The Farnham Diary: Police, Social Media & Modern Writing

Post length: 875 words, almost 4 minutes.

Each month I eagerly await the thud of The Farnham Diary dropping onto the doormat. Not for the news and local information it contains but for the pedantic nit-picking and the no-holds-barred comment section “View Point.” (There is also the excellent “Bricks and mortar reporter” section which, as an amateur town planner and fully signed up, card-carrying, curtain twitching nosy neighbour, makes up for the fact I don’t have the time to stroll around town and take note of which shops have opened and which have closed recently.) This month’s edition proved not to be a let down.

In the View Point section (pages 10 and 11 of the digital version, above) under the heading “Spaying it around…” was printed a quotation from what seems to be a press update sent by the Farnham Neighbourhood Police Team to local newspapers. The quotation in question was asking editors to assist the police in raising awareness of the existence a of police office in the local fire station. The plea was casual and light-hearted, using a reference to the town’s old police station — the closure and ongoing physical state of which is a contentious issue in the town — to make a very valid point: there there is still a local police presence in Farnham. [read more]

Posted on Tuesday 24th June, 2014 at 8:54 am in Obiter dicta.
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BBC News' Devoted Jackson fans…

Post length: 275 words, just over 1 minute.

I spent a little time this evening watching the BBC News channel’s coverage of the death of Michael Jackson.  As part of it they went over to Lizo Mzimba, their showbiz correspondent, who is currently at the Glastonbury Festival (I feel a little sorry for him, he’ll be up all night covering this and then have to do Glastonbury in the morning!).  He spoke to a few people about it. The first was the keyboard player of one of the bands playing this year, and another two who he introduced as “music fans at the Glastonbury Festival” who were hoping to see Michael in London in the next few months.  He asked these two how they heared about the news.  First of all they said they heared through their mobiles, Facebook, and general word of mouth. And then one of them said “we caught on to it first over at the press tent”. [read more]

Posted on Friday 26th June, 2009 at 12:57 am in Obiter dicta.
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Press neutrality – the view down the lens

Post length: 1,048 words, about 4 and a half minutes.

I read an interesting blog post earlier this week – “To read or not to read?” – written by an MA broadcast journalism student.  In it he talks about the ethics surrounding reading other people’s text messages without their consent.  He uses this example to illustrate a point regarding investigative journalism as a whole.  While we agree on the main point in question, I’m not sure I agreed with everything he says.  I’d recommend you go and have a look at his post, and my comments at the end, as I’m not going to repeat them here.

Then, this weekend, I spotted a copy of The Daily Telegraph on the train open on an article titled “The Mandy and Osborne Show had us in stitches”, so I had a look.  The article I had initially seen was, in fact, not very interesting at all (some comments by an actress about The Spectator’s Parliamentarian of the Year awards), but the item above it was.  The section I was reading was the comment section, and the piece above related to the current economic climate.  The article is clearly comment – it’s not hard fact, it’s one writer’s opinion on the way Gordon Brown has handled the slow down in the economy.  As good comment should be it’s a very biased article. [read more]