An excellent article by Jacqui Moore on the ethics that we as journalists need to consider before publishing.

JACQUI MOORE making things happen

It’s been a bad week for the media industry. A man dies as he’s pushed onto a subway track and the only help he gets is to have his last moment’s photographed. A prank call by a radio station to a hospital results in a nurse taking her own life.

As members of the media we need to recognize that we have a responsibility – our actions can have serious consequences. Something I realized starting out in documentary film-making and investigative journalism.

ethics

The subway station incident is disturbing to me in more ways than one. Nobody, not the photographer or other strap-handlers, intervened to help the victim – a decision that will probably haunt these bystanders for the rest of their lives. The photographer (who claims he used his flash to alert the train driver that there was someone on the track) said it would be morbid of him to sell…

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Only mums use payday loans – Is Kerry Katona being irresponsible endorsing the use of these high interest forms of finance?

KERRY – TAKING THE OPPORTUNITY OR BEING OPPORTUNISTIC WITH ADVERTISING PAYDAY LOANS?

Kerry Katona photocall

“It’s like going to a hotel for a weekend break and asking the receptionist what it would cost to have the room for 12 months.” (Kerry Katona, article – Huffington Post)

I was listening to an interesting package on the radio about Celebs like Kerry Katona endorsing Payday loans.

I am in two minds about this. One the one hand, in this economy, some may argue that it would be churlish for us to deny Ms. Katona an opportunity to earn some ‘dollars’ and pay down some of her own debt. Kerry’s debt-problems have been well documented in the mainstream media, as she went bankrupt in order to write off some of her debt back in 2008. Unlike the majority of people, she has managed to keep up a fairly luxurious lifestyle since then. It is much like big corporations, who go bust to avoid paying a tax or whatever and then come back re-formed and reborn. Hallelujah!

On the other hand …. Kerry Katona is a public figure. That entails a certain level of responsibility, and she is looked up to by many mums and families as an archetypal single mother who won out despite a challenging life and problems.  So, really, should she be endorsing one of the most vexatious and problematic types of loans?

According to a study by Stepchange Debt Counselling formerly CCCS (see link to Guardian article) the amount of people using these types of loans has risen, from 7,841 in 2010 to 17,414 in 2011 and 25,476 in the first three quarters of 2012. The purpose of these loans is to cover short-term difficulties, but there is evidence that many people are using them for day-day expenses, simply rolling them over, and hence trapping themselves in a cycle of debt. There is also an argument that they aren’t open with you from the start, often quoting an annual APR (annual percentage rate). How can you judge the competitiveness of a monthly short-term loan when it gives you an annual rate? I must admit the image of nitting grannies for one well-known firm (I refuse to name them because I don’t want to give Payday companies the time of day, let alone free advertising) inspires warm images of a friend giving you a hand. However, the reality is that often consumers are trapped in a cycle of ever-increasing debt.

So, back to the original question – is Kerry Katona irresponsible in her actions? I guess the answer is if you were offered a big wad of cash to promote a product that could potentially harm many people would you? I think you would have to search your conscience. And I think that is where the answer lies – with Kerry’s conscience.

Here is Kerry’s response to the criticism (courtesy of the Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/kerry-katona/kerry-katona-pay-day-loans_b_2457204.html)

NEWS@HOFF: OPINION?

But what do you think? Comment on this post – don’t be shy!

SOURCES: Guardian, This is Money, Green Nobles.

Interesting article from Iram Ramzan on the new Stalking Legislation …. what do you guys think?

iramramzan

Originally published for The Backbencher on 02/12/2012

 

ALICE (not her real name) was stalked for five years. Her stalker sent her husband poison pen letters, type- written in order to conceal their identity.  Everything was noticed and mentioned in detail: the car she drove, her clothes, the friends she had, the parties she attended, where she went, who she saw. Everything.

The letters proceeded with alarming regularity, often two in one month. Someone was out there, watching. The language was crude, offensive, personal and hateful.  It affected Alice greatly.  She’d walk through the town centre wondering, “Is it you…is it you? Are you doing this?”

Eventually, three years ago, she called the police, who she says were sympathetic. Although they made the right noises, the investigation was closed as they couldn’t find the culprit. Fingerprints were evident, but as the person wasn’t on their database the case was closed…

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Coalition of Conservative-Liberal Democrats does ‘Igsactly’ what it says on the Tin …. or does it?

