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Channel 4 News: Obama picture by Welsh photographer goes viral

April 20th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting

A photo taken by award-winning cameraman Dai Baker to highlight the ‘For Luca’ campaign has gone viral on Twitter.

As Channel 4 News reports here, Baker snapped a photo of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office while visiting the White House to accept the new photographer’s association award, having smuggled his mobile past security.

The ITN photographer from South Wales was raising awareness for the ‘For Luca’ campaign, which aims to raise £1.5m to buy prosthetic legs for a three-year-old with meningococcal septicaemia.

After an interview with Baker’s local paper, the South Wales Argus, his stunt attracted the attention of news outlets around the world, as Baker told Channel 4 News.

It’s quite surreal appearing in the Huffington Post, the Mumbai Mirror, and some foreign newspapers I can’t even read.

Baker has been a winner at the White House press awards for six years running, this year claiming prizes for best day feature, best magazine feature, best news features, and best special report/series.

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Jon Snow receives degree 40 years after expulsion

July 20th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Journalism

Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow returned to university today to receive a degree 40 years after being expelled.

Snow studied law at Liverpool University from 1968 to 1970, but was kicked out after a rooftop protest against the university’s investment in South Africa during apartheid.

The protesting students demanded the removal of Liverpool University’s chancellor Lord Salisbury who they accused of sympathising with white regimes in South Africa and what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

Snow – who went straight from volunteering in Africa to university – was one of hundreds of students who occupied the institution’s Senate House.

The infamous newsreader says that he is glad he was expelled, as it prevented him from becoming an “extremely mediocre and wonky” lawyer.

He wrote today:

To this day, I have not had a degree. I was studying law. Academe had not been an easy path for me, but my studies were going well. Whilst in some ways eviction served me well in that I didn’t become a fifth-rate lawyer, in other ways it left me questioning whether I would ever have got the degree.

But today Liverpool University and I buried the hatchet. I had the honour of hearing the pro vice-chancellor read out a eulogy about me – or rather, about a man I didn’t really seem to recognise, some character who reported for Channel 4.

From henceforth, no more ‘Mr’ Snow. I am Dr Snow, honorary Doctor of Laws (Liverpool University). Coming back on the train, I had relished the experience. But Somalia beckoned, the Murdoch mayhem beckoned. Another day, another dollar.

The full post is at this link.

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Budget coverage: what to expect

Tomorrow Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will make his budget statement to the House of Commons, with media outlets busy preparing to cover in detail its contents tomorrow. So what have broadcasters got planned?

A brainstorming session at Channel 4 along with the help of Ben Marsh, the developer behind #uksnow map, has resulted in Cutsmap, a crowdsourced map to track spending cuts as part of Channel 4’s coverage of the budget. The map launched today, and you can read more about it here.

Meanwhile, Sky News Online is planning to offer a budget calculator to allow people to enter details such as their salary, age and fuel usage, to see how much better or worse off they will be following the announcement.

The ITV News website will host a live web chat starting at 12.20pm, featuring a panel of experts who users can question and interact with online.

BBC Radio 5 Live will cover the budget by ‘adopting’ two towns and following how the announcements will impact on residents’ lives over the coming year.

“We chose Chorley and Falmouth so we can look at how two places, 350 miles apart and with very different economies, are affected by the same policies. Who’s struggling and who’s doing well?” Stephen Mawhinney, Radio 5 Live’s head of news said in a release.

Mawhinney added: “We’ll be in regular contact with the people of Chorley and Falmouth, asking for their thoughts and experiences on everything from interest rates and jobs to the price of food, the prices of fuel, and the price of a university education – everything which affects how they live and how much money they have in their back pocket.”

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Channel 4 News: BSkyB deal explained, Jeremy Hunt grilled

March 3rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Business

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt today cleared the way for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to purchase the 61 per cent of BSkyB it does not already own, for around £8 billion. As part of the deal, Sky News will be spun off to an ‘independent’ company.

Here, Channel 4 News picks over the details of the deal and grills the culture secretary over the issue of media plurality, which many believe to be under threat.

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New Dispatches phone-hacking investigation to air tonight

Dispatches is following up on its October phone-hacking investigation tonight with a new installment.

