takes the first step towards expansion within
the European Union.
Television: One story that's pushing the envelope
After decades of television series dedicated to police officers, firemen, doctors, nurses and
teachers comes a new recruit to the public-sector-worker canon…
Take control and turn off any television
There are some who say that a distinctly American quirk is that they always have to have a
television on wherever they are.
A ‘Box’ that will transform the media
Pose the question: “What’s on the box?” and you will get an answer about that night’s
television listings – schedules that were set by a handful of people whose ideas dominate our
viewing. Ask the same question in five years’ time and you will get a very different response.
TeleStory lets your television read to kids
TeleStory, a new product from Jakks Pacific, turns the television into a book-reading machine.
Coming to a cellphone near you – great television
They serve as watches, torches, thermometers, radios, internet connectors - and now
Verizon to offer interactive weather, traffic on TV
Verizon is trying to gain ground on cable and satellite television providers by tweaking its new
service with interactive weather and traffic features. They will be based on a customer's ZIP
code and will show up as text on the screen, not interrupting TV programs.
Device helps parents control kids' 'new media' time
A product from Hopscotch Technology is intended to allow parents to set a maximum time for
their child to spend in front of the television set or personal computer. The BOB ("Bring on
Balance") device will shut off a TV or PC when the allotted time is used up.
Television Commercial: Is there a heartbeat?
The life of the 30-second television commercial is over. Done. Stick a fork in it.
Useful Stuff 11
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Companies create special new television ads for DVR users
Companies like Coca-Cola, KFC, and GE, are developing their own “DVR ready” television
ads that will deter viewers from hitting the ever-tempting fast forward.
Least watched TV week. Ever.
It was the least-watched week in recorded history for the four biggest broadcast networks.
CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox averaged 20.8 million viewers during the average prime-time minute
last week, according to Nielsen Media Research. That sunk below the previous record, set in
Where is television going?
TV viewers must have taken to the beach: It was the least-watched week in recorded history
for the four biggest US broadcast networks.
User Generated Content:
New MTV channel devoted to User Created Content
MTV, angling for the "MySpace generation," plans to launch a U.K. television channel called
MTV Flux that will allow people to choose which music videos air, and display their own videos
and messages. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13999779/
YouWitness News: Media outlets rush to embrace user video
ABC, CNN, Reuters and other news outlets plan to introduce ways to use video shot by
viewers. Facilitating the receipt of user-generated content is an "urgent priority," says Jennifer
Sizemore, managing editor MSNBC.com. "Then we'll have to discuss the editorial
Networks cool on viewer news video
When the London Underground was bombed a year ago, the work of "citizen journalists," the
often grainy footage shot on personal digital cameras and cellphones, was everywhere.
Almost immediately, mainstream TV news organizations began a quest to fill their broadcasts
with such freelance firepower. But a year later, none of the major TV news organizations have
included citizen journalism as a major part of their newscasts. The news networks' hesitancy
to embrace content from viewers on-air has less to do with concern about video authenticity
than with a desire to keep a certain level of quality and control. TV news organizations'
success depends on building trust with their viewers and establishing themselves as a
dependable destination for viewers to learn the events of the day, and camcorder clips of
stories, however newsworthy, aren't necessarily reliable or always ready.
Meet the sons of YouTube
More and more online video sites are cropping up. But one, Gotuit Media, hopes to stand out by only
featuring professional content. Gotuit's new online video site will not have user-generated content.
Instead, it will feature music videos, sports footage, news and other professional videos.
Judge confiscates television crew’s camera
A disagreement over video taping led a visiting judge to temporarily confiscate a camera from a
television crew at the Grayson County Justice Center.
All the locks and keys at Feltham Young Offenders Institution in West London are having to be
changed after a media visit. An ITN news crew filmed a bunch of keys used by a prison officer and
broadcast a few seconds of the footage as part of news items on the Zahid Mubarek public inquiry.
About 11,000 door and gate locks are having to be replaced and 3200 keys are being replaced. The
cost will run into tens of thousands of pounds - possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds. It's widely
known that broadcasting footage of keys runs the risk that people will attempt to make copies of the
Useful Stuff 12
Compiled by Peter Stewart
NBC to use YouTube to promote its television shows
NBC has said that they would be using YouTube.com to promote their television line up.
It’s being called egg-vertising and CBS will be the first and only network this fall to be printing its
shows’ logos on something that comes out of a chicken.
