Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Spoon at Spoons

I'm all for quiz nights, one of the more eventful and enjoyable nights out either with friends, family or colleagues. Well it is when you are not last, and it is even more fun when you're not having to walk up in front of a crowded bar to collect your team's 'loser award'.

I had no say in the captaincy, I was given it. A title I had not intended to obtain, but forced upon I had to reluctantly accept. My team consisted of three close friends, along with two 'extras' who contributed whenever they felt they knew an answer. We started off brightly in Sittingbourne Weatherspoons' Christmas Quiz 2009, answering some christmas related questions with relative ease. However, round two offered more difficulty. When I say more difficulty, I mean it was mere impossible. Being asked questions on people in the 1950s is not something that attracts to a group of 18 and 19 year olds, however we attempted, and that's the best way I can put it.

It was an attempt. Rather than a spirited effort. A hit and hope job. Pardon my competitive tone, but I'm not one to stare defeat easily in the face. Don't get me wrong, I can admit defeat, but I don't aim to lose everytime. Depite our inexperience in the age category, we had a varied set of heads in my ranks, lifelong friends Matt 'Jewi' Jewiss who currently attends Chichester University, and Liam O'Donoghue who works as a financial advisor near my home town. Our other team member is 'young gun' Simon Denham or simply Denham who is a student at my old secondary school, but his area of expertise replicates the one of the other three team members-Sport!

I won't go on too much about our disastrous display as it wasn't a highlight of my Christmas knowledge. I wouldnt say humiliation of the fact I had to collect the wooden spoon for our measley 31 out of 65, more the fact that half of my town now know my team as "Meathead and the Gang". Good banter and something I've learnt to take lightly, but at the end of the day disrespecting the 'skipper' shows a lack of faith in their team-mates.

The idea of this blog post was to reveal our lack of brains, along with adding humour to the occasion. Even though our team sunk like a boat with a hole in it, the spirit of the night never faded. I enjoyed my time with the mates I've known for 14 years, and even though we've had many in the past, it is guarenteed there will be more to come.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Funny Side of Football

Over the years many incidents on and off the pitch have disgraced the beauty of the greatest sport on the planet. Even more have symbolised the true meaning of the game, with acts of sportsmanship, concern and even respect for fellow players and managers.

However, there is one individual who everybody can agree on, should and must be named the funniest footballer ever to have graced the turf. At first thought everybody may think, "Oh yeah that Thierry Henry for his funny arrogance, or Cantona for his classic celebration". Not anymore. Cantona's classic turn and stare celebration has been overtaken in the what would be known as 'Celebration Premier League'.

By who you ask? One man. Mr Jimmy Bullard. His footballing ability is one to be admired for sure, but his comedic attributes has earned him a wealth of respect across the land, and in some cases abroad.

This picture sums up the man. A simple turn-around-and-smile job was made into a marathon by the ever-extrinsic Jimmy Bullard, who managed to make a short process into a photoshoot we usually expect to see Katie Price partake in. You think the picture's brilliant, the video is even better.
His comedy on the pitch resembles a man who enjoys his work, and somebody who appreciates the situation he finds himself in-a professional footballer. Granted, thousands and even millions of players worldwide find themselves in professional football, or pushing the borders of professional football, but to be regarded as one of the best English midfielders of our time says a lot about the East London born lad.

Despite being born in London, Bullard went to school in my home county of Kent, so immediately I am a fan of the man. I am a proud Kent boy, as resembled by my previous blog supporting Joe Denly in his quest for Internatonal success in cricket. Bullard went to school not far from my dad's place of living, and started his professional footballing career at then-called Gravesend and Northfleet, now Ebbsfleet United.

However, it was in the Premier League where Mr Comedy himself made his name in the football world. Despite enjoying success at his boyhood team West Ham, and Peterborough United in the lower leagues, Bullard became the man he is today for his antics at Wigan Athletic, where he not only enjoyed vast amounts of rewards on the pitch, but off the pitch his reputation grew into something every young boy dreams of.

He became a hero-like character to the crew on Sky Sports' Soccer AM show, after running the length of the pitch to score a goal against Arsenal, after the floodlights went out half way through the match. Along with this Bullard's famous leapfrog over a crowd of players battling frantically to get the ball in a goalmouth scramble earned him admiration all across the land after falling flat on his face. It was these two particular incidents that Soccer AM changed their back door to "Jimmy Bullard's Back Door".

Evidence of Bullard's nationwide popularity is on the social networking site, Facebook. There is a group which is suggesting fans want to see the former-Wigan midfielder on the cover for FIFA 2011. What an honour that would be! A long shot, yes. After all he's going to have to beat the competition of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney, but how the world of football gaming would change if an ordinary English midfielder was to cover the world's most popular football game.

His on-field 'specials' continued at Fulham, after celebrating a goal, Bullard snuggled up to the Cottagers' mascot on the turf of he West London side-how romantic yet utterly brilliant it was. Without a shadow of a doubt, Bullard is, and hs ben for a while a contender for a midfield place in the national team. However, behind the man full of smile and joy is a fragile soldier who has been plagued by constant knee injuries, enough to take its toll even on the greatest of men. January 2009 saw him make his debut for Hull but sadly for Bullard he injured the same knee as the one he dislocated during his Fulham days, then February 2009 saw his 2008/09 season end after undergoing surgery. He returned in October 2009 but is again out for eight weeks after damaging his other knee after challenging for the ball with James Milner in a game against Aston Villa.

Bullard has three goals for Hull City. Two from the penalty spot, and a wonderful free kick against West Ham, in which he scored a brace. His other penalty was the equaliser against Manchester City, and it was at Eastlands where Jimmy's humour prospered once more. Many footbal fans may remember Hull's visit to Manchester last season, 4-0 down at half time and facing a depressing journey home. Phil Brown, the manager of Hull decided to take his players on the pitch in front of the away fans for his half time team talk. Many thought he was mad, others thought it would pay off. It didn't-the rest of the season Hull were on the brink of relegation until their final day survival. Bullard being the 'cheery chappy' he is centre pieced a circle of Hull City players, in the exact same spot, reinacting the half time team talk. However, that Phil Brown blunder seems just a memory as it is Bullard's excellence, which without a shadow of doubt has earned him The Best Celebration Ever.
The link for that video is here for anybody who wishes to watch a memorable celebration ( )
Brown took the celebration with a smile telling BBC Sport: "It was a fantastic celebration. Great comedy is about timing".

