The future of journalism and life in the newsrooms

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At my NUJ conference, there was a long speech delivered to us by a panel of experts within the industry. They spoke of their experiences and also suggestions about the changing face of the profession, and where they could realistically see the future leading to.

There was a huge emphasis on the fact that journalism is all moving online now, and we either keep up or we are left behind. The rush and persistency in efforts were highlighted, as journalists face increasing pressures to turn their stories over quick. This mean that the vast majority of news stories came from larger, and recognised ‘trustworthy’ sources, such as Press Association, Reuters and numerous PR companies. Light shun on the authenticity of these stories as a debatable factor, but this is an aspect within the career that has become a ‘norm’ as daily activity in the newsroom.

Is this a good thing? Isn’t the job of a journalist to report – truthfully – the happenings of the world to the public for their own interest, holding the powerful to account? How do we know that we can trust these ‘external’ sources by not verifying the stories ourselves?

Journalism is definitely under threat, but on the opposing hand many doors have been opened for us in ways which were never previously known such as social media jobs, a responsibility to write news stories online and managing online blogs.

It definitely has it’s pros and cons, but it’s down to us – the upcoming generation – to shape things the way we want and change the face in a way that is more acceptable, trusted and accountable in every way.

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NUJ Conference in Eastbourne

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The National Union of Journalists held a fantastic event in Eastbourne at the Winter Gardens venue last week. Becoming a recent member of the union I thought this would be a great chance for me to meet the other members, as well as learning new knowledge about the Journalism industry. Getting up at 4am to travel down to the bottom of the country I was looking forward to the ‘unknown’, and despite the tiredness washing over me I kept on smiling.

Arriving bright and early I checked into my hotel across the road from the venue for the conference. Sharing a room with a stranger was something I was used to, and luckily enough we got on absolutely perfectly. We had loads in common, including the fact that she goes to the University of Westminster!

The conference was both insightful and compelling, and from the moment I entered the venue we were all welcomed with open-arms, and chauffeured to the correct location. We listened to some in-depth industry talks – including The Future of Journalism and other speeches from people within the working profession – and we had the chance to ask questions and take notes simultaneously.

I would definitely advise anyone to get involved in the NUJ! You get to go along to great events for free as well as having that forever-lasting support throughout your career no matter who you work for. It’s kind of like an insurance policy, and you have the perfect people within your radar ready to assist you with any challenge you might face. Networking is essential to growth, and it really does make you feel alive when you surround yourself with like-minded people. Finishing the night off swiftly, we all sat down to watch an exclusive stand-up show: Mark Thomas. I can honestly say I have never been so blown away by a comedian in all my life, and I have huge plans to follow him in the foreseeable future. A must watch!

Embarking on new adventures: just what I am all about as a person. It lifts me, gives me a strong emotion that I basically find very difficult to explain. So many people question the fear of challenging yourself and having that courage to just get up and go, but don’t let that override determination to achieve exactly what you want to. We can have and be whatever we wish to; once we are ready.
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SU Ball – University of Westminster

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I have always dreamed of a fairytale night at a ball – something similar to Cinderella’s style – and prior to my university ball, I had never been to something so prestigious.

The University of Westminster, on the 4th of April, held the end of year student ball at the Oval Cricket Ground in Kennington. Going out to shop for my dress was extremely fun, and of course I chose the perfect one for me. Anyone who knows me needn’t ask what colour it was because it was certain that I would choose pink. Making the whole night memorable from start to finish I decided to get my hair and make-up done, alleviating any ‘getting ready’ time and pressure making the whole experience more enjoyable. If you’re going to do it, do it properly right?

I had a fantastic time, and despite arriving late at the venue due to the hectic traffic London throws on you, myself and my friend made a pretty good entrance. Dressed as princesses we began the night as we meant to go on, drinking champagne and feeling a million dollars.

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A Messed Up Generation

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Communicating can be difficult at times when technology and distance hold a strain on that line, when you have no internet or that person is miles apart. We’ve all heard that saying:

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

But does it? Does not seeing that person for a long period of time make you get used to spending your time without them? It’s a hard one to figure out. Most of the time it depends on the strength of the bond that you have with that person, and how you stay in contact throughout the hard times.

I read something not so long ago about how times have changed so much from the – what we would consider as – ‘older days’, where it is a lot easier to just give up and move on rather than figure things out. The options available to us and our generation as a whole are overwhelming. We have endless opportunities open to us, and the digitisation of the new media has facilitated these processes by miles. Is it a good thing that we have become a nature full of resignation and acceptance? Rather than standing up for what we truly want and believe in we just nod our heads and say okay. What happened to fighting for what you love?

Communication is the key to all problems. If you talk and you can be open with someone, you will generally find that the understanding between you is so transparent there is no room for confusion and mis-communication. You need to both be reading on the same page, and that’s when speaking your mind is – by far – such a brilliant thing. When you know where you stand with someone you feel free, free in any way that may be. You can move on, you can continue your day and that issue isn’t the first or last thing on your mind.