Useful Stuff is pretty useful, yes?
So feel free to forward this entire issue to five of your friends and/or colleagues!
Useful Stuff about Other Platforms
User Generated Content:
Journalist sues YouTube for copyright infringement
Reporter Robert Tur is suing YouTube, alleging that the video sharing site is airing
copyrighted footage. Tur claims his images have been downloaded thousands of times from
YouTube, ruining the market for his work. Also: YouTube owns the right to redistribute
anything uploaded to its servers.
Huge growth for sites where the readers edit
When the Daily Telegraph published a story in June on America's Dixie Chicks, it's unlikely
that anyone expected what happened next. The story quickly became one of the most read on
the paper's web site, ultimately accounting for one in 10 visits that week. The reason: The
story was also linked on Digg, what's known as a collaborative editing site, where links to
stories are posted and ranked by readers.
Websites apply 'social networking' to the news
At Digg, visitors themselves recommend items they find of interest online. Other Digg visitors
then vote for the story by clicking "digg it" or disapprove of it by clicking "bury story." Items that
are "dug" the most become the top stories on the entry pages. Stories that receive too many
"bury it" votes drop off the site.
TV, uh, 'news' gets one right
“What's especially frustrating about that perception is the reaction of people to TV, uh, journalism. The
general public acts as if something isn't really a story until it's been on the TV, uh, news. Yet, what
they don't seem to realize is that print is still the medium that sets the agenda in the journalism world.”
Is the web changing journalism?
A set of values has evolved that is so market-driven that it supports abandoning a fundamental
journalism obligation, telling people what is happening in their world, from the front porch to the most
distant corner of the Earth, whether they are comfortable with it or not.
Multitasking, techno-buff 'millennials' come of age
Those in the "millennial" generation - roughly ages 16 to 25 - share traits such as relying on iPods,
cellphones and social networking sites, say researchers. One 17-year-old says he sometimes instant-
messages family members when he's "too lazy to walk to the other side of the house."
The power of peer production
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Compiled by Peter Stewart
From Amazon.com to MySpace to Craigslist, the most successful Web companies are building
business models based on user-generated content, writes Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson.
"Companies aren't just exploiting free labor; they're creating the tools that give voice to millions."
Newspaper study shows importance of youth news
People drawn to youth sections in newspapers as teens are most likely to become newspaper readers
when they grow up, suggests a new study by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation. "You
want to get these kids when they're 13, 14, 15 years old," says foundation VP Jim Abbott.
MySpace, tech firms woo cable leaders as TV and net collide
MySpace, Intel and other tech outfits are making overtures to partner with the cable industry in
distributing video and music. News Corp.'s MySpace now has nearly 100 million users. Also: MySpace
isn't just for kids anymore: Adults 35 and older are one of the largest-growing audience segments.
News Online seems to have long shelf life
A new research paper seeks to answer a riddle for publishers, editors and even readers: when does
new news become old news? In the case of a news article on the Internet, the answer is surprisingly
long: 36 hours on average. 36 hours is the amount of time it takes for half of the total readership of an
article to have read it, the paper found.
Japan ahead of U.S. in mobile devices
A new service in Japan allows users to point a cellphone at a point of interest -- a hotel, a restaurant --
and the phone will display information describing the object. Japan has a head start of several years
over America in what many analysts say will be a new frontier for mobile devices.
Newspapers adapting to new demands of web
Newspapers, just like television stations, are beginning to experiment with video newscasts on their
Web sites. Some newspaper sites are adding searchable databases of their circular ads. Paid search
-- the cornerstone of major search engines -- is also finding its way into newspaper sites.
Why aren't there mags for teenage boys?
While Hearst and Condé Nast publish three titles apiece for girls, mags aimed at boys have come and
gone. Time Inc.'s Teen People is currently the only top-selling teen magazine designed for both boys
and girls, though its frequent beauty and fashion articles shift the focus towards female readers.
NBC to Run TV Promos on YouTube
In a new deal, NBC will furnish YouTube with series promo clips and invite users of the video-sharing
site to create videos for "The Office." NBC is expected to buy advertising on the site. Earlier this year,
NBC demanded YouTube remove its "Lazy Sunday" video clip from "Saturday Night Live."
NEW FEATURE 1 !
