Social Media- Reflection

As part of my self initiated I agreed with Ash Foster that I would start a Facebook page for the Hull FC Cobus Communications initiative because I am very aware of the rugby league presence on there.

As an admin for two rugby league based pages on Facebook, and a member of many others, I see how much traffic they attract and have outlets to share the new one around.

The one that appears to attract the most people is a page for which I am an admin called Everything Rugby League. This is a page that was set up by a rugby league supporter in Australia some years ago.

It currently has an audience of 141,000 and gets hundreds of new followers most, if not every, day. Being part of this team of admins has also given me a very insight into how to run such a page.

A page I set up myself called Loyal Old Faithful is still in its infancy a bit after having only been set up at the end of 2014. It currently has 439 followers and receives new ones fairly regularly and its audience is expanding.

There are other pages of which I am merely a member like Hull FC fans forum and rugby league supporters club that are all in 4 figures for how many followers they have.

The page I set up for the community champions currently has an audience of 160 people, which I am sure will expand as more things get posted on it, especially if I can get hold of Ash and he says yes to putting the documentary I made on there.

Hull FC fans forum page Loyal Old Faithful page Everything Rugby League page Community Champions page

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Meeting with Ash Foster

My first meeting with Ash Foster went very well and we have made some exciting plans for the project which will see me getting some very exclusive access to certain people about the community champions initiative.

We have resolved to make a 20-30 minute documentary about the initiative, showing how it works, following the children who are benefiting from it on a match day from being picked up in a bus, taken to the KC Stadium, being fed, watching the match and being returned home afterwards.

There will also be at least one story a month put on the club website which will continue beyond the end of this project.

I have been asked to promote the crowdfunding and the JustGiving page on social media and include interviews with, and videos of, people who are taking on challenges for sponsorship for the initiative.

I am also going to produce a 20 page supplement about the initiative which will be printed by the club and distributed possibly at a home game and/or through the clubs retail outlets.

Social media is obviously very important to the project so it was decided that I would set up the official Hull FC Cobus Communications Community Champions Initiative Facebook page due to the large rugby league community that is very prominent on there, Twitter may be involved as well at a later stage.

There will also probably be short videos with Hull FC players promoting the initiative that will go online on the Facebook page and the official club website.

Research into use of news mobile platforms

Having been asked in this CATS session to research the increase in use of mobile platforms for news consumption, here are some interesting facts and reviews I have found online.

DigitalTrends.com says that in the last year Facebook have announced Instant Articles, Google launched an Open Source Platform for Publishers with Twitter and Apple announced its own Propriertary News app.

It continues that there were major updates to news apps by Flipboard, Yahoo, LinkedIn and AOL too and then gives opinions on the 18 Best News Apps for iPhone and Android.

I also found a 2014 report by Ofcom on news consumption in the UK.

The report stated that news consumption in the UK said that consumption using Internet or apps rose from 32% in 2013 to 41% in 2014.

This was particularly evident in the 16-34 years old age group where use of Internet and apps had risen from 44% in 2013 to 60% in 2014.

Three times as many 16-24 year olds consume news through Internet or apps compared to the over 55 age group (60% to 21%)

It would seem women are more likely to consume news on TV than men (78% to 73%) but men are more likely than women to use the Internet or an app for news consumption with this being the preferred method for 44% of men compared to 39% of women.

AB socio-economic groups, 58%, are much more likely to use Internet or apps for news than DE socio-economic group, 25%, are.

Since 2013 there has been an increase in the number of people stating that a website/app is their most important news source as evidenced by 14% using them in 2013 compared to 21% in 2014.

The biggest pointer to the demographic using this method is that 45% of 16-24 year olds say that a website or app is their most important news source which leads me to the inevitable conclusion that it is very much the younger age groups who are accessing news online or on an app.

Essay- Do We Have A Free Press 800 Years After Magna Carta?

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Beatrice Evelyn Hall.

The question of the freedom of the press has raged for hundreds of years and shows no signs of coming to an end just yet.

At this time, hundreds of years after the end of state licensing and taxing of journalism, do I, as a student journalist, believe we have a truly free press now? No definitely not, for which I have reasons that I will lay out in this essay.

My first problem with press freedom is that it seems to be controlled too much by the government and judges who have either their own agenda (in the case of politicians) or the interests of celebrities (in the case of both) at their root.

Another problem seems to be that certain parts of the media appear to have forgotten about news reporting and are more obsessed with celebrity gossip and sensationalism.

