Thursday, 24 October 2013

Media City.

In a week that involved a trip to Media City in Manchester, the practices and principles of Journalism have taken more of a back seat to trips out and analysis of these very blogs.

Monday started with a critical appraisal of our blogs so far, from the 'good' to the 'passable' to the 'ridiculous'. Quoting works of authors and journalists seems to be the order of the day, and to make a blog that would provide an analytical appraisal of our work will require a number of different sources that back up or prove our points, which ultimately would contribute towards 1000 words that will be part of our end of semester marking for Practices and Principles.

Whereas last week we had a Thursday lecture with Nick in which we were out and about in the City Vox Popping people for their opinions, this week was a more academic drone on the ethical code of practice for Journalists, interesting yes, informative yes, but a drone still nonetheless. Journalists must

"strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty". [1]

The fact that "Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility"[1] is vitally important as is the idea that "members of the Society of Journalists share a dedication to ethical behaviour and adopt the code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice."[1]

To be able to learn early on the codes and principles of Journalism that we have to adhere to is useful, as is the fact that we can now put the principles into practice the next time we write, interview or undertake any piece of journalism. To be able to practice now in an environment that is somewhat guarded is a very valuable feature of University life, and will allow us to adhere to the code to the letter when we are writing in the 'real world'. It may have not been the most stimulating of lectures, but surely its principles will have real world meanings for us soon enough.

[1] SPJ Code of Ethics | Society of Professional Journalists | Improving and protecting journalism since 1909
In-text: (, 2013)
Bibliography: 2013. SPJ Code of Ethics | Society of Professional Journalists | Improving and protecting journalism since 1909. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 24 Oct 2013].

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Reflections, Vox Pop's & Interviews

Starting from vox pop’s, through to interviews and finishing up with article writing in a variety of different forms, this week has been full of a number of different journalism ‘productions and practices.
Interview technique, though not part of production practice came to the fore this week, when on Tuesday I had an interview with William ‘Bill’ Graham, one of only two independent members of the City Council. Writing down my initial opening salvo as well as making sure that I had a solid question base to work from ensured that I was able to ask questions that I felt were to the point, and gained me some solid quotes which to base my 500 word article, in for next Monday on.
Because I was able to guarantee that my information was correct, I was able to be confident in my pitch over the phone, and therefore came across, I hope, as professional and relaxed. Sourcing through the Council’s website, as well as through clippings found online from other points in his career allowed me to base a background profile on Mr Graham before the interview, and allowed me to converse with him fluently rather than nervously and often disjointedly, something that has become an issue for me over the past year.
Come Thursday and the vox pop’s for Nick Turner. We were in town at 10am and were set loose into the City centre for an hour, gathering opinions on topics ranging from the school teacher strike to badger culling to England’s chances in next year’s World Cup. This form of collecting information from the public has become one of the biggest chores of modern journalism, annoying Southampton Football Club to such an extent that they banned .conducting vox pops with fans on land outside its ground[1].
I chose the world cup question and immediately came up against a brick wall of resounding  ‘No’s’ as well as the classic ‘ignoring the guy with the notepad’. After my first few failures a strategy developed, a strategy that ultimately gained me what I would describe as a moderate success, and allowed me to collect relevant quotes, as well as a few background details which could be used to make my article more relevant to the regular Joe out on the street.
As a journalist you must:
‘Walk up to people confidently, notebook and pen in hand. Smile and be positive, use the word journalist, along with your name and the publication you’re working for as soon as possible’ [2]
By developing a persona, a smiling face and an initial patter, I was able to draw people into answering the question rather than just scaring them away. Introducing yourself by name and profession (student journalist) I was able to let people see that I wasn’t selling anything, and was merely a ‘harmless student’ looking to get a quick quote and get out of the cold just like they were. From bored cold men waiting outside various clothes shops, to women loitering outside HMV there were a variety of people who looked to have free time to answer. Asking people walking with a purpose or currently engaged in something else would lead to a sure fire rejection, and as such a theory of spotting where to trap certain people led to a learning of how to correctly conduct a vox pop.
If it is one of the most hated jobs in journalism, then I may just have developed a liking for the jobs that other journalists wouldn’t want to go near.
Finally, article writing. With the conducting of the newsletter, and a meeting on Thursday lunchtime with our third year group, the overall outline has been set and the articles are beginning to come in. From a piece on the Lakes Comic art festival, to a nib on the sexual assault at the Sugarhouse in Lancaster, articles are becoming a regular occurrence out of my printer at home. Pages being drafted, redrafted and finally printed have led me into a schedule of churning out piece after piece. Getting the right quotes and being able to frame them in the middle of articles has become a hobby, allowing me to hone my skills in order to produce pieces not only for print, but also for online journalism. Different formats need different editing, and although I had problems at first coming to terms with the way in which I was meant to edit and quote in print when compared to online, I now believe that I have improved to a point where I am confident in my own abilities.
Although I may not be the most proficient of journalist, not the most talented, and not the easiest to talk to, I do feel that through the first month of production practices I have improved drastically as a journalist, and at University, surely, improving and learning Is what you are meant to do.