Channel 4 News presenter Alex Thomson tweets that there is “furious re-editing” underway “as new evidence comes in of News International dirty tricks”.

According to Thomson, “it’s not just the tabloids Dirty Secrets…”

Tune in to Channel 4 at 8pm tonight.

More on phone hacking from Journalism.co.uk.

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Phone-hacking on Dispatches: a good documentary but not enough new evidence

October 5th, 2010 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Press freedom and ethics

Following the Twitter conversation around last night’s Channel 4 Dispatches on phone-hacking, Andy Coulson and the News of the World, it seems that for those already following the story there was insufficient new evidence.

But for those less aware of the ongoing claims and the series of investigations that have been conducted, the programme did a great job of putting the most recent claims – sparked by the New York Times’ reports in September – into context with what has gone before, starting with Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire’s arrests in 2006.

Dispatches had comments from Paul McMullen, a journalist working at the News of the World when Coulson joined, and an unidentified source who worked under former editor Coulson while he was deputy editor.

Both alleged that phone-hacking did not begin and end with Goodman and Mulcaire. McMullan told the programme that there was surprise in the newsroom following Goodman’s arrest and sentencing that no one else had been charged.

Of 13 people who worked at the paper during Coulson’s editorship or time as deputy editor and have spoken to Dispatches, not one believes that Goodman was a lone “bad apple”.

Questioning Coulson’s “collective amnesia” and rulings by the Met Police and other industry groups that Goodman and Mulcaire were the only people involved in the practice may not be new, but Dispatches did a good job of raising some new points, as yet largely uncovered by the mainstream media. In particular, the programme spoke with a non-celebrity potential victim of phone-hacking, who explained how difficult it has been to get information from the police and her mobile phone operator to check if she had been hacked.

Concerns were raised by interviewees, including Brian Paddick, who is calling for a judicial review of the Met’s 2006 inquiry, and DCMS select committee member Adam Price, who had suggested that News International’s Rebekah Brooks should be made to give evidence to its phone-hacking inquiry, that whatever the truth behind the allegations about the extend of the practice, the way in which investigations by government and the Metropolitan police have been conducted suggests that the News of the World may be “above the law”.

Tom Watson MP, who worked on the department for culture, media and sport’s select committee inquiry into allegations against the NOTW, told Dispatches that he considered giving up politics after a senior News International journalist told him that he would be pursued by its titles after he called for Tony Blair’s resignation in 2006 because of the support of News International for the then PM.

Watson has now published a letter on his website written to the Prime Minister and asking him to make a statement in parliament this week about the allegations against his communications director Coulson.

Coulson has repeatedly denied knowledge of phone-hacking at the News of the World and told Dispatches he had nothing to add in response to its broadcast.

Lack of press coverage at the time of Goodman’s arrest suggested similar goings-on at other papers, said Dispatches’ host Peter Oborne last night. But given the Daily Mail columnist’s involvement and the featured commentary from former News of the World journalists, Channel 4 and the Guardian, has last night’s broadcast created a more united front amongst the press to investigate its own state of affairs?

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Jeremy Hunt: Providing local content should be condition of broadcasters’ licences

September 28th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Business, Politics

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt will say today that he intends to make the provision of local content a condition of the licences given to commercial broadcasters like ITV, Channel 4 and Five.

In a speech today to the Royal Television Society, Hunt will also tell those channels with a public service broadcasting remit (PSBs) that retaining a prime position in the Electronic Programme Guide or future equivalent would depend on their commitment to “content with a social or cultural benefit”.

I will begin the process of redefining public service broadcasting for the digital age by asking Ofcom to look at how we can ensure that enough emphasis is given to the delivery of local content.

Of course not all PSBs will want, or be able, to be local broadcasters. But I’m determined that we should recognise the public value in those that do.

Echoing the sentiments of his party’s ‘big society’ idea, Hunt will warn broadcasters about not investing in local news:

If we remain centralised, top-down and London-centric – in our media provision as in the rest of government – we will fail to reflect the real demand for stronger local identity that has always existed and that new technologies are now allowing us to meet.

