Month: November 2012

X-Factor Auditions

With the X-factor in full swing, I thought I would give my account of what happened on one rainy day at the Manchester auditions.

It was in fact my friend who was doing the auditioning; I was just there for moral support. The audition took place at the Old Trafford stadium, which for obvious reasons led to some excitement. This was then enhanced by the fact that I would actually get to see what happens during the auditions of a show that I have watched for years.


Picture by Claire Johnson

My Life in Books

A novel is very personal. It can capture an imagination. Take a reader on a journey. Influence thought. Be a friend, a comfort. Novels are wonderful things.

Throughout my life I have always had a overly keen interest in them. Here are the ones that I recommend. The ones that have had a profound impact on my thoughts. The ones that you should read. Right now, well, after reading this post.

1) Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited is by far my favourite. Set in the 1920s between the World Wars, it depicts a time of wealth, glamour and how it’s all to change. Waugh creates a beautiful scene of post-war glamour. The overtly descriptive prose, which even Waugh has criticised, is part of what I love about it. It sets the scene of indulgence and decadence.

The characters that Waugh has created are the perfect combination of eccentric, cynical, hilarious and beautiful. Each character has it’s unique traits that add further depth to the novel.

The story, although immensely tragic, is captivating throughout. I won’t say too much as I want you to read it. However, it does have a strong sense of nostalgia and a recurring theme of religion.

2) Harry Potter – J K Rowling

It doesn’t matter which Harry Potter book you read, as I would recommend reading them all, and then re-reading them. Her writing may not be filled with beautiful prose but she is funny, sharp and can create a world that is more magical than any Disney story.

Reading the books, you’ll be heartbroken that you can’t go to Hogwarts. You’ll never get to drink butterbeer and unfortunately Hagrid can’t be your friend. However, you will get lost in a magical world, so at least you can pretend for a bit.


Musings about journalism…

Journalism in itself is currently being questioned. For a 20-year-old studying journalism at university, who already questions everything else to do with life, the question of what is happening to journalism is proving to be quite confusing.

I have always loved magazines and I particularly love reading features. I never saw myself as an investigative journalist or someone who would go into heavy politics or generally be all that serious but with journalism being questioned, I can’t help but want to join the conversation.

People have defined journalism in many different ways. Technology, in particularly the use of blogs, has made that definition even more blurry. Just read Hugh Cudlipp’s lecture “Does journalism exist?” for an example of the hazy, yet exciting idea of what journalism is becoming.

What I’m writing, and the platform on which it is being published, is all part of it. Part of the problem, some may argue. More and more blogs such as Sabotage Times and The Culture Vulture are allowing more comment, more opinion and, some could argue, less journalism. But people are reading it, enjoying it and wanting more. So surely this writing, where we share more, is the new kind of journalism?

The debate about open and closed journalism, that which should be free and that which should be paid for, is still ongoing. There is still no answer as neither option has managed to find a business model that works. My generation are used to their news being free. We have become accustomed to not having to pay for content. This is what we have always known. Why buy a paper when twitter would tell you first? And for a generation who apparently can’t focus or concentrate, why buy a paper when twitter can tell you in 140 characters?

The thought of serious, hard-hitting journalism disappearing because no one is willing to pay for it makes me fill with sadness and despair. Yes, of course, there will be people who investigate things because they love it but people don’t always have the time. If a person is busy making a living for a family then they will not have the time to research an in-depth article. The other problem is that although there are more platforms, it is easy to get lost in the sea of content. This means that your carefully researched investigative piece could never be seen. So yes we need the big businesses; the big platforms that reach a wider audience.

Lets face it, anyone who becomes a journalist does it because they love it. They want to find out the story, find the new angle and inform the reader. No one will do it better than them because they are so passionate about it. We need to make sure there will always be the platform and place for them. Imagine a world without The Guardian, Independent, or The Times. I can’t.

It’s not all bad. It’s a challenging and exciting time for journalists. Content on the internet can enhance a piece and tell a story which otherwise would never have been seen. It can be a platform for a career or it can be an outlet. Either way, I wish you luck, I know I need some.