Vocal Vitality - This new monthly feature will help you get the voice you would like for
newsreading, voice-over work or even to have more authority when taking meetings
A Useful Stuff subscriber writes: "Hi Peter, love Useful Stuff! I want some more energy in my voice
so I can speak more loudly. When I try it at the moment I hurt my throat, and that can’t be a good
thing. I’ve heard you’re the BBC newsreading trainer, what can I do?”
Useful Stuff 14
Compiled by Peter Stewart
My reply: Thanks for your comments. Glad you like Useful Stuff! Hmmm makes me wonder why you
think you need a more powerful voice. Daily exercises that I teach on my courses will warm up and
strengthen your voice. But I don’t want to give them here because I’d need to show you how to do
them properly otherwise they can damage your voice.
So why do you need to be more powerful? If you find it difficult being heard in a club or pub, it’s not
surprising. There’s noise, smoke and dry air from the air-con (which will dry out your vocal chords –
however much you drink!). You end up yelling which is terrible for the voice. So, I am not especially
worried if you have trouble being heard there.
But if you’ve got trouble being heard at home or in the office, then it's a matter of projection and
resonance. And a lot of that is down to how you sit or stand, how you breathe (and where from!), as
well as opening your throat and mouth to allow the air (after all, your voice is mainly made up of air)
from your lungs and out into the room.
Also consider your ‘Point of Vocus’. Most people naturally project their voice to reach the person
they’re speaking to (you have a different projection to a mate across the street than your lover on the
sofa) – but with some people this has to be learned. This is something else that I can show you in a
Peter.Stewart@bbc.co.uk – for BBC staff or outside staff (I’ve just completed a day-long ‘newsreading
masterclass’ for one of the world’s major commercial broadcasting companies).
Ten kick-ass ideas to kick-start your creativity. OK they’re business-related, but they’ll get you to think
in another way. What gap did they identify and explore? Is it happening in this country? If so, is it
local? Is there a story in it? Or can you clash it with a story or feature you’re already working on? Is it
such a good idea that you want to leave broadcasting and buy a franchise and set yourself up in the
• Canada - after taxi services for women, now taxi services for pensioners offering extra care,
help and security http://www.drivingmissdaisy.net/
• Netherlands – Muslims’ hijabs shift when the women do aerobics, skating, tennis etc. This
solves that problems and still fits with tradition and culture and looks cool.
• Austria – is this really a supermarket? Practical and progressive architecture
• UK – temporary phone number, because you don’t want to give out the real one to him/her
just yet … til you’re sure. http://www.safe-talk.co.uk/
• Belgium – Instead of putting street children into school, which often doesn’t work, this
reaches out to them in their own environment. http://www.mobileschool.org/tekst.php?
• Germany – put yourself in the picture, literally. Print your own holiday postcards.
• Switzerland - kids party in a box. A theme, outfits, decs, games and a shopping list for
themed food. http://www.favouritz.com/
• US – enables people to collect money for group purchases, either from those you know, or
those you don’t. https://www.chipin.com/
• US – Dinner assembly stores http://www.dreamdinners.com/main.php?static=index
• US – Sustainable and eco-friendly accessories, made from recycled, organic and world-
friendly products http://www.ecoist.com/
Two-Minute Top Up
Further thoughts on basic ideas
Useful Stuff 15
Compiled by Peter Stewart
The News Agenda
The news bulletin is the showcase of the radio journalist. It is the chance to give the listener a good
idea of what is happening in just a few minutes.
Bulletins are governed by a radio station’s news agenda: the policy set which determines which stories
are covered in what way and in what style.
Your Target Listener
All newsrooms, commercial and BBC, have different news agendas and it is impossible to generalise.
However, the starting point for the news agenda is likely to be the radio station’s target audience,
determined by the Programme Director. The news bulletins therefore focus on the stories that interest
or affect their listener.
Such stories could include, for example:-
•the environment (not just the ‘green’ thing, but what is happening around)
•the economy (mortgages, wages, the cost of living)
•crime (how safe is it on the streets? What is being done?)
•health (doctors, hospitals, the NHS)
•education (the state of schools, teaching methods)
•transport and travel (roads and railways)
•sport and leisure (big teams and major pastimes)
•national politics (the personalities and their policies)
•local politics (what is happening of countywide or national significance)
Some commercial stations have conducted detailed research into what sort of stories their target
listeners want to hear. As a result, they have adjusted their news agenda to highlight environmental
and health stories.