Something else causing public mistrust of the press is the narcissistic tendencies of tabloid journalism with reporters who, with absolutely the best will in the world, sometimes seem to see themselves as the answer to a particular problem like a war or a natural disaster rather than just reporting the facts as they present themselves.

Everybody was rightly horrified at some of the practices employed by the press such as phone hacking, Lord Justice Leveson was charged with the duty of holding an inquiry into the practices and ethics of the press from which he produced his report for Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012 but was it, as Mick Hume claims in his book There Is No Such Thing As A Free Press, “An act of state interference into the affairs of the British press”?

During the proceedings overseen by Lord Justice Leveson there was a parade of several celebrities such as Hugh Grant, Steve Coogan and Max Mosley, all victims of the phone hacking by the now closed down News of the World, systematically humiliating tabloid journalism (rightfully so in some cases).

But what actually constitutes a truly free press and, more importantly, what constitutes a state controlled press?

It can certainly be argued that a truly free press is able to do its job of reporting what is in the public interest without fear or favour and without people quoting the Leveson report at them at every turn, whilst being professional and balanced.

John Wilkes (1725-1797) was a Member of Parliament and Lord Mayor of London but also a radical journalist who fought for free speech and press freedom and it’s thanks to him that journalists can report on what is said in the Houses of Parliament today.

He was thrown in the Tower of London as a prisoner and expelled from Parliament on several occasions but he was extremely popular with the public and was able to overturn his expulsion from Parliament.

It is true to say that the press do enjoy certain freedom that maybe others don’t, such as absolute privilege and qualified privilege and the now changed/abolished Reynolds Defence but of course there are certain things that we can’t report on such as people’s personal privacy and matters of national security.

Having said that it seems gagging orders are almost the latest celebrity ‘Must Have’ item as shown in the action taken by Ryan Giggs to stop news of his affair with Imogen Thomas. (Hughes, Kirsty) (2012) (Taylor and Francis Online) (tandfonline.com)

When the story finally broke about the affair it seemed to be nothing more than celebrity gossip of the sort of thing that, however much we dislike to talk about it, happens in every walk of life from the very famous to the ordinary man and woman on the street.

One part of the law however that does see the press afforded certain legal rights is the protection of journalist’s sources.

This was very ably shown to be in perfect working order in the case of The Guardian against the Metropolitan Police when police officers tried, unsuccessfully, to use the official secrets act to force the newspaper to reveal their sources who had leaked information to them enabling them to break the story of the News of the World hacking into the phone of a murdered teenager in 2011.

It also seems that other items receive the attention of the press maybe more than they should, for instance the recent releases of the new James Bond and Star Wars films has seen certain broadcasters take advertising arguably to new levels.

Reality TV such as I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, X Factor and The Apprentice among others also seem to receive the sort of coverage that maybe they shouldn’t get.

We should though not forget the power of the press and how useful it can be such as Michael Buerk’s report from Ethiopia on 23 October 1984 which spawned the massive relief effort of Band Aid and then the subsequent Live Aid concerts of 1985, direct results of news reporting in its purest form.

Something else that the media seems to be increasingly responsible for in recent years is the conducting of political campaigns with TV and Radio being used in larger amounts to get the politicians messages over compared to the now less used tactic of getting out, knocking on doors or meeting the electorate in public.

Since the publication of the Leveson report we have seen the creation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) but for me the jury remains out on that for the moment and its potential for, through financial sanctions, to represent some form of indirect state licensing for the press, as was suggested, before the report publication, by Mr Hume.

The freedom of information act 2000 must not be confused as only being available to the press, it is available to everyone, however it would be negligible of me to rule out what the freedom of information act means for me and other members of the profession of journalism which I recently took advantage of to find out how many people were registered as homeless in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The Freedom of Information act enables you to get hold of recorded information for things such as local council expenditure or, in my case, how many people are registered as homeless in a particular area.

However there is a ‘But’ to this. If a certain body of people like the local council or government think you’re making too many FOI requests they will eventually start refusing your requests, they’ll also refuse a request if they think it will cost them too much money or take them too long to find out the information you have requested.

This would also seem to be another contradiction of press, or public, freedom but in reality I currently have no reason to believe that it happens with great regularity although one would question why it happens at all when it is supposed to be about openness and transparency?

Certain people also question the roles of the owners of newspapers, the so called media barons, with their apparent ‘chequebook journalism’ the media oligarchs like that of Jonathan Pryce’s character Elliot Carver in the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

They are right to do so because certainly the ownership of large chunks of the media by a few huge corporations can’t be a good thing but how do we develop and build a new independent press especially when the media is governed by such stringent rules?