To conclude my christmas blog on the sport I love, despite being called up to England's world cup qualifiers squad to play Croatia and Andorra in 2009, he has had the option to play for Germany. In the build-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Bullard contacted then boss Jurgen Klinsmann with an interest to making the squad ater revealing that his grandmother is German.
Let's hope he chooses England, and let's hope he overcomes his injuries and fights for a place in the national side, along with a plane ticket to South Africa in June. Thank you Jimmy Bullard!

Anybody wishing the watch some of Bullard's classic moments on and off the pitch I will leave links to videos. Do feel free to watch. Very funny man!
Many Thanks for reading.


Friday, 11 December 2009

News Writing Report 11.12.09

A student from Winchester has been hailed a hero after saving an elderly man from his burning house on Monday night.

Edward Herbert, 20, climbed a ladder to get to the 84 year-old neighbour after a smoke alarm alerted him to the fire.

He said: "I just wanted to get him out. He fainted twice on me, and that was pretty scary because I feared the worst really".

The incident occurred in Chatham Road in Stanmore, Winchester, where fire crews from Winchester and Eastleigh were called into action.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service received a call at 21:17 on Monday, 7 December expressing deep concern at smoke coming from the semi-detached home.

The ladder was too short to perform a rescue, but one from a fire appliance was used to save the man, who was then taken to hospital by South Central Ambulance.

Winchester Fire Station Watch Manager Chris Roper, said: "The fire, which was in the ground floor kitchen of the property, is thought to have to started due to an electrical fault"

An enforcer was used to break down the kitchen, while other crew made up a time-critical rescue of the man.

Roper continued: "If it had not been for his neighbours and the working smoke alarm this incident may have had very different consequences"

After tackling the blaze, and saving the man from his house, the call was finally stopped at 22:32.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Media Law Lecture (Tuesday, 1 December) Revision

Chris took the decision to start a week early in preparation for our media law test. Good decision in my eyes. Very beneficial and put our law skills to the sword, two weeks early.

It was nothing we hadn't learnt before, but the benefit of going through it, 'freshening' up the information we had processed in previous weeks.
In this overview, my intention is to provide some form of revision tool for the class, rather than just a normal blog describing, informing and discussing the content of the lecture.

  1. Define 'malice'-writing down anything you know to be untrue. If malice, not allowed to defend yourself in a libel case.
  2. Define 'public interest'-PCC, prior requirement for your reporting, information that could expose
  3. Define 'innuendo'-when you make an allegation, but there is no evidence so you try to imply it (a form of malice)
  4. Define 'juxtaposition'-when a false connection is made, usually by accident
  5. Define 'defamation'-a publication that can lower somebody's reputation, with or without justification. It is something that could expose someone to ridicule, contempt or hatred, and it could expose someone to be shunned or avoided.
  6. Define 'libel'-an article/broadcast that is defamatory. IDENTIFICATION-DEFAMATION-PUBLICATION
  7. Three defences of libel-Justification, Qualified Privilege, Fair Comment
  8. You must have prior permission before setting up a subterfuge situation
  9. Define 'subterfuge'-sneakily not announcing you are a journalist, and sneakily not announcing that you are filming it
  10. Ofcom guidelines state that broadcasts are not allowed any political affiliation.
Despite it being short and just the information we learnt in the lecture I hope this provides some kind of revision tool for myself and the group, if necessary, to practice and learn from before our test next week.


Friday, 4 December 2009

Search for named missing angler abandoned

The search for a named missing man has been abandoned off the coast of Dorset since his disappearance on Tuesday, 1 December.

Osman Sharif, a Somalian has disappeared after his inflatable boat was found washed up in Hampshire.

Dorset Police's County Division Inspector Tracey Baker, said: "A police family liaison officer has been appointed and is supporting the family."

The search for the 32-year-old was called off and handed to Dorset Police on Wednesday, 2 December by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Hampshire makes stand against 'influenced' driving

Hampshire County Council has begun its campaign to increase road safety and emphasise the dangers of alcohol whilst on the road.

Across the county, the slogan "You drink, I'll drive" is being used on taxis to encourage drivers to think before driving.

Thirty-two taxis are to promote the logo, covering places such as Basingstoke, Winchester, Andover, Aldershot and Farnborough among others.

The County Council has started the campaign, which runs from 30th November for six weeks, following Road Safety Week set up by the charity, Brake.

According to the charity, in 2007 at least 15,935 people had been killed or injured in the UK by drivers who had been under the influence.

Mel Kendal, County Councillor and the Executive Member for the Environment said: " The message is simple, don’t drive if you have been drinking alcohol or taking any prescribed drugs that could affect your ability to drive safely in any way.”

The penalties for breaking the law is this way are clear. £5000 fine, banned from driving for up to a year and a 6-month prison sentence. Causing death by dangerous driving can result in a 14-year prison sentence.

Of Hampshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing unit, Sergeant John Dainton claimed: "If you’re foolish enough to drive under the influence, the chances are you will be caught."

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

News Agenda Written Analysis

The term ‘News Agenda’ is what the news is, and where it comes from. It’s a form of deconstructing the complexity of news, and analysing it piece by piece to gain a further and more detailed understanding of how news works. As a topic, news agenda also reveals the audiences and their relationship with journalists, and the age and gender of the readers of the newspaper.

Journalists have a love-hate relationship with audiences, yet they also respect the audience by making the news interesting and factual for them to read. The journalists may talk about their readers, because nowadays there are more opportunities to know who your audience is, mainly because they pay the wages. Newspapers and radio stations claim that it is tough to find an audience, but tougher to keep it due to their constant reading, and craving for fresher and more influential news. Within the news agenda, we discussed the social grading of the general public. ABC1’s deemed to be more upper middle class to lower middle class people, whereas the C2DE’s were people within the working class or on the lowest levels of subsistence.

