Throughout my first year at university, I have been given the chance to use the methods and theories taught to me to further develop my abilities.  I have had many opportunities to practice various type of journalistic work including hard news, comment and reviews. From doing so, it has allowed me to create an understanding of the skills that are required to reach the standard I aim for. By reflecting on my work, I have been able to evaluate the mistakes made and establish what needs to be done to improve and therefore put into further practice.


Writing hard news stories this semester has allowed me to challenge myself and put the skills I have so far learned into use. I now understand the importance of how information should be structured and prioritised. By working on my use of the inverted pyramid, I have increased my awareness, especially when planning and writing an introduction. Phil Race’s Ripple model of wanting to learn, put it into practice, make sense of what you have learned and then give feedback, is perhaps an example of how I have so far learned when writing stories. I feel that I have noticed problems in my work that will be crucial in helping me develop my skills for future tasks. In my recent article ‘Popcorn Time: Piracy App a “Nightmare Scenario” for Film Industry,’ I feel that I have managed to cover the basics of the who, what, when, where, why and how strategy. However, it may have been possible to improve the clarity of this while keeping it to a short length. “In many ways, feedback is perhaps the most important factor underpinning successful learning” (Race: 2010). I feel that by sharing my work with others and receiving this feedback on my writing, it helps make sense of what I need to improve on and fulfils the need to better my work.


By writing my comment piece ‘Zoo’s Killing Thousands of Animals Each Year,’ I have been able to experiment more by bringing hard news, opinion and interviews together. In this piece I feel that the change between reporting on the facts and starting to include comment was too clear cut. Next time I should work on blending the two types so that in return, the story will read better. By conducting my interview through social media, I now know that due to the limited interaction you have with the respondent, it is important to ask questions in detail so you can get a better idea of their true reactions. With this exercise, it is clear that I have followed the Kolb’s learning cycle. Kolb citied by Zuber-Skerritt (2013) said that learning is, “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.” I have gained experiences, reflected on them, understood mistakes made and will now go on to try out what I have learned. Clearly, writing a comment piece has been a rewarding challenge as I have gained valuable knowledge and understanding of what I think needs to be done to raise the standard of my future work.


Another, piece of journalistic work that I have written this semester, is a music review on the release of American Authors album ‘Oh, What a Life.’ I enjoy this type of writing as it gives me the opportunity to write on something that I am interested in while sharing my personal opinion. However, since I am new to this, there are many changes and improvements that need to be made.  I feel that I have not been able to cover all of the points I wanted to in such few words. Therefore, finding and developing a style that allows me to do this is an aspect I need to work on. Furthermore, if reviewing is something I would like to focus more on, then attending events related to the area will help me gain the appropriate knowledge and experiences. “Dewey understood that it was the careful selection of experiences, linked with commitment to reflect upon these experiences that form the basis for the acquisition of new knowledge and learning” (Hunt: 2000). Therefore, for me to succeed, I feel that I need to experience and experiment with my learning, which will give me the opportunities to understand my mistakes and which will lead me to build upon my skills.  I hope that by trial and error, I will be able to develop my writing style.


In the last few months I have been given the chance to broaden my writing ability by practicing and experimenting with styles that are new to me. By writing hard news stories I have gained knowledge on what it means to correctly structure a news story using the methods that I have been taught. Understanding what I have to work on and receiving feedback, has encouraged me to improve. In addition to this, the experience of writing a comment piece has allowed me to reflect on my work and evaluate my mistakes. The challenge of review writing has led me to find something that is enjoyable. I know that to improve the standard of my work I need to experiment and practice this particular style. Overall, the hands on method used throughout the modules studied so far, have definitely given me an opportunity to reflect upon my skills and in return develop them further.





Zoos Killing Thousands Of Animals Each Year


Marius the giraffe caused much controversy after being killed in Copenhagen zoo.


It has been claimed that up to 5000 healthy animals are being put down in zoos around Europe each year. This staggering number has came into revelation after a 18-month old giraffe in Copenhagen zoo was killed, due to the risk of inbreeding.

Marius the giraffe, who was completely healthy, was shot dead despite offers from several zoos to take him into their care. One of which was Yorkshire Wildlife Park in the UK.

The act took place due to his genes being too common. The animal was not going to be used as part of the zoo’s breeding program so was considered an unnecessary keep.

