Week 17 Ethics Questions

What sorts of verification and accuracy standards are appropriate for material gathered on social networks?

With a greater deal of content entering the news room than ever before with the rise of trends such as citizen journalism, issues have risen such as the possibility of certain things entering the news room not being true. There is a belief that citizen journalism is “buffeted, and not to its benefit, by extreme, unsubstantiated assessments” (Chadha and Steiner, 2012). This can make it unreliable, and whilst there are many benefits to having news break quickly through the usage of functions such as social media, care must be undertaken when deciding to run with a story that may have been found by a source from online functions such as social media.

A simple way of looking to gauge whether content seen online is legitimate is by contacting the source. It may be possible to message them over social media and ask them questions about the situation that is being described. This is seen by many journalists as a good way of building connections with individuals who are at the scene of a potential breaking story, and this can therefore be an important tool for journalists to use in not only verifying the legitimacy of a source, but also looking to be able to keep up to date with potential updates that are occurring at the scene. It is believed that citizen journalism is a very important tool in journalism, and could have the potential to grow further. This could be done further through “collaboration” (Kurylo and Dumova, 2016), where the traditional news making processes collaborate with newer generation techniques such as citizen journalism in order to learn whether certain content is authentic.

Overall, it is clear that with social networks becoming a large source for news, media institutions must look to collaborate with social media platforms in order to keep with the times in the media. There are measures always to be taken in order to ensure the authenticity of news gained through social networks is legitimate, mainly through the usage of interaction.

REFERENCES

Chadha, K. and Steiner, L., 2015. The Potential And Limitations Of Citizen Journalism Initiatives. Journalism Studies [online]. 16 (5), 706-718.

Kurylo, A. and Dumova, T., 2016. Social Networking: Redefining Communication in the Digital Age. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Does a journalist need to get permission from a member of the public who’s posted material on a social network before using that material? What other rights issues need to be considered?

Many people within media institutions feel that if an individual is willing to share information with the rest of the world on a social network, it is therefore the media’s right to be able to report on content that has been put online. Belair Gagnon (2015) states there is a “tension in journalistic boundary maintenance in relation to social media.”This suggests that journalists are seen in a potentially negative manner when using content that has been gained from social media. Often journalists can be criticized for taking information from social media and placing it in stories without crediting the individual who has uploaded the photo to the internet.

In order for journalists to avoid this, a good practice may be to seek permission for certain types of material to be used. Often tweets that describe events that are going on in the world are directly quoted from journalists in their stories with accreditation to the individual who initially posted the tweet. This is also often seen when journalists use videos or photos that are taken from social media websites.Some individuals within the media industry would often encourage journalists to look to see if they have any sources that potentially have connections to the scene of a breaking news story before using content from social media due to how there is a perceived nature of amateurishness from the public often when news institutions resort to using information gained from social media platforms.

There are very complicated privacy rules on social media platforms that often allow for journalists to be able to use content from users, regardless of the users wishes to not have content they have uploaded be screened to a wider audience. There is a concern that when content is uploaded that is very newsworthy, there is a trend of “competitive journalism” (Thorsen, 2014). This is when journalists are looking to cover the content that has been uploaded by an individual in a very diverse way, and are therefore potentially making life difficult for the social media user when they could potentially feel that they do not want their content to be broadcast across the news.

It is clear that whilst journalists have a right to be able to use information gained on social networks, there is still a way to stay ethical about the process. It may be in the best interest of all parties to ask for permission, in order to build up a positive image for the media institution, as well as make life easier for the individual who has uploaded the content to social media that has been deemed newsworthy.

REFERENCES

Thorsen, E., 2014. Online Reporting of Elections [online].  London: Routledge.

Belaire-Gagnon, V., 2015. Social Media at BBC News: The Re-Making of Crisis Reporting [online]. London: Routledge.

Should a member of the public, who shares newsworthy material on social networks be credited by a journalist who uses that material?

It is seen as good journalism and ethically correct often to credit members of the public when using their material for stories. This is seen especially when using imagery, often seen differently to discourse that has been published online by a social media user. Images posted online are often guarded by a sense of ownership from the individual who has taken the photo, and whilst this may not always be the case legally, it is good practice to ask the individual for permission to use the image in order to maintain a good image for the news institution.