The Independent, published in 1986 and produced by ‘Newspaper Publishing’ was created with the advertising slogan “It is. Are you?” in order to compete with the Guardian for centre and left wing readers, but also to battle The Times as a newspaper. Its main audience centres on the age band of 25-44 year olds, with 55 per cent of all ages being male readers. The source for this information can be found on the NMA Facts and Figures website for The Independent’s rate card [1]. The audience for the Independent is more within the middle class, professional people in administrative and even managerial employment.
The Independent favours to support Labour, or the left wing party as opposed to the Conservatives in the political battle for leadership, however when founded, the creators of the broadsheet at first intended to compete with The Daily Telegraph and The Times for their audience. Yet, nowadays it is seen as a left-wing newspaper fighting with The Guardian, even though it still has pro-conservative writers within the paper. The Independent also seems to take a tough stance against war stories, after rejecting the idea to go to war in Iraq, along with being against the Israeli “war crimes”. Evidence of their anti-war reporting is in The Independent back on the 7th November, where a report written by Richard Garner was headlined, “Casualties of war: how forces children bear scars of conflict”. Furthermore, the paper is well known for its positivity to the environment, evidence of this being various reports and news stories on environmental situations, not just in the United Kingdom, but worldwide.

BBC Radio Two news bulletins are usually heard throughout the Jeremy Vine and Sarah Kennedy shows, and despite being a BBC broadcast, the news on BBC Radio Two is not necessarily the same as news on, for example, BBC Radio Four. The radio station seems very sympathetic to its audience, for example, this week is the BBC Radio Two ‘Living with Dementia Campaign’ which is inviting dementia sufferers or relatives of dementia sufferers to come on the show and express their experiences of dementia, so I believe that the radio station as a whole looks to have a close relationship with its listeners. As for the news bulletins, they seem to be short and quite informative. To the point, but not too brief, because they have just the right about of information the reader needs and wants to know. As an example, today, 24th November on the Jeremy Vine show there was a news bulletin about a woman who escaped from a Kent prison, so the BBC used the news source of the police to obtain a press conference revealing any further information about the woman who had escaped. The news which is released seems to be brief on political news, and more aimed at entertainment news. On the 24th there was a brief mention on the Iraq war, yet there was a longer bulletin to reveal the release of Susan Boyle’s debut album. Despite the bulletins being short, it is the people like Jeremy Vine and Sarah Kennedy who take pieces of news, or facts of general information and analyse it to a point which interests the audience in a sympathetic, yet informative way. The audience for BBC Radio Two would be more to targeting the lower middle class population and possibly even skilled working classes to a minimum, because of their discussions on entertainment and news releases on sport. The age of their audience would be young because it covers a general variation of topics which teenagers to young adults would have a keen interest in, and I would expect the male-female ratio of listeners to be reasonably even because of the bulletin’s short and varied information being revealed. A source I found shows what actually happens in the BBC newsroom, and even refers briefly to the headlines of BBC Radio Two [2].




Thursday, 12 November 2009

Media Law Lecture-Investigative Journalism

Investigative journalism is where the journalists go off the agenda and decide the agenda for themselves. This is classed as the miscarriage of justice, where people are framed and can go to jail, the legal system has pronounced. Although, 'absence of malice' is where you can never investigate or go off the agenda where you are personally involved, and never do it to exact vengence.

One famous investigative journalist was actually on "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" the other day-Donal MacIntyre. Along with being one of the best investigative journalists in the country, he also fits in well with other Tv shows after appearing on "Dancing on Ice" where he ended up in 2nd place (a fine achievement). For more information on Macintyre or just general information about the BBC Radio Five weekly radio show presenter, here's some background information:

Investigative Journalism, which has as its focus purely private concerns such as the state of health or interesting lifestyles of public figures may not enjoy protection even if the methods used to obtain and check information conform to the 10-point test and are other wise of the highest quality. Central to this test is the idea of the public good and the public interest, and how this is to be the balance against the right of the individuals under investigation to maintain their reputation. Also, it can be shown that there is a high level of public interest in making allegations, and that they are free from malice-then there is a strong qualified privilege right to publish them-even if they turn out to be false.
Libel lawyer David Price states that qualified privilege defence is a must in stories dealing with corruption in some countries, because then definitive proof may be impossible to get a hold of because of censorship or intimidation of witnesses. Another libel lawyer offered this advice to journalists as a news conference, "Always question the reliability of your source. Log each step you take in an investigation. Get independent corroboration, and-above all-put the allegations to the accused".

One other key part of investigative journalism is the protection of your sources. Protection of confidential sources of information is perhaps the key professional duty of journalist because it is like a journalist's code of conduct, and if you give an undertaking you are required by the code to honour that, and you need to take the dientity of the source to the grave. Refusal by journalists to reveal sources of confidential information can lead to prosecution for contempt of court if the journalist defies a court order to reveal those sources.

Subterfuge is simply claiming to be someone you are not. However the in depths points on subterfuge follow here:
  • Normally you must always clearly identify that you are a reporter and that anything said to you could be published.
  • The 'on the record' and 'off the record' debate. 'Off the record' is not really much use, though it is sometimes useful to understand something and get a background briefing, yet you have no choice but to honour an off record undertaking because of the protection of your sources.
  • Taping-the rules are stark-if there is consent then everything said could be quoted. The consent, though, must be explicit and if it is, then a dictaphone in an interview face to face or on the phone (for example, "Do you mind if I tape this?") If the consent is explicit then it is moreorless the equivalent to a signed statement allowing you to tape. Chapter 19 of McNae's explains more about signed statements, claiming that if a journalist is working on a story that has the potential to be taken to court, then they should do their very best to obtain a signed statement from their witness with time and date of the interview (page 332)
  • Finally as journalists, we must not selectively quote and in a dispute. The other person or third parties involved have the right to hear the whole tape-but if there is no consent then we canot use it at all as evidence but we can indeed quote it.
Do look up Donal MacIntyre. I've done a bit of research on him, and he's quite an interesting person to read about and even study if necessary. Enjoy your weekends.


Monday, 9 November 2009

Send our boys home!

