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Journalism has your back

29th May 2014

Big Fat Planning Agenda

This is the glamorous world of journalism.

Seriously, journalists in your city are reading documents this long and ten times as boring every day in your town and city.

They do it so you get to know if anything strange is going on in your local area, if local officials are doing their jobs right.

Most of the time everything is fine, and we read these things and come away with nothing.

But just so you know, we have your backs.

Posted by Emily at 5:44pm

Political Neutrality in the News Room

9th May 2014

It's election time and that means I'm legally restricted in what I can say and especially in what I can broadcast.

There are incredibly strict limits on us to give the same amount of time to the big 4 parties, and ideally all 10 of the parties that are standing in the East of England.

I personally consider it wise to try and self impose these rules of neutrality on a daily basis all year round. I will never disclose who I vote for. I will express opinions but I am blessed with being "the wisest woman alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing." (Yeah I'm a Socrates fangirl.)

A wise woman once said that "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" and this sums up my position very well.

But is it always true? What if someone is saying something that is just plain wrong, something that is hurtful, something that helps build a culture of oppression and violence against one particular group of people? (e.g. That dogs are better than cats... Let's not make assumptions about what I'm talking about here please.)

Normally, I would say no. I hate it when you hear radio stations reading out loud on the air that Bob's Uncle's Cousin Fred who is a car dealer was forced by the job centre to sell an immigrant a car and the cheque was hand written out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but that doesn't mean you're entitled to make me listen to it, and if it's just plain wrong, it's not going on my radio station. End Of.

But during election time?

I would much rather you say your unsavoury views (about dogs) out loud, and let us all know what you are like. If it stays in your head, people might not know about it and put you in a position of power.

I don't like having to hear certain things (about cats, because cats are awesome) and not pull them up on it. Instead I nod and smile sweetly and thank the interviewee for their time, and then sit and edit the audio up, and broadcast it out.

These aren't slick London politicians either, these are normal people. They haven't been media trained, they aren't playing the  political game. They are earnest in their beliefs (that cats are rubbish) but other than that, they are nice friendly neighbourly types. They are really pleased that I'm listening and being openly receptive to their pro-dog bias.

It's hard to hear hatred coming out of someone who's sat in front of you after they've thanked you for the cup of tea. It makes you want to crumple up and weep on the inside but you smile and keep a straight, professional outer layer.

It's my job to inform you, and inform you I will.


I suppose I could just be equally contemptuous to all of them instead?

Posted by Emily at 11:04pm

Elections are on the way. Elections are Boring.

27th April 2014

Around 1 in 3 people voted in the last European Election. Which means that 2 out of over 3 people didn't have a say.

Why is that?

There are lots of reasons given but my suggestion is this:

Politics is boring. Very. Very. Boring.

There are 10 parties standing for the East of England seats in the 2014 European Elections. They will all have views on everything, and many already have their manifestos printed. So that's 10x dull political documents to read.

Can you really really be bothered?

Of course this is where local media comes in, giving equal time to each party to talk to us about the issues that Europe decides on..... blaaaaaaah blah blah. BORING!! So what am I going to do?

I'm going to give you the information without having read or listen to a single one of them. All they get to say is YES or NO.

I'm not sure how many will refuse to answer (they are politicians after all) but let's give it a go.

So what to ask?

This is where you come in. I want your questions about:
1. policies that the EU controls (animal rights, the environment, transport, immigration, etc)
2. personal moral issues for the lead candidate (issues that are non negotiable for you)

Some suggestions so far include:

Should the A47 be made into a dual carriage way along its length?

Have we done enough to stop the banking crisis from happening again?

Should churches / faith groups be kept separate from governments?

Do you think that climate change is a real threat to people in West Norfolk and Wisbech?

Email me your questions, to news@klfm967.co.uk or tweet me @emily_news

I'll pick the best ones and then bring you the answers.

animal rights consumer rights the environment international trade regional economic development workers' rights - See more at: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/what_can_i_vote_for/european_parliament.aspx#sthash.lU1H7NXj.dpuf
animal rights consumer rights the environment international trade regional economic development workers' rights - See more at: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/what_can_i_vote_for/european_parliament.aspx#sthash.lU1H7NXj.dpuf

Posted by Emily at 4:04pm

0 comments.

You Heard It Here On Twitter First...

16th March 2014

Social media has changed my job a lot.

When something major happens, I'm supposed to get a text message from Sky which goes out to journalists who use their service. I still do, but normally it's about 5 minutes after I've seen it on twitter. When another radio station or a newspaper has more staff than us (most of the time) and can send reporters to events, courts, etc. I see their tweets and then get it confirmed from official sources.

When an email from the Police comes down, you'll see all the local media tweeting it within minutes. In newsrooms there's a rush to get every story out across our social media and most importantly to be first to do so.

But recently I've been wondering if that is really the best policy for our radio station? We are FM - we are on-air, immediate, and exclusive: you have to tune in to hear what we have to say. You can't copy and paste our news. We have a website but it's secondary to what we do.