 

Attribution is “regarded as a key element of journalistic practice that tells the reader or viewer how a news organization knows what it is reporting, and confirms that journalists are not simply giving their own version of events” (Harcup, 2014). This shows that attributing sources of material that is gained online is an important aspect of using citizen journalism as a tool in the modern day, due to how it maintains a sense of authenticity for a news organization. It can often be seen that if news institutions are not accrediting the individuals responsible with content that has been gained from social media, the news institution would be looking to exploit other peoples work. This would be seen potentially as unfair and would damage the credibility of any news institution and therefore makes asking permission to use social media content a very important thing to do for journalists.

It is claimed that often journalists have not shifted towards a trend of accrediting their social media sources and this is only seen in areas of journalism such as sport (Pedersen, 2013). It is clear that there is much more to be done in ensuring that news institutions look to accredit their sources for content that has been used within their stories. this could potentially be done through the usage of social networking websites adding more copyright restrictions to their users content, allowing the user more power in deciding whether news institutions are allowed to use their content.

REFERENCES

Harcup, T., 2014. A Dictionary of Journalism [online]. Oxford: OUP Oxford.

Pedersen, P M., 2013. Routledge Handbook of Sport Communication [online]. London: Routledge.

Week 16 Ethics Questions

When should a person or group be identified by race, ethnicity, gender or religion?

Often when these types of characteristics are identified by a journalist, common stereotypes can immediately go to the readers mind depending on the context. This can “create bias and shape misconceptions about social groups” (Len-Rios and Perry, 20. However it must be stated that these types of characteristics are often vital when writing a story that involves a description of certain individuals. Journalists can often show full awareness that certain stereotypes of race, religion, gender and religion exist, and will therefore look to rid their work of any potential distortion.

This can be seen when writing a story about a crime that has been committed. It may often be wise to not mention information such as their ethnicity or religion due to how this may go a long way to re-enforcing conceptions about these types of cultures. However, there may be scenarios when a person or group must be identified by race or gender when looking to report a crime, in order to describe a potential suspect when assisting the police. When a reporter is in this situation, it can be argued that”it is illogical to list gender, age, height, weight, attire, and other identifying characteristics while omitting race” (Foreman, 2011) due to how identifying information such as race goes a long way to describing the appearance of an individual. Highlighting information such as religion or ethnicity in these situations may bring attention to a whole group for a crime, whilst identifying features such as race or gender is an important descriptive feature in describing potential criminals. Other cases when this information is very much necessary can be seen for example when Theresa May became prime minister of the United Kingdom, and became the first woman prime minister. This is a historic event that has much to do with the gender of the individual at the centre of the story, therefore in these types of scenarios it is important to highlight this information.

Journalist’s often have a clear obligation to outline information such as race, gender, ethnicity or religion due to how it may be newsworthy. Often information such as ethnicity or religion can be used to add context to information such as an individual achieving something, to show the background of the subject of the story. Overall there are many cases in which this type of information should be outlined by reporters, but it is important for reporters to know when this type of information is newsworthy. When describing events such as a terrorist attack that has occurred in the very recent past, journalists must refrain from making accusations about certain cultures as this enforces stereotypes, which journalists have a moral duty to avoid doing.

REFERENCES

Len-Rios, M. and Perry. E., 2015. Cross-Cultural Journalism: Communicating Strategically About Diversity [online]. London: Routledge.

Foreman, G., 2011. The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News [online]. England: John Wiley & Sons.

What is the most appropriate language to use for transgender people and people who do not identify as male or female?

Coverage of transgender people is an important thing to consider for journalists when making stories that may for example involve an interview with a transgender individual, or when a newsworthy story has broken that is based on someone transgender. Often the terminology used by journalists could add stigma to the idea of an individual being transgender, and measures must be taken in order to avoid this potential problem. McInroy (2015) stated that the “media is the predominant source where people, both transgender and non transgender, gain general knowledge about transgender issues. Thus, media representation influences and informs the general public’s attitudes.” This goes to show how important it is to take certain measures when the narrative of a story involves incorporating transgender aspects.