Not a topic I'm that keen on when I first pick up a newspaper, but after reading The Independent, along with information that my housemate's friend died in Afghanistan on Sunday night has forced me to resort to the blog in order to send my message across, albeit one which has been replicated over the past four or five years by the general public.

It must be an unimaginable feeling, knowing that your relative is in another continent fighting a war which now has relatively no meaning. At first there was a reason, and a fine one at that-to fight terror, but years later and now our main aim is to train Afghan forces so that they are capable of running their own country. Why should we? Who made us the leaders of their country? Regardless of their situation, and the status of it, why is it that our people have to suffer at the expense of others.
Do not get me wrong, I would respect any member of my family that wanted to go to war, but that wouldn't stop me from quite frankly "bricking" every minute of every day, worrying about their welfare, or whether they have any welfare left on this planet.

Hundreds of British soldiers have fallen in Afghanistan, and for what? For a better world, or simply at the expense of our politicians' errors? The Taliban continue to 'exterminate' every person they see that 'isn't worthy' to roam their lands, but quite frankly, "Who on earth are you?" The answer: Cowards! Forced to hide in their own lands then attack when least expected, how bold is that of somebody who is fighting for what they believe? When I used the word exterminate, I found it topically humorous. Any Doctor Who fans would agree with me when I relate the Taliban to the Daleks. Full of hate and anger, and killing for no real cause or belief-just because they have received an order from a man who has never experienced happiness, so then uses all his power possible to destroy the happiness of others. The Daleks never truly experienced emotions, and the same can be said for the Taliban. No emotions, no feelings, nobody to love. How sad to know this is true.

When my housemate from upstairs revealed the news on Sunday that her best friend's boyfriend had been killed, it stunned me (and trust me it takes a lot for that to happen). The thought that somebody I know well has just been taken from this world, and with no real purpose as to why. Yes he was fighting for his country and may God reward him in his later life, as well as all our other troops, but my main question is what are we fighting for now? Our main target of 'trying' to resurrect the security of Afghanistan recently came back to haunt us after an Afghan police officer shot five of our men during a joint training operation. Then escaped on a motrobike which had been waiting for him, this more or less sums up the irrelevance of this whole operation, and along with that, the controversy of our troops being shot down by allied forces a couple of years ago is barbaric.

Okay people reading this may believe me to be a naive young man who still has a lot to learn in life-well I agree with you. I do have a lot to learn, but isn't life about learning constantly and increasing our knowledge, and one main thing I urge within this blog post is please send our boys home!
Enough is enough. The old saying of "If it ain't broken don't fix it" doesn't apply because Afghanistan is monumentally broken. However, why try to fix the unfixable? Pardon me for my use of metaphors and similes in this serious blog, but Afghanistan is like Humpty Dumpty-a fragile object which breaks easily-it is already broken and has been for years, and now our best idea is to just leave it and it's terrain and return for the sake of our people, and even our economy. Indeed the recession is worldwide, but do we really think we would be in such bad a state had we not gone to war?

To all our troops fighting for our futures, and even the futures of innocent Afghan people-Thank you. You have the support of the whole nation, and let's pray that one day, you ALL will return home.


Sunday, 8 November 2009

Media Law Lecture-Copyright

Chris introduced this subject of law by calling it "the most boring of the whole module". Yet after the lecture I'd have to disagree. I was quite interested by the facts we were taught, and in my opinion was the best law lecture we've had so far. Indeed many of you may be questioning this, but isn't every person entitled to an opinion?

Copyright is the branch of law that entitles journalism to exist as a business. Development of effective copyright law is the key to the entire industry. Without copyright law there could be no profit, since giving up the rights to copyrights is the way in which we are able to charge money for our work. Any work you do belongs to you until you sell the result of that work to somebody else, and this includes physical work (for example, Chris' garden shed), the provision of a service and to intellectual work such as Journalism.

We then learnt that journalists are more likely to license their work in return for payment (while retaining the ownership of that work). This would work in 3 ways:
  1. If on the staff, fully employed with legal employment protetcion of a newspaper or broadcaster, where almost always your contract of employment will state that you surrender the rights for your work to be exploited. However, the 1988 Copyright Act does reveal that you have 'moral rights' in which you must be identified as the author of the work in question.
  2. As a journalist, you can negotiate a different contract of employment which gives you some rights to money if your work is re-sold. Normally of course the employer will pay less wages if you retain the rights (more likely if you can be a freelance journalist). What this means is that you retain the rights to your work, and license the use to publishers either: exclusively (in return for a lot of money); or non-exclusively (for which they will pay less money)
  3. The 'rip-off'' idea. This phase originated in the 1960s music industry when music publishers would have a pad of buy-out contracts in recording studio groups like The Who. They signed these contracts and recorded their songs for wages.
One thing that was explained to us, was that all commercial rights to any work that we produce on our university course belongs to the university. Any intellectual property in seminar papers or essays belongs to the university, and the university can specify how such work is used. This brought up the question of our blogs. Are they ours? Or is this material we partake in the rights of the university? I'd like to hear the opinions of the group. Who do you think our blogs belong to, and who should they belong to?

Copyright only applies to work that has been done, and doesn't apply to ideas. There is no copyright in facts or information, or in particular numbers or words. In order to be protected by copyright, a piece of work must be original and it must be a substantial piece of work, although sometimes there will be an implicit license to reproduce Crown Copyright material (for example, a press release)

"Lifting" or fair dealing is when:
  • There is no copyright in the facts of a news story, though the actual words are protected by copyright. The reason is that the actual way in which the news story is written is the work of the journalist, as are the actual words in the quotes and as is the interview which may have been taken.
  • An example is a football match. The result is not copyright, but an interview with a footballer IS copyright and that belongs to the person who did the interview.
  • You have to have heard the actual quote yourself. You should not give the impression that you have because that equals MALICE
To finalise tonight's delayed post on Tuesday's lecture of copyright. There is no copyright in ideas. In practical terms you are very safe in re-doing old stories.


Thursday, 29 October 2009

Simeon Jackson-One for the future?