1] Lambourne, H.

Football club bans journalists from vox pops at ground
In-text: (Lambourne, 2013)
Bibliography: Lambourne, H. 2013. Football club bans journalists from vox pops at ground. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 17 Oct 2013].

2] Adams, S. and Hicks, W.

Interviewing for Journalists

In-text: (Adams and Hicks, 2009, p. 18)
Bibliography: Adams, S. and Hicks, W. 2009. Interviewing for Journalists. [e-book] Taylor & Francis Ltd - M.U.A. p. 18. Available through: University Of Cumbria Ebooks [Accessed: 17 Oct 2013].

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Back To Work

After a long summer break work has begun again, and now a few weeks into the new semester it is time for another blog post.

On Saturday and Sunday last week I started and pretty much finished my notes on the seminar for the Wednesday just been, which was on Technology, Culture and Profit and its role in the evolution of Journalism. Using different sources, from books to articles in papers to online journals, I certainly found it a lot easier this time around than I did last March when I was probably less prepared, and aware of the demands of a seminar.

I do also feel that this time around I was able to be more confident in my points, and ultimately feel a little less nervous, though by no means perfect. It would count as an improvement, but one that required even more if I am to perform to the best of my ability in other seminars.

Article writing has also carved out a big portion of my time over the last few weeks, with NIBS being written for a Tuesday session with Nick Turner from the CN Group, as well as an article on international students being completed, having to contact the S.U as well as a number of foreign students for their views on Carlisle, and its subsequent culture.

The article that interested me the most was definitely the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, from which I was able to get a few quotes from the founder of the festival. To follow up with this I have been asked to write a short ‘3 places not to miss’ for the event, which I will be completing later today. Although it may be seen as a ‘fluff’ article, it is something that interests me, and if you find something interesting, than it is undoubtedly going to be a better piece of work than something that you are not.

Finally we come to Councillors, the current bane of my life. In order to interview a councillor, they first have to answer my phone calls or reply to my emails, something that a number of them seem unable to do. Surprising, given that they are meant to represent the people, and listen to them. I will keep on at them, and eventually one of them will reply, and just at this moment of time I wouldn’t care if it was the County Council leader, right down to the lowest Parish bookkeeper.

Thanks for reading, and look forward to the next one,


Follow Me On Twitter @JonCarter1994

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The End Of The Magazine

After a long break (around 2 months i think) I have finally got back around to adding another post. I can only apologise for the delay and hope that my updates in future will be a lot more recent than what they have been since February.

Its been a long time since then, and quite obviously a lot of work has happened. From deciding to start the magazine, we are now near the end of the magazine, with the deadline fast approaching. Articles being written and pieces being edited, photoshop being used and InDesign just frustrating people to the extent that the pharse 'i will hurt you' is used almost on a minute by minute basis.

The Looking Glass. That is what has been decided as the title of our 40 page publication, and what a publication it is. Blood sweat and tears have gone into producing it. Well maybe not blood, but certainly we have been sweating over its completion, and i am sure that someone somewhere will have cried a little over the sheer frustration of having to edit the same article over and over and over again.

That the end is in sight is something that cheers me greatly, with just two weeks till the end of the first year of the course, this is the last major deadline to hit really, before we can enjoy summer, and all the joy that it brings (In this case I have substituted alcohol for joy).