When referring to the gender of a transgender individual, it is important for the journalist to present them in the manner preferred by the transgender individual. The reporter must not just assume that the person being referred to would prefer to be regarded as a certain gender and if possible must look to learn the gender they would prefer to be known as. This can be achieved simply through politely asking the individual. In the modern day, most news outlets look to refer to transgender individuals as the gender they prefer to be identified as. This is done in order to make transgender people within society feel more comfortable. Stories that are produced about transgender people are conventionally “gender conforming, family orientated, non-sexual and apolitical” (Carter, Steiner and McLaughlin, 2013). This shows an idea that stories within the media based on transgender people must not be focusing too much on the reality that they identify as transgender, as this in itself does not make a story newsworthy. There should instead be more focus on the issues at hand that a transgender individual may have found themselves in the middle of and are therefore a part of the story being reported.

Overall, it must be stated that the most important thing to consider for journalists when reporting on transgender people is whether the individuals gender orientation has a great bearing on the story. In most situations, this is likely to be the case and therefore it is unnecessary to make a large deal out of the individuals gender. However when referring to the individuals gender orientation, it is important to learn the manner in which they prefer to be regarded in, and this should be the gender used to describe the individual.

REFERENCES

Carter, C. and Steiner, L. and McLaughlin, L.,2013. The Routledge Companion to Media & Gender [online]. London: Routledge. 

McInroy, L B. and Craig, S L., 2015. Transgender representation in offline and online media: LGBTQ youth perspectives.Journal Of Human Behaviour In The Social Enviornment [online]. 25 (6), 606-617.

Does the diversity of a news staff affect the diversity of issues, topics and people depicted in news coverage?

In recent years, there has been large calls for diversity not only in institutions such as the government, but also within the media. There has often been a conception that news writers tend to be white males, and therefore a great deal of the representations that have been forged through the media are based on the thinking of middle aged white men. However in recent years it is clear that there have been great efforts made by many news institutions to have a diverse range of perspectives from different backgrounds, and it can be argued that as a result, there is a more diverse array of backgrounds within the media offering a greater range of issues, topics and people depicted in news coverage.

According to Lynn M. Zoch and Judy VanSlyke Turk (1998), women tend to be used as sources for news when they are the victim of something, and even when the reporters are female, this same trend tends to be prominent. This suggests that diversity doesn’t tend to affect the general conventions of finding sources for stories. This may be down to the idea that generations of reporting from middle aged white men has ingrained many conventions to news reporting, and a large amount of diversity in the news room would not do too much to affect this.

However, it can be argued that diversity in the news room is imperative to the future of reporting. This is asserted by  Clint C Wilson II, Felix Gutierrez and Lena Chao (2012) with the idea that “most newsroom managers are clearly aware that diversity plays a critical role in the news media’s future and progress.” There have been many examples of breakthrough individuals within the news room from different cultural backgrounds to most people that used to work in news rooms. This has been seen for example with Jemele Hill, “the first woman-and woman of colour-to cover Michigan state football and basketball for a Michigan newspaper.” (Wilson II, Gutierrez and Chao, 2012). This led to a great change in how sport was covered in Michigan, and goes to show how different cultural backgrounds can add a greater array of perspectives when reporting on different stories.

Overall, with a different range of backgrounds in the newsroom, there is always likely to be different perspectives offered when reporting on different types of stories. However, it is likely to depend on how the editor wants the work framed.

REFERENCES

Wilson II, C. and Gutierrez, F. and Chao, L., 2012. Racism, Sexism, and the Media: Multicultural Issues Into the New Communications Age. New York: SAGE Publications.

Zoch, L. and Van Slyke Turk, J., 1998. OMEN MAKING NEWS: GENDER AS A VARIABLE IN SOURCE SELECTION AND USE. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. 75 (4), 762-775.

 

Week 15 Ethics Questions

When should suicides be covered?

Suicide deaths are a difficult topic to cover for journalists, due to the highly sensitive nature of it. Often suicides occur are in the public interest, this can be seen for instance with high profile deaths, and in this scenario it must be  highlighted that the cause of death was suicide. It is wise however to not highlight the reasoning behind the suicide, and instead look to highlight suicide prevention services available. Frost (2015) highlights this, stating that the disclosure of the “location of places such as bridges or high buildings” is not to be recommended. This is because of the potential risks of people plotting to commit suicide in the same location as a result.