Many of you reading this may not be entirely sure who this young man pictured is. Yes his name may be mentioned within the title, but has anyone actually seen him enough to class him as a footballer they commonly know. How often football fans dismiss the quality of 'lower league' players, and how often we underestimate the heights they can all reach. Three years ago Jackson was ploughing his way through non-league football under the watchful fans of Rushden and Diamonds, but now he's taken gigantic steps into realising his dream of one day becoming one of the best strikers in England.

To give a brief background on him, Jackson is a twenty-two year old Canadian international who was born in Jamaica. He currently plays for Gillingham in Coca-Cola League One, the team who rejected him at the age of 15 after having a trial at the club. After this he remained in England where he had further football trials at Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City in 2005. He signed for Gills for a fee of £150,000 in January 2008, and made his senior debut for Canada in 2009, scoring the winner against Cyprus.

Jackson signed with no league experience, and the pressure of the highly expecting Gillingham fans, who had craved for a proven goalscorer since the days of Bob Taylor and Marlon King. Meek efforts from Congan Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu, Gary Mulligan and Georges Ba had frustrated the Medway faithful, but the arrival of manager Mark Stimson in 2008 and his signing of 'Jacko' has added a new lease of life.

His impressive record at Rushden of 65 goals in 40 games attracted the eyes of many, but it is his ferocity in front of goal in the blue shirt of the Kent side that has alerted bigger clubs such as QPR, Leicester and even Premier League sides Everton, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.

Monumental displays in the 2008-09 season, including the 90th winner in the League 2 play-off final against Shrewsbury at Wembley sparked joyous scenes. Jackson also impressed in the play-off semi final against Rochdale where he scored both goals to send Gills through to their 3rd play-off final in their history. In January though, his reputation grew massively with an amazing display of skill and speed to turn Aston Villa's Zat Knight and rocket a shot past the despairing Brad Friedel in the FA Cup.

I was a season ticket holder at Gills for three years, as ticket prices at Chelsea thwarted me from visiting Stamford Bridge on greatly wanted regular occasions. Many players have come, and even more have departed, and I despite my negativity towards the Canadian in his early days at Gills, I've grown to love his natural prowess in front of goal. Given half a chance in front of goal and 9 out of 10 times Jackson would convert it into another goal to add to his ever-increasing tally. I was wrong to judge him so early on, because performances of the highest quality have led me to believe that Jackson can become one of the best in England. For a small man, his heading ability is fantastic, and his control, skill and all round forward play is beyond belief for a 22 year old who has only had one and a half years to grasp the intensity of league football.

Three goals in his first season quickly became 22 in his second, and now third in the 2009-2010 season, Jackson kickstarted his individual campaign with a season opening hat-trick against Swindon, then a further 8 in just 16 games. 11 goals in 16 games is a fair record, and two of these goals came against Championship's Plymouth and the Premier League's Blackburn Rovers.

Is he ready for the step up to the greatest league in the world? Maybe not quite yet, but certainly in the next three years we can expect to see Jackson become a more prominent figure in the Championship, and then the Premier League for sure.
For all you football fans out there, regardless of which team you support, remember the name Simeon Jackson. He has a lot to offer to the game, and anybody interested after reading this blog please do feel free to watch this video from youtube which shows Jacko's first 25 goals for Gillingham Football Club. Enjoy!


Sunday, 25 October 2009

Qualified Privilege and Locke Seminar

In reporting of courts, you automatically have qualified privilege defence when repeat, publish or broadcast defamatory remarks. Also, it requires immediate publication with no errors or malice (Malice can be lack of balance), you never have AP as a journalist, though in practice if a report is free from error and published immediately, then qualified privilege confers a similar degree of protection. A journalist has qualified privilege at a range of other public events, so long as he or she allows the defamed person to deny it in the same report. Furthermore, if all 10 points of the Reynolds Test, plus the interest of the public, then you are entitled to qualified privilege in making defamatory allegations outright, without quoting somebody who is protected by AP.

An example of this is the Reynolds Defence, in which a report claiming Reynolds had misled Irish government failed to include an explanation from Reynolds himself, so the former Prime Minister instigated the defamation act.


The courts have been reluctant to extend the defence of qualified privilege to provide the media with a public interest defence. However in 'Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd', the House of Lords recognised the "high importance of freedom to impart and receive information and ideas" and observed that the "press discharges vital functions as a bloodhound as well as a watchdog".

Reynolds' ten point test forms a curriculum of high quality for journalism which should enjoy a deree of legal protection. The court was to take into account the following 10 matters:
  1. The seriousness of the allegation
  2. The nature of the information (and the event to which subject-matter is a matter of public concern)
  3. The source of the information
  4. The steps taken to verify information
  5. The status of information
  6. The urgency of the matter
  7. Whether comment was sought from the claimant
  8. Whether the article contained the gist of the claimant's side of the story
  9. The tone of the article
  10. The circumstances of the publication (including its timing)

The Locke seminar provided inspiration, debate and at times humour in a constructive hour of discussion. It was based upon the set reading of "Epistle to the Reader" and the person who was John Locke. Another two seminar papers were required, this week from Karen Purnell and Hana Keegan (two people who have been given the nicknames "Purnell" and "King Kev" by myself and my astute friend Jake Gable).
Both seminar leaders provided insight and vision, explaining the background of Locke's life, linked with the reading. This sparked an imediate debate from within the group, the first coming from Jake who managed to lie about a certain pool series we had recently played, claiming he won convincingly (despite me winning the series 10-1). To move away from the irrelevance of my pool dominance, along with discussing our role without a government, I managed to mention that this is how More's 'Utopia' was formed. Without a set government or law-abiding code, 'Utopia' was formed by merely the random selection of educated men, and we came to conclude in random discussion that tis is possibly what would occur if we were to have no government or leadership. It begged the question whether we even needed a government to run society. Couldn't we just adapt and learn on our own, and if so, where would our rules come from?
Locke was considered to be the first ever empiricist who believed that knowledge came from experience, and not innate ideas. I have to say, I agree with this philiosophy.

Many thanks, and enjoy the week.

Monday, 19 October 2009

London Underground-Oh deary me!

The first thing I'm going to ask is; "Who does this bloke actually think he is?"

