Week Five: Trip to Parliament

Today was a really fun day, we had a field trip at the houses of parliament in Westminster. We were given an assignment to create a VT package on Brexit.

Before going on this field trip, my group met up and discussed what angle we would want to take and our order of filming. We decided that we would focus on teen opinion’s on Brexit. At the time of filming the labour party had just backed a second referendum, meaning that younger people would have a chance to vote, thus we focused on asking teens about this when we interviewed them.

We then decided on who would do what and the order of our VT package. We decided that I would be the presenter and camera woman, Craig an interviewer and cameraman, Alessia also an interviewer and the editor and Matt would do the voice over as well as the research. 

Lastly, we created a general order of out package. We decided that we wanted to start it off with shots of the houses of parliament and then the presenter would start off talking about where we are, what’s going on and what we are going to be talking about. Moving on to shots of protestors, houses of parliament etc which will be shown with the voice over in the background, discussing Brexit statistics regarding younger people. Next would be interviews with young protestors or people around and asking them about what they think about Brexit and how they feel now that a second referendum has been backed. We would then finish up the package with the presenter concluding and signing off. We had a few other things we wanted to add in however because of time constraints we had to change it up.

The day was absolutely perfect for creating a VT package, the sun was shining and there were quite a few protestors around as well as we were there when Theresa may enter the house of commons.

The filming went rather well as we knew exactly what we wanted to do so we were just trying to get it done. However, we did struggle with finding younger people, because what we didn’t really consider was that everyone would be at collage/university. Thus, none of the protestors were young enough to use for our package but we managed to find some younger people about.

I think that out video turned out really good, it was edited really well and we managed to get quite a lot of information in the short time we had.

Later on in the day, we moved onto doing our audio files with Michael. I decided to do a walk around podcast, meaning that what I had to do was simply explain where I am and what is going on around me. I stood directly in front of the houses of parliament, where all the protestors and police were. It took me over 10 tries until I got a recording. that I was happy with.

At the end of the day we stayed around the houses of parliament for a bit to see if Theresa May was coming out and then eventually we were allowed to go home/stay/choose what we wanted to do.

Georgie

Week Five: Day of Excel

This week I was not present for the morning session with Micheal as I was helping a friend out at the hospital. However after reviewing the presentation on Moodle , I saw that they discussed ‘Finding data sets’. They started off with going over the homework and then later on went over examples of finding data sets in sources. They ended the session by going over next weeks homework.

For the afternoon session we had another Excel lesson, where we went through the rest of the examples that we did in the previous lesson. We went over one called ‘Box and Whisker Plot’ which I found particularly interesting as I had to hand draw these quite often when studying in IB. Moving on, we used real data sets from the police about different types of crimes in many areas around the United Kingdom. We learnt how to gather the main data we would need for whatever we would be doing, from the data provided as well as how to make graphs from this data. Being shown which graph would be the best to use in this scenario.

Georgie

Week Four: Brexit VT Practice

For the first session with Rebecca, we discussed the homework from the previous class. Each VT group presented our VT’s on student life to the class. We were provided with feedback from both Rebecca and the class, enabling us to make improvements in the future.

We moved onto the second part of the homework where we analysed a news channel of choice. could choose between BBC news, Channel 5 and Channel 4 news. We were given a form to fill in which had a few different questions. We had to write about the story line of the entire show. We had to talk the audio and visual elements of a specific VT. We also had to mention which filming sequences and interviews would have been planned prior to planning. Lastly, we had to discuss how much background information they provided on each story.

The entire class choose the BBC news so we all took part, I gave a lot of input about the story-line and explained what type of information they provided for each story.

The class was then split into our VT groups, done in order for us to start preparing for our VT’s that we will be making regarding Brexit. On the 26th of February, we will be going to Westminster to view a protest on Brexit. Only me and one other member of my group were present, so we started off by using SiSo to book out the equipment for the day. We also discussed the different types of angles we could take and what type of roles everyone could do.

To finish up the lesson, Rebecca gave us an assignment again in order to prepare for next week. In order to practice out PTC’s, we were given the following two complex sentences;

“Record numbers of students from China and Hong Kong are applying for places at British universities, according to official figures.”

Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) shows a spike in demand for undergraduate places from mainland China and a small rise in applications from the EU, despite fears over Brexit.”

My team mate and I both practiced doing the piece to camera as well as filming.