Other stations are moving away from traditional news values and concentrating almost entirely on
‘news you can use’ such as consumer stories and health issues. When they do stories about
accidents, for example, they focus not on the accident itself but more on the disruption caused. There
is also an increasing use of the words "you", "yours" and "ours" in bulletin writing on some stations to
create a sense of empathy.
The majority of UK stations, though, continue to be influenced by the traditional news values of the
BBC with many programmers regarding the local news bulletins as a way of injecting real-life,
relatable, local drama into their music output.
Whatever a station’s news values, it is all about competing for the listener’s attention. The day has
long gone when ‘ listening to the news’ was a solemn rite, marked by the family dropping all other
activities to gather round the radio set.
It is not that people are less interested in the news. What has happened is that the whole pattern of
living has changed. The family circle is now less close, there are frequent interruptions as well as other
activities and interests.
Now all radio stations must compete for attention. Radio can no longer ‘command’ an audience. Radio
must woo it. That is the challenge.
It is not enough merely to broadcast news. It is your job to make sure that news is listened to and
understood. To inform, we must interest.
Socio Economic Groups
Marketing professionals use this broad classification of the population to help them talk about different
types of people. In the main it refers to the job they do, and therefore how much money they earn. For
commercial radio, it is obviously important to target the largest group with the most amount of money
that can be spent on the products advertised on the station. This is usually the ABC1 combination of
BBC local radio, with its remit of 'extending choice' often targets those who feel left out, the C2DE
groups. Although the BBC has to justify its licence fee to the whole population, it also has a duty to
serve 'minority groups', and as they have no advertising time to sell, they can afford to have lower
listening figures in the process.
A - Higher managerial or professional person - such as a judge, manager of a large
company, top civil servant, head teacher.
Useful Stuff 16
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Free HD workshop for freelancers
Tues 15 Aug, BBC Manchester, 9.30 am – 5.00 pm This workshop will allow you to make a practical
comparison between standard format and HD in an informal atmosphere so you can try out various
set, costume and make-up options, make changes and ask questions of the experts. You are welcome
to bring any items to test on camera, including textures and make-up.
New funding for freelancers
Creating Content for New Platforms: A series of events bringing together freelance and SME talent, a
chance to meet industry experts and discuss the essentials of producing Mobile TV/On-
Demand/Broadband etc. Discover cutting edge examples of work in these areas. Total course cost:
£1000; Skillset pay 70%: £700; You pay 30%: £300
Shooting HD. This is a two-day HD camera course in locations across the UK (outside London). It’s
been designed for experienced DOPs and operators who need to raise their knowledge and skills in
working with HD. Total course cost: £700; Skillset pay 70%: £490; You pay 30%: £210
Register your interest: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Industry Induction
A new industry induction course: the Skillset Industry Induction Award. Designed for anyone who's
been working in the audio visual industry for under a year but more than a day, the training equips
delegates with essential practical knowledge and skills. Areas covered include:• Industry technology
awareness • Working practices in each of the audio visual sectors • Rights and responsibilities of
employees and freelancers • Health and Safety. The course lasts nine days and leads towards an
industry approved qualification. It takes places at 01zero-one, in the heart of Soho.
Check 01zero-one.co.uk for dates and availability, where you can also enrol online or email
All our training events are listed here:
• ENPS For Beginners - 01 Aug, WC
• The Challenge of Change: Managing Stress - 03 Aug, Cardiff
• Introducing Interactive TV - 10 Aug, White City
• Researching for Television - 16 Aug, Elstree
• 110 Intro to Avid Media Composer Effects - 17 Aug, Wood Norton
• Introducing Interactive TV - 10 Aug, London
• Digital Video Broadcasting - 21 Aug, Evesham
• Radio Features - 21 Aug, London
• Discovering Radio - 29 Aug, London
• Investigative Research on the Net - Part One - 30 Aug, London
If you are reading this outside the BBC, you can find out more by visiting www.bbctraining.com. Or if
you get totally lost and want to some advice, contact me Peter.Stewart@bbc.co.uk.
And yes, we can provide training for individuals, freelancers and commercial broadcasters…
If this was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague, then you can cut out the middle-man and receive
each issue of Useful Stuff as soon as it's released!
Peter.Stewart@bbc.co.uk and tell me how you heard about it.
We can train you and your staff at our BBC centres almost anywhere in the world … and at any time!
We can come to you or you can come to us …. Over a weekend or in the evening to fit with your rotas.
Useful Stuff 18
Compiled by Peter Stewart
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!