Reporting on the issue of suicide as a whole may be a more feasible topic overall for journalists to cover. In cases where suicide has been mentioned, Massé (2011) stated that “The media are encouraged to play a constructive role by listing available mental health services, publicizing the warning signs of suicidal behaviour, and conveying the message that depression is often associated with suicide.” This means that when suicide stories are to be covered by the press, many precautions must be taken into account, and any way of publicizing support groups available around the issue of suicide must be done. This is due to how it is seen that the media could have a potentially positive impact on looking to help people who are having suicidal thoughts.

Overall, it is clear that suicide is very much a taboo topic when it comes to the media, and it must not generally be touched upon greatly. Even when suicide comes into the equation for a story that is of the public interest, the journalist must make great effort to not focus much on the suicide itself. This could be seen for example by hinting at possible reasons for a suicide.

REFERENCES

Frost, C., 2015. Journalism Ethics and Regulation. London: Routledge.

Massé, M H., 2011. Trauma Journalism: On Deadline In Harm’s way. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.

When we decide to write about suicide, how should we do so?

When suicide is being written about, it is important for journalists to take care in their wording of aspects such as the headline. This is particularly important when reporting on celebrity deaths. This is due to the serious nature of the topic and certain ways of wording stories about suicide could potentially be seen as a means of normalizing it. It is also important to avoid giving excessive detail of the suicide which has taken place. This is highlighted in section 5 of the ipso code, the code also highlights the media’s right to be able to report legal proceedings when it comes to reporting on a suicide. Highlighting characteristics of the individual(s) when reporting on suicides could also be problematic, as people may be able to identify with the people who have committed suicide, which brings about the potential of individuals following suit. This is identified by Cover (2012) who highlights “the high profile suicide of Tyler Clementi” with many news reports covering the suicide highlighting the individual being homo sexual. People who find themselves able to relate to characteristics identified about people who have committed suicide may feel vulnerable as a result.

When reporting about suicide in general, rather than focusing on an individual suicide, aspects such as a trend in characteristics should not be identified. This is due to similar reasoning for why they should not be disclosed for individual deaths, as people may feel vulnerable as a result. When reporting on a suicide, it may also be wise for journalists to look to avoid emotive words to describe the act of suicide also. This is pinpointed by Blank-Libra (2016), who states that phrases such as “self inflicted” and “takes” his or her life are fairly irresponsible due to how it implies that the victim was fully in control of the act of suicide, whilst other factors such as mental illness could have also been involved with the situation.

Overall, it is important that when reporting the suicide, little attention is brought to the actual act. It is often best to not look to report on suicides generally due to the stigma surrounding the topic, but the public interest defense for journalists is often enough to be able to report on most suicides that the journalist may deem newsworthy.

REFERENCES

Cover, R., 2012. Mediating suicide: print journalism and the categorization of queer youth suicide discourses. Archives Of Sexual Behaviour [online]. 41(5). 1175-1176.

Blank-Libra, J., 2016. Pursuing an Ethic of Empathy in Journalism. London: Routledge.

Is it our job simply to reflect reality, or do we have a responsibility to protect our readers and viewers from disturbing images?

Working as a journalist, images can often come into the newsroom that show something shocking, yet newsworthy. This has become a common dilemma for journalists in recent times, with many reporters opting to not publish material that could potentially be seen as disturbing from certain audiences due to shock that an be caused.

Images that may be deemed as shocking and disturbing are argued by journalists often to be well within the public interest. Allan (2005) states that “many of the popular and professional evaluations of journalistic photographs are driven by the impact they are thought to wield on the public.” This brings about a culture of a shock factor in journalism, and an idea that journalists look to try and shock audiences through their stories, therefore the use of emotive images that could be viewed by many to be disturbing is somewhat encouraged in many news places. The element of shock brings about a sense of reality with the story, as seen for example with the Independent newspaper publishing images of a dead Syrian refugee child washed up on a Turkish beach. This image brought with it a powerful message to promote solidarity towards refugees. The image had a heavy impact due to how it lamented an aspect of reality to the refugee crisis, it can be argued that the publishing of the images of the dead child was a powerful turning point in shifting the publics perception towards the issue. It can also be argued that in the modern day, images that certain sections of society may find disturbing are easily accessible, with the new age of citizen journalism being seen on social media. Therefore it can be argued that shocking images that add realism to an issue that is occurring within the world should be published whenever possible. This is due to the small amount of backlash likely to be seen from the public in the modern day, as well as the importance of adding impact to stories being produced.