Not really too much else to say, however I have also started a writing job at which is something I am really enjoying. Just because its my blog I’m going to leave you with a couple of links to articles that I have written for the site, please feel free to check them out, and leave feedback either here or on the site.

Thanks for reading, and see you on the next one,



Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Focusing On The Course


This blog is now back to being focused around Uni work, at least for the time being now. With our first year creating a magazine potentially to be put into publication, this space will be used for the coming weeks to detail all my work that I have completed on my articles so far. This first entry is late in its arrival, so I will have to fill in the gaps in a chronological order in what I have done up to this point and what I have written so far (in possibly two posts). To start with though I will give a bit of a background on the section that I am writing for in the magazine, and my initial ideas for articles.

Food. I am writing for the food section, and so have had to formulate a number of ideas as to what to write about. After much deliberation and toing and froing on what to write I have decided on two articles which hopefully will not keep to the ‘boring student diet’ stereotype. The two articles, yet unnamed are based around the idea of feeding a flat of 7 (typical uni) with a roast dinner for £10, whilst the second is a review of most of the takeaways in Carlisle, under the working title ‘the greasiest kebab’, rating the foods on a number of criteria important to students to provide a list of top eateries for all occasions.

The current state of both articles are that they are ongoing. I created an outline of both by the 7th February, with the idea to gain quotes and interview people of importance from the food community in Carlisle to contribute weight to the articles. By today (20th February) I have completed a first draft of the greasiest kebab article and am still to contact Asda, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s customer service departments for comment.

With a first draft in for tomorrow on all articles I will continue to finish off the pricing research on the £10 meals, and will need to get pictures of the food and comment from students once they have tasted the food. Industry experts are also a possibility, though at this time I am unsure how to go about contacting them.

Work piling up and assignments being set seemingly every lecture now the only way to keep ahead of it is to get my head down and crack on, and that is exactly what I plan to do.

Thanks for reading, and look forward to the next one,


Follow Me On Twitter @JonCarter1994

Thursday, 14 February 2013

An Article Review

Critical Reflection

As a reflection of one of my pieces for a critical appraisal, a time after where I published it, I have chosen my University Of Cumbria Netball article, originally meant to be used in the (unpublished) Informer.

I will leave a copy of the article below, and then analyse my views on it, how the articles came about and then how i gained the sources and my own opinions on how i wrote it. Here goes.

UOC Netball Article.

The University firsts netball squad down on the Lancaster campus is one of the best Cumbria has had in recent times, and 1st team captain Naomi Mc Grath helps to explain why this team is so highly thought of.

With the team lying second in their league this season and with a win last time out against their fierce rivals from Lancaster University many would think that a season near the top would be enough for a team which last season finished fourth out of six teams last season. But they’d be wrong. When asked what the teams aim was for the season the answer was, “we want to play as hard as we can and win as many games as possible; we want to win every single game”. This is a team that wants to win, and with that desire and passion installed into each and every member, they have the ability to strive forward in the remainder of their games this season.

McGrath goes on to say that they are a team and have no star players, and it is this down to earth grounding which flows throughout the team which is what keeps them at an advantage going into each fixture. That and a team spirit which has been described as “excellent, supportive and encouraging” is what keeps the players striving for success, one that with their attitude and motivation is bound to come.

 As a netball team they are unbreakable, but in between matches they are just normal students going about their courses and enjoying the rest of university life. They are able to move from the mind-set which has brought them great success on the netball court to a mind-set which is suitable for academic achievement with ease, and it is this ease which makes it clear that the university has got not only great netball players, but great people too.
With second, third and fourth place finishes in recent times, this year’s crop of players will be hoping that they will be able to lift the trophy at the end of the season for the University. With their next game against top of the table Keele on the 21st November, the pressure is on for the team to come together and produce a result, in order to keep themselves in contention at the top of the table, but if they continue with their recent form, they should be able to emerge victorious.

The team trains twice a week at the state of the art Lancaster sports complex, playing their fixtures there too, often with little or no support. For no obvious reason, Netball is one of those sports which receives less coverage, however the skill levels shown even in training sessions are of the highest quality, and it is that dedication, even to the ‘lesser’ sports which should be celebrated and welcomed. No matter if you have never seen a Netball game before,  go down and support the team when they next play at home on Wednesday 5th December, playing host to the University of Liverpool.