Oh yes, and you don’t have to be part of the BBC to attend one of our courses or get one tailor-made
Useful Stuff on Stories
Ten potential story-starters. Do they spark off an idea with you? Do they make you drool with
anticipation of getting out of the office and away from ‘air-conditioned journalism’? Hope so! (OK – to
answer the question that’s often asked ‘Why are these from the U.S?’ Well, you’re checking your own
local and UK media sources already, aren’t you? Aren’t you?)
Dirty old bag!
A report aired by KCBS-TV in Los Angeles looked at how filthy women's handbags are, and where
those germs end up. Purses often sit on the floor in places like public toilets - then later are tossed
onto desks, dining tables and kitchen counters. Tests done on several purses showed what's being
transferred: salmonella, faeces and E.coli bacteria. Experts say most purses should be treated the
same as dirty shoes, which no one would ever place where they were going to eat.
Source: "So What Exactly Are You Carrying in Your Purse?" KCBS-TV, May 25, 2006
KNXV-TV in Phoenix looked at the growing clash over parking spots reserved for handicapped people.
The number of people needing the spots greatly exceeds the dedicated spaces. In Arizona, for
example, 7% of drivers have handicapped parking permits. Only two percent of parking spaces are
allocated for handicapped use. There's a move to increase that number. In the meantime, people who
need the spots say they often can't get into them because they are being illegally used by others. As
part of its story, the station rode along with police as they confronted and ticketed illegally parked
drivers. What’s happening where you live and work?
Source: "Park and Pay," KNXV-TV, June 11, 2006
Home drug testing kits
KGO-TV in San Francisco reported on home kits that allow parents to test their teens for illegal drug
use. The kits can test for drugs, alcohol and tobacco. While some families believe the monitoring
works to keep kids away from substance abuse, critics say the testing can end up ruining family
relationships. They say it should only be used as a last resort when there's other evidence a child
might be in trouble. While the tests grow in popularity, there's a vast new subculture on the internet
that gives kids tips on how to beat the tests!
Source: "Web Sites Offer Parents Drug Tests For Kids," KGO-TV, June 7, 2006
Time sharing your skills
KGO-TV in San Francisco reported on a new way people are saving money on projects they need to
get done: they’re trading their skills in so-called Time Banks. Instead of trading skills directly
with someone else, each hour of work provided becomes a credit in a community time bank -
redeemable for any of the other services offered in that bank. Services can be simple, like cutting
someone's grass, and exchanged for skilled services like plumbing or piano lessons. Time Banks are
popping up all over the United States. Some charge an annual fee to participate – does that defeat the
object? Is this something you
Source: "Time Bank Members Share, Trade Skills," KGO-TV, June 6, 2006
Si,ilar things here: http://london.timebank.org.uk/ and
Useful Stuff 19
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Taxpayers love to see what they're getting for their money, so KIRO-TV in Seattle raised eyebrows
when it reported on the attendance records of some highly-paid politicians. The station analyzed
records that showed how often city council members fail to show up for committee meetings, despite
receiving six-figure salaries. One member failed to show up for meetings 36% of the time. Others were
no-shows more than 25% of the time. City department managers say it's difficult to get decisions made
due to the high absentee rate. People in man-on-the-street interviews told the station they'd be fired
from their jobs if they failed to show up so often.
Source: " Politicians Skip Meetings, Still Get Paid," KIRO-TV, July 5, 2006
A big story Stateside at the mo. Stations around the country have investigated security problems at
their local public libraries. All too often libraries have become havens for crime, lewd behaviour and a
dumping ground for the homeless and mentally ill. Think about it: it’s quiet, warm, there are easy
chairs, tea and coffee and you can be pretending to read and stay there for hours.
An investigation by KIRO-TV recently led to new safety and security rules in Seattle's public library
system. The station showed how deep the problems were just at the city's brand $169 million main
library in just the past two years: 22 cases of sexual misconduct or public nudity; 60 threats of
violence, 76 cases of harassment, seven cases of physical assault and at least 13 illegal drug
WSB-TV in Atlanta found similar problems there. The station combed complaint forms and found 144
cases of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
What’s happening where you are?
Source: "Library Institutes New Safety, Security Rules," KIRO-TV, July 10, 2006
Source: "Lewd Behavior At Public Libraries," WSB-TV, July 10, 2006
Public access wireless internet hubs are all the rage, with everywhere from coffee shops to airports to
entire cities now offering the service. An investigation by KNXV-TV in Phoenix looked at whether these
systems are safe and secure for computer users.
