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  1. 1. 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: 240 “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 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Me again! 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
  2. 2. 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, Peter +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “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!” Anna Raphael “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 Internet.,0,1104572.story?coll=cl-tvent  The show aired on MTV on 21/07/06, but the viral videos can be viewed here: and:>  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. _40545.asp  "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",0,5902007.story? coll=bal-artslife-tv  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 do it. Useful Stuff 2 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  3. 3.  “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. type=televisionNews&storyID=2006-07-17T160930Z_01_L17126864_RTRIDST_0_TELEVISION- FRANCE-JOURNALIST-DC.XML&archived=False 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.,,500000,00.html 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. Events Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival 25 August 2006 - 27 August 2006 Useful Stuff 3 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  4. 4. 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 IBC 2006 07 September 2006 - 12 September 2006 RAI, Amsterdam Annual event for electronic media professionals with five days of themed presentations from industry experts IBC site TechLearn 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. Techlearn NAB Radio Show 20 September 2006 - 22 September 2006 Dallas, USA 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 RTS events Bafta events Events and screenings organised and hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, London, covering all aspects of film and TV production. Bafta events Radio Academy Events The Radio Academy organises a range of events throughout the year, throughout the UK Visit 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
  5. 5. 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. shareprice=&ArticleRef=19858&ArticleHeadline=UK_Ofcom_plans_to_advertise_2nd_national_radio_ multiplex_licence_by_end2006 Terrestrial radio strikes back Terrestrial radio stations aren't letting satellite take over the airwaves. They're showing signs of striking back. FM Radio gets sexy again The mainstream press is touting a hot, trendy broadcast medium: It’s called terrestrial radio. vnu_content_id=1002877421 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 radio’s turf… 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. vnu_content_id=1002764376 Radio forecasts “One reason local media, including radio, is suffering is because consolidation of local retail businesses has reduced the number of local advertiser prospects.” ?vnu_content_id=1002765476 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.,,1812578,00.html 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 technology. 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
  6. 6. user_URL= %2FRTGAM.20060710.wmoscowRadio0710%2FBNStory%2FInternational %2Fhome&ord=1153840376570&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true 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 broadcasters. vnu_content_id=1002841023 Women and minorities in radio drop An annual study on women and minorities in radio news in the US, and the results are disappointing. ?vnu_content_id=1002801036 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. ?vnu_content_id=1002765476 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. xfile=data/theworld/2006/July/theworld_July16.xml&section=theworld  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. presenterfree-show/  £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 ...,1,1108723.story? coll=la-headlines-business-enter&ctrack=1&cset=true  Educational radio 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
  7. 7. An ambitious project aimed at putting a radio station in every jail in the country.,,1811895,00.html  Quick 102 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. Radio technology:  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?” m  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 ... speaker-system-version-2/ Down Under:  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.,20867,19689411-7582,00.html  Hack 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.  Bogus callers 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",22049,19887646-5001026,00.html Indian radio  “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
  8. 8. might make our classy listeners cringe nor anything that might have someone running for the dictionary!” %E2%80%93-the-challenges-and-strategies/  The first edition of the 2006 Promax India Radio Awards, which rewards creative brilliance in radio.  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 years. Radio advertising:  Speculation: Google to begin selling radio ads through AdWords TechToolBlog said he received a survey from Google specifically asking questions about radio ads.  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. play.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002763441 Suspended 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 Authority. derogatory_slur/ '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. vnu_content_id=1002728897 McConnell foils radio wind-up bid First Minister Jack McConnell has revealed on air how he scuppered a wind-up by radio prankster Robin Galloway. connell-foils-radio-wind-up-bid-name_page.html 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 again… 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
  9. 9. 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 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: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 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
  10. 10. Breaking news “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 say that. 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." Skillset 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: Formats:  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 programming online? Useful Stuff 10 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  11. 11.  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 10,000 submissions.”  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… Technology:  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 television sets.  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.,1,325080.story TV Ads:  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
  12. 12.  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 2005.  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. %2Fmalik134.txt&writer=malik 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.  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 "Then we'll have to discuss the editorial implications."  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. Ooops 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 keys. Useful Stuff 12 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  13. 13. NBC to use YouTube to promote its television shows NBC has said that they would be using to promote their television line up. Eggxiting TV 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.,1,2156868.column?coll=chi- news-col 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 Useful Stuff 13 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  14. 14. From 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. 0A?OpenDocument&highlight=2%2C%22newspapers%22 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. e_as_tv_and_net_collide/ 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
