Dissertation ideas

During the CATS session on Wednesday, I was given the task of looking into ideas for my third year dissertation.  This has been a process that has made me focus on where I want my research to take me over the next few months.

Here I have outlined my ideas for potential subjects.

  1. The BBC is in a privileged position where it is funded by the licence fee for its TV, Radio and Online offer.  What changes can be made to the corporation to make it fit for the 21st Century?
  2. Print newspaper sales are declining as more people are accessing their news online.  What can legacy products do to survive in an ever-changing marketplace?
  3. TV and radio audiences are changing, how can an ever expanding number of outlets compete for an audience?


The BBC is in a privileged position where it is funded by the licence fee for its TV, Radio and Online offer.  What changes can be made to the corporation to make it fit for the 21st Century?

  • BBC is having to make cost savings across its entire output.
  • TV channels are going online, BBC Three already gone, rumours of BBC News Channel to close, shrinking audiences for local radio.
  • Sports coverage gone from regular coverage to more niche sports, or paying over the odds for football.
  • Impact of participation of sports as less sport seen on free to air television.
  • Licence fee – will this be abolished in favour of advertising/subscription?
  • Radio stations merging to cover larger areas, or simulcasting to save money?
  • What do other countries do? Do they have a huge national Public broadcaster?
  • Would people fund a higher licence fee? Do they know what they actually get for their money?
  • If News channel closes, what are the implications of journalists who are in the four corners of the world?
  • Will TV news go back to just 1, 6 and 10pm?
  • Impact of Five Live potentially merging with BBC Local Radio

Print newspaper sales are declining as more people are accessing their news online.  What can legacy products do to survive in an ever-changing marketplace?

  • Adverts to fund newspaper websites – people hate them, but they pay for the online offer.
  • Will people be willing to pay a higher price for a print version?
  • Online apps to offer the same copy as print?  Metro/Mirror already do this.
  • Why did paywalls not work for the biggest selling daily newspaper, The Sun.
  • Will more newspapers close?  Independent going, Johnston Press putting 59 newspapers on alert for costs savings or closure?
  • Bloggers?  Can legacy papers tap into hyperlocal websites?  Content or journalists?
  • Newspapers – more untrained journalists?
  • Legal issues, with smaller numbers of staff being stretched, dangers of legal issues with stories.
  • When is enough enough?  Independent ran at a loss for years, Guardian has multi million pound losses year on year.
  • Will local newspapers cease to exist?
  • As the population ages, can anything be done to reverse the decline?
  • People with slow broadband speeds – particularly rural areas – may struggle to access news where local newspapers are closing/closed.

TV and radio audiences are changing, how can an ever-expanding number of outlets compete for an audience?

  • More channels pitching for the same audience.
  • Increased fees for TV packages, Sky, Virgin, Talk Talk, BT.
  • How will the likes of Freeview and Freesat compete when they don’t receive any extra money from the viewers?
  • Will good quality investigative journalism be lost to a minority channel, whereas it used to be shown on the major channels, BBC/ITV/C4?
  • How we access TV/Radio has changed, will the people be less informed?
  • Impact of music streaming services – No news output
  • Stories that may have been covered previously, will they be lost as audiences find alternative news or not at all?
  • What impact will media ownership have as to journalistic output?
  • 21 news channels on Sky, but only 4 on Freeview, does this mean that poorer people will not be able to access as much news?

David Whitfield – Planning with Mindomo

MindMap - David Whitfield

MindMap – David Whitfield

I have learnt from experience that a lot of planning has to go into a project such as the Documentary Pitch and Magazine Spread, otherwise, things get missed, or rushed at the last minute.  By learning from the past, I can ensure that the projects going forward are less stressful, and come out with a higher quality export.

During the early part of Year 1, I was very sceptical about using Mind Mapping, but having got my head around the benefits and the time that it saves in the long run, it is something that I highly recommend to others to make sure that everything is covered in the early stages.

By using Mindomo, I can print out the document, and also keep a copy online to refer to at all times whilst working on the project.



My apologies

Working through the summer is going to be great, I can start to build some funds ready for hitting next year at Uni with 100% effort, but it does mean that my blogging time is restricted, so I apologise for that.  I try to update the blog daily, but there might be the odd day I miss, so please bear with me!

It’s nice to get my thoughts out there during the summer, but I can assure you, I’ll be hitting the road running come September and I’m back in class.

