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November 18, 2008

Street sweeping

The government’s pledged to end homelessness in London in time for the 2012 Olympics.

I suspect this should be added to a long list of promises that almost certainly won’t be kept.

There’ve been great strides made in getting people off the street over the past ten years – the number of people living rough has dropped by 70% in the last ten years.

But whenever I’ve interviewed homeless people – and those who work with them – they all acknowledge there’s a hardcore who actually prefer life without a roof.

More importantly, they’re not all beggars, drug addicts or troublemakers. Many are the victims of crime themselves as people hurl abuse, or worse, at them on a Friday night.

This bid to ‘clear the streets’ is a noble aim, but it’s futile. And more than that, a little bit of London might be lost if this crackdown becomes too severe.

One of my former colleagues, Emily Tolloczko, did a really good piece on homelessness which you can hear here:


July 16, 2007

Douglas Hurd

Blogging has been a bit quiet recently, so I thought I’d try and make up for it by letting you listen to an interview with Lord Douglas Hurd, the former Home and Foreign Secretary.

He’s just brought out a book about his predecessor, Sir Robert Peel.

Click on the button below to listen.


February 16, 2007

The 21st Century Commandments

I’ve been listening to this new track from an outfit called Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. It’s called Thou Shalt Always Kill and it is, put in simple terms, absolute fricking genius.

Preview:

Lyrics:
Thou shalt not steal if there is a direct victim
Thou shalt not worship pop idols or follow lost prophets
Thou shalt not take the names of Johnny Castro, Strummer, Johnny Hartman, Desmond Dekker, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix or Sid Barratt in vain
Thou shalt not think that any man over the age of 30 that plays with a child that is not their own is a paedophile – some people are just nice
Thou shalt not read NME
Thou shalt not stop liking a band or comedian just because they’ve become popular
Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry
Thou shalt not judge a book by its cover
Thou shalt not judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover
Thou shalt not buy Coca Cola products
Thou shalt not buy Nestle products
Thou shalt not go into the woods with your boyfriend’s best friend, take drugs, and cheat on him
Thou shalt not fall in love so easily
Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girls’ pants – use it to get into their heads
Thou shalt not watch Hollyoaks
Thou shalt not attend an Open Mic and leave as soon as you’ve done your poem or song you self-righteous prick
Thou shalt not return to the same bar or club week in, week out, just cos you once saw a girl you’re never going to flipping talk to anyway
Thou shalt not put musicians or recording artists on ridiculous pedestals no matter how great they are or were
The Beatles were just a band
Led Zeppelin, just a band
The Beach Boys, just a band
The Sex Pistols were just a band
The Clash, just a band
Crass, just a band
Minor Threat, just a band
The Cure, just a band
The Smiths, just a band
Nirvana, just a band
The Pixies, just a band
Oasis, just a band
Radiohead, just a band
Bloc Party, just a band
The Arctic Monkeys, just a band
The next big thing will be just a band
Thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-English speaking countries as to those that occur in English-speaking countries
Thou shalt remember that guns, bitches and bling were never part of the four elements, and never shall they be
Thou shalt not make repetitive, generic music
Thou shalt not make repetitive, generic music
Thou shalt not make repetitive, generic music
Thou shalt not make repetitive, generic music
Thou shalt not make pimp my ride
Thou shalt not scream if you wanna go faster
Thou shalt not move to the sounds of the wickedness
Thou shalt not make some noise for Detroit
When I say ‘hey’, thou shalt not say ‘ho’
When I say ‘hip’, thou shalt not say ‘hop’
When I say, he say, she say, we say, make some noise
Kill me, please
Thou shalt not quote me happy
Thou shalt not shake it like a Polaroid picture
Thou shalt not wish your girlfriend was a freak like me
Thou shalt spell the word Pheonix p-h-e-o-n-i-x, not p-h-o-e-n-i-x, regardless of what the Oxford English Dictionary tells you
Thou shalt not express your shock at the fact that Sharon got off with Brad at the club last night by saying ‘izzit?’
Thou shalt think for yourselves
And most importantly of all, thou shalt always
Thou shalt always kill.

