All 8 entries tagged Cardiff

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November 04, 2006

Mixed Media Messages

As part of the Broadcast Journalism course at Cardiff I have to do something a little bit counter-productive and paradoxical:

Blogging On-Demand

Certain lectures have to be ‘blogged’ for assessment. But as the former editor of the Telegraph website told us yesterday, you should only blog if you’ve got anything interesting to say. And when it comes to many of these lectures, I don’t.

Blogging should be from the heart, which means you have to want to blog on a subject, not be told you have to. I’d be intrigued to know if anyone has successfully “blogged on-demand”, keeping up a regular schedule of entries, or had any success in blogging about topics they’ve been told to write about.

Surely blogging is a little bit like writing a novel, and how often do novelists get told by their publishers what their next book must be about?

I suspect “never” isn’t far from the truth.

So I’m afraid you’ll have to be excused a 200-word entry on the merits of broadcasting regulation, the divide between editorial and advertising or any of the other topics on which I have no great interest in expressing a meaningful opinion on.

October 25, 2006

Hundreds evacuated after petrol leak in Cardiff

Police car in CathaysI’m only blogging this as it doesn’t appear to be on any news websites at the moment, but seems to be quite a big story.

A large number of people have been evacuated from their homes in the Cathays area of Cardiff following a petrol leak which began late this afternoon.

Petrol has seeped into the sewers and local police say the fumes are rising up into people’s homes, creating a danger of explosions.

As a result, hundreds of people are thought to have been moved to Llanishen Leisure Centre in the city, while others outside the evacuation zone have been told not to use their gas supplies or turn electrical appliances on, and to open windows.

Map of the affected area in CardiffPolice are awaiting a report from environmental health officers before allowing people back into the area. It’s not known how the petrol will be removed from the sewers or when people will be able to return to their homes.


Incidentally my house is two doors away from the police cordon, hence me being on the internet but without hot food!

October 22, 2006


Being woken at 3am by a U.F.O. is slightly scary.

However it does mean that when you realise it’s not a U.F.O., but a police helicopter shining a spotlight on your window, it is somehow reassuring.

Of course when the aliens cops are running through your garden it does remind you that a murderer on the loose could actually be worse than having an alien in your garden..

October 19, 2006

Iain Dale Lynched By Student Mob (Maybe)

Writing about web page

From Iain Dale’s blog:

I’m on my way to Cardiff to deliver a lecture on new media to media studies post graduate students and have been listening to Today on Radio 4.


What a ruddy cheek. He’s about to get an utter rollocking from the JOURNALISM students he’s about to address!

October 15, 2006

The Welsh Assembly… bit of a mess?

Offering critical opinions of a quintessentially Welsh landmark such as the Welsh Assembly is not without risk for an Englishman living in Cardiff. But [welsh joke deleted for fear of my life] so I’m not afraid…

Yesterday the Assembly building missed out in the Stirling Prize, Britain’s most prestigious award for architecture. I’m ambivalent about whether it should have won – the Madrid airport which took the prize (it was eligible because it was designed by Brits) is attractive on the inside but looks like a long car production line from the outside, so perhaps wasn’t the obvious choice.

But having visited today, I think there’s a few problems with the Assembly building, some of which were architectural and some which were not.

Interior of the Welsh Assembly buildingFirst impression is the security box which has been added on to the front so they can make sure you’ve not bought anything English in (luckily my recording device which set the machines off was made in Norway). It’s necessary but doesn’t feel like it was part of the original plans as it’s a bit of a sore thumb.

The chamber itself is very nicely-designed, but it feels like they were tight with fitting it out. The desks and chairs look like they’ll need replacing in a year’s time, and even the carpet looks a bit temporary. Notably once they upgrade their computers you can bet the new ones won’t fit in the same space.

And then there’s the architectural bit. The roof is basically falling apart. Above the chamber is a funnel leading to daylight that isn’t entirely different from that in the Reichstag in Germany (also British-designed). The key difference is that the Assembly’s ceiling is made mostly of wood rather than glass. Shaped wood.

Wood that’s been bent into curves. Only trouble is some of the wood’s snapped because it would much rather be straight, and the bits between the wood (which looks like the stuff on top of garden sheds) is poking out of the holes.