As a girl, we are mad for over-analysing things. We like to look deep and really depict the reasons behind ‘why’ something has happened rather than just accepting that it has. Guys on the other hand, stereotypically, are quite literal. A girl when she is upset may tell a guy “Go away, leave me alone!” and a guy will say okay “Okay no problem.” But the girl doesn’t really want that, she just wants the emotional attention. Then before we know it we are in a complete mess. A complete messed up situation with broken communication.

Rather than accept that there is a dent in something, make it better. Improve it. Then before we know, it we will be a generation full of joy, happiness, laughter and understanding: all the things that make us feel alive inside, and of course, complete.

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Support for my Mt Kilimanjaro climb June 2014

Not long to go now before I take that ‘leap of faith’ and jet off to Kilimanjaro to climb the tallest free-standing mountain in the world! Nervous? Of course I am! One thing is for certain: I need to train more and physically prepare myself for what will be the biggest challenge of my entire life.

I would say that I am mentally equipped with the right attitude that will help me reach the top of the mountain in one piece, but I will not fully know until the adventure is in-front of me.

As part of my climb, I have decided to fund-raise for Cancer Research UK alongside funding the trip myself, and all donations can be made at:

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/gemmasclimb

All money goes to Cancer Research UK so it’s for a fantastic cause, and all of the support will be truly appreciated!

If you have any advice for me or any other useful information please email me at gemmaleighsmith@hotmail.co.uk

June 6th 2014 – the day I venture off to turn my dream into reality! 

I will be writing the whole way through, filming myself and blogging online for you all to read and keep updated with all my ups and downs!

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The Power of Authority

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When you have power you have control. Control over people, places and things and, in somewhat way, you can control the space in which you occupy. Agree?

Politicians, for example, have the general discussions about new laws and the way that the country should move forward in progression. The elites, royal, bourgeoisie and so on have this kind of empowerment over the masses, and many corporations, including football clubs and other sporting teams, are being brought out by the riches. What used to be about the game and having a bit of fun has turned into a money-driven empowerment, and that is the way the world is currently going around.

Many groups in society often get left unheard, and don’t have the opportunity to speak up and make a difference to the society in which they live. A lot of it boils down to education, and being aware of the amount that one can do; including voting in elections and having an interest in the government.

Exploitation of the working class – the proletariat – is common when there is a sparrow of power stemming from societal groups way up in the hierarchy. That is why within our own rights and spatial environment, we need to have consciousness in the world that we live, and be interested in the media and what’s going on. After all, it all has an effect on the way we live our lives and the implications that follow through with that.

It’s about being one step ahead, predicting, preparing and carefully making the right decisions along the way. Enjoy the journey but having that awareness in globalisation, and of the powerful, really does help you grow and gain that recognition you deserve. Not being afraid to be different, not following the majority but yet being willing to stand out and be different; that way you will be noticed and listened to.

Many don’t like change but conforming to the ‘norms’ in society. What is regarded as acceptable – and the average working person following the guidelines – allows the powerful groups to continue their overwhelming spectrum of control. That is what they mean when they say: “The rich will be rich and the poor will be poor.”

Truth is, there is more than enough wealth to go around for everyone on this planet twice over, but people don’t believe in themselves enough to chase their dreams. Persistence and having that extra piece of patience is what makes an enormous difference, so start believing you can!

Whether you think you can or you cannot, either way you are right!

She’s Just A Girl and She’s On Fire

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Alicia Keys, isn’t she just magical? I don’t know what it is but I love her lyrics and her passion. Have you ever had it where you listen to an artist and you feel like they know you? Like every word will link and connect with who you are and where you see yourself going.

One of the most important things is knowing who you are and being the best possible version of it. It’s okay to be sad or have a bad day; it’s what makes us human. By then immersing yourself with people who care and love you, you are then able to let it off your chest: and a problem shared is a problem halved (or solved). And what makes it even more beautiful is the feeling you get inside of you once you have spoken about the issue and huge burdens are instantly released.

Is that a problem in the political world? I noticed when I went to watch a news programme live that politicians have a great habit of avoiding answering questions properly They will do everything in their power to not be fully direct; they tend to operate like this:

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To a certain extent it is true that the more you say and the more open you are, you are inspiring others to do similar things or become even better. The business world is very competitive but it depends on your outlook. I prefer to help other people and give them that belief when they cannot see a good ending for themselves, but that isn’t always the way to success. Sometimes it’s wise to be selfish.

With what you think and feel and what manifests are all the same. So control your thoughts and be careful what you say to yourself, because your inner-self it is listening!

Quest for Connection

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We all want to feel that connection with someone. When we walk into a room or we are in the presence of a stranger, we instantly feel a vibe. The energy may be good or bad, but more often than not at all are we usually right.

On the other hand it is said to be true that you should never judge a book by its cover, because you may miss a great story.