Georgie

Week Four: Data and Excel

In the morning session with Micheal, we started by going over the homework, as we always do. We had to write a story on a discussion between Sarah O’Connor and Tim Harford. Talking abut what they discussed, whether we agreed with what was said and if there were any reservations. As well as using this to consider how we approach statistical claims and where they could have misled us. We then had to use this knowledge to analyse a current story.

A few students discussed what they had talked about. Me not being confident when it comes to statistics, decided to stay quite.

After going over the homework, we moved onto business data. We talked about stock exchange and FTSE, currencies. Looking at some real statistics and using excel to create an infographic. Where we could view how things have changed and increased/decreased.

Next we focused on finding data stories, where we were shown a few interesting websites. An example being as ‘Strava’ which is a massive heat-map. Shown below. Micheal also showed stories from BBC news and explained how they could be made into data stories.

‘Strava’ which is an online global heat-map.

We finished the morning session off by doing an exercise. We had to find three different articles on BBC news. Talking about how we can develop the story using data sets.

For the afternoon session we had an excel workshop. We went over all the basics such as percentages and addition. We were given a few data sets and shown how to make infographics. Shown what the best one is to use for certain data sets. Having never been very good with excel, this was a really helpful class. It is always good to know the basics.

Georgie

Week Three: Intro to VT Packages

We had the morning session with Rebecca, we started off by looking at different VT packages. It helped us compare different packages and learn what the best VT packages include. An example of a VT package was one on the start of London night tubes. We also went through a long list of vocabulary, such as filming sequence, cutaways, vox pops and piece to camera. The last thing we went over are the roles and responsibilities of making a VT package.

We were then split into our VT package groups, where we were instructed to create a short VT about student life. We had to stay within the university and take around 10 shots each. My group decided to focus on student/young adult smoking. Thus we walked around filming students smoking (checking for their permission). As well as filming university signs, signs saying ‘no smoking’, the smoking area and CTV cameras.

In the afternoon session we had Micheal, where we focus on radio rather than video. We were looking at many different sources and were introduced into different sites that can help us out in the future. We were shown ‘PA’ which is a form of news archives, ‘BoB’ which is a form of website that has TV on demand. Lastly, we were shown ‘IRN’ which is another news source. We were shown how to use the website and how they would come in handy for us.

We ended the session by going over something we discussed a lot the first semester, which is in bias in journalism and how we can minimise it.

Georgie

Week Three: Too much math!

Today we started off the lesson by discussing the homework, which was comparing infographics on the state of the union speeches. We discussed most of the graphs that were provided in the presentation. A few people gave their views and which ones they had compared and what they managed to extrapolate from it.

This week I didn’t discuss what I had wrote about but I spoke about an infographic which was displayed a list of words and how much each president had used these words, which was given in a colour coordinated infographic. Green showing the word being used often and red showing that the word wasn’t used at all. I then talked about an infographic which looked at the frequency of a series of different words, these were grouped into 7 different topics, therefore showing the difference between term frequency of different presidents in their speeches. The last one I discussed was an infographic that displays words presidents have said that no other presidents have used, this infographic is in lists and thus is very different from the other two that I talked about.

Continuing with a presentation about ‘visualizing data’, we learnt about data terminology such as data point, which is one piece of data and aggregated data which is grouped or combined from several measurements.

This is when we moved onto the math part of data journalism – YAY… We discussed how to calculate the average, mean, median and mode of datasets. This was followed up by doing a few exercises to practice. We also compared what percent and percentage point is.

We went over a few examples of how fake data can be posted and how data can be posted and perceived in a whole different way if it isn’t displayed correctly. Something interesting that we were shown, is a more creative way of creating infographic, such as how Mona Chalabi from the Guardian creates her infographics. Using a more ‘self-created’ infographics with drawings.

Starting off after the break, we went over the homework which was about two podcasts that we had to listen to. The first one was ‘Mona Chalabi: How can we tell the good statistics from the bad ones?’ and ‘Alan Smith: Why do we trust intuition over even the most reliable numbers?’. A few students discussed their opinions on the podcasts. I shared one of my thoughts which was Mona talking about a survey that the US did on how many people support Jihad, it turned out as a high percentage however Mona was saying when approaching this information, she would look at the specifics such as questions and definitions. She came to see that in this survey there were two completely different definitions of jihad, one about the violence and one more leaning towards peaceful religion, which the majority defined it as. This changes the entire perspective on the situation.