The young giraffe, who was dissected in front of children and fed to lions for educational purposes, has caused much uproar around the world. A petition was brought forward to stop the killing, with more than 27,000 signatures. However, despite these efforts and offers from zoos to adopt the giraffe, it still went ahead.

Since this, there has been an on-going campaign to close the zoo, with a petition having risen over 143,000 signatures to date.

Bengt Holst, the zoo’s scientific director, justifies the actions made, stating that “When breeding success increases, it is sometimes necessary to euthanise.”

This high profile case has brought forward many related stories in zoos around Europe. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza), released a statement saying that around 5,000 healthy animals are put down every year.

Such killings have been happening here in the UK with both London and Edinburgh killing an Arabian Oryx back in 2000 and 2001. However, some zoos have a policy of not putting down healthy animals, such as Twycross in Warwickshire.

Longleat, one of Britain’s most popular safari parks, has recently been criticised for their latest decision to euthanise a lioness and 5 cubs.  A high level of inbreeding in their distant genetic past was discovered along with a 40% increase in pregnancies within the enclosure. This sparked violent tendencies amongst the animals and resulted in the decision to put them down.

Yes, it may be the case that inbreeding is an issue that needs to be avoided and numbers need to be controlled.  However, the killing of innocent animals cannot be the best resolution.  Should animals be kept in zoos in the first place? Why can it not be that we work to protect animals in their natural habitat while letting nature run its course?

Most animal species being bred by zoos aren’t endangered or threatened, therefore proceeding to keep them in captivity at all seems like a pointless and inappropriate cause.

Libby Anderson, of animal welfare group OneKind, said “the idea that killing zoo animals as part of a conservation effort was misguided. These animals will never replenish the wild populations. If we want to conserve wild populations, we have to address the challenges that they face in their environment.”

When speaking to Liz Tyson, director of the Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS), she said how “the treatment of animals is a very important issue that needs to be talked about.” She has written extensively on the treatment of     Marius and how “the killing should NEVER have taken place.”

When asked what she thought on the latest figures released regarding the number of healthy animals killed each year, she said that “the zoo industry must realise that when an animal is no longer deemed useful, it is not justified to simply kill it.”

She writes of how people “must start supporting true conservation efforts where animals are protected in their natural habitat.”

It has also been exposed that an incorrect statement may have been made by the EAZA. They have previously judged that on average five large healthy animals are killed in every member zoo each year. This would then make the total not 5,000 but 10,000. With the majority of this going on behind closed doors, it brings into consideration whether zoos are doing the best they can to protect species.

Such information, is foremost an unethical issue. However, additionally, it is also creating a bad name, not only for the zoo’s receiving the publicity, but all members of the industry. It may have been in Copenhagen Zoo’s best interests to take the public opinion on board and dismiss the killing of their young giraffe.

Although zoo’s nowadays claim that they are there, not for entertainment purposes but for the conservation and protection of animals, they are not the most effective option in pursuing such ambitions. It should not be okay for animals to be kept in small enclosed spaces. Instead more effort and attention must be delivered to wildlife reserves, where animals are given the chance to live protected in their natural habitat.

Popcorn Time: Piracy App a “Nightmare Scenario” for Film Industry



The Popcorn Time app has resurfaced after being shut down over the weekend. It allows members of the public to access movies illegally for free online, causing potential threats to the industry.

Popcorn Time grew in popularity last week due to it’s simple, effective design that allows users to stream movies without the hassle of dealing with untrustworthy sites.  However, with makers suddenly closing down the app after feeling “in danger for doing what we love,” it wasn’t long until the code was stolen, making the software reappear and again, become widely available.

Similar service provider ‘Netflix’ recently announced to have over 44 million paying subscribers. However, could face a threat with the revival of Popcorn Time.

Mark Mulligan, an analyst and co-founder of Midia Consulting has said that, “The next stage of piracy, and one rights holders need to be really worried about, is when the pirates start behaving like the rest of the internet and start making great user experiences.”


The developers are proceeding to remain anonymous at this time, yet have continued to display information on their website, stating that, “Popcorn Time doesn’t host any copyrighted content, the app is based in a decentralised model, working with services that already exist and are used daily by millions of people worldwide.”

“What is clear is that there are people that want to push the boundaries of technology and testing the law out,” said Eddy Leviten, director of communications at the UK-based Federation Against Copyright Theft. He added by explaining that “They’re harming the livelihoods of people who work in the creative industries.”