The station worked with a WiFi security expert. He ran tests at key locations to show whether the
systems did a good job obscuring the computers of the people who were connected to the wireless
hub. Most public systems did. But home systems were more problematic. Using one local woman who
thought her wireless system was completely safe, experts showed how hackers had easy access to
her email systems and private files. The woman was shocked when she received an email
Source: "Wireless Internet Security," KNXV-TV, July 16, 2006
The Emerging Church movement
WBBM-TV in Chicago aired a report on a religious trend in the United States that experts believe could
have as many as 20 million followers: the Emerging Church Movement. That's more followers than
Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Mormons combined.
The Emerging Church Movement involves people gathering for Christian prayers and services outside
of churches. They meet in private homes, pubs, community centres - just about anywhere. It's an
apparent backlash against the big business of organised religion. Followers are mostly in their
twenties and thirties.
Source: "New Faithful Practice Away From Churches," WBBM-TV, July 10, 2006
Anyone with a garden knows that landscaping is very expensive. KYW-TV in Philadelphia aired a
report on how all that investment has led to a growing crime problem: landscaping theft.
People are coming home to find their landscaping literally stolen from their gardens: trees, flowers,
plants, and even rock walls. Newly completely landscaping is especially targeted for theft, since plants
or trees haven't had time to root deeply and are easily removed. Who's stealing this stuff? In many
Useful Stuff 20
Compiled by Peter Stewart
cases: landscaping companies. They then turn around and resell it to someone else. To prevent the
problem, homeowners are weighing down newly planted items to make them too heavy to remove, or
securing plants with stakes driven deep into the ground. Putting gravel in a garden also thwarts
thieves because the crunching sound scares them off.
Source: "Landscaping Theft," KYW-TV, July 10, 2006
WCCO-TV in Minneapolis aired a report on how employers are now getting savvy about checking the
backgrounds of job applicants. Many companies have become aggressive about exposing people who
have embellished or lied on their CVs.
Web sites like www.FakeResume.com have become very popular by giving people tips on how to alter
their resumes so they can earn more money. That lying has led some companies to now require job
applicants to submit old pay stubs, W-2 forms or tax returns to prove they have the job histories they
claim. Companies are also using new background checking services to screen applicants. One
company said that 40 percent of the resumes it has checked have turned out to be misleading.
Source: "Employers Looking Out For Embellished Resumes," WCCO-TV, July 15, 2006
If this has been forwarded to you, you may not get another issue if you don’t subscribe personally.
Drop me a line: Peter.Stewart@bbc.co.uk
The Shop Floor
The Best Media and Journo books and films.
“It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” – Michael Grade. The rise of red socks and
braces. This is the autobiography of Michael Grade, a member of a family important in the media. It
follows his rise from a sports writer, his rise through LWT and the BBC and, ultimately, Channel 4
where he became the leader of the liberal television establishment.
“Superman / II / III / IV / Returns” – An unimpressive newspaper nerd takes time out to save
the world, fly like a bird/plane and win the heart of Lois Lane from Desperate Housewives.
Even 'Superman Returns' notes threat of User-Generated Content
The summer film "Superman Returns" includes a scene in which Daily Planet editor Perry White
berates staff photographer Jimmy Olsen for missing taking a photo of Superman rescuing a woman
whose car brakes failed -- while readers sent in images of the incident taken with their cellphones.
My Useful Stuff
Each month, subscribers suggest their own media-related stuff that they find useful and pass it on in
the hope that you might too.
First up this month - James McDonald, SBJ at BBC Hereford
“I use gateway (BBC intranet) an awful lot to dig out newspaper articles and track down people for
news, but here are a selection of other sites that make me think about doing my job in different ways:
Useful Stuff 21
Compiled by Peter Stewart
The site of my old boss at Radio Netherlands - a good place to see how quickly changes in
technology are driving a massive upheaval in the broadcast business
A site that relies entirely on UGC (user generated content) - great for the unofficial low-down
on pretty much anywhere!
Gives a daily photo from somewhere in the Netherlands - a simple but very effective website
If you invite a child to talk on a live programme, always record something with them before
putting them on air - then if they clam up at least you have something to play.
Always concentrate on getting emotion or opinions out of any interviewee - news clips should
always have more to them than simply giving out facts.