I’ve worked out what time I’m going to be devoting to study, working, and relaxing, and making sure that there is a decent balance between all of them, because I want to keep on top of the deadlines right the way through the year, rather than have a big panic at the end 🙂

Immersive Web Experience – Richie Benaud – Presentation Reflection

Richie Benaud Start Screen

Richie Benaud – Immersive Web Experience

After my presentation this morning, I thought it only right that I reflect on how I felt it went.

Being first up was always the way that I’d planned it, so that I could get it done and dusted and out of the way.

I was acutely aware of the time constraint of 15 minutes to get as much of the presentation in as possible, and I made sure of that by having a clock next to the computer, so that I could assess how close to my run through I was.

By splitting my presentation into two, the Prezi, and then the InVision mock up, I was concerned that the technology would not work correctly, but thankfully it worked correctly.

After the tech issues of last week, I made sure that I had a backup plan, including printed screenshots, and a offline powerpoint presentation just in case.

By doing that, I felt a little more relaxed going into the session, but knowing that everything was working, I felt that the level of work I had put into the assignment would shine through.

I had some feedback from Sally, some good, and some pointers to change once I get to the 2nd year, when we make the product for real.

I will be taking those on board, and ensuring that I learn from this assignment, and the semester as a whole.

So, I’m fairly happy with the presentation, the assignment is handed in now, and I can do no more.

Reflection – Heading towards deadlines in Year 1

It’s getting to that time of year again when deadlines are due and assignments need to be handed in.  I’m very lucky that I’m ahead of the game in terms of work done, and work left to do.  At least, I think I am.

I’m also very lucky to have support from my girlfriend, who keeps me topped up with drinks while I’m working.  Without her support over the last few months, I’m not sure I would be quite so organised.  When I say support, I don’t just mean supplying me with copious amounts of coffee.  She’s kept me focused through the year, even given that it’s been a rough year with losing Mum, my bouts of illness, and my self-doubt.

I can’t say thank you enough, for what you have done for me…and you hold a tripod really well! 🙂

I’ve still got quite a bit of work to get done, but with an all-nighter tonight, and then another 8 hours tomorrow before going back on air, I think I should be in a position to start handing assignments in 3 weeks early!

Oh and I’ve got washing, ironing, cleaning and dusting to do….it’s not all rock and roll you know 🙂

Immersive Web Experience – Richie Benaud – Storyboard

I must apologise first off for the quality of my drawing.  I’m certainly no Van Gogh!

After the consultation with Sally, regarding my immersive web experience (IWE), I’ve a fair idea what I need to do, so creating a story board was the first job I needed to do on this stage.

I drafted out everything that I wanted to get in the IWE, and made sure that I made notes to that effect.  This was then pinned onto my board, to ensure that I kept to the brief and ideas that I had for the final product.

With these documents, I can keep on top of the screen production.

Immersive Web Experience – Richie Benaud – Thoughts

There is a lot more meaning to my selection for a journalist that has influenced his or her craft, with the untimely death of Richie Benaud.

I had chosen Richie, given his contribution to Cricket, both as a player and as a journalist, back in February, but his passing, makes my feelings of responsibility to create a piece of work worthy of his legacy even stronger.

The outpouring of emotion across the world via the media and on social media, proves how well respected he was by fans of the game, regardless of their nationality.

I hope that when my piece is finished and handed in, that it will stand up as an appropriate tribute to a true gentleman.

Reading Weeks

I have to declare – I don’t like reading weeks!

It messes with my routine, and I don’t get half as much done as I do when I’m in classes.  Anyway, less of my moaning, and more of what’s been happening while I’ve been off.

Reading is in the title, so plenty of reading has been done over the last few days, sprinkled with a bit of typing and reflecting.

As always I’ve had my radio shows to create and produce, and with 3 a week, they do take a little bit of preparation, but at least I’ve been able to get on top of the playlist for the next few weeks.

One of my favourite shows, is the A-Z of Music, which features a letter of the alphabet each show, with singers (their surnames), and bands from that featured year.  Over the Easter Weekend, the featured letter was E, so The Eagles, Echo and the Bunnymen and Eiffel 65 were 3 of the artists that featured.

I’ll be very happy to get back to classes on Monday, so that I can get ahead of the game and make sure that all my deadlines are met, with plenty of time to spare.

If there is one thing I can pass on to students who are wanting to get to Uni, it has to be, to make sure that you leave a 2 week buffer before a deadline, just in case things go wrong, because they can and usually do!

Looking back on 2014, and ahead to 2015

Over this weekend, I’ve been looking back over the last 12 months, and assessing the good, the indifferent, and the not so good.