That was my initial reaction after watching this appalling video I found at 01.37am between Sunday and Monday. It sickened me, and quite frankly the worker shouldn't be suspended, he should be sacked!
The report also brought to my knowledge something I hadn't known before-that prices are on the increase, yet a day after Mayor Boris Johnson announced this, a tube worker is shouting at elderly people and threatening to harm them. This should not be tolerated.
This worker (or "Stroppy", as I call him) is a perfect example of a power hungry person, who thinks he has more authority than what he actually does. What gives him the right to call someone "jumped up little git" and then threaten to "sling him under a train"? It is beyond belief!

Yes it can be argued that we don't know what sparked the malicious verbal attack, but regardless of the situation if that is the attitude and the verbal I expect to receive next time I visit London, then I'd prefer to walk.
I am not usually a person who thrives on fury, but after reading this, and watching the video, I was angry. Even Boris Johnson had his say on Twitter, claiming he was "appalled by the video", which by the way, wouldn't be seen if it wasn't for businessman Mr Jonathan McDonald, who also expressed his discontent and mere confusion in the BBC article.

What does everybody else think? Is a suspension a deserved punishment, or should he be forced into, let's say, 'an early underground retirement'? What gives an Australian man in an orange jacket the right to threaten an old British man on his journey through the capital?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

HCJ theory-John Locke

John Locke is an extraordinary person. Not just because he was known as the first ever empiricist, but for the events which happened during his life. Locke's life crosslinks many historic events which go down in famous history. For example, there was the British Civil War from 1641-1651, along with the dictatorship of Cromwell, The Exclusion Bill Crisis (1678-81), and also the installment of James II in 1685 as King, although it wasn't announced at first that he was Catholic. Furthermore, Locke's father had fought for the Parliamentary Army against the Royalists.

At the start of the lecture Brian (or as I call him, "The Workhorse" due to his footballing abilities) revealed his intentions to cover 'Social Contract' and 'Human Understanding'-both being linked to the reading on Locke. A social contract is an agreement between people and its ruler. The ruler is chosen, and given huge power, this power comes from the people in order to give it to the ruler, also known as the mortal God.

Locke's 'Treatise of Government' involves two ideas. The first treatise of Government attacks the concept of the 'Divine Rights of Kings'. The second stems from Locke's opposition of James II and Hobbes-is the state of nature where everyone enjoys natural freedom and equality but obey natural laws (The natural laws were moral laws which every man knew without thought-right and wrong). Brian also informed us of the manual for a revolution, which included Locke's proposition of a concept of government by consent and limited by laws-its powers mainly used for the protection of property. Locke insisted that taxes could not be levied without the people's consent, and he believed that citizens could rebel if their government refused to respect the laws of nature (this links to the tyranny of James II during his reign). This suggests that Locke felt we were entitled to the right of revolution, like it was one of the rights of men.
It raises an interesting question. Can we revolt? And if so, to what extent can we revolt? I believe that we can create some form of revolution to fight for the rights of the world, and to defeat the wrongs, but any revolution without sufficient evidence of tyranny and corruption should be a crime.

Human understanding is a complex issue and Locke believed that our understanding comes from our experience which is worked on by our powers of reason to produce 'real knowledge'. This is against the innate ideas of Plato and Descartes. Locke formulated that reason consists of 2 parts:
  1. An inquiry into what we know with certainty
  2. An investigation of propositions which it is wise to accept in practice, although they have only probability and not certainty in their favour.
Locke thought that God had given mankind the ability to discover knowledge and morality so that innate ideas were not needed. He also claimed that when matters of faith go beyond reason and experience-individuals should be guided by private revelation, but these revelations should never be imposed by the church or state.
Mr John Locke saw himself as a "humbler under-labour" who cleared the ground for scientists such as Newton. Newton was arguably the start of enlightened science after discovering the law of gravity, three laws of motion, infinitesimal calculus, and modern optics in the same time period when the plague was rampant during his university days.

The link provided is the story of Newton's inventions and discoveries. Worth watching as it adds further knowledge to what we already know regarding Newton and science.


Monday, 12 October 2009

Harmy excluded as Strauss considers a rest

The winter cricket season has begun. England travel to South Africa before facing off against Bangladesh in a test series, one which captain Andrew Strauss has said he will consider missing to "have a break" from the cricket scene. Despite a humiliating defeat in the one-day series against Australia after our Ashes victory, the one-day team bounced back to show some impressive performances in the ICC Champions Trophy, however we were knocked out by the Aussies in the semi-finals.

Strauss has always been a cricketer I've admired. Not just his captaincy but his all round play in the field and most importantly with the bat. Seeing him crunch boundaries through the covers sends shivers down my spine, because there is no thought process, he just does it. He connects beautifully, and on form is arguably the best batsman in the cricketing world. Not only that but over the past years he's been considered the first name on the team sheet, playing 67 tests and scoring over 5000 test runs so far during his illustrious career. Okay yes I may sound somehwat biased, as he can never be compared to the batting talents of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, but England now need that player to idolise in absence of Andrew Flintoff. With Pietersen's form inconsistent and Jimmy Anderson a more intrinsic player, Strauss is, to some extent the player who can fill the entertainment boots of 'Freddie' Flintoff through the responsiblity of captain.

So with the skipper considering taking a break in February, who will be the ideal man to temporarily replace him in the side. There are many options. Pietersen, if back to full fitness, will no doubt regain his spot and Ravi Bopara retaining some form during the one-day form of the game, he has a point to prove after losing his number three spot during the Ashes. The impressive 2009 form of Warwickshire's Jonathan Trott was greatly admired by many all over the land, and his county teammate Ian Bell returned during the series against Australia to fill the void left by the then-injured KP. All are fantastic candidates to replace Strauss in the series against Bangladesh, but there is one man who shouldn't be forgotten. Kent opener Joe Denly made his international debut during the ODI series against Australia, and despite getting out for a golden duck to arguably the most intimidating bowler on the planet in Brett Lee, Denly recovered and played some well constructed innings', even if the side did lose the series 6-1.

Again feel free to question my bias, after all I am a Kent-boy myself, so nothing would please me more than to see our very own young-gun play (and succeed) against some of the finest cricketers on the planet. Denly's domestic success has been largely helped by Kent captain Rob Key who's had differing experiences at international level himself, but the combination of youth and experience has lifted Kent back into the Division 1 County Championship and led the side to three 20/20 finals days (one of which they lifted the trophy), and a Friends Provident trophy final.