Section 2 of the Ofcom code states that any material likely to cause distress must be justified by context. This dispels the argument that potentially disturbing images must be used when available. Whilst it is difficult to quantify what makes an image distressing, it is of the editors responsibility to make decisions based on how they feel the public may react to certain content being published. Certain images may be seen as sensitive but also potentially breach privacy for certain individuals, such as images of dead individuals, with family members hoping to keep this content private. Mortenson (2014) states that “images of fatalities is justified and explained as compassion for the grieving families in need of protection against unwanted attention to their loss.” This type of scenario shows that a level of protection must be undertaken from reporters in order to ensure images of a private manner to certain individuals are not showcased. Often images are noted as shocking and disturbing when it involves humans being harmed, and a level of protection is required from journalists due to the potentially sensitive nature of this, with family of the individuals showcased in shocking images being involved.

Overall, it is clear that journalists have an obligation to showcase shocking images in order to give more impact when looking to reflect reality. However certain codes must be complied with when these types of situations occur, such as the need for a focus on the context. Questions such as whether the image is relevant to an issue that is ongoing within the world must be addressed when looking to publish this type of content.

REFERENCES

Allan, S., 2005. Journalism: Critical Issues [online]. New York: Mcgraw-Hill Education.

Mortenson, M., 2014. Journalism and Eyewitness Images: Digital Media, Participation, and Conflict [online]. London: Routledge.

 

 

Week 13 Ethics Questions

Should reporters tell interviewees all the ways the interview may be used?

It is often difficult for journalists to be able to use content they have gained from an interview in the way it had been originally intended. This is due to how responses given from interviewees may sway the journalist to use quotes gained in a different manner, for example, a reporter may have a voice recording of an interview that has been conducted, and despite the interviewee assuming that their quotes given will be put into text, a voice recording of their quotes may be placed in a multimedia online article. Richard Keeble states in ‘Ethics For Journalists’ that an on the record interview is “conducted on-the-record and on trust.” The trust element is the key component to an interview, and the journalist must make more effort to report what has been said accurately, due to how there is no restrictions on how the interview can be used. In an age where a demand for exclusive, in depth news has grown largely, journalists often amend content gained from interviews in manners such as making up quotes in order to add shocking elements to their story. It is important that this type of behaviour from reporters is avoided as opposed to simply just making the interviewee aware of the different ways the interview may be used.

The convention of not letting the interviewee know the different manners in which the interview may be used could be seen as highly contentious. Jaber Gubrium and James Holstein state in ‘Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method’ that “The ways in which messages are mediated and formatted shape their character.” This asserts the belief that the manner in which the audience gauge the content from an interview, defines their perception of what has been said. This means that hearing or seeing an individual being interviewed would show the content gained from an interview in a completely different manner to it being simply written down for the audience to read. This could therefore argue a point that the interviewee has a right to know how their interview will be gauged by the audience, as it could play an important role in how they set their tone for the interview.

However, with there being no restrictions on how the journalists are allowed to use the content given to them from interviews, the convention of journalists not telling the interviewee the ways the interview may be used is an acceptable norm. Information that is given in interviews may give the journalist ideas of how to present the content, and they are free to choose the manner in which they do so.

REFERENCES

Keeble, R., 2001. Ethics For Journalists. London: Routledge.

Gubrium, J. and Holstein. J., Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method. California: SAGE.

How should we handle the biases of sources and avoid skewing the range of viewpoints?

It is a large criticism of contemporary journalism that most stories about issues within society are biased. This is often due to the reporters personal feelings towards an issue, which may be skewed towards a particular viewpoint. The reporter may then choose their sources in a manner which allows the story to then be skewed in a particular way. It is the role of the journalist to remain impartial when reporting on stories, looking to give a balanced view. Peters and Broesma also state in ‘Rethinking Journalism: Trust and Participation in a Transformed News Landscape’ that the media “often marginalize and exclude certain publics through source selection.” This refers to the issue of the audience being disillusioned towards certain media institutions due to their predictable stance on issues such as immigration or the economy.