12 Months ago, I celebrated Christmas with my Mum, who struggled through her Christmas Dinner.  To be honest, I’d piled her plate up in the same way that mine used to be when I was growing up at home as a youngster.

She was excited to learn that over the festivities, I would be starting on my radio journey, with my first radio show being a couple of days after Christmas.

Little did I realise that it would be the last Christmas that we would celebrate together.

Just six weeks later, she was diagnosed with terminal Lung Cancer, and we had to work together to get her affairs in order.  Pretty rough, given I’d gone through the same with Dad, just six years earlier.  Mum was incredibly strong, given the diagnosis, and that the doctors intimated that she hadn’t got long to make that preparation.

Mum was just…well Mum, she approached the news with incredible strength, merely reflecting that she wasn’t dying, she was just going to be reunited with my father.

During the next six weeks that she was at home, she kept herself together, and spent a lot of time in her dressing gown, trying to keep comfortable on the sofa, keeping up to date with the news…well she did that for many a year, watching both local, national and international news, from morning until night…if it was happening, then she knew about it.

I never needed to buy a paper, I just asked Mum, and she could regale all types of news and sport that was going on around the world.

In the approach to Easter, she had to go into hospital, for treatment to try and slow the cancer down, but in the words of the Doctors, they could treat her, but not cure her.

In her last few days, she took me to one side, and told me that I had to do something with my life and “not just drive that bloody van around”, and given that the company that I worked for has just gone into administration, maybe she had a point!

Sadly, Mum lost her battle, peacefully and with dignity on April 12th, and I was left feeling a little shell shocked.  Nowhere in the script did it say that I would lose both my parents before reaching my 39th birthday, but hey, it had happened, and I now had to deal with it.

The first thing I did after that, was try to keep things as normal as possible, and even though Mum passed away at 11.45pm, I was back on air covering a radio show for a colleague at 10am, with no word to the listeners, as to what had happened in the previous 12 hours.

Normality kept…stage 1!

Through the next few weeks, in the run up to the funeral, and then beyond, I felt a little numb, but kept the words Mum had said to me ringing in my ears.

Things had to change, I couldn’t continue just plodding on with life, because you never know when your time is up, and the last thing you want to do when you meet your maker, is have regrets as to “I wish i’d done….”

During the summer,  I attended the Radio Academy – Presenter Masterclass in Leicester, where, to be honest, I felt a little out of place, given that the vast majority of the delegates were of an age where I could be their father!  I gained a great amount of knowledge, and met other Community and Student Radio presenters, along with people actually getting paid to talk and play tunes on the radio.  That day, set my mind up, that one day I wanted to get paid to do the job I was doing on a voluntary basis.

A month after that day in Leicester, whilst I was away for the weekend, the radio station that I volunteered had a meltdown, and within 3 days, folded due to lack of cashflow, and other issues, and all of a sudden, I was left with a void in my days.  No Mum to look after, and I wasn’t spending the best part of 40 hours a week, preparing, recording and presenting shows.

Thankfully before the station folded, I’d popped into another radio station locally, just to say hello, and make contact with another set of volunteers that were working within the radio family.  Once I’d got word that the old station wasn’t going to be like a phoenix coming out the flames, I sent a message to the Station Manager, to see if there were any vacancies, and thankfully (to save my sanity), there was an opportunity.

In addition to that, I’ve talked about returning to University, and before the summer, it’s been just that, talk.  But with Mum’s words ringing in my ears, I approached Hull College about enrolling on their Broadcast Media degree.  Given that for the first time in my life, I’d found something that I enjoyed and I was pretty good at (Although the listeners might not necessarily agree with that!)

After applying to Hull, I was disappointed when a phone call came to say that the Broadcast Media degree wasn’t going to run, but was asked if I would consider the Journalism and Digital Media course instead, given that it would contain parts of the Broadcast Media degree, such as Audio Editing, and Presentation Skills.

So after an interview in August, I was in…back to University after a 19 year gap.  Last time, I felt pressured to go, whereas this time, I was going because I wanted to, and to do something that I actually enjoyed, rather than the thing that people expected.

When it came to the first week of Uni in September, I was actually scared…but excited at the same time, a true rollercoaster of emotions.  Would I be able to cope?  Would I feel out of my depth? Could I cope with the commuting to Hull each day?

After the first morning walking through Queens Gardens, feeling sick to the bottom of my stomach, I don’t think I’ve had another day where I’ve had any doubts about the choice I made.