  15. 15. 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 1-2-1 session. – 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). +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Useful Ideas 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 business?! • Canada - after taxi services for women, now taxi services for pensioners offering extra care, help and security • 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. • Belgium – Instead of putting street children into school, which often doesn’t work, this reaches out to them in their own environment. taal=EN&tekst=3 • 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. • US – enables people to collect money for group purchases, either from those you know, or those you don’t. • US – Dinner assembly stores • US – Sustainable and eco-friendly accessories, made from recycled, organic and world- friendly products +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Two-Minute Top Up Further thoughts on basic ideas Useful Stuff 15 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  16. 16. RADIO 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 categories. 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
  17. 17.  B - Intermediate managerial or professional - solicitor, manager of a smaller company, many mid-range civil servants, school year heads.  C1 - Junior managerial, supervisory, clerical - clerk, office manager, teachers and journalists  C2 - Skilled manual - machinery operator, lathe worker  D - Semi-skilled or unskilled manual worker - rubbish collector,  E - State pensioner, widow, casual worker and student (Basic Radio Journalism – Focal Press © 2003, Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved) TELEVISION Don’t raise questions you don’t answer It’ s not that you are literally raising questions in your script, but as a viewer watches your report - logical questions come up in his or her mind. It’s crucial that each succeeding sentence or sequence in your piece answers these questions. This can take the form of the viewer wondering, “Why?” “So what happened?” One recent report explained how US marines had flown over the Antarctic and dropped ultrasound scanning equipment down to a doctor who had found a lump in her own breast. The report did not say why she couldn’t return home for the treatment (one could assume it was because the weather prevented her from leaving) and neither did it say whether the drop was successful. If the reporter didn’t know he should have said so. The viewer was just left wondering. If a correspondent builds a story around a lost or orphaned child in a conflict, viewers want to know what became of them. Again, if the correspondent doesn’t know, he or she should say so. For example: Charles Wheeler in Kuwait, 1991: SCRIPT: “We don’t know how widespread this is, but in four days in Howallah we were constantly asked to meet Palestinian victims of beating and worse.” Here’s Hilary Andersson in Nigeria - the last sentence is important: “The people here are hiding many of the most severely burnt survivors afraid they’ll be blamed for starting the fire.. Victoria Orisha Mugu has been hidden behind her hut in the suffocating heat of the day. Fifty per cent of her body is covered in burns, her wounds are too distressing to show. She’s been left untreated in a breeding ground of infection. The Red Cross finally convinces her to let her go to hospital but there no ambulance and the family can’t afford any other means of transport. [man asking to camera: I humbly beg you people to assist us] The villagers ask to borrow our car…. ….back at Sapala hospital the latest victim to die was removed to make way for Victoria. Infection had set into her wounds in her village. The doctor said she had no hope of survival. She was given a blessing. We later found out she died….” The key thing is to be able to recognise the questions you raise and acknowledge when you can’t answer them: Charles Wheeler, again: SCRIPT: “Our report I’m afraid has more questions than answers but perhaps that is the nature of post-war Kuwait where nobody is really in charge. One more unanswered question is this; could these things really be happening without the involvement of the government in Kuwait? I put that to a neutral who has access to senior ministers which we don’t. Some of them, he said, are closing one eye to what’s happening to Palestinians, and others are closing both eyes.” It may be that you’ve tackled one aspect of a story and left the viewer to wonder about another or that something you’ve said raises an obvious question for the viewer. Don’t raise questions you don’t answer. If you don’t know the answer then say so - then the audience knows what you know. But don’t ignore it. (The Television News Handbook Pan © 2003 All rights reserved 2/2 start) +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Useful Stuff 17 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  18. 18. Coming Soon! 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: 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 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 Or if you get totally lost and want to some advice, contact me 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! 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
  19. 19. 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 for you. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 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 Handicapped parking 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: and and Useful Stuff 19 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  20. 20. No-show politicos 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 Library security 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 incidents. 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 Wifi security 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 from...herself! 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 Landscaping crimes 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
  21. 21. 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 CV investigations 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 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: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 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
  22. 22.  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 - Other tips:  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, - 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 know everyone!!!  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: hts_feature.shtml “ 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
  23. 23. too. With this information, it's always then worth using the BT online telephone directory: http:// to try and get their 'phone number.  It is worth joining an Answers Forum such as 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 Stingray?'  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 ( 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 perspective.  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 can.  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, like here here and here hts_feature.shtml  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: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ NEW FEATURE! Useful Stuff 23 Compiled by Peter Stewart
  24. 24. Smarter surfing 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 happening elsewhere. 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. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Finally… Useless Stuff 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 microwave safe. 00625.html;jsessionid=acGMKYWFY1Z9? categoryId=0 Ten Time Wasters  How great thou art The cult of celebrity, in career-tracking biography form.  Celeb spotting 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.  Alien skulls Aren’t they??  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
  25. 25. 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 Peter Stewart BBC Training and Development 020 7208 9414 02 89414 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 Useful Stuff 25 Compiled by Peter Stewart