As far as I’m concerned (and shoot me down if I’m wrong) a free press should be exactly what it says it is, it should be free. It shouldn’t be ruled by judges, politicians or celebrities with their own agendas, it shouldn’t be licensed or taxed.

In reality what the media needs is to get back to the roots of what it is all about, it needs to be able to report what is in the public interest, fuel debate, contribute to our democracy and investigate as and when required like that shown in The Sunday Times when uncovering the Athletics Doping Scandal that shocked the world.

Freedom is a complicated business but it’s no good having the wealthy and powerful telling the masses what we can and cannot read, view and hear in the news.

Only the public can decide what is fit for public consumption, except maybe on certain matters pertaining to national security when disclosure would do more harm than good.

John Wilkes was imprisoned in the Tower of London for publishing a newspaper which claimed “The liberty of the press” is the “Birthright of every Briton” we’ve come a long way since those days but it does seem that we still have a long way to go to see the sort of free press that we deserve in this country and indeed the world.

Many people have many reservations about the press after the phone hacking scandal and subsequent Leveson Inquiry and report but people also need to remember the good things that the press have done and understand that it isn’t all bad.

In these days of automatic citizen journalism on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, which are regulated by whoever posts on them, maybe we need to remember that the articles we see in newspapers and reports we see and hear on TV or radio are all checked by editors before they can be published.

Journalism, for its turn, needs to report the news, promote debate and inform the public of matters that are in the public interest and act as the communication bridge between public figures such as politicians, film stars (Interviewing not advertising), sports stars etc and the public who they influence.

The press, in all its forms, is a vital part of our culture and democracy, it is a voice for the masses and can be a force for real good but, as in all walks of life, you will also find the occasional rotten egg and this is always what will be remembered and what we will be reminded about.

According to Freedom House only 14% of the worlds population now live in countries that enjoy a free press and a free press plays a key role in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy, as well as contributing to greater accountability, good government and economic development.

Therefore it seems that the advantages of a free press to the masses are there for all to see plainly but, unfortunately and unsurprisingly, because of the actions of a few the reputation of the media is not currently in a healthy state.

Unacceptable levels of media intrusion have caused undoubted pain and anguish to certain people who certainly didn’t deserve it and that can never be undone but the power and influence of the press can also be used very much for the public good as has been proved on many occasions.

If we are to ever have a free press we have to realise it isn’t about causing scandal it has to be about reporting facts and absolute truth. It can’t be controlled by a select group of powerful people trying to hide skeletons in their closet or people in positions of trust lying, it needs to be about the truth and reporting in the right way.

In his book Mick Hume says: Yes, what is needed is a change in the culture of the press- but more importantly still, a drastic change in cultural attitudes towards the press. (Hume, M) (2012) (There Is No Such Thing As A Free Press) (Exeter, Imprint Academic)

He then goes on to suggest that Better Fewer Laws, But Better are what’s needed. The notion that there are not enough legally- enforceable restraints on the UK media is a bizzare distortion of the truth. The British press is hemmed in and harassed on all sides by dozens of laws, and the list is growing. We need to get the states nose out of the newspapers and other media. The press has to be subject to the same system of criminal justice as everybody else. But no more than that. (Hume, M) (2012) (There is No Such Thing As A Free Press) (Exeter, Imprint Academic)

References

Cps.gov.uk, (2015). Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service: Prosecuting cases where public have disclosed confidential information to journalists. [online] Available at: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/prosecuting_cases_where_public_servants_have_disclosed_confidential_information_to_journalists/ [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

Encyclopedia Britannica, (2015). John Wilkes | British journalist and politician. [online] Available at: http://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Wilkes [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

Freedomhouse.org, (2015). About ‘Freedom of the Press’ | Freedom House. [online] Available at: http://freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-press [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

Hume, M. (2012). There is no such thing as a free press. [Luton, Bedfordshire]: Andrews UK Limited.

Journalism-now.co.uk, (2015). Media Law – Absolute and Qualified Privilege. [online] Available at: http://www.journalism-now.co.uk/media-law-absolute-qualified-privilege/ [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

Legislation.gov.uk, (2015). Defamation Act 2013. [online] Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/26/section/4 [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

Legislation.gov.uk, (2015). Freedom of Information Act 2000. [online] Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/contents [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

Leigh, D. (2011). Phone hacking: Met use Official Secrets Act to demand Guardian reveals sources. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/sep/16/phone-hacking-met-court-order [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

McNally, V. (2015). Remember, That Famous Voltaire “Quote” About Free Speech Was Written By a Woman. [online] Themarysue.com. Available at: http://www.themarysue.com/voltaire-beatrice-evelyn-hall/ [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

Thejohnwilkesclub.com, (2015). Wilkes Quotes | The John Wilkes Club. [online] Available at: http://www.thejohnwilkesclub.com/wilkes-quotes/ [Accessed 31 Dec. 2015].

