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It’s all about perseverance!

Flickr: Jonwatson

Too many phone calls, too many rejections, and too many answer phone messages for my liking!  This is, typically, the first time that I have had such problems in securing interviews on this course.  In all my previous pieces of work I have been fairly lucky in getting the interviews I want for a story and sometimes even having a choice.

That doesn’t seem to be the case right now!

I have had 2 days of back to back phone calls and emails trying to secure interviews for my 2 decided assessment stories.  I have even tried gaining interviews on a back up radio story too with no luck.

My results….

TV: Time

• 1 interview in person – Brian Sheen, Director of the Roseland Observatory in Cornwall

• 1 phone interview (France) – Principal physician in the time department, Włodzimierz Lewandowski, at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.

This came at the end of 2 days of multiple calls and me struggling with french and the people on the other end having varying degrees of english! Solution: bring in french course mate – Raissa!

• 1 statement (UK) – David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science

“We are pleased that no changes are to be made to the current worldwide time system. We acknowledge that there are technical issues for some in coping with the leap seconds and are happy to work on alternative ways of easing these whilst maintaining this link between atomic time and the earth’s rotation.”

After trying very hard to get this as a phone interview, I have settled for a statement!

RADIO: India

• 0 interviews : Although I have spoken to many people working at the Ministry for Overseas Indian Affairs, all who pass me on to a different number for the ‘right person’ and say that he will speak with me!

The good thing about all the above is that the TV package should be fine – the radio package is more of a challenge!


Radio – and the winner is!

So after extensive research, considering multiple options and running a poll to try to help me I’ve picked a story to run with!

The results of the poll were interesting as hardly anyone who responded was that interested to hear about the doubling of aid to the Sahel (just interesting to me then!).  Perhaps this is because people are so used to hearing stories of drought, famine, crisis that they don’t want to hear any more.  It could be that people feel disillusioned about the impact of aid and on how and when it is delivered.

The other two stories were close with the Indian migration one coming out in the lead.  I have decided to go with this majority as I feel it’s something that I can be more focussed about.  The EU/UK relationship, although interesting, is such a huge subject, it would be challenging to hone in on one aspect.  Also – I believe that the India story fits particularly well as more news stories have been coming out over the last few days about the number of migrants on the dole and claiming benefits in the UK.  It has sparked much debate which links into this story well.

I’m excited to have made a decision!

Possible interviewees?

  • PHONE – The Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (why not aim for the top?!) – to get the benefits of the proposal – the argument FOR the agreement
  • PHONE – European Commission – to find out the specifics of the proposal, and details of when it could happen
  • LIVE – an academic expert on business/economics/EU – to discuss the potential negative impact and give an overview of the unemployment situation across Europe
  • PHONE – Migration Watch UK – for an insight into the benefits claim

Useful links on this story:

Telegraph – India trade deal with EU will allow thousands of immigrants into Britain

Channel 4 – 370,000 migrants on benefits

European University Institute – policy making on India-EU migration

Guardian – Immigration to the UK: the facts

IBN Live – power India labour likely to power EU

The Link – immigrants taking away UK jobs

The Independent – The mixed messages Cameron is sending to India

The Hindu Business Line – India pushing EU for greater access to services market

What do you want to learn about the EU?

I am currently working on as assessed radio package for my MA International Journalism ‘Professional Techniques’ module.

The brief:

A radio news package relating to the EU.  It needs to include at least 2 interviews (1 of which I need to get in person – so basically Cornwall) and the other can be an overseas phone interview.  The duration including a cue is to be 2 minutes 30.

So – after spending a week of trawling through websites reading what is going on (trying to ignore euro crisis!) and trying to debate what topic to choose I have decided to do a bit of ‘market research’ and ask you what you would like to hear more about!

So…I have narrowed it down to a few stories which interest me.

1. The EU is doubling its humanitarian aid to the Sahel (Africa) in response to the slow onset emergency to the food crisis – 300,000 children are affected by malnutrition annually.

2. India is trying to sign an agreement for legal migration of young Indians to the EU to capitalise upon the ageing population in European countries.

3. Relationship with UK and EU – should the UK stay a part of the EU?  It will face EU re-negotiation if Scotland breaks away and there are claims that Norway (not an EU member) is almost as integrated into the union as the UK.

If you don’t want to hear about any of the above please comment and say what you do want to hear about!  Thanks!

Radio assessment research

Flickr: European Parliament

To begin with I thought the radio EU piece would be simple…surely?  EU regulations affect almost every area of life and being in Cornwall, one of just four UK areas that receive poverty-related grants from the EU there would be no problem in finding a story.