We can all be so quick to judge or guess the facts and conclude our own opinion without hearing the full picture, but it’s always refreshing to hear an outsides point of view of an event.

The same applies with a lot of journalists in today’s world. Many just churnalise their news, and use Agencies and PR material without double checking the facts; just for a quick turnover. A job of a journalist is to tell the truth to the world, but just using Press Associations copy isn’t what true journalism is all about. Due to the fast-paced way of life and this having a huge influence on the media industry, the pressures faced by workers are phenomenal. They often don’t have a choice but to rewrite copied material for a fast turnover, and for their media outlet to launch and plug a story first among its other competitors for more news traffic.

Society has changed an awful lot, and we have moved along swiftly with the news industry. Just as we read about one story, a newer version is posted online somewhere else’s. It’s good to navigate through the variances to get a rounded idea of an event, because you cannot always believe and take the first news article at face value; as quite often the claimed facts are a manipulation of what ‘could be’ the actual truth.

How can we possibly produce quality, in-depth journalism when time schedules are so tight and fixated? It’s difficult, but we do have to keep up with transitional changes, otherwise we will get left behind.

On my behalf, I want to put the quality back into the narrative in which I will portray. With any story, even now, I write it from the heart but in a way that is being true to myself and for my readers. Making it relatable and very insightful, you build that extra mile of a rapport with the eye of the beholder, and that is what remains in have hearts and minds of thousands.

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April Fools’ Day – Audio Report

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Report on news-stories in relation to April Fools’ Day 2014

April Fools’ Day – the day when the people working within news organisations will do all they can to sneak stories into the press to fool the general public and see what they can get away with. Sometimes as a reader, it can be hard to identify the stories that are fake and those that are true, but some stories definitely stand out!

From posing a ban on selfies – which seems quite ridiculous – to square chicken eggs, it quickly becomes clear that some spoofs are easier to notice.

The stories that I have found navigating in the news on ‘April Fools’ Day’:

- Today, the Metro included a feature about the development of the Government trying to ban people from taking selfies. They used ridicule names for proposed interviewees such as – Bull Geary – and claimed a strong movement towards banning the selfies craze altogether.

The newspaper also claimed to have learned that a new branch called the Department for Culture, Media & Sport has put proposals together that may come into force as early as the end of next year.

- The Huffington Post declares Nick Clegg to have made a “surprise appointment”, by hiring Piers Morgan in a media-consulting role ahead of the next general election. They said that Morgan had been eager to take the role, and his show Piers Morgan Live had its last broadcasting last Friday. Lib Dems claim to say that having Morgan on their side they have a clear advantage in the elections.

- The Mirror says that the North Korean dictator – Kim Jong-un – has challenged the dominant band One Direction, and has posted bans on them from entering the country unless they opt for the short-back-and-sides hairdos. They also said that Harry Styles and co need to accept the leaders competition on putting together a North Korean band known as ‘Un Direction’.

- The Daily Mail claims that flag-makers have already started producing a new design for the Union Jack, in the event of Scottish independence. It is said that the new design will be a bare red cross on a white background, ditching the Scottish appeal. The newspaper claimed: “The dramatic change to our national flag – the first since 1801, when St Patrick’s cross was added – was accidentally revealed in confidential papers carried by a Government adviser in Downing Street,” – as a ‘secret government movement’.

- ITV’s Daybreak programme has apparently managed to secure an interview with the first farmer in the world to have chickens that lay square eggs. It is said that they will make eating eggs a lot more convenient, as well as egg-sarnies.

What is your opinion on the stories, and which do you think is the most apparent as an April Fools’ news-story?

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The Feeling of ‘Belonging’ and Lifestyle Changes

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When I went back to Spain a few weeks back, it had been over 2 months since I had been on Spanish soil yet I instantly felt like I was back at home. Don’t get me wrong, London is where I live now, and I would never change that. Moving to the city was, by far, the best decision I have ever made. It has opened up a surplus of opportunities for me; all of which have already changed my life for the better.

I landed, breathed in the Spanish fresh air and my heart raced with excitement knowing my parents were waiting at the pickup point for me.

The feeling of just ‘belonging’ somewhere and feeling completely comfortable in your surroundings is an amazing sentiment, and it instantly makes you not have to thick twice but instead; just be yourself.

It’s crazy really, the juxtaposition between living independently back in the UK and having previously lived in Spain submerged in the Spanish culture. It was a huge shock to the system, but it shaped me, developed my life skills and continues to widen my perspective the world and of what I want.

A twisted angle to that concept though, is that despite living on my own in the UK and going to university, it’s as though I am not as independent as I was when I had 2 jobs living in Spain. Bouncing back into studying again and being a full time student has been fun, but I do miss earning the pounds!

As much as the transition has been turbulent, yet incredible, I wouldn’t change it for the world – and with a passion for studying and broadening my pool of knowledge – my horizon has expanded beyond belief and the journey ahead continues to get brighter and brighter.

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