What a brain-numbing week. Just trying to keep on top of my user names and passwords has proved a bit nightmarish. I locked myself out of Flickr before a vital on-line workshop and failed to flag my photos (they were of art in Venice so would have been a bit off the Cardiff map anyway).
I get it, I really do get it. This is the stuff that will feed us the stories, the contacts, the ideas for features and it’s all really useful. When we have our own followers (not the other students, trapped into receiving our first stumbling tweets), I can see how it’ll help us to build and communicate with a readership, but it all seems a bit odd – tweeting someone who you’ve just said goodbye to after a hard day’s subbing. Strangely I have a new band of followers – Ramblers Cymru have taken me to their bosom, though I am a stranger to the cagoule and the waterproof gaiter, but always happy for some Kendall Mint Cake.
In the real world, I attempted my first vox pop last week. I realise that I must get over the feeling that just pouncing on people with a digi-recorder is an intrusion. As it turns out all were happy to talk (and I palmed the recorder so it wasn’t in their faces, though they knew I was recording). I think it helped that I was canvassing opinion on what qualities the next First Minister of the Welsh Assembly should have. Lots of really good feedback, despite a penetrating rain in the evening. The first playback was a bit hilarious: ever-so-slightly speeded-up recording made for a Bridget Jones after an illicit session with the helium canister sound. I’ll have to wait until next week to see if I did it justice.
As soon as I’d finished the vox pops I got stuck in to the May You Live….festival at Chapter with The People Speak. The premise was that the audience, through a democratic (and beer-fuelled) process could vote for how to spend the box-office money for the event. We ended up, after much tweeting straight to the screen, with a scheme to turf road works (temporarily) in Cardiff. Some left muttering that this would never have happened in a fascist state, despite the general liberality of the crowd on entry.
The lectures are slowly sinking in. I’m enjoying all of them although all of the information is so densely packed. Public Administration fills some gaps in my understanding of how the system works and has lots of colourful asides. We had the Other Channel (as we used to call it) in to talk about ITV and ITN, led by Michael Jermey. Really interesting to see how they support reporters through training and letting them loose with cameras and lap tops to get their own news. The approach is different from the Beeb, aiming for a more empathetic telling of the news to make it real for viewers.
Claire Wardle from the BBC School of Journalism gave it to us straight between the eyes on the social media front and I even managed to set up tweet deck on my iphone straight afterwards. I also watched the twitterfall throughout Question Time with Nick Griffin, though it was rather distracting. Loved what Cassette Boy did with it on You Tube (you don’t need the url, it’s right up there in most viewed) and glad to be in a group that circulates such nuggets of goodness.
Looking forward to Media Law this week. We move on to defamation, which always makes me think of Rumpole’s favourite Shakespeare quote, “He who steals my purse steals trash…” It’s dawning on me that my library is probably not like the other students’: yes David, I’ve read Blott on the Landscape and all the other Tom Sharpe books, in the days when it was possible to suffer public humiliation on the train by laughing incontinently, now all of that’s muffled by electronic tweets and over-loud mp3 tunes. I’ve also read Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. Every time there’s a reference to books that I’ve read or people that I’ve heard of, I have a brief fuzzy feeling, before the inevitable sentence “but you’ll all be too young to have heard of that/him/her”. Such are the challenges for the mid-life student (I hate mature, I’m not a cheddar, despite some early cheese-y headline attempts).
More form the Mag-Lab bunker soon.