It is largely down to the reporter’s personal judgement over selecting sources when looking to make a story balanced in terms of viewpoints. The journalist must put aside any personal bias and search for contributions from a variety of sources, who will give a diverse range of viewpoints to a story. In the study ‘How perceptions of news bias in news sources relate to beliefs about media bias,’ it is stated that journalists “are dependent upon sources – who usually have such opinions – in developing and presenting the story. Journalists, in most reporting contexts, finesse this problem through the convention of story balance.” It is evident that the main way in which stories are balanced out is through reporters looking to gain multiple sources, with different viewpoints, in order to give an impartial overview of the issue being reported on. It is the reporter’s responsibility to ensure the story is balanced through the sources being used. This is often seen through political stories, where it is likely that information will have been obtained by a journalist through a government official. It may be necessary for the journalist to look to gain a viewpoint from a worker within the government who is likely to have a different stance to the opinion provided by the official the information has been obtained from. This is a common practice for individuals within media institutions looking to  balance out a story.

REFERENCES

Peters, C. and Broersma, M.J., Rethinking Journalism: Trust and Participation in a Reformed News Landscape. London: Routledge

Rouner, D. and Slater, M. and Buddenbaum, J., 1999. How perceptions of news bias in news sources relate to beliefs about media bias. Newspaper Research Journal [online], 20 (2), 41.

What do fairness and balance mean in the journalistic context?

Fairness and balance is a key component to the ethical side of being a journalist when reporting on events. Being a reporter comes with the responsibility of acting as a public watchdog, which potentially adds the power to distort certain issues. The importance of fairness and balance in the journalistic context is highlighted by the Ofcom code, with a great emphasis on fairness and impartiality from the media. According to Hearns-Branaman (2016) “one major method to impeach the professionalism of individual journalists is to compare the veracity of their output and other actions to some kind of baseline standard for how they should behave professionally.” This idea emphasizes the idea that the credibility of a journalists output is largely important to justifying their overall reputation as a reputable reporter.

It can be argued that when it comes to non governmental media institutions, the ethical belief that ‘balance’ should be provided has deteriorated vastly in contemporary reporting. This is seen for example when elections are on the horizon in the UK, where large news outlets such as The Sun will announce their preferred political party, in an attempt to sway their readership in a particular manner. However, fairness is an ethical element that is still strongly emphasised by the IPSO code, where inaccurate reporting has its ramifications. The style of journalism that has been used to combat modern criticisms of news reportings being unbalanced is ‘peace journalism,’ this form of reporting looks to uphold the values of fairness and balance. Despite this it has been criticized, with Peleg (2007) noting several criticisms of peace journalism in his piece, ‘In defence of peace journalism: A rejoinder.’ A criticism noted by Peleg includes the idea that it potentially is “incompatible with the true nature of journalism and that it is redundant because it really means good or better journalism.” This idea stems from the belief that journalists should be able to comment on issues, and remaining balanced betrays the whole notion of this.

Despite this, fairness and balance still comes into play greatly with opinion pieces, with the better pieces of work using facts with substance, and addressing potential opposing arguments towards the piece they are putting forward. Fairness and balance remains vastly important in all contexts for journalists.

REFERENCES

Hearns-Branaman, J O., 2016. Journalism and The Philosophy Of Truth: Beyond Objectivity and Balance. London: Routledge

Peleg, S., 2007. In defense of peace journalism: A rejoinder. Conflict & Communication Online [online], 6 (2), 2-4.

 

 

 

The Taboo On Veganism

Feature on how changing to a plant based diet of veganism will not only be suitable for you, but the environment also.
Feature Image: By Jennifer from Vancouver, Canada (Spring Rolls at Loving Hut Vegan Restaurant) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It is easy to dismiss veganism. The perceived nature of the dietary choice is often seen as tribal, and somewhat egotistical. But are these generalisations distracting people from the possibility that if more people were to change to a plant based diet, the environment would benefit greatly? “It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact” states Nicola Glen, member of ‘Eyes on animals‘ in the vibrant surroundings of Bournemouth based vegan lounge ‘mad cucumber.’ Being in this environment on a Saturday afternoon suggested to me that diverting to a more plant based diet is becoming much more popular. This is due to how popular the lounge clearly is. With more outlets similar to this opening up at a faster rate across the UK it is clear that the dietary choice of veganism is no longer being seen as a taboo lifestyle choice.IMG_0249

Mad cucumber’s vegan cup of tea and chocolate cake.