Is Denly ready for the international stage? In my opinion, and the opinions of many cricketing greats like Sir Ian Botham, Michael Atherton and Bob Willis, he is. I think it's time to give him a chance like Alistair Cook was. Especially in a series against a Bangladesh side, who quite frankly must be expecting defeat after losing 4 consecutive times on English soil, Denly should and must be given the chance. Credit to the selectors for choosing him the one-day internationals, a form of the game which Denly blossoms in, but his experience on the Test arena is vital to the future of English cricket.

As for the bowling department, I'll keep this short and sweet. I rate Harmison highly, but the selectors (the apparent experts) do not. I think if somebody like Onions or Anderson were on awful form then the Durham seam bowler would be England's main strike bowler, but as it goes, Anderson is ranked in the top 10 bowlers in the world and Onions has been taking wickets for Durham all year. I don't think it's the end for Harmison, he needs to keep plugging away and his chance will come again. There have been arguments that he's lost his pace and aggression (mainly during the 06/07 Ashes in Australia). What do i say to those critics? Rubbish! Harmison was influential in the 2005 Ashes victory and it was Harmison who effectively gave the advice to dismiss hot prospect Phillip Hughes from the Australian test side. During the England Lions' match against Australia, Harmison claimed Hughes' wicket in both innings and then advised the England selectors who passed this message onto the England bowlers to dismiss Hughes when it mattered.

I said I'd keep the bowling department short, but one piece of sad news is that former England bowler Matthew Hoggard is now a free agent after being released by Yorkshire after 13 years at the club. Piece of advice to any clubs interested in him this winter, "Sign him up!"
His England days may be over, but domestically he's still a huge threat and if Hoggard was to quit the game in the same year as Vaughan and Justin Langer then cricket is losing the legends that once were. Something which cannot afford to happen, not yet anyway.

Many Thanks, Gman!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Court Reporting

Apologies to all my blogging fans for the somewhat delayed blog this week, I have let you all down and endeavour to make up for my wrongdoings. My main intention is to cover the Media Law lecture and HCJ seminar (both on Tuesday), one of which I had to deliver my seminar paper to Group A (or as Jakey Gable calls us "The A-Team") and our forever-amusing leader, Mr Chris Horrie.
Our second lecture was on reporting of the courts (obvious by the title), and included lots of various information regrading the different types of courts that our astound country has to hold. But first, we were introduced the basic legal principles. These being:
  1. Presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt
  2. Justice seen to be done-accusation of law-breaking must stand up in court
  3. Evidence based-Right to have evidence tested by an independent jury of fellow citizens (Magna Carta)
In the absence of a written constitution, freedom of speech has depended upon the two main constitutional bulworks, and these are: jury trial, and prior restraint rule. Chris also mentioned the judge's role and it is very largely to 'arbitrate on admissibility of evidence and advise on points of law and procedure'. Over my many years of education I have rather been known as Mr Information than Mr Explanation, and already I am starting to feel this court blog is doing exactly the same. But without information, how can everybody learn and refer to the mountain of notes throughout our prestigious bible 'Mcnae's essential law for journalists' and the detailed passages of our lecturers.
One thing that caught my extreme attention during Tuesday morning's lecture was the function of each court and which type of people and cases they deal with. Criminal courts deal with the whole community, whereas civil courts only settle individual disputes. Magistrates and Crown courts deal with criminal law offences but their functions differ from one another.

Crown Court functions are:
  • to try arrestable offences sent for trial by magistrates
  • to deal with cases sent for sentence
  • to hear appeals
Magistrates Courts' civil functions deal with:
  • Family matters, such as husband and wife. This is where the media are largely omitted.
  • Divorce matters where there are restrictions on reporting
  • Child Welfare matters have same principle for the press as divorce.
No details of an actual court case may be reported, apart from names, ages, address, occupations, charges, names of the counsel, and the date and place of the Crown Court hearing.
Media Law is an interesting topic. It is currently requiring lots of attention and focus, as my fellow students all know. However, after weeks of knowledge on law I feel positive that we will gain a sense of experience on the topic and journalism as a whole. In the words of Sheila on Friday after our shorthand lecture, "It will take time, but once you grasp it, it's so good to have". To my fellow students, remember to keep 'plugging' away. And eventually it will happen it will click. One person you have to look at for evidence is my dear friend Jake Gable. He keeps plugging away at pool against me, but he has got nowhere. He is losing 7-0 (Haha!) However, his time will come, he may pull one or even two sets back if he is lucky.
Enough of the jokes and the banter, the serious message I'm trying to get across here is that we have to try. Any difficulties then we ask for help. Over the next three years we have to act like a team in order to succeed.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Padang in turmoil at the force of nature

It was a reality check for me today when I bought The Guardian. To think how lucky I was to be at university in one of the greatest countries in the world, when thousands of people are struggling to survive the effects of arguably 2009's strongest natural disaster.

The death toll has apparently risen to over 800 people, although The United Nations fears that this figure could climb to well over 1000. Another 600 are feared dead after being buried by rubble and landslides in three Indonesian villages, but the reality is that any sign of life has or is quickly fading away.
The earthquake, which occurred two days after a tsunami hit the islands of Samoa, has shocked the world into action with Australian naval ships sending aid on boats, and British servicemen being flown over from Gatwick and Heathrow airports to help rescue any survivors.
I don't intend to earn any hero status, but if I had the opportunity, I would bust a gut to be there now helping those poor unsuspecting civilians. Yes, unsuspecting. It begs the question as to whether our technology should be going to warnings systems and the survival of the world's citizens instead of new fancy cars and 'ultra-fast' planes.

