What is Journalism?

If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago what Journalism was I would simply have told you it is writing for a newspaper. It wasn’t until I attended a recent talk at BBC Salford that I began to think about Journalism in more detail. I think that writing on this subject, as well as my Doctor Who blog are forms of Journalism.   In addition my Radio Documentary about the London Underground can be seen as Journalism. This job title actually spreads across a lot of platforms and areas, which leads to a bit of confusion. In my BA Course at University of Lincoln we were taught about roles for radio which included Producer, BA, Reporter and Presenter. As well as these, for a radio drama it was Director, Producer, Recorder and Editor. When I went to visit a Producer at BBC Radio 2 last summer, he actually worked under a show runner and his role did not match what I was taught. I have gone to various talks given by people in the industry and they don’t seem to even know their own titles. I suppose my point is, how can people like me who are trying to make big choices about their careers really have a clue when the role that interests us does not match what we have been taught. I suppose there isn’t an actual answer and you just have to find out when you get there.

journalism-Steve-Garfield

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Theory of Everything

Before this film I knew very little about Stephen Hawking other than that he was a scientist, in fact I had just assumed he was born with Motor Neuron disease. I saw the trailer for this and thought it seemed like a good film. In fact I had no idea how good it was going to be.

After seeing Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor in a Motion Picture award at the Golden Globes, I was expecting a brilliant performance but I was not prepared for what I saw in the film. Of course I knew that I was going to see his transition into a wheelchair but I wasn’t expecting it to be so honest and dramatic. What I think works well in this film is that the story is told from both sides as it covers his wife Jane Wilde story, which in many ways I found more powerful. You see the tension in the relationship and their very real struggle. It is an incredibly emotional film to watch, which I wasn’t expecting at all. The part that moved me the most was where his wife had to make the difficult choice for him to have surgery, which meant he would lose his voice. Then there is a scene where she introduces a board and he has to blink to indicate what he wants to say, leading to a very tearful moment where he mouths “I love you.” The very real characters and the very honest story is what makes the film so powerful.

A film such as this which deals with a real person is difficult to make. Eddie Redmayne himself only met Stephen Hawking a couple of times and I assume his disability is very difficult to reproduce, and I felt he did it so incredibly well. He portrayed his deterioration so perfectly and I do not think I have ever seen an actor use their body in such a realistic way. In addition you had the change in his voice and positioning of his head, making the perfect visual interpretation of Stephen Hawking complete.

Now as a media student I often like to watch films but I find it difficult to find something that amazes me and makes me just focus on the story. I went with my flatmate who I have mentioned is also a Masters’ student, and she was very much of the same opinion that this was the best film either of us had seen in a long time. This film was so emotional, funny and powerful I am now a bit obsessed with Stephen Hawking and have 3 of his books wish listed.

Prey vs Missing

In my recent blog entitled ‘My Top 6 TV Shows in 2014’ I mentioned Prey and Missing. They are a new genre for me to watch and whilst the storylines are not similar, they are both not the traditional type of programmes aired by BBC and ITV. They are both a lot grittier than these channels would traditionally broadcast and also visually different.

Prey

The whole idea for this is John Simms’ character has been accused of killing his wife and son and now is on the run from the police. I felt that the camera work and dialogue in this show was not heavily directed or scripted. At times there were moments between actors that felt very much improvised, which I liked as it felt natural and raw. I would describe the camera work as natural with lots of close ups and not too neat and tidy, giving it this more raw and gritty feeling. We the viewers were very much part of the action. I am also a massive fan of Jon Simms and think he played the character incredibly well. Being a 3 part series was perfect, making it fast paced which suited the storyline. Any more and I think it would have dwindled and wouldn’t have worked as well.

Missing

After watching the first episode I asked myself, is it worse to lose a child and know they are dead or to never know what happened, which was very much dealt with in the last episode. Both the Mother and Father had different views on the situation. The way in which the show went back forth was incredibly clever. At times when it was set in the past I almost forgot about the present and when they would find a lead I would think that was it. The other element that this show tackled so well was the character Vincent Bourg who was a paedophile seeking medical treatment for his illness. Now I am personally of the belief it isn’t an illness, but this whole story made me question my own thoughts. I actually felt sorry for him and almost forgot what he was. I suppose the clever aspect was having him up against the character Ian Garret who was a very sick and twisted human being. I think it was an amazing series for many reasons, but what I think made it truly brilliant was this paedophile and rape element and I am still debating the subject myself.

All in all both series are brilliant. I think what I am learning about myself is that I now want to watch something which challenges me emotionally and encourages me to be less passive, and in turn makes me question my own views.

Film 4 Christmas Advert

I apologise for this being a late blog and 2 months after Christmas but you can blame my lack of blog organisation during Masters’ deadlines, but I couldn’t not mention this advert.

If your face is not smiling from ear to ear then, well you’re clearly a bit of a Scrooge and I am not sure what will make you happy. Now in my honest opinion I like this far more than the John Lewis Monty the Penguin advert. This is simple and clever and heart warming, which is what we want at Christmas time. Part of why I love this is related to its sound. Now after doing some ADR recently, I can fully appreciate just how long it took to make this perfect with all those films singing White Christmas. Truly magical and some brilliant work from the post editors.