Hypothesis:

The only people who really care about you getting a story out onto the internet first, are other journalists.

The Experiment:

Does getting our news online and shared on social media help us reach our audience better? Or does it simply alert the competition to a good story?

Disclaimer:

Obviously, with BIG breaking news, the aim is to get information out there asap. It's where radio shines as a medium above all others. You will never see a Facebook update saying "A bomb has gone off at a King's Lynn school, tune in at 3 to find out which one!"

A talking point, a nice little exclusive, an interesting STORY, is ideal for this experiment.

Method:

There are gas main replacement works going on in the middle of King's Lynn at the moment. Diversions are in place, it's causing some problems, local businesses are not too happy. On Friday lunchtime, they dug down to soil that hadn't been touched since the middle ages, and right through the skeleton of a child. It's near a church so it is not shocking, but it is an interesting little nugget of news.

We got pictures, audio, and information by 2pm. But we DIDN'T tweet about it. Instead, we used social media to start teasing that we had an exclusive, encouraging people to listen in near the hour for something interesting, etc.

At 5pm we tweeted the first picture and started pushing the link to our website.

Results:

At 5.05pm, one of our presenters found a missed call on his mobile from a local newspaper. At 6pm another local paper got a story online about it. Mostly with information from the Revd of the local church, information that I had given to him when I spoke with him hours earlier.

I have worked at other radio stations where I've read out some news written 2 days earlier, and it's appeared on a local newspaper website within 10 minutes. But in this case, I don't think they were tuned in.

Conclusion:

(This isn't actually scientific in any way by the way.)

It has made me think. By constantly pushing everything we have in all directions, are we in fact, losing our edge? By making speed our main objective does social media actually harm our product?

I'm not really sure if I can conclude anything with just one little experiment, but I am going to make sure we think about HOW and WHY we use social media a lot more from now on.

Posted by Emily at 11:37pm

0 comments.

Why I have banned the word Troll from my newsroom

26th January 2014

Names are funny things.

It has long been recognised that there is power in a name. Some religions believe that simply by naming a creature, the first man claimed dominion over them.

A name gives identity and being to something unsubstantiated. It makes it real.

This “naming” is also where most of the mass media’s power lies.  A random collection of view points, facts, or allegations are formed into a story, but give that story a Name and it grows.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Dawn French, playing the fat lady in a portrait calls a group of school children “plebs” for not appreciating her singing voice. Recently, it was claimed that a man called some other men plebs in the street.

Who cares? Well we all do because it’s Plebgate!!

Plebgate has an identity, and lets us all know that this story is about the issues involving Cabinet Ministers (allegedly) being a bit too posh, the police being poor victims (depending on our mood that week) and various other ideas and asides. All summed up neatly in one word.

Remember Happy Slapping? That was a couple of kids being nasty to people in the street until it was given a name by the newspapers. Then it was a nationwide phenomenon, crisis etc.

Which brings me to my current conundrum: Trolls. Not the 7 foot Danish variety. Not the Moomins. The type that exists online.

The word Troll was coined several years ago on sites like 4chan, 9gag etc, to describe a trickster. Someone who says something to get a reaction, create annoyance, or fool someone into doing something.

Here is an example:

The expression “Don’t feed the trolls” became common on forums to try and warn people off speaking to known troublemakers.

Of course at the internet grew, and people started putting more and more personal information online, making more and more vulnerable targets, trolling changed, and sometimes got quite nasty.

I would be willing to bet that if you publicised a book of condolence and left it unguarded overnight on a stage in central Birmingham with a pen, you would come back to find people had written some pretty nasty things in there.

People are horrible.

But for some reason, everyone thought that doing exactly what I have described above, but with a Facebook page left open on the internet, it would be fine.

People are horrible.

This is where our trolling story ends.

Unfortunately, this is roughly where the mass media arrives.

The word troll was misappropriated solely to mean people who targeted others to say nasty things. Which is fairly harmless if it was just a misappropriated word. But it’s not. It is a Name.

So when twitter arrives on the scene, and some pretty lowlife people find out that you can set up an anonymous account and say anything you like to people who would never normally hear you… Those lowlifes were given a Name.

You are no longer a sad loser with a laptop and no friends, you are no longer a psychopath hell bent on stalking and threatening to kill someone you disagree with… You are now a member of a special online group, one of many, and when you are one of many, your individual behaviour can be held up to less scrutiny, both by yourself, and by everyone else.

By calling someone a troll, you are giving them an excuse. You are giving them a cause. You are giving them power.

Stop it.

Posted by Emily at 3:21pm

0 comments.

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Recent Posts

Journalism has your back

Posted by Emily

29th May 2014 5:44pm

Political Neutrality in the News Room

Posted by Emily

9th May 2014 11:04pm

Elections are on the way. Elections are Boring.

Posted by Emily

27th April 2014 4:04pm

You Heard It Here On Twitter First...

Posted by Emily

16th March 2014 11:37pm

Why I have banned the word Troll from my newsroom

Posted by Emily

26th January 2014 3:21pm


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