If so much money is already being spent on warning technology, then why isn't more? Why are there not already breakthroughs or some form of solution? I'm not saying a whole planetary region can be warned, all I'm saying is that it will give people an option to respond before being caught.
My heart goes to the victims and their families. Tragedies may kill a portion of mankind, but the spirit of humans will never be destroyed.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Gritty performance, the right result, but rightfully Ancelotti isn't impressed

Can't say I blame him. I mean being a Chelsea fan I'm obviously pleased with the result on Wednesday away to Apoel Nicosia, but performance was close to shambolic. I would have thought that after our embarrassement at the DW Stadium in Wigan last weekend we would have shown more of passion to repay the fans, but I saw none of this.

I agree with what Dominic Fifield of The Guardian had to say, "This was a nervy and, at times, lacklustre performance". Chelsea looked disjointed, and possibly threatened by a below-par Apoel, who had former Blues player Nuno Morais starting in a defensive midfield role. I'm not too fond of criticism towards Chelsea from anybody and quite frankly I do become annoyed, however I can always admit when the team deserve to get criticised and on Wednesday night, they were in all honesty, appalling.

Ancelotti has experienced his first Premier League defeat.
For all Chelsea fans it would seem a repeat of Phil Scolari's reign last year, dropping his first points after about five or six games in. Ancelotti's side have responded well with a win in Cyprus, however his main worry has to be a disappointing display, especially with the crunch game against Liverpool coming up Sunday. The Italian manager, won three Scudettos and two Champions' League titles with his former club AC Milan, adds a wealth (no pun) of experience to the Chelsea staff. Yet, he is another foreign manager who has yet to be tested against the intense velocity of the English game. Do I believe in him? I want to, but he needs a true test. The community shield counted for nothing as both teams had players missing, but a match against one of England's alleged "Top Four" is, in my opinion, vital to how will progress in this country.

One thing I do greatly admire of Ancelotti is the relationship he formed with Milan club captain Paolo Maldini in his time in the Italian capital.

Whilst browsing the internet I found this link :

Maldini was questioned about Ancelotti just after his move to Stamford Bridge, and the former Milan captain exclaims that to see the big Italian holding a Chelsea shirt "left its mark on him". One sign of the blossoming captain-manager relationship is plain to see on the web page but also throughout the many years of success at the San Siro.
It will interest me throughout the course of the season as to whether a similar relationship can be formed with John Terry, the early signs are good. They show confidence, trust and above all, respect for one another. But I wonder how long it will take before something cracks and the real test for Ancelotti will be if he has the mental stability to control it, whilst at the same time producing the results highly expected from the club's fans and the hierarchy.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

"All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal"

My title brings up an interesting point, not just a point, but a debate. Who agrees with this logic? Realists? Philosophers? If I had my say, I'd agree with the syllogistic logic that is shown. It makes sense, but there is room for argument because Jesus was a man, however he was reborn or brought back to life, so there is room for arguments on the counts that despite being a man, being immortal can be present.

I'm not going to lie, philosophy isn't my strong point but it has to be done. I was intrigued by Raphael's painting that Brian put up during the lecture, it wasn't just a symbol of philosophy and wisdom, but one of knowledge, something which immediately caught my attention. The two men in the middle are Plato and Aristotle, arguably two of the great legends of ancient philosophy. Exactly, they are now only legends. Possibly forgotten. Many theories have since been released which rejects their views, mainly the physics of Aristotle. It begs the question whether modernisation can take place on any form of knowledge whether it be football to in this philiosophy. Galileo for example was a scientist on the dynamics of moving objects, and Betrand Russell sees him a key person in the shift from middle age philosophy to what we call today modern science. It was Galileo who developed the telescope and it observed many things, including mountains on the moon (something which has rejected the physics of Aristotle).

One key interest during the lecture was the information on Descartes, or as I like to call him, "Des-cart-tees", a man who is widely regarded as "El Padre" of modern philosophy (pardon my Spanish). He was a mathematician of 'realism' and 'idealism' and claimed that mathematical problems only existed in the mind. Arguable, however he raises a valid point. What if the very world we live in is just a problematic issue of maths and the unknown? Who's to say that what we believe is false, and what is real is nothing but a mathematical problem? Descartes did this. He separated 'thought' and 'matter', matter exists whereas thought is some form of belief or the beginning of matter. Either way, Descartes completely abolishes the works of Aristotle, along with Galileo, Newton and Francis Bacon. Descartes used doubt to create the problem that what he believed to be true was in fact a lie. He used only facts as truths and didn't allow for thinking to cloud the realities.

It came to me at the end of the lecture, and something I asked myself later that night. As a society, do we react to daily life from our thoughts, or do we use truths to live in a Utopia?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Media Law (Lecture 1)

At first I was concerned as to what to expect when I walked through the doors of the Tom Atkinson building, although my anxieties were quickly settled by the presence of my good friend Jake Gable, or as I know him, The Gooner. Before the actual lecture itself we embarked on setting up our blogs, which in theory allowed for myself to write this current post.
I think the course was put in perspective during the lecture when Chris exclaimed there is a possibility I could be sent to prison for contempt of court, something that I do not aspire to during the years I am alive. This crime can range from taking any recording equipment into the court room, to misquoting or harassing a witness or member of the jury, and I for one do not intend to throw away my years in some cell.
Chris also talked about libel laws, and the fact that the United Kingdom has the most hostile of them on the entire planet. The prospect of being sued thousands of pounds (something I don't have until I fulfil my dream of winning the lottery) doesn't really appeal to me.
I did learn two new things in this lecture though. Firstly, I obtained the knowledge the High Court is separated in three divisions: Queen's Bench, Family Division, and Chancery Division. The Queen's Bench deals with civil and criminal jurisdiction, whereas Family Division sees such cases as divorce and matters regarding child welfare, and the Chancery Division sorts out issues of complexity such as disputes over property settlement; and bankruptcy. The second thing I learnt in this lecture is that crimes are divided into two main categories: these being arrestable and non-indictable offences, and that crimes only offences against the state of the public in general, whereas civil law is classed as disputes between citizens.
Was my first lecture what I expected? I'm not going to lie, it was exactly what I expected. Not just the opportunity of greater knowledge, but furthermore the reality of today's media world.

Gman enters the blogging world

After a week of expectation, the blogging has finally commenced. I am Gareth, or as my friends know me, Gman. I live in Sittingbourne, in Kent, and I am 18 years old, whilst studying single honours journalism at the University of Winchester.