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Freshers Week!

So, I was assigned the task of writing a report on freshers week for Cov Uni Christian Union. It was finally put up on the site last week so if anyones interested in seeing what we got up to heres a link. –

Can the Media be for everyone?

In the UK, when people on their old age are included, it is estimated there are 8.7 million who are hard of hearing. Thats almost a sixth of the population! Of those 8.7 million, 673,000 are profoundly deaf. What I mean by profoundly deaf is not only that hearing aids are needed (cancelling out a huge number of pensioners as in total 2 million people in the UK use hearing aids) but that their struggle with hearing leaves them severely disabled. It is estimated that 23-25000 children are included in this category, highlighting further that deafness is a bigger problem, and much more common, than most realise.

There are a number of ways of overcoming (to an extent) deafness for these people in relation to the media. One of these methods is technology. As I have mentioned, hearing aids are a staggeringly regular household item in the 21st century and they prove that devices such as themselves, which use modern technology to to make sound more available to those struggling with hearing, can be invaluable. As well as hearing aids technology is used with similar devices to ‘turn up the volume’ of the telephone for those seeking to communicate using it. There are two main problems with technology, and one is that it simply cannot cater for those who are completely deaf. The other problem is that these things are extremely expensive to buy and use so accessing them regularly can be difficult for those who are deaf. Another way of dealing with deafness is lip reading. The ability to lip read is extremely rare and so teaching it to everyone who is struggling with hearing would be difficult. Another problem is that the ability itself is limited to how clearly the person speaking speaks as well as how clearly the lip reader can see their face. However an advantage of lip reading is that it can be used with minimal fuss. For example, a group of people can watch the television and a deaf person could usually follow what is happening without anyone else knowing they are having to lip read. The third way to overcome deafness in the media is sign language. It is estimated that 30-70000 people use British Sign Language as their first language due to deafness. This is a significant number but for all of these people learning sign language is necessary, not optional. Occasionally we see the use of sign language in the media, particularly in the afternoon and on the News channels, where as well as a news reader there is someone on screen signing for those who are deaf. In the case of television programmes there is often an actor signing in the corner of the screen. A final, less flexible way of dealing with deafness is subtitles. These are useful, when applicable, to almost everyone struggling with deafness because the ability to read is deemed as one of the most important things to come from education.

So, my question is, can these other methods (particularly sign language) be incorporated into the educational system? I think it would be massively beneficial if not only those struggling with hearing learnt sign language but we who are blessed with hearing learnt it to some extent in order to interact more easily with those less fortunate. I also think an awareness of the situation could lead to many media outlets making it easier for deaf people to enjoy the media in the same way I only occasionally see on television.

Final Letter to Self

Dear Conor Deering of September 2011.

I must say I am truly glad to hear from you. Firstly I would like to let you know that I am doing well, enjoying life as a student and although this first year is coming to a close (I can assure you time will fly for you over the next few months) I can barely believe it has been so long since I was in your shoes. Like you, I have decided not to beat around the bush and will instead get straight to the point. In your letter the first thing you told me you expected of me was growth. Although ‘growth’ is quite a generic term, knowing you the way I think I do I am quite confident I know what you meant, and fortunately it wasn’t that you wanted to be taller (because I’m afraid I am the same height as you)! The life I have dove into this year has made me grow in the way you hoped. My place as a journalist has come farther than you could have expected and I am sure there is more of the same to come over the next two years of being a student. First year included a lot of hands on work and I truly believe that those doing this course have got more of a taste of what it means to be a journalist than most others have of what their career is likely to include. An example of this was our assignment that included a visit to court in order to do some genuine reporting.

You also told me you hoped I would be a harder worker than you, and by a fine margin I am sure that I am. You were extremely honest to me and so I must be the same to you. First year of University has involved more independent work than you have ever come across before and that has helped your organisation and work ethic. However, I know that second and third year will demand even more than what I have come across and so I myself am hoping to make further strides in this area in order to make the most of my opportunities as a student. An example of this is related to another of your queries. You are wondering if I am going out of my way to get involved in media outlets away from my course, and unfortunately you may be a little disappointed with the answer. I have certainly been involved to some extent but not as much as you hoped. The reason for this is in my opinion due to the fact that this was in many respects the first year of my life in a new world. I took time settling here and after I had settled I began to focus more energy into my work both through the course and outside. So although I have not been as active as you had hoped I do know the reason why, and have confidence that I will add to what I have achieved in my next two years.

Toward the end of your letter you wrote exactly what I have been thinking as I have been assessing my year. You explained in no uncertain terms that first year is over, but there are two more massive years of my life around the corner. I need to continue reflecting on first year and use what I learn to help me make the most of second and third year. I need to analyse my faults and come up with ways to overcome them by next September and I also need to use what have been my strengths to the best effect possible, rather than just let those positives be a one time thing. Your final words to me were that “The future is here” and I want you to know that I have taken that in and thanks to you, I am thinking and planning ahead like never before!