By Jonathon Carter

15th November 2012

521 Words


As mentioned previously, the article first sparked into life whilst our year were working as writers for the Universitys Informer newspaper, and from there took off. As a member of the sports desk the article was mentioned to me, before being delegated on my shoulders by another second year at a later date, very close to the deadline at which articles were to be handed in.
Overall i feel that the article which i wrote was finished to a high standard, starting off with a first draft, before undergoing subsequent editing checks from members of the second year who were acting as editors for the paper before it finally being cleared to be 'Ok' at the thrid attempt. This I feel made me sure that the article was a news worthy piece which was written in a suitable fashion.
The subject of the article is obviously the Universitys netball team, and their success at the time. In order to gain a source for the article I checked via the universitys webpage for anything related to the netball team. I also checked on the University sport league tables website After failing to find a contact number in this attempt, i found that the netball team had their own social Facebook page, following up a paper trail put onto the University's Facebook page highlighting sports clubs.
I sent a message to the admin of the page, who was the captain Naomi Mc Grath, as well as Zoe Andrew and Georgia Roberts, who were also highlighted on the page. From this i gained a reply from two of the three members, and subsequently based my article on their response from messages sent back and forth. I feel that i used this method of interview for a number of reasons.
Firstly, due to the time constraints and the distance involved in travelling to Lancaster, where the team was based, as well as the financial issues, i chose not to follow the face to face route. Furthermore due to the fact that the members would type their responses i would be able to directly quote them, easier than over a phonecall. Lastly, i think that at this time i was nervous about interviewing one of my peers on a subject that i had had only a little time to prepare for, and therefore chose the messaging route, at the end of the day as an easier option.
The sources proved useful to the overall finish to the article, and helped me complete the article in time for the deadline.
I feel that my article, although not the most solid in its construction or the time frame that i was given turned out successfully, as i was able to produce a piece of Journalism that i would be happy to call my own following a stressful period of working on it. It may not be the greatest piece ever, but it is one that i was proud to have completed to the standard that it was, given the restraints i was under.
Thanks for reading,



Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A Rough 2 Weeks

After a delay of over 2 weeks I'm back again to another blog entry.

Its been over 2 weeks since i started back at uni (21st of January for those who care) and yet i am still enjoying life. No aim for a blog so therefore it will just be a place to vent or frustrate or generally write down any queries that i have on goings on. 

2 Weeks which are testing are always going to be bad. When you add the addition of alcohol to them it seems to just continue down the path to probably dying in bed for quite alot of the time. However, i forced myself through some horrible mornings and turned in the shifts, and pulled through fine.....just about.

With the timetable now sorted up to a point and nearly all of the class all back and seemingly refreshed, the new semester is under way. THATS THE BORING BIT OUT OF THE WAY.

Now then to a bit of content; the England V Brazil match on TV tonight was the viewing that i think most people were looking forward to, judging by social media. England who have quite often been bland, dull and backwards in their approach took the game to Brazil, and battled through to half time to hold a deserved half time lead, thanks in equal measures to Joe Harts penalty saving brilliance in goal, as much as Rooney's finish. 
Through and into the 2nd half, the most Brazilian man you've ever heard 'Fred' fired home after a mistake from Chelsea's Gary Cahill. Fear not though, as England valiantly battled back and Frank Lampard finished off the post on the hour mark from outside the area, the winner as it turned out. A great result for 'Woy's' men, though no doubt FIFA will be looking into the result as part of their match fixing scandal...cough.

On another football related note, Blackpool have still not found a manager, failed miserably in the transfer market, and are slipping down the championship table, now only 6 points clear of relegation. For the sharp minded out there, Steve Thompson till the end of the season may be the sensible idea, but it is most certainly the cheapest option for our scrooge of a Chairman, Mr Karl Oyston, and at the end of the day may end up as a bad decision due to the fact that Thompson has never managed as a number one before, able as a number two, perhaps not in the hot seat.

Only time will tell and we will have to move on if the worst does happen.

Thanks for reading, and look forward to the next one,


Follow Me On Twitter @JonCarter1994