A passion for for photography and digital communication with a background at the BBC and ITV.
Currently director at the School Media Club making cinema films for schools and working for Oblong Leeds a community development organisation. Also a member of All Saints Church in Ilkley and involved with communications in the parish.
This blog features posts about photography including some of my photos, while the media posts will include thoughts about filmmaking and online media - particularly to do with PR activities.
School Media Club
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I was talking with someone about mission statements today and through the post came an appeal from Amnesty International. It has their mission as set out be founder Peter Benenson. The strength of purpose makes me realise how woolly mission statements often are – this one isn’t woolly or vague in the slightest.
“only when the last prisoner of conscience has been freed, when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world’d people, will our work be over”
Seven times a day, as I work upon this hungry farm,I say to Thee,
‘Lord, why am I here?
What is there here to stir my gifts to growth?
What great thing can I do for others – I who am captive to this dreary toil?’
And seven times a day Thou answerest,
‘I cannot do without thee.
Once did My Son live thy life,
and by His faithfulness did show My mind,
My kindness, and My truth to men.
But now He is come to My side, and thou must take His place.’
From ‘Hebridean Altars’, Alistair MacLean
I’m feeling frustrated that I can’t make much time for blogging – an activity I feel is essential for my sanity and personal development. So here I am at the Woodhouse Community Centre getting Oblong’s Annual Report sorted out for tomorrow.
Two facets of my life right now are Oblong and The School Media Club. Both these activities are firmly rooted in community media and skills development. Here are the Woodhouse Community Centre we have a business road map which includes developing partnerships with media producers, media educators and channel operators. My ideal result would be to bring those learning, doing and distributing media together in one space, and I’m working hard at this. Oblong is a community development organisation and to have a solid media operation connected to it would be brilliant.
The School Media Club
The School Media Club is a growing at pace right now and I’ve teamed up with Dan Moorhouse, and experienced teacher and writer. We believe we have a great offering, particularly in participatory creative projects. We are actively looking for projects for the new year, particularly film and journalism projects to help with writing. Blogging is an area we want to develop, though we would call it online journalism. We have launched on online magazine at Our Lady of Victories school in Keighley and are looking for more schools that want to get into this.
The Department of Alien Friends and Territories (working title). At St Joseph’s Primary School in Keighley we are mid way through a big film project which involved 60 children in Year Five working as a film unit – production, set design, writing, production management, acting and so on. The scale and complexity of the project means that everyone gets something out of it and there’s maximum participation.
The project started with a mysterious smoking capsule appearing the day after bonfire night. The government sent men in black to guard the capsule which turned out to contain a message to the school from an alien race. The children are making a journey to the other planet to help save them from doom. Meanwhile, world leaders are converging on the primary school in order to capitalise on this historic mission. And so the staff room becomes the scene of international negotiations with the press camped outside the school. The film will be shown at a red carpet launch at Keighley cinema on the 19th December.
I’m not so engaged with this yet, but I have been looking at how local churches can co-operate more effectively online. It distresses me when I see the way churches and many Christians are represented in the media. But the sad truth is that the church doesn’t do enough to tell its story and make clear what it’s here for. We have a new vicar starting in Ilkley soon and I’m half hoping that he might dare to form an actual communications plan (be careful what you wish for). I’m meeting Nick Baines, the Bishop of Bradford this week so I may be inspired to develop some plan around this.
Anyway, that’s my little catch up. Hoping our paths may cross.
Just realised my 10th anniversary of blogging has sailed by, it was some time in 2002. I started my blog on Blogspot but have lost the login details and the email adress to go with it. And so my embarrassing entries are there to stay with no possibility of deleting any of it.
So what was I doing in 2002? Here are some nuggets.
Two weeks in Bangkok at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs running a training course in promotional film making. Surprise encounter with their Prime Minister. Greetings to Aranee and the others who may read this.
Churches Broadcasting conference in Swanwick with Grace doing a Labyrinth, and a session on advertising, “God Among the Brands” Then with the Grace team at a YMCA Leaders Conference in Hodderdon. John Forrest, Andrew Barr and other Songs of Praise people I miss. Perhaps I should have been at the conference on now in Manchester?
Gave a talk at the Radio Academy in Cambridge and then in Birmingham giving a talk to TV Directors about promoting the newly launched BBC regional series Inside Out.
Made a film with Reg Sanders in Sheffield starring Toby Foster leaping across the rooftops. Reg now doing great things as a 3D specialist.
Had a difficult session with BBC radio networks when we argued about TV trailers being included within the Today programme on Radio Four. Love radio, hate the divisions with TV.
The launch of the BBC Asian Network. PAMS Radio Academy awards, didn’t win anything. Tony Blackburn spoke having become king of the jungle on celebrity. Memorable meals out – Grace at the Beirodrome at Holborn and then with Pip Willson and Level 5 people at Da Marios.
Outrageous talk by Max Clifford at the PROMAX conference in Westminster, and an inspirational one by David Bailey. Team won some awards.
I love the Diamond Jubilee song’s film. In this video Sheffield based Producer Eliot Kennedy is in conversation with The Star newspaper’s digital editor, Graham Walker.
They went round the world recording the song on a small Zoom audio recorder mixing it as they went. What a great experience that must have been.