Don't set auto-level on any radio recording device but set the levels manually - I find digital
over-modulating very unforgiving.
Get away from your desk and talk to real people - on the street, in shops, anywhere apart
from the newsroom - otherwise you won't know what's happening in the real world.”
Thanks James – now here’s the team (and it really does seem to be a strong one) on Jim
Hawkin’s show at BBC Radio Shropshire
“When talking to contributors to get them to come on the programme - just take a couple of
minutes to think about who you're calling and how you're going to approach them - some
people react better to a jolly, friendly tone, others prefer a more formal tone. Also make them
feel as comfortable as possible - the old pint in a pub line is a good one...make sure they
know if it’s a pre rec that they can go wrong - and even make a little deliberate mistake just to
prove you're human!!
When trying to track people down, 192.com - the corporate access system we have at the
BBC - is fantastic. You can not only search directory enquiries but also the electoral roll and
business directory, and you can search for telephone numbers - so even if you can't get the
person you want you might be able to call a neighbour and ask them to pass on a message -
cheeky but it works! Local post offices/newsagents are also good on this front - they usually
When I’m producing a show - I always try and produce the person - not the show - if you're
presenter isn't enthused about a programme it won't fly - so if the initial reaction is negative try
and make it more palatable for the presenter ... ask them for their input about what they think
would make it better or suggest slightly more offbeat alternatives - for instance hot weather
programme - rather than just the slip slap slop campaign what about sun cream for dogs? Or
sending the radio car to do a piece about ice sculptures?”
Elaine Muir, producer
“It's all too easy to forget how good we are at amazing our listeners. Always, always and again
always have Radioman running in the background when your show is on air. News clips can
be taken for inclusion into the next news bulletin - golden comedy moments can be clipped
and played in the programme within seconds of them happening - clips can be saved shortly
after they've happened on air so they can be included in trails (then you don't forget or have to
spend ages finding them in the ROT). If you can spare a few minutes throughout a 3 hour
show you can compile the clips and run them as a simple montage for the end of the
programme "best bits". This is what we do. Have a listen to a (music-less for rights reasons)
example of the daily end-of-show montage here:
Les Walton, broadcast assistant
“When trying to find a guest, it’s always worth putting their name into a search engine to see if
there's been a local newspaper article on them. If there has these invariably state where they
live, either an area in a town or a village, and sometimes if you're very lucky - a street name
Useful Stuff 22
Compiled by Peter Stewart
too. With this information, it's always then worth using the BT online telephone directory: http://
www.thephonebook.bt.com/ to try and get their 'phone number.
It is worth joining an Answers Forum such as http://answers.yahoo.com/ where you build up
points by answering people's questions and then you can use these points to ask them yours.
This is especially useful if you have quite a technical question and haven't the time to trawl
through pages and pages of information using a search engine alone. But beware answering
others’ questions or seeing the massive variety of queries can be quite addictive. As part of
the show I've used this to quickly get answers for 'why when I adjust my radio aerial does the
sound quality improve when I hold the aerial?' and 'was there ever a iced lolly called a
Before you use an internet search engine to find topics or guests for a show, step away from
the computer, pick up a pen and piece of paper (look hard around the room, they'll be in the
corner covered in dust) and draw yourself a quick mind map (http://www.mind-mapping.co.uk/
mindmapping-creativity.htm), think as obliquely, creatively, stupidly as you like, write down the
first ten things that come into your head - then sit back and look at these and use the words
you've written down to stick into the search engine to find your guests etc. (And if you
can't find the pen and paper - there's always Freemind:
Best research tip ever: there is no such thing as a new idea for a show - go and bounce your
ideas off other people, they'll be able to tell you 'we did that last week', but also will give you
new angles, potential guests and perhaps even set your brain off in another direction.”
Sarah Shires, broadcast assistant
“Once a week, go into a well-stocked newsagent and buy at least one magazine that you'd
never consider buying for yourself, but which someone in your target audience might read;
you'll find at least one story or programme idea in there, however tangential
Be positive! Even if you're dealing with a difficult issue, try to find the glass-half-full
Be brave! If someone comes up with an idea and the response is `ooh, we can't do that', ask
`why not'? Often, the immediate reply is `well, we just can't'. In which case: you probably
Be generous. Presenters: It might be your name in the Radio Times, but that's an opportunity
for you to allow other people to shine alongside you.