Over the last 14 weeks at University, I’ve been very lucky to have learnt a lot, but I know I still have a long way to go.  I’ve covered events in and around Hull, Thorne, and Scunthorpe.  I’ve managed to widen my network of contacts within the industry, and also local businesses, and major players in and around the area.

So, what about 2015?  Well, I see an exciting year coming ahead.  With the radio station I volunteer at having moved to larger studios, and just the whole feel of the station being a whole lot more professional looking, rather than running from a small, dark office in what was an old pub.

Once deadlines are met for assignments in January, I’ve got the opportunity to do a lot more reading around the subjects that I’ll be working on from February through until June.

I will be working my backside off to ensure that all dates will be kept in Semester 2, to keep my 100% record intact from the first semester!  I’ll be actively looking for opportunities to expand my work skills, in all fields of the Media, be that print, online, radio, or television.

With the work experience, I’m willing to pretty much do anything that is beneficial to my studies, and will also benefit any company that is interested, then drop me a line.  I’ve been told that I make a mean cuppa, so even if it’s just making a brew for a presenter in a radio station, then we all have to start somewhere!

In closing, I just want to say thank you for reading my post, I know it’s more like War and Peace than anything, but it’s good to let your musings out from time to time.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and I look forward to hearing from you, and potentially working with you in the future.


Creative Futures – Photography – Ideas for Photographic Essay

Having being given our Photographic Essay brief, planning is key, so I’ve been looking at ideas on which theme to use throughout the task.

15 – 30 photos on an given subject, allows for massive scope and looking locally and in the wider area, there are lots of ideas that I am giving serious thought to.

I have currently got 4 areas on my horizon, and these are

  • Progress of Farming
  • Development of Flight
  • Railways through the ages
  • One Day

Looking at each in turn, these are my thoughts on the subjects.

Progress of Farming

Farming is a huge industry in my local area of Northern Lincolnshire.  There is a wide variety of arable crops grown, from Carrots, Potatoes and Beetroot, through to grain crops such as Barley and Wheat. Farming techniques have changed over the years, from manual labour to harvest the crops using hand tools, to modern, more machine led ways of gathering.  The farmer with scythes and horse drawn ploughs have now been replaced with Combine Harvesters with GPS trackers, Drilling Machines, and Intensive farming.  Photos could include older techniques of farming, together with newer ways of working.

modern combine harvester working on a wheat crop 20c_farm_mowing_clov

Development of Flight

From the first flight in 1903 with the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918, supersonic passenger flight with Concorde, to today’s more fuel efficient wide bodied jets, Flight has fascinated Man over the last 111 years.  Photo ideas include Biplanes from the early part of the 20th Century, moving to Spitfires and Lancasters that provided a turning point in World War II.  After the war, the move to passenger aircraft, with the first passenger jet, The De Havilland Comet, which was successful if not filled with the teething problems of this new age.  Boeing 747’s, through to the Airbus A380.  There are aircraft museums locally, at Elvington, and Doncaster, together with numerous airports within travelling distance.

Cessna180 Concorde-Wallpapers-8

Railways through the ages

Vehicles on rails have been in Europe since the 16th Century, but passenger services only started in the 1800’s.  From Stephenson’s Rocket, the Rainhill Trials, iconic steam trains such as Mallard, the Sir Nigel Gresley and The Flying Scotsman, railways have been a major contributor to the success of the United Kingdom. Things changed post World War II, with the move from Steam to Diesel/Electric, and also the major impact the Beeching Cuts had in the 1960’s.  Suitable images could include Steam Trains, Diesel/Electric Trains, MagLev trains, through to the changing face of the railways from British Rail to the split to Network Rail who run the tracks, and the Operating Companies such as Transpennine Express, Northern Rail, and First Hull Trains that run the services, and major companies that own the rolling stock that are leased to the Operating Companies.228-2013-national-railway-museum-york-the-great-gathering-stephensons-rocket-replicaPicture of Northern Rail Class 142 Pacer diesel multiple unit 142021

One Day

Every day is the same, 24 hours, 1440 Minutes, 86400 Seconds.  But each day is different.  The changing of the seasons, different weather conditions, the changing times of the sun and the moon rising and setting each day.  The days uniqueness gives huge scope for portraying a 24 hour period, from the stars twinkling overnight, the sun rising in the east early in the morning, moving around to the South, before setting in the West in the early evening.  Cloud, rain, wind, hail, snow, and sun, in an ever changing sky, make for lots of ideas for photographs.  The idea of one day in pictures, from the sun rising, different scenes throughout the day, until finally the sun sets, and the moon and stars shine brightly from a cloudless sky.

Train station midnight-train-station-21590684