The app, which gives instant access to thousands of movies, has drawn attention to the public demand for such content, with prioritising the internet audience becoming the future challenge of the film industry.

American Authors- Oh, What A Life Review

American Authors- Oh, What A Life

Release date- 17/03/14

 Album Art

With their single “Best Day of My Life” storming the indie pop charts, will the release of their debut album fulfil the high expectations of fans?  The four man band of Zac Barnett, Dave Rublin, Matt Sanchez and James Shelley are due to hit our stores with “Oh, What A Life” this week.

It is no surprise that this album generally follows a folk-driven sound, accompanied with an upbeat collection of anthems.  The Brooklyn based band have broken the barrier when it comes to the ever popular dark and edgy, with instead introducing a feel good, fresh view on music.

The band has had strong comparisons to those delivering in the same genre.  They have an undoubtedly similar sound to that of “Imagine Dragons” when it comes to the breakout hit “It’s Time”. Yet American Authors are delivering an infectious sound while putting out positivity with their lyrical content in every song.

“Luck” and “Think About It”, show a sense of emotion and depth being delivered while keeping up with the upbeat feel surrounding the album. However, that being said, without such altering of rhythm, they run a risk of showing limited variation within their sound.  This could be said with the likes of “Love” and hit,”believer”.

“Oh, What A Life” may not be perfect but it is clear that with their surge of popularity and the release of this debut, it may prove to be a fantastic grounding for the band’s progression in the industry.


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A look that I am loving at the moment has to be monochrome. Lets be honest it’s a change from the usual boring black or white on there own. It can be both simple and extremely effective.

As it is coming into the Spring/Summer season, I thought that it would be appropriate to add a bold colour statement, such as orange. Many people may be afraid to include items as bright as this but it will help to bring the outfit together and make the look stand out. Also, it means it is very fitting for this time of year!

Here are the details of the items I have picked out:



Scottish Independence

With the Scottish Independence Referendum fast approaching, there are many arguments coming forth from both sides of the debate.

I feel that more information needs to be given on how independence will effect our lives. Will we be better off? What will happen to our healthcare? I understand that these points will of course been covered in The White Paper, but the vast majority of people simply do not have the time to read the 670 page document. For many to get a true idea and feel for what could happen, I think that the facts need to be given in a much clearer format. I personally would benefit from this.

Beside from the strong political arguments that the ‘Yes’ campaign are fighting for, it seems to be the case that they are using many patriotic factors to attract voters. Yes Scotland is a great country and everyone should be proud to be Scottish. However, I’m not sure whether this can be a valid reason for independence. Why can we not be proudly Scottish and British?

Personally, I do not have a strong interest in Politics but I still care about how my future may or may not be affected. Despite the fact that I am swinging towards  a no vote at this moment in time. I feel that I need more relevant information to help finalise my decision.

Unhealthy Fan Obsessions and Infatuations?

Fan support is something that is necessary for a musician to move forward and grow in today’s industry. However, with this generation’s so called ‘fangirling’, I think most would agree that things have suspended out of control.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a ‘fangirl/boy’ as someone who has an ‘obsession’. That word alone speaks for itself.

Social media has played a vital part in the development of such madness, with Twitter being the main culprit. Fans will send endless amounts of tweets pleading for any kind of sign that their idol acknowledges their existence. I am not condemning the fact that the casual tweet of support is unacceptable but there gets to a point when it all gets a tad creepy.

Here are a couple of prime examples.



Healthy fan obsession? I think not!

Do these ‘Directioners’ and ‘Beliebers’ not understand they are creating a bad reputation for the artists and are preventing people from just simply wanting to enjoy their music? Obviously, a lot of people are not fans of this particular genre, but even those that are, or just like the occasional listen to ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, are being distracted and put off  by the craziness that surrounds them.

However, with recent actions taken into consideration, it must be said that Justin Bieber seems to be destroying his career singlehandedly. Yet the strong force of Beliebers are publicly defending his criminal activity. If it were any other regular citizen, no one would think twice about them paying for what they had done but because a teenage ‘star’ has done so, sympathy and ‘#freeBieber’ tweets have been frantically spread around the world.  I don’t understand how people will genuinely believe this could lead to the dismissal of his crime.


Lets just hope driving under the influenced hasn’t been your latest inspiration.