Adopting a more plant based diet has also shown to have a very positive impact on individuals in terms of health. “I don’t think I would be able to put on weight if I tried” Nicola states as she reflects on adopting a more plant based diet. “I have friends who always come to me and moan about how they have put on 4 or 5 pounds over the last week, I always tell them switching to a plant based diet is the best thing to do.” It is clear that diverting to a vegan diet lifestyle would cut down on saturated fats due to the high amount of saturated fats in meat, cutting down on this undoubtedly helps an individuals cardiovascular health. It is often argued that becoming vegan would have serious consequences in how a plant based diet restricts protein that is available in dairy products and meat products,”absolute rubbish” asserts Mark Lawn, an aficionado in plant based diets. “There are plenty of ways to get protein and a suitable amount of it in a vegan diet with foods such as nuts, beans and soy products. The problem of getting it through meat is you get too much protein.”

There are many negative pre conceptions of undertaking a vegan diet, such as a lack of choice. When checking the labels of items that are even suitable for vegetarians it is clear that many contain dairy products. This makes the initial process fairly difficult for individuals who are changing to a vegan diet, however it is simple to realise that many nutritional and tasty meals can be made quickly with the usage of just plant based foods.

“With more people eating meat and dairy foods, there is more stress on the land because of how grain is being diverted to the west to feed animals” states Nicola. This is certainly the case when looking at China, who if their population growth and food utilization patterns continue this way into the year 2030, China will need to import twice as much grain as is currently exported today from every single country. This is due to the need to feed animals simply to have them prepared to be made into food. This alarming case certainly puts the worlds eating habits into perspective, and perhaps shows that a cut down on animal based foods is required in order to provide support for the environment. This change is also advocated by the UN, who have expressed their concern towards the systematic production of animal foods, with the concern that the production of animal foods is damaging the planet, and with the increasing population, the environmental damages are only likely to be stimulated.

CSIRO_ScienceImage_1898_Testing_Sheep_for_Methane_Production

Sheep being tested for exhaled methane production. US dairy farms are responsible for a large share of harmful methane emissions. Could an increase in the demand for dairy products from humans worldwide reverse this?

CSIRO [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The UN very much believe that the only way this can be reversed is a worldwide diet change, with less meat, fish, eggs and dairy. The UN is just one large worldwide institution that has been advocating this type of conversion in recent years, with fears of global warming being increased as a result of these issues. These concerns certainly make it fairly justifiable for an individual to try and undertake a more plat based diet, or atleast cut down on the amount of meat and dairy products being consumed. However these types of lifestyle choices are often looked at in a fairly naive manner in society. People are often dismissive of veganism as ‘weird’ and view individuals as ‘tree huggers’ for their dietary choices. This is perhaps unfair when looking at the circumstances. It is clear that whilst authoritative bodies such as UN are concerned at the rate of meat and dairy production around the world, they are certainly not doing a good job in promoting the only potential avenue to reversing their concerns. Until institutions such as the government and the UN begin to voice their concerns of this topic, individuals will continue to be frowned upon for their plant based dietary choices, despite their choice very much being the most suitable for the planet.

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Photo courtesy of ‘takver.’https://www.flickr.com/photos/takver/4177925345

Whilst it is clear that a lessening of a meat and dairy product demand would result in the environment beginning to gradually improve, there is little doubt that the demand for these types of products are only likely to improve. However with the increase of vegan outlets, with mad cucumber in Bournemouth one of the very many opening up in the UK, perhaps future generations will not view the dietary choice of just plant based food in such a taboo manner. It is clear that the health benefits can be substantial, but with many people strongly inclined to diets that may contain a great amount of meat and dairy products and feel healthy and comfortable following these diets, it is unlikely that the worldwide shift the UN is hopeful for is unlikely to happen for a fair amount of time.

Total Film Magazine

The digital and print version of ‘Total Film’ magazine are almost identical, with the digital version being available only on the app store, therefore only being available to apple product users. This perhaps narrows the scope of the magazine, with the readership very much being of an upper class audience. This can be improved with perhaps making the magazine available on other digital platforms such as computers. The lack of difference between the print and digital version in terms of content could also be improved, with the digital version of the magazine perhaps having more interactive content. This could be seen with film trailers and clips being put into the magazine when looking through it as it discusses different movies, which would be a good way of modernizing the online version of the production.