Every table was handed out a number of infographics and we had to choose two of them to talk about. Discussing whether we would know what it is about without the title, we had to talk about how it looks, why certain things have been used and placed where they have been placed. Also discussing the statistics and where they are from. The first infographic we talked about is about ‘Drinking culture in Italy’ and the second infographic is ‘People in the UK spend more time communicating than sleeping’.

Georgie

Week Two: iPod Kit

We started off our introduction to broadcast journalism by being introduced to the iPod kits. Sam gave us a mini ‘tutorial’ on on what was in the kit and how we can use them appropriately.

He started off with the iPod touch itself, informing us what the code for the iPod is. As well as which are the main apps we will be using.

Moving onto the microphones, there are three different types. They all connect to the apps that we were shown previously. The first being the standard microphone. This came with an additional wire and plug that connects the microphone to the iPod. Next up was the wind-protecting microphone. This is mainly used for close range and is fluffy in order to cancel out the sound of the wind. The last microphone was the clip on microphone, which would be very appropriate for presenters. As well as if the speaker has to do anything practical as they don’t have to hold anything.

After going over all the equipment, we were put into our VT package groups and were given a short assignment. We had to walk around the London Road building and find people to interview about university. Done in order to practice using each of the microphones, my group used all three which was great practice.

For the short assignment, I used the regular microphone to interview a previous LSBU student. Matt interviewed a current LSBU student and Craig spoke about his personal university experience. Alessia did all the filming and recording. Pictures shown above.

When we got back we ended the class by going through ‘SiSo’ which is where we can book out the kit and other equipment. Sam gave us another quick tutorial, showing us how to find what we need and how to fill out the risk assessment form.

Georgie

Week Two: Doggiegraphics?

Today we started off the lesson by going over the homework that we had to do, which was writing about what stories we can extract from certain databases. We had quite a few examples, the ones we went over in class were the following: are MPs expenses, Wikileaks war diaries, Gapminder comparing income to life expectancy in different countries, and the one that I wrote about which was a scene by scene comparison of Hollywood films to their true-life events.

When talking about the one I wrote about, I discussed how I compared the site to fake news and how the data can help journalists stray away from it as well as how it can come in handy to journalists writing reviews. It gives them much more background information. These types of movies are supposed to teach those about historical events and if the movie is based off completely inaccurate facts then it gives people a whole different story compared to what really happened, making their historical knowledge mainly false.

We then moved onto discussing visualising data, we were given many different examples such as static infographics, standalone charts, scrolling stories and animation. We were given separate examples for each of these examples, thus website showing the type of data that was explained.

In relation to this we watched an animated video about the losses of WW2, which used data to comparing all the soldier’s deaths in separate countries as well as a comparison of all the civilian deaths. The use of data in this video gave a different outlook on the war, having already studied it white thoroughly, I knew most of the information however seeing it in bar graphs/ different infographics gave a very broad view. Showing how extreme the circumstances were.

An overview of different types of infographics. Taken from https://www.ft.com.

Going more thoroughly into infographics, discussing many different types. I learn that good ones to use for distribution are bubble and heat-maps and that ones I should never use in ranking are dot strip lines and bump. I also learnt that when it comes to spatial infographics, thus the use of maps, you shouldn’t immediately use maps when something is location/geographically based. There should be another reason for using the map such as population or correlation. The image above shows the types of infographics that we looked at, all having their own purposes for certain data.

Infographic on the ultimate data dog, taken from https://informationisbeautiful.net.

We took a look at some specific infographics on a website, which were all very interesting, however I took an interest in one in particular which was: ‘Best in Show: The Ultimate Data Dog’. Shown above. This compared all different dogs based on intelligence, costs, longevity, grooming, aliments and appetite. This was shown with the dogs facing different ways and the size and colour of the dogs. Although this was interesting to me because of my obsession for dogs (as well as making me sad for all the doggies that were ranked so low, they should all be in the ‘hot dogs’ section, in my opinion) the graph itself wasn’t that good, it was hard to understand, a bit messy.

Infographic on my weekly spending on the first week of September, by Georgina Blackwell.