However – after spending a while looking I now think that were I doing a story on the EU and relating it to Cornwall, then it would be much simpler, but I want to relate the topic to a wider area than Cornwall, which is where the challenge lies!

Some ideas I’m considering:

Fishing discard Ban – this is a story that I have followed over the last year since Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ‘Fish Fight‘ 3-part documentary series and campaign, and has potential to explore many angles, including different countries reactions to it.  HOWEVER – it has had ALOT of coverage and I just feel like  I could find out something new that not many people know about yet rather than cover something people are used to hearing of.

Canada’s Tar Sands – now this is a story that is new to me and is also interesting. It’s one that has huge implications, HOWEVER – it’s not grabbed me enough!

Animal testing – this is an interesting story that has been ongoing and gained lots of publicity from celebrity endorsements.  Could be possible…

Data Protection – a leaked EU draft proposal on data protection law…mixed reactions, multiple implications…could be interesting…

India wants an agreement with the EU to allow young Indians to legally migrate to EU countries  – this story is interesting as the implications of such a legislative change would be wide-reaching, and at a time of great unemployment and economic crisis in Europe has the hook to appeal to a wide audience.

EU doubles aid to the Sahel in response to food crisis – interesting as the drought in the Horn of Africa has received a huge amount of coverage over the last year, and has also come under recent criticism by charities like Oxfam for the International community responding too slowly.

EU/UK relationship – a topic that is frequently debated and very topical and can be compared to other countries, as well as scenarios considered (such as if Scotland were to leave the UK)

Now to decide on which, if any of these ideas, and who to try and speak to!

Assessments….going nowhere

Stage two: research

The only problem with my tactical plan is that the first week – 10 days of research has not been overly successful…

It seems that there is not much news happening right now that I can use for the TV story.  Why?

  • I am based in Cornwall and trying to produce an international story (not a local story with an international angle) – I need to wait for a story which lends itself to this (i.e. good interview subject based here who can talk credibly on the topic AND will fit in with either Reuters footage or my own footage)
  • I need to be able to film relevant footage OR find it on Reuters news agency. I’d like to do a piece to camera and so there needs to be an obvious link between where I do that and the story so that it is smooth
  • I would like to do a story that interests me!
For radio:
  • I would like to avoid a story that is centred on the Euro crisis…because it will be hard to find a financial expert to talk with in Cornwall on a national/european level, economics is not my strongest area or an area which hugely excites me, I want to pick something that people don’t hear about every day
  • Picking a story where I can find someone relevant to talk to within Cornwall and NOT relate it to a local or regional level seems to be tricky

To give you a flavour of some of the stories at the moment and to show why I’m struggling to find something suitable to cover, here are some links…maybe I’m not the only one struggling for news at the moment!

BBC – Newquay aquarium stock take under way

Falmouth Packet – Couple celebrate double milestones 

This is Cornwall – Super fast broadband comes to 15 more Cornish towns

This is Cornwall – Walk to French twin town for charity

Assessment time again…

It’s been a slow start for me on both the TV and radio assessments for the Professional Techniques module.  Both packages need to be international stories and include at least one interview that I have conducted face to face.  The TV package can be on anything, but the radio piece needs to be related to the EU.

Total time to complete: 3 weeks

Stage one: Planning and tactics!

Alongside these assessments we had a busy first week back.  I needed to complete a TV package for The World Tonight, as well as a radio package for a themed magazine show.  We also went to Truro Magistrates Court to have a practice on court reporting and wrote up a voicer on one of the stories.

So I decided to be tactical – spend the first week getting the non-assessed packages completed and carrying out research for both assessed stories ready to begin interviews/filming in week 2.

This would also allow me to get back into using the equipment and editing software, as well as give a chance for some feedback on a radio package.

Sounds good so far hey?!

Euro crisis explained…

So you thought this would be an intellectual post with me writing a concise explanation of the euro crisis?!  Afraid not…the situation is is complex and, for me, quite tedious to read about or listen to reports on, as it’s such a messy situation.  I decided to do some searching for some visual explanations that might make it more palatable!

For those of you who are also looking for the same thing try these links:

The New York Times – graphic highlighting the connections between different countries in a simple way

The Guardian online blog – slightly robotic sounding animation that explains the euro crisis

Reuters – Euro crisis video explained through lego.  Entertaining, you get to see your favourite Toy Story characters and learn about the crisis!

Telegraph – Interactive graphic map of Europe showing how much debt each country has and who to.

BBC – Euro crisis timeline from 1999 to present

Guardian online – Useful section bringing together all Guardian content relating to the crisis