I’m reading about the Rochdale grooming trial as I’m editing a short film on the subject to be shown in Sheffield. Sheffield, thankfully, is tackling the issue but it amazes me that trafficking teenagers as young as 13 for sex really goes on, and that legal recognition of such crimes in this country seems late in developing.
We have been talking with boys and service providers to gauge the experience of these crimes and the risks to our young people. The feeling I get is that it’s not uncommon, but due to extreme violence and intimidation very few young people come forward. The grooming process in some cases is organised within a hierarchy where young people who have been abused are criminalised and used as a shield to protect the gang bosses. One person described an area of the city as something out of Oliver Twist with young people doing the bidding or older men. Young people are moved from city to city in order to isolate and control them.
I’m not sure of the statistics, but Yorkshire is thought to be a common destination and starting point for this kind of trafficking. One teenage victim said passionately that the prevalence of Facebook and mobile phones is probably a factor in the increase of these crimes. I’ve been working in primary schools lately helping very young children with creative projects and giving them some direction in online safety. It’s very apparent that many primary school children do have Facebook accounts. This must ring alarm bells.
Children particularly around the age of thirteen and fourteen have a strong desire to feel more grown up and to belong to a group and have little discernment when it comes to true friendship and they trust easily. The most heartbreaking thing about this is the abuse of trust and the calculated process that leads these horrible crimes.
I do feel motivated to do what I can to help. I’m sure you do.
I’ve been having a quick look at ITV News live news stream. This is the “radical” new presentation of her news for the web age; ITV breaking free of traditional TV, print and multipage websites. You can read the story of the revamp here on the Made for Many blog.
The way it’s described sounds revolutionary but it appears to be a set of blogs organised according to location or topic. It’s bloggyness is confirmed by the use of vimeo embedded video stories. They say that multiple sources, not necessarily from ITV, will be curated by editors (or perhaps edited by curators), “Raw news delivered in copy, tweets, weblinks and pictures” . This does sound very blog like – but without a great deal of interaction.
The concept of a live news stream is something that is very evident in the way Facebook is now being presented, their rather attractive timeline feature gives a strong sense of the stream, the nowness of what’s being posted.
I wonder if the ITV streams present a kind of editorial bottleneck? There must be quite a lot of competition for the stream at any one time – how do they decide? Do some stories get bumped down the line until they are really quite old or missed out altogether? What happens if there is no news? What does “live” mean? A sequencial selection of stories chosen for us?
It can’t be vey representative and in fact is harking back to the linear news channel idea. Of course a single “pipe’ of news can never have the capacity to contain all that’s important in the world. I can see that a continuous live stream will appeal to those journalists who want to be the first to break the news. I think this is a fatal weakness in thinking.
What I really value is a news brand that I can fully trust. This is why organisations, channels, programmes and reporters are so important. These are the identities with which the audience can build a relationship of trust. News is a selection of stories chosen by us and for us and presented in a way that reflects the editorial judgement of the author and the taste of the consumer – which can vary. The stories are crafted to be as entertaining as possible while retaining some respect for the subject and occasionally the facts. They are products aimed at a target audience. Packages rather than streams.
The live news stream will have an important role to play when there is a breaking story of speed and magnitude. The Olympics will be enhanced, no doubt. ButI see is it as an “appointment to view” facility to be used only occasionally.
I’m at the Woodhouse Community Centre this morning where two church groups are meeting. Both of the groups are taking a step of faith in that they are very new and very small in number – but with a hope that they can grow and serve the local community.
One of the groups is the new The House of Prayer which books the main hall from 10am each Sunday, but it’s just the two of them and their son. The House of Prayer Community Church is the vision of Gary and Dorothy Thomas.
They say their faith and vision is about serving the local people and supporting those in need. When I asked them how they were going to meet the practical needs of the community they said that it was something felt called by God to do and that by being faithful great things will happen.
Ironically while they are worshipping and with no idea of how things will work out, I am in the back room taking the opportunity to do a bit of planning for Oblong - and being concerned about how will will meet our targets and objectives. There is a message in here about where we put our focus. It is on how we bring everything under control or is it fixed on the vision?
I admire the committment and hope Gary and Dorothy are displaying. They don’t know where the people are going to come from! We can’t always know how things are going to turn out. In most situations we make plans based on our ability to control the outcome, but for them there is no business plan or numbers, but certainly there is passion for loving their community.
If you would like to join The House of Prayer for Sunday worship you are welcome.
Woodhouse Community Centre, 197 Woodhouse Street, Leeds LS6 2NY Sunday between 10.00am and 12.00 noon. Or call 07570 609297
Just had word from Richard Crook about Pocket Praise for iPhone. Pocket Praise is part of the Praise Pod family, a brilliant idea to reward children for good behaviour This is a brilliant use of technology to encourage children and make them feel valued and capable. Go to the Apps Store
Pocket praise takes sticker charts to another level.
With this app you can create a multimedia reward chart, capture good behaviours as a photo or movie then watch again and share successes with family and friends.
A sticker has always put smiles on faces and helped promote good behaviours. So just imagine what a talking sticker can do. . . We’ve tested it and it’s pretty amazing how things change when people use pocket praise.
Pocket praise works for everyone; so don’t just let the kids have all the fun. Why not use pocket praise as your own personal reward chart to help you reach your targets?