Quite frankly it’s a bit of a mess.

A Guardian article yesterday went back to previous winners of the Stirling Prize and asked how practical the buildings were (especially the Peckham library built on the fourth floor, making it problematic for the elderly).

Sadly the Assembly looks as if it might join the long list of architectually magnificent buildings which after six months hadn’t quite lived up to practical expectations, even if it does look impressive.

P.S. Just so the Welsh don’t feel like I’m picking on them, remember that the Millennium Dome’s roof kept getting holes in it when it was opened, so we’re just as inept as you are.

October 12, 2006

The Science of Headlines

Amanda Powell, editor of BBC News Wales websitesWhat makes a good headline?

According to Amanda Powell (right), editor of BBC News Online in Wales, there’s far more to it than you’d imagine, and it’s all about trying to feed you the bare bones of the story as quickly as possible.

At the moment, users of BBC News Online spend an average of 3.12minutes on the site every time they visit and Amanda says they’re trying to get you to view more stories in those 3.12mins.

How do they do this? By feeding you as much information as they can at the top of the story, and that means in the headline and the summary. As a result, a lot of work goes into getting these right.

BBC News WalesBelieve it or not, the BBC’s content production system makes you choose a headline of 31-33 characters, which is pretty precise. This is so it can work on Ceefax and mobile phones, as well as the web.

Check out this story from the Press Association:

“European Commission enters UK cheese row”

This headline seems to strike a delicate balance between describing what is essentially a dull, albeit amusing story, and grabbing the reader’s attention. The words “UK cheese row” offset the audience-killing “European Commission”.

But if the aim of the exercise is to help you read as little of the story as possible in order to understand it, is that necessarily a good thing? Aren’t journalists shooting themselves in the foot if they try and help you consume as little as possible of their work? It’s an interesting one and makes me feel reporting can sometimes be a little artless.

October 01, 2006

Land of the leek and the leak

So, I’m here in Cardiff and finally have internet access (albeit limited by my own incompetence when it comes to understanding routers).

My gosh, it does like to rain here, doesn’t it? They say that when it rains, it pours, and that does seem to have been the case so far. Luckily Rachel bought me an umbrella for my birthday so I won’t get quite so soaked as on Thursday when I was still wet when I went home at 5pm from my 10 minute walk to uni at 9am that morning. Not pleasant.

The Welsh are much more protective of their identity than us English lot. I think we’ve realised that we’re mostly a load of chavs, wasters and good-for-nothings, but the Welsh don’t seem to have realised (yet) that they’re just as bad. You’d think that Goldie Lookin’ Chain and Charlotte Church would have been a good indicator though.

As part of my journalism course we have to choose a patch such as “Cardiff Central”, “Business” or “Welsh Assembly”. It’s all very political. Some of our Welsh colleagues seem to think us Englishers wouldn’t understand the Assembly (hey, it’s bureaucracy, I’d be amazed if anyone could) and we’d probably be better off covering planning applications and funerals. They might be right. We’ll find out soon.

Welsh politics is predictably small scale because of the limits on Assembly business. Things might change next year though as its powers increase.

In the meantime, I’ll try and find some interesting gossip and laugh at Tories. Business as usual, really.

July 22, 2006


Well, not quite, but I've got a House!

At 9am this morning, I had no housemates, no house, and quite frankly, no clue.

At 9pm tonight, I have four housemates, one house and quite frankly, am sorted.

Next year I'll be living in what will probably become known as the 'Purple' House. It's not purple, but the staircase is. I'll be living with Helen, Ruth, Caz and Paddy, none of whom I had met until today, but all of whom (with the exception of Paddy who I haven't met yet, but am assured is lovely) seemed great and should make great housemates. Doing the same course will assure mutual sympathy for being overworked.

And here's a reason not to go to Warwick: the rent. You might only just realise it while you're there, but Leamington's a rip–off. For a nicer property you can pay far less (I'm on about £48 a week now) and the city seems much nicer.

So it'll be a bit late now, but my advice for people who don't have anywhere to live in Warwick yet… Commute. From Cardiff.

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