Hunt will add that he has been “strongly encouraged by the serious thought that the BBC has been giving to how it might partner with new local media providers”.

He is expected to say that, despite the UK “fast becoming one of the most atomised societies in the world”, those looking back in the future will see its media as “deeply, desperately centralised.”

They will be astonished to find that three out of five programmes made by our public service broadcasters are produced in London.

They will note that there is nothing but national news on most of the main channels, beamed shamelessly from the centre.

And they will discover token regional news broadcasts that have increasingly been stretched across vast geographical areas – with viewers in Weymouth watching the same so-called “local” story as viewers in Oxford. Viewers in Watford watching the same story as viewers in Chelmsford.

Hunt will also set out his vision for local TV provision:

My vision is of a landscape of local TV services broadcasting for as little as one hour a day;

Free to affiliate to one another – formally or informally – in a way that brings down costs;

Free to offer nationwide deals to national advertisers;

Able to piggyback existing national networks – attracting new audiences and benefitting from inherited ones at the same time;

And able to exploit the potential of new platform technologies such as YouView and mobile TV to grow their service and improve their cost-effectiveness.

In June, Hunt scrapped plans for new local news networks set up by the previous government. Hunt called the plans for Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) in Tyne Tees and Borders, Scotland, and Wales “misguided” and claimed they “risked turning a whole generation of media companies into subsidy junkies, focusing all their efforts not on attracting viewers but on persuading ministers and regulators to give them more cash”.

Read Jeremy Hunt’s RTS speech in full here (PDF)

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Live chat on careers in TV production

April 12th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

To mark the launch of a new internship scheme, Channel 4 is taking part in a live Q&A session on the Guardian’s Careers website today from 12-3pm.

Jo Taylor, head of learning and 4talent; Alison George, learning and organisational development specialist at Channel 4; and representatives from several independent production companies will be on hand to answer your questions about breaking into the TV industry.

To take part visit the forum at this link.

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#askthechancellors: How important was the digital audience in the UK Chancellor debate?

Last night I enjoyed lurking on the Twitter backchannel while watching Channel 4’s Ask the Chancellor debate – trivia mixed with observational insight.

I liked Evening Standard journalist Paul Waugh’s tweet about George Osborne’s ‘invisible pedal’ left-foot habit, as much as the economic 140-character analysis and Channel 4’s live poll via tweets, as the Chancellor hopefuls and incumbent fought it out (Vince Cable was the eventual winner, with 36 per cent; leaving Osborne and Darling with 32 per cent each).

Twitter also gave us an insight into the Channel 4/BBC political debate rivalry – spotted in tweets between Channel 4’s Faisal Islam and Radio 4’s Evan Davis. This, from Islam, for example:

amused by @r4today s licence-fee funded sniffiness about #askthechancellors Obviously nowt to do with this: http://bit.ly/aoc4MH

Probably worth noting this too, spotted via @the_mediablog:

RT @DominicFarrell: Those who will decide the #election were watching Coronation Street #askthechancellors

That was a sentiment supported by this morning’s TV stats: Brand Republic reports that Ask the Chancellors peaked at 2.1 million, while 9 million watched Eastenders.

So how important was this backchannel and the digital audience? That was the question Jim Naughtie posed to POLIS director Charlie Beckett on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme (audio at this link). Beckett said:

I think the real winner (…) despite some of the media cynicism, was in a sense ‘democracy’. I detected a lot of people who were quite pleased to hear a lengthy debate in detail, in public, by these people.

Beckett elaborates here, on his blog:

It all makes for much richer, multi-layered reportage. The TV debate alone would have been worth it. But the fact that tens of thousands of people were taking part reminds us that citizens do care about politics. And they want to be part of reporting the debate as it happens.

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BBC News: Gordon Brown agrees to TV election debates

December 21st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Events

The UK is ready for its first ever televised leader election debates following an agreement between the three main political parties and BBC, Sky and ITV, the BBC reports.

Labour’s Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg have agreed to go head-to-head in a series of three debates.

Each clash will last about 90 minutes, with ITV’s Alastair Stewart hosting the first and Sky’s Adam Boulton the next.

Full story at this link…

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