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We are like Ronseal. We do exactly what it says on the tin

Oh no he didn’t (or din’t). Yes, David Cameron quoted the Ronseal ad when referring to the stability of the Coalition today. I wonder if this will mark a trend for politicians? Will we get the likes of UKIP and BNP saying “Go compare, we are both right-wing, but go compare!” or will we get the Green party going “Look how shiny we get this new green policy” (Barry Scott fans, never fear, I got the pun in).

Let’s face it, the coalition has never been the easiest of political marriages; on the one hand you have touchy-feely, hey I’m one of you guys, but hey I’m sorry I don’t follow-through on my promises Lib-Dems, and then you have we are all in it together, except when we aren’t, you plebby lot Conservatives. To ‘marry’ (sic) these two types of viewpoints there has been much wrangling behind the scenes, so that in front of the cameras it simply looks like an equanimous front (most of the time). Add to this cocktail the dithering of Ed Milliband and the Labour Party …. well, you get my point. It is a mess.

When political leaders start using well-known advertisements to reassure punters/voters that all is well, you have to start to worry for the nation. Where is the concrete proof that the coaltion isn’t for show, and that there really is a plan to get us out of this awful financial mess?

What happened to substance over style?

NEWS@HOFF

SOURCE: Ronseal Pic – http://www.navanhireanddiy.ie/index.php/paint-accessories/exterior/fences-gates/ronseal-fence-life-975.html

SOURCE: BBC NEWS

Miranda On the BBC: Unoriginal, unfunny, and uninspiring.

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…. I really could end the article with the headline above, but in an attempt to retain some fairness I will try and expand on my opinion.

I had the misfortune to catch a bit of Miranda on the BBC the other day. That was 15 of the most excruciating minutes of cliche-jokes, look at me moments and unneccesarily crude behaviour. I mean I absolutely couldn’t bear watching the entire thing. Now, I am no prude, but the tastelessness of the jokes didn’t even add any funnies to the programme, which unbelievably is in its second/third season (what???? seriously?). How did it end up winning an award from the Royal Television Society? As Mugatu says in Zoolander “I feel like I am taking crazy pills!”

The plot revolves around a central character, Miranda, who owns a cafe, but in this particular episode has decided to sell it out after falling out with her business partner. There is also a very obvious love-interest (pass me the sick bucket) and cue Miranda goofing around.

Ok, ok, I will admit one or two jokes did hit the mark. But for a show that is featured in such a primetime slot, it just felt like rehashed comedy, and especially the way “Miranda” stared at the camera, you didn’t feel like there was any real connection, just painting by numbers.

Please please please BBC can you put on something with a bit more class, and intelligence next time? Slapstick done well is hilarious. In this case however, it felt more like a slap in the face with a wet kipper. The public are tired of programmes with canned laughter, tired old versions of the same plotlines, and actors/so-called comedians who lack conviction.

Bleurgh.

RATING: 1/10

What do you guys think? Am I being too harsh?

Are we really “All in it together”? Tory Councillor doesn’t think so: Further Demonization of the unemployed and ‘working poor’

Tory Councillor Chris Steward has spoken out against food banks today, saying people should manage their money more carefully instead.

In an article by the York Press and on twitter the councillor claims that donating to food banks is counterproductive and will allow those who use them to spend the money instead on alcohol and cigarettes.

His words have angered foodbanks and the Trussell Trust which runs 275 foodbanks nationwide. They think the Conservative councillor is out of touch.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you use a foodbank? Are you angered by a Tory toff apparently out of touch with the real world? Or does Chris Steward have a point? Is it merely a case of spending less cash on booze or cigarettes?

NEWS@HOFF’s OPINION

I think this is yet another example of how out of touch the current coalition is; it is very easy to score cheap political points by again blaming ‘feckless’ benefit scroungers. I think Chris Steward needs to get his head out of the clouds (and somewhere else judging by a lot of the comments on the article and on twitter) and live in the real world. In this triple-dip recession, families on salaries that have not kept pace with inflation, who are being squeezed at every angle, whether it be utility bill, travel expenses, healthcare expenses, university expenses etc.The planned reforms for Universal Credit, which is supposed to ‘solve’ the economic crisis, but will more than likely be used as another stick to beat the average Joe with and looking at past experience will be an administrative nightmare to resolve, is also a significant worry for many households. Meanwhile the ‘working’ poor and those who find themselves unlucky enough to be unemployed, and the majority due to the challenging economic conditions, continue to be villified by Con-Lib, whilst millionaires get a barely significant nod towards tax.

Yes, we are all in it together. Except if you are poor it is YOUR fault, according to some representatives of this Government.

 

Source: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/10138097.Councillor_in_attack_on_food_bank/