Avoid pack journalism. It's been in the local paper? Unless it's bringing outraged punters
onto the street with placards, forget it. Let 'em have their stories; find better ones of your own.
`Everyone else is talking about or covering it, so we ought to'? Wrong again. Is your
audience really bothered? D'you think they're sitting there with a checksheet to make sure
you have the same stories as the local paper?
Use the tools available. Put re-versioned audio, blogs, tie-in articles and more on the website,
Trawl local discussion forums to get a feel for what's exciting people in your area. You can
even private-message other forum members inviting them to call the show.
Jim Hawkins, presenter/producer
OK, two BBC radio people this month. What about you telly-types? Or some of the freelancers or
trainers on the 7,000-strong subscription list? People from commercial radio … I know you’re there
too. And hello! Management! Talk to me! (Share and share alike, yeah?!) Give us some of the best
sites, some tips and tricks, and I’ll let you plug your programme / station / website / newsletter …
To send your stuff to other Stuffers, drop me a line: Peter.Stewart@bbc.co.uk
Useful Stuff 23
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Even when doing local stories, you often need to access international statistics. Topics such as
immigration, health, the economy, are put into perspective if you can compare stats with what’s
To get them, go to this site that offers a stunning array of data, numbers and facts. You can get
various rankings and also compare one country with another, or one country to a group of countries.
Each data set is sourced, usually to the CIA World Factbook, United Nations or similar organisations.
As with all Internet resources, it's a good idea to follow the links to the original source, and, if
necessary, reconfirm the numbers.
Mug of the Month
Da Vinci Cod Mug
A pun for any fan of the bestselling book or
film. This fine bone china mug will cheer up
breakfast time and is dishwasher and
Ten Time Wasters
How great thou art
The cult of celebrity, in career-tracking biography form.
A 2002 fad that never died off. People hide something fun in a public place, then leave the
GPS coordinates for you to find it. Sounds easy, it's not.
Fridge messaging system
Be chatty with drag and drop.
Can’t not see straight
I failed this amazing test of the human senses, very clever, very tricky! Like trying to beat
optical illusions at their own game, or trying to outsmart superior scientific forces.
Subliminal ads exposed
"Melts in your mouth, not in your hand" isn't really talking about M&M's, and advertisers know
it! Every link on this page leads to a fantastic collection of magazine ads with alternate
meanings meant to turn you on to a product.
Pick a concept
And colour it to your heart's content. No crayons needed!
If they say they’re number one … they must be. Right? (!)
Useful Stuff 24
Compiled by Peter Stewart
Scroll down for a saddening statistical view of how today's America compares to the other law-
abiding democratic free-press sovereign nations with smaller military forces.
What do you think when I say ‘strategery’?
See how your immediate assumptions measure up against other quick thinkers.
More top secret recipes
Expert chefs concoct easy-to-make duplicates of famous restaurant and fast food culinary
delights. From Cadbury’s, Hard Rock Café, Heinz, Kellogg’s , KFC …
The Real Meaning of Advertisements
Submitted by Alan Batten
New - Different colour from previous design.
All New - Parts are not interchangeable with previous design.
Exclusive - Imported product.
Unmatched - Almost as good as the competition.
Foolproof Operation - No provision for adjustments.
Advanced Design - The advertising agency doesn't understand it.
It's Here At Last - Rush job. Nobody knew it was coming.
Field Tested - Manufacturer lacks test equipment.
High Accuracy - Unit on which all parts fit.
Futuristic - No other reason why it looks the way it does.
Redesigned - Previous flaws fixed. We hope.
Direct Sales Only - Factory had a big argument with distributor.
Years of Development - We finally got one to work.
Breakthrough - We finally figured out a use for it.
Maintenance Free - Impossible to fix.
Meets All Standards - Ours, not yours.
Solid State - Heavy as heck.
Less Fattening - Now it doesn't have the same fat content as pig stomach lining.
High Reliability - We made it work long enough to ship it.
Non Refundable - We couldn't make it work long enough to ship it.
Fat Free - You pay for the food, but the fat is free.
Useful Stuff was originated and is produced by
BBC Training and Development
020 7208 9414
07747 108 106
(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, these are usually the ones with ‘gateway’ in the
address. 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. The total number of links quoted at the top of the newsletter refers to the unedited
BBC version of Useful Stuff. Phew!)
Previous editions of Useful Stuff are archived at www.bbctraining.com/usefulstuff
Useful Stuff 25
Compiled by Peter Stewart