(Parliament Reports on the Law of Privacy and Injunctions, 2016)

Q and A With Super League Fan O f Pride Graham Middleton

IJ: You had the campaign to have the Man of Steel award named after Steve Prescott, how did you actually come up with the idea for that?

GM: I had the idea after the Man of Steel award two years ago and they said Steve had been taken ill again and I said to the wife they should name an award after him, and decided well why not the main one?

IJ: Was there any time that you thought the campaign wouldn’t achieve what it set out to do?

GM: Every day, we was never convinced it was ever actually going to happen even though we liaised with the RFL and the Steve Prescott Foundation and we were never convinced until the actual announcement was made.

IJ: Was there never any time when you actually thought, yes we can do this or did that just actually happen when they announced it?

GM: As sad as it sounds the campaign was actually given a boost when Steve passed away because people thought yeah we need to do this, that really made me sad because the way we started the campaign we really wanted Steve to present the first award so for the campaign to receive a boost because of Steve’s passing it was sort of a silver lining round a very, very black cloud.

IJ: You said you had a great team behind you, did specific jobs get delegated to certain people or was it just all thrown together?

GM: It was basically thrown together and we just all took our own roll’s on, I was one that took on to do whatever I could, I think we all did but basically Paul Whitaker was our tweeter and he actually set up the Facebook page, our other admin’s was Debs Fitzgerald and Alison Watson and those ladies actually walked round radio stations and media outlets with our press releases and said “please back us”, and every little bit sort of came together as a large jigsaw that ultimately proved fruitful.

IJ: What has it been like for you personally being the Super League Fan of Pride?

GM: We never set out for personal recognition, I was just sort of pushed forward as a sort of figure-head because the others didn’t particularly like doing the media side of it and it didn’t really bother me and I just thought one of us needs to do it so I seemed to become the sort of figure-head of the campaign which didn’t really suit me because I’m a quiet person in real life so actually to be nominated as the Brut Fan of Pride was lovely and being nominated as Fan of Pride for both Hull FC and Hull KR was unprecedented and did sort of make me chuckle.

IJ: What has been the biggest highlight of this year as Fan of Pride for you?

GM: It gave me some benefits, I’d already bought a pass for this year so to get two free one’s I’m already going to take them next year I’ve already arranged that with the club which is nice so I don’t need to fork out for next season’s home games, there were some other perks like I was invited to the first ever awarding of the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.

IJ: Obviously you’re well known as a Hull FC fan so who do you think out of the current squad should be Steve Prescott Man of Steel winner and why?

GM: I think there’s possibly two, maybe three options in the squad this year, Mark Minichiello for me has been outstanding, he’s been a leader on the pitch, he’s taken the ball in and done the hard stuff, Liam Watts his game has come on this year, I don’t know what has made the difference with him but he’s developed his offload, he’s worked much harder this year, last year he was quite a lazy player, this year he’s far from it.

IJ: Obviously this year Lee Radford has expressed his support for Danny Houghton, would you put his name forward?

GM: Danny Houghton, to a certain extent Danny Houghton is the workhorse of the team who never really gets the recognition he deserves.

IJ: Is there any other player from any other club that you would like to see win the award?

GM: There’s a player who gives his heart and soul every week, he scored a lovely try in yesterday’s Challenge Cup Final, not Tom Briscoe funnily enough but Rob Burrow, he does the hard work with Leeds Rhinos, he comes on and he destroys teams, but if I had to name one person who I think will win it this year it would be Adam Cuthbertson, I think he’s given Leeds something else I think he’s given them this big presence on the field and I think he’s made more off-loads than some teams on his own.

IJ: If you had to name one player who you would put your mortgage on to win the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award this year, who would it be?

GM: Possibly, I’m gonna nail my colours to Jamie Peacock going out on a high, again he does the hard yards he plays 80 minutes as a prop at 37-years-old, that would be difficult enough for a young lad never mind somebody of his age.

IJ: Recently you did the Hull 10K for the Steve Prescott Foundation, do you have any other fundraising events in mind for them?

GM: Not anything set in stone at the moment but I am liaising with the Steve Prescott Foundation for challenges for next year.

IJ: Is the Hull 10K going to be an option again next year?