All the best and I hope to hear from you soon!

Artefact informed by extra curricular activity (Ghostpoet video from 72 hour chellenge)

The Leveson Enquiry

The Leveson Enquiry is a two-part investigation of the role of the press and the police in the phone hacking scandal on 13 July 2011. The chairman of the enquiry is Lord Justice Leveson, and he is assisted by a panel of six assessors who have expertise in key issues related to the enquiry. The enquiry will begin by investigating the culture, practices and ethics of the media. Specifically, the enquiry will examine the relationship between the press with the public, politicians and police. The enquiry will use witnesses including newspaper reporters, management, proprietors, policemen and politicians of all parties who are expected to testify under oath.

When the intentions of the inquiry were released to the press in September, it became clear that the structure would consist of 2 parts. Part 1 was defined as dealing with “the culture, practices and ethics of the press, including contacts between the press and politicians and the press and the police; it is to consider the extent to which the current regulatory regime has failed and whether there has been a failure to act upon any previous warnings about media misconduct.”
The second part would move away from this in order to investigate “the extent of unlawful or improper conduct with News International, other media organisations or other organisations. It will also consider the extent to which any relevant police force investigated allegations relating to News International, and whether the police received corrupt payments or were otherwise complicit in misconduct.”

An example of the impact of the enquiry is that evidence has recently has been given relating to one of the most appalling incidents in relation to the phone hacking scandal. It was revealed that The News of the World, by illegally hacking into a missing girls phone, led her parents to believing she was still alive. The Newspaper deleted messages on her phone and when the parents saw this action, naturally assumed that it was her who did it, and therefore that she must be alive. Although perhaps not the most damning piece of evidence, the nature of what occurred in this incident makes it a stunning revelation.

The enquiry continues on the 21st of November 2011. These hearings will include a number of celebrity witnesses who testifying at the enquiry. This includes Charlotte Church, Sheryl Gascoigne, JK Rowling, and Chris Jefferies (the latter of which will appear in prison). David Sherborne says Jeffries had been the subject of “a media feeding frenzy of almost unprecedented proportions” after his arrest.
Other witnesses include Steve Coogan and Ian Hurst, an ex-army intelligence officer who claims the News of the World hacked his e-mails.

There are a number of reasons why the enquiry is extremely important to the future of journalism. One of the intentions is to obtain a degree of justice for the victims of the phone hacking scandal. Another reason is so recommendations can be clarified for the future of journalism. The enquiry will paint a road map for journalists to use in the future to prevent damaging instances occurring in the future in the field of journalism.

Sir Alex Ferguson. Brilliant, not perfect.

Sir Alex Ferguson, is there a weakness?

Jim White spoke on the eve of Sir Alex Fergusons 25th Anniversary about his achievements, and days later he produced an article, which is more specific, emphasizing the sheer intelligence Ferguson has proven to have. White is one of many football fans to admire what Manchester Uniteds manager has achieved, and there is good reason for Fergusons fan base.

It is impossible to argue completely against his ‘greatness’ and literally anyone who has an opinion on this matter will agree. People constantly praise him for his achievements and Alan Hansen thinks ‘’He has earned every plaudit he will receive’’. However the extent of his ‘greatness’ can conjure up some arguments. Some use the money he had at hand to blunt the magnitude of his trophy collection; others use his often-controversial outbursts on referees as a reason to reduce his importance but he has a weakness in his direct managing ability.

His achievement is that he has taken a good side, brought then (gradually) to the top of world football and kept them there for 20 years, over the course of 1,024 matches. With 37 major trophies to his name this is not in question. That is nothing short of amazing and I believe he is one of the best managers ever, but he also a victim of his own success. Since 1993 when they first won the title Man Utd have been the big boys in English football, and English football have been right up there with the big boys of European football. However in the 18 years since then United have only been crowned champions of Europe twice, and only 6 times have they got past the last eight of the competition. When you look at this it is no average achievement, but when you consider the fact that all this time they have never been considered lower than the top 3-4 teams in Europe it begs the question ‘why haven’t they been even more successful?’’

I actually believe Ferguson is one of the reasons, as his biggest weakness is his management of his players tactically against quality opposition. When Arsenal and Wenger were Fergusons closest challengers United more often than not came off second best in their meetings, including two 3-0 losses 1998/99, one of United’s strongest seasons. They had a similar problem when Chelsea were United main rivals between 2005 and 2007. And United’s 6-1 loss to Manchester City last month, which included some controversial tactical choices from Ferguson suggests he will struggle to beat them when they meet over the next few years. However I believe his other qualities overshadow this problem and many, including myself, believe his management is capable of keeping Manchester at City from winning the Premier League. However his chance if success in Europe are undoubtedly smaller as United have no other way of winning than taking on, and beating teams with as much talent as Fergie’s own men.