We ended the day by creating our very own infographic, we could choose any one we liked from the table that we looked at (which I displayed earlier). We had to make it about anything in our lives that we though fit. In the end, I decided to make a pie chart about my weekly spending. Having always kept a record of the money I spend every week (as my money comes in weekly), which is split it into different categories, this was rather easy. I took the first week of September and used that as my guide. I came up with what is shown above.

Georgie

Stories hidden within databases –Are Hollywood movies true or false?

A representation of how true Hollywood movies are – screenshot from informationisbeautiful.net.

The website ‘information is beautiful’ has a page “Based on a true true story?” which analyses Hollywood films, scene by scene and states whether the events that happened in the scene are ‘true, true-ish, false-ish or false’.

Each of these options are colour coded, making it easy for the reader to see an overview of how true/false the movie is. The website has currently reviewed 17 different movies, from ‘Hidden Figures’ (74% true) to ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ (52.7% true) to ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (80% true).

How can this information be useful to journalists? What stories can we create from this data?

When movies come out that claim to be ‘based on a true story’, people tend to get a special connection to the movie as they can picture it actually happening in real life, which adds to the emotions one feels.

But isn’t it important to know how accurate the claim is? For journalists writing reviews on movies, this can be a very factual website that will help them to compare the movie, to the truth, part by part.

There is so much fake news nowadays that journalists try so hard to avoid, this data can be useful to helping journalist avoid this problem.

Georgie

Tate Modern: Magic Realism in Weimar Germany makes you feel a whirlwind of emotions!

“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands” Michelangelo

Magic Realism exhibition in ‘Tate Modern’. Taken by Georgina Blackwell.

I have never been much of an artist myself, but I have learned to appreciate it. My uncle whom also lives in London, is a big fan of art and has a Tate Modern membership that allows him to bring an extra person. We have started to visit different exhibitions together, which is great for me as he is able to explain things about the art as well as I can ask questions. We recently went to what I thought was an incredible exhibition.

Tate Modern currently has an exhibition on magic realism which focuses on art in Weimar Germany from 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Done up until 1933, the year that Adolf Hitler was appointed as chancellor of Germany.

Magic realism was invented by German photographer, art historian and critic Franz Roh in 1925 and is used to describe modern realist painting with fantasy or dream-like qualities and subjects.[1]

Having lived in the Netherlands, I studied Weimar Germany and Hitler Germany rather intently, so this exhibition fascinated me. Not only was the art beautiful, giving the sense of ‘un-quiet’, meaning a deliberately unsettling nature of some pictures and themes in Magic Realism’ such as those on suicide, but the entire exhibition was very educational.

A timeline of Germany’s history from 1919-1933. Taken by Georgina Blackwell.

The first room has a timeline from 1919 until 1933, showing the steps that changed Germany. Shown in the photo above.

You see a range of art, from massive, colourful canvases to small cartoon-like drawings. Each and every piece throws so much emotion at you.

We saw pieces that were very brutal and upsetting, with the celebration of the murder of women; ‘lust-murders’ and about suicide. Shown in some of the photos above, one where multiple people have committed suicide and the canvas is mainly red, and another which shows people being pulled into a black hole (representing the holocaust).

This theme of utter sadness and darkness was evident out throughout the whole exhibition. With paintings that were mainly done with dark colours and portraits of people with faces that would make you tear up just looking at them. As well as many paintings had skulls and people painted very skeleton-like.

Powerful women. Taken by Georgina Blackwell.

On the other hand, the photos above display positive images of powerful women. They are standing upright and have strong facial expressions.

There were a few paintings that gave a more positive vibe, trying to put a bit of humour in the paintings. Shown in the paintings above of a man making himself have a double-chin and in the paintings where a bird has come in and broken a statue, the man is searching for the bird however its right behind him.

My uncle and I noticed a theme that was an undercurrent throughout the exhibition, which was androgyny, noticed in a painting of a young man posing with makeup on, a painting of a women in a suit and in pictures of cross-dressers. This would have been viewed with much greater disapproval in the 1920s and 30s All shown above.

The exhibition has a range of themes that are noticeable which seemed to underpin these powerful emotions, namely darkness.

Another theme that we noticed was the use of straight and parallel lines, shown a painting above of Amsterdam and of a women’s silhouette without a head.

As an overall, I would definitely recommend this exhibition. The development of Art in The Weimar Republic is a very significant to Germanys art and culture.

Georgie xx


[1] https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/m/magic-realism