GM: I believe that some of the 10K Steve Prescott members are going to do it again next year

FOP-Graham-middleton-Hull-FC Graham Middleton and Martin Blondel

Ladies Rugby League Is Alive And Kicking

As you can guess from the headline, ladies rugby league is real and it looks very healthy if the game I saw, when Hull Wyke Ladies RL visited RAF Cranwell, is anything to go by.

I met the team from Hull and traveled with them on their team minibus to the RAF College in Lincolnshire where they were to play their third game against the ladies from the military.

On the way I found out more about how the team came about, what they want to achieve and how they see the club developing as I spoke to team manager/secretary Sally Ellerington.

Telling me about how the team came together it’s obvious social media played a very large part: “We put it on Facebook and people got in touch through that as the word spread through friends and families.”

With team coach Danny ‘Choppy’ Devine having just passed his level 2 coaching course with the RFL I asked her if she will be doing the same qualification as him, she said: “i don’t know about that yet, maybe further down the line if we get some youth teams together then I’ll consider it.”

I asked about the possible development of youth teams and she confirmed this is definitely something they want to do in the future, she said: “Yes that’s definitely something we want to do further down the line yeah, we’ve talked about having under 12’s and under 15’s teams.”

Her advice to other people wishing to start up a ladies team is clear, “Be prepared for it to take up a lot of your time.

“We came together quite quick but it takes a lot of your own time especially getting in touch with the RFL and then other teams to arrange fixtures and contacting players to tell them ‘be here at this time’ but it is all absolutely worth it.”

Sally also confirmed that Hull Wyke Ladies do have some sponsors in place but would welcome more with open arms.

Once the interview was over the music was soon re-started as an almost party atmosphere encapsulated the minibus which needs a bungee to hold the door closed.

RAF College Cranwell is a very big site, so big in fact that it has its own car park for its own multi-sports venue which also has its own clubhouse where food and drink was to be served after the match.

Hull Wyke Ladies had previously played Ince Rose Bridge ladies over in Wigan and, before that game, they had played Brighouse from West Yorkshire and had beaten both, this however was likely to be a sterner test of their promising credentials.

The game started at a good pace, in fact if I hadn’t known it was a friendly, I would have sworn that the intensity was of a league match standard.

Playing 30 minutes each way it gave the ladies plenty of time and opportunity to show their undoubted talent in defence, attack and all round intensity, while an unmistakable comradeship and respect pervaded.

It was difficult to pick out the player of the match for the ladies from East Yorkshire in the entertaining 32-32 draw but it came down to between two players Jenna Greening, who’s hat-trick was a definite highlight and Jade Key who, despite her small, slight figure, was throwing bigger RAF ladies to the ground in the tackle with genuine relish and was a definite thorn in the side of the oppositions defence with her distribution and running.

Special mention must also go to Chloe James for some very good goal-kicking.

There was a great sense of tenacity, willingness to work and enthusiasm oozing through both teams and a fantastic team spirit throughout the whole day I spent with Hull Wyke Ladies.

These ladies support the two teams on opposite sides of Hull but they seemingly transcend that great divide when they unite as one team with purpose of entertaining the good folk of Hull with good old fashioned guts, tenacity and blood, sweat and tears on a Sunday afternoon.

The journey has only just begun, but I have a feeling it’s going to be worth absolutely every step.

Ladies under the posts Ladies Teams together Ladies RL Ladies half time Ladies Close Ladies after the match Hull Wyke Ladies

Hull Author Finishes Latest Jack the Ripper Book By Ian Peter Judson

Hull author Mike Covell has finished writing his latest book on the subject of the world’s most notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper and has implicated a Hull man as a possible suspect.

Having finished writing the book yesterday Mr Covell says he cannot definitely state who was the knife wielding serial killer in Victorian London but believes Robert D’Onston Stephenson could be a compelling suspect.

Another author, Melvin Harris, stated in his book Ripper File that ‘alone, of all the suspects, had the right profile of the opportunities, the motives and the ideal cover. His background, his personality, his skills, his frame of mind all [point to] him for the fateful role.’

Apart from his book writing Mr Covell is also working on a new TV programme that he hopes will be aired later this year called Jack the Ripper, Reality or Myth?

He is also having a debate and Q and A with fictional crime author Nick Quantrill on 18th April at the Annison Building in Witham and later in the year there will be live streaming of an actual paranormal investigation.

People can book for ghost walks through the Facebook page Amazing Hull Tours, he does walking tours, virtual tours and lectures.

As well as lectures and paranormal investigations there is also a small section at the Annison Building called Hull’s Dark History Museum which Mike started with a business partner.CBCH6W0XIAAJwVE CBCH744W8AAKizM