NB: The lyrics vary a bit each time.

It’s Choose Life by the PF Project. It’s Baz Luhrmann’s Everyone’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen). Only it’s much, much, better.


January 25, 2007

Huw says political 'argy bargy' is a gigantic switchoff

I’ve just met Professor1 Huw Edwards (right). Lovely man. But he’s worried.

The audience is changing. We need to know what the audience thinks and why they may or may not be watching.

Because while big news stories like the Suffolk Murders get big ratings (the same audience as big stories got in the 1980s), there’s been a large general decline in TV News watching.

Huw Edwards, speaking at Cardiff Journalism School, 25th January 2007Since 2001 there’s been a drop of 16% in the number of 16-34 year olds watching BBC News bulletins. It’s been worse on other channels and no, they haven’t all been going online.

By 2012, if current trends continue, only around two-thirds of the UK will see any BBC News. It’s currently over 80% each week.

Huw’s worried because the licence fee – which pays his wages – depends on the BBC being seen by as many people who pay for it as possible. If they stop watching, people will wonder what they’re paying for.

Another worry – for politicians, and for me as a budding political journalist – is that the public are fed up with what Huw called “political argy-bargy”. It’s a “gigantic switchoff”. And yet that’s what political reporting seems to have become. Because we care about ‘human interest’ stories. So Gordon Brown’s home life is more interesting than his five economic tests. And yet we hate seeing stories about him and Blair having a tussle. Hmm…

Audiences are fickle. And so Huw’s message was that if you watch the news and think “Why are they doing that!?”, then the answer is that it’s because – often – that’s how you want it. Their very expensive research says so.

Listen to some of what Huw had to say (1m10):

1 Professor? Yup, that’s right. He was in Cardiff to give his inaugural lecture as a Professor in the Journalism School.


December 27, 2006

Journalism by Chris Doidge

Broadcast

The future of Cardiff’s Victorian shopping arcades:
Part of postgraduate assessment at Cardiff, March 2007

David Cameron visits Wales:
Part of postgraduate assessment at Cardiff, March 2007

Disabled Services in Cardiff – Is the money being well-spent?
Part of postgraduate assessment at Cardiff, December 2006

Interview with David Davis, Shadow Home Secretary
Broadcast on Radio Warwick and BBC Radio 4, October 2005

A current affairs programme on the AUT Lecturers’ Strike
Broadcast on Radio Warwick, June 2006

Print

Comment on the Labour leadership race
Evening Standard, 10th January 2007

An opinion piece on John Prescott’s behaviour
Evening Standard, 25th July 2006

The Phillis Report – What it means for politics and journalism
Unpublished, January 2007

Blogs

An article on the 2008 United States Presidential Elections

Thoughts on the plan to have more directly-elected mayors in Britain

Chris’s blog has been quoted a number of times in The Guardian, as well as in The Times, Le Monde and on BBC News Online.

Other

A letter to the Guardian regarding their ‘Student Media Awards’
Printed in MediaGuardian, 10th April 2006


November 23, 2006

The smoking ban is going to put thousands out of business

Cardiff Central MarketThe smoking ban comes into effect on April 2nd in Wales, and small businesses are saying they’re not ready for it.

While larger hotels and restaurants are backing the ban, and expect to do quite well from it, places which have traditionally attracted smokers could lose a substantial number of their customers.

In Cardiff’s Central Market, the Bull Terrier cafe is one such business. Around four in every five customers go there specifically to smoke, but from April, they will have to go elsewhere.

I spoke to the cafe’s manager Sam Maher and asked her about the future of her business once the smoking ban comes in:

The Welsh Assembly aren’t willing to offer financial assistance. In Sam’s words “they don’t care, they’re not bothered at all”. So while many food outlets will see their custom increase thanks to the smoking ban, places such as this which have for decades attracted people because of smoking, look to have a fairly bleak future.


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