The print version is packed with content, and could perhaps be seen as too fully worded for a magazine for fans of film. There is a lack of visual elements within, such as images, which could perhaps result in individuals seeing the magazine as dull. Perhaps more links could be made to the digital version also, with a lack of promotion for the app of Total film to be seen throughout the publication. This makes a great deal of the readership fairly unaware of how they are able to access the features of the magazine in an online version also, and perhaps this should be promoted further. There is also a lack in opinion pieces throughout the magazine, with the main focus being on interviewing individuals within the film industry and reviewing films. Giving the writer a platform to voice their opinion could be greatly received by the readership, with there being many aspects of film to be discussed and debated on.

My Excruciating Football Passion

By User:Responsible? (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout my life, there has been an ever paradoxical presence, one that has given me great hope, and one that has put me through more pain than I could imagine. My closest friends can all vouch for this as they have seen first hand the pain and pleasure that has been exerted on me as a result of my association with Newcastle United. I was born into a family of non geordie accents, but very much a family of geordie origin. I was also born into an era which, looking back, makes me wish I was born earlier to experience first hand some of the moments that I witness on YouTube. This includes a 5-0 mauling of Manchester United, and a 3-2 victory over Barcelona. These moments, in particular my mother has great pleasure in stating how I was at the match, but still very much unborn.

Whilst I am very fortunate to have been born into a family who are willing to take me around Europe watching Newcastle, I also sometimes feel almost violated at having to sit and watch this team’s trying to win football games. Travelling to the Midlands to watch us get relegated at the hands of Aston Villa is a particular chapter which always resonates with me. I hid my emotional state behind my replica Newcastle shirt amid concerns I may see myself on Match of the day, potentially further compounding my misery at the events which had occurred at that particular game.

It would be unfair to state Newcastle has brought just misery to my life. in 2013, I fulfilled a lifetime ambition, travel overseas to see my team play. This dream was achieved in Lisbon as we took on Benfica in the Europa league. Seeing us score through an early Papiss Cisse goal sent my spine tingling, and despite eventually losing the tie, it remains a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life. Having the opportunity to be a mascot in an away trip to Chelsea is also an unbelievable experience the club has given me, as I had the opportunity to meet not only a boyhood hero, but someone I will view as a heroic presence for the rest of my life, Alan Shearer. Being able to talk to him and ask questions about his career was surreal. This day was marred with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup, ending Alan Shearer’s last chance to win a trophy as a Newcastle player. The fact that a day like this was eventually overshadowed by a bitterly upsetting reality like this almost epitomises my relationship with Newcastle United.

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Alan Shearer: an individual adored by the Newcastle United faithful

© Copyright Bill Henderson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

In my late teenage years of being a Newcastle supporter I have grown more disillusioned with the club than I ever have. This is mainly down to the shambolic running of the club. However it is of no doubt that for many years to come I will always remain truthful to my obligations as a Newcastle fan, which consists mainly of having to endure disappointment, but having the mindset that successful times are always possible. The elusive nature of this mentality has made Newcastle a drug to me, one which is doing me no favours whatsoever (emotionally and in terms of bank balance) yet I remain very persistent in my hope, hope that the good times that I have seen before, could come back.

Feature Ideas: Sport

  1. AFC Wimbledon’s rise from extinction to the football league
  2. The spectacle of the super bowl compared to UK sporting events
  3. How finance controls ambition in sport
  4. profile on football fan who has travelled to every Newcastle home, away, u21 and u18 game for 25 years
  5. How much of an effect is doping having on sport?

Feature Ideas: Single Mothers

  1. Profile on a single mother raising a down syndrome child. What sort of support does she receive? what troubles does she have day to day?
  2. Profile on a single mother living with her children in exile from an ex boyfriend/husband. Is it fair on the children? What are the circumstances?
  3. Visiting a single mothers support group. How does this help them?
  4. Millionaires who grew up with single mother. How much of an influence did their mother have on them? Were they inspired?
  5. Profile of children having to support their single mother sue to disability.