Monthly Archives: February 2012

Street football competition in Cardiff Bay- perfect for half-term

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One of the winning teams

One of the winning teams

 Cardiff welcomed one of the biggest football competitions in Wales on Thursday with more than six hundred children from the Butetown and Grangetown area of Cardiff.

Cardiff street soccer involved three teams, the under 13’s, under 15’s and under 17’s who played some exciting games on  inflatable pitches.

The occasion provided children and young people with the opportunity to learn golf techniques in fun inflatable domes as well as watching a professional street Basketball player show off his tricks.

Tom Connors is originally from Cardiff, he’s been involved in making motivational speeches to young children from deprived areas. He fully supports the effort to encourage young children to play sports and be part of a team.

It’s great to see young kids off the streets and playing sports having fun with their friends, these sort of activities are a great way for them to show their talent and be a part of something

The organisers, ‘Cardiff Third Sector Council’, are a voluntary organisation group who set up the day in order to give the children something to do during their half-term holidays.

Peter Griffiths, is one of the organisers:

days like this are hugely beneficial, it tackles anti-social behaviour, gets kids participating in sport- that’s

Street Football event

Street Football event

really important because we’re in the Olympic year

The day wasn’t just about playing sport but also about helping to  increase youngsters self-confidence to feel a sense of achievement and set them up for a bright future.

The children also witnessed Tom Connors and football freestyler Ash Randell beat some World records. Connors broke the record for the amount of times he could spin a basketball around his waist within 30 seconds.

Now, in its third year the festival has grown enormously and the organisation has already planned more similar events for this year.

Some special sports stars came to Cardiff Bay to show their support and encouragement. Rhian Wyn Thomas, a professional golfer taught the children some of her techniques and Enzo Calzaghe the coach and father of former World Champion Boxer Joe Calzaghe, was another guest, he said:

it’s very important to get young people into sport because at the end of the day if they get involved in it at a young age then of course it’ll be really beneficial when they grow up

Though Calzaghe’s trade was in a very different sport, his thoughts on the game promoting discipline and respect seemed to strike a chord with the youngsters.

With the women’s football tournament kicking off here in the Capital days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, the sport faces a big year in Cardiff.

Aside from the Millenium stadium hosting London 2012’s football events, Championship side Cardiff City are also promoting the sport in the Capital as they face off against Liverpool in next weekend’s Carling Cup Final.

One of the other winning teams.

One of the other winning teams.

The festival served its purpose as it kept the children entertained during their school break and identified some strong enthusiasm from Cardiff’s young sportsmen.

 It also highlighted the importance of getting young people and children into sports and integrating them into the community. In true Olympic style the winning teams were awarded with medallions by Calzaghe. 

Cymru am byth

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Wales V Scotland

Wales V Scotland 2012

I am very proud to say I have lived in Wales all my life and also very glad my parents decided to send me to both a fluent primary and secondary school. This made it easier for me to learn such a complex language as I was growing up. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many people tell me they wish they spoke Welsh and I really do understand how hard it is to learn from scratch.

Having a very strong Welsh accent  means I often get  mocked jokingly by friends, and also get laughed at by family members as I talk at  100 miles an hour when I’m excited. There’s also the joys of Six Nations rugby days when Wales are playing and I put on my Welsh rugby top and sing the Welsh National anthem at the top of my voice.

Wales V France

Wales V France

 

Hen Wlad fy Nhadau
(Land of my Fathers)

The Welsh National Anthem
Cymraeg

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion enwogion o fri
Ei gwrol ryfelwr, gwlad garwyr tra mad
Tros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.

Gwlad Gwlad,

Six Nations in Cardiff

Welsh rugby shirt!

Pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad,
Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau
O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau

English:

Land of my Fathers, O land of the free,
A land of poets and minstrels, famed men.
Her brave warriors, patriots much blessed,
It was for freedom that they lost their blood.

Wales! Wales!,
I am devoted to my country.
So long as the sea is a wall to this fair beautiful land,
May the ancient language remain.

A close friend of mine who I met at the start of my course has always joked that I will become ‘the face of Wales.’  Everytime I made a comment with any hint of negativity he would joke ‘as if the face of Wales could do anything wrong.’ I celebrated my 24th birthday on the weekend and couldn’t wait for my card he told me he ‘was working on.’  After 3 days I couldn’t help thinking he was lying when he said ‘it’s  in the house,’ but today when I finally got it…I decided it was worth the wait.

Banning of unsupervised sunbeds in Wales

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(Written on October 31st 2011.)

From today it will be illegal for under 18s to use sun-beds. A new legislation In Wales has banned unsupervised salons to protect young people from the risks of skin cancer.

 Under the new regulations salons must show posters with health warnings and will not be able to promote sunbeds as being good for you.

Businesses in Wales that don’t follow the rules could risk being fined up to 5000 pounds.

Our health correspondent Bethan Muxworthy has more:

So, Bethan, what exactly does this new regulation mean?

Well it’s very much the same idea as the ban on smoking in public places because it makes it harder for people to do the things that could harm them.

The Welsh Government regulation follows a three year campaign by Tenovus Cancer research to protect children by banning them from using sun-beds.

Even-though a ban was introduced in April to stop under 18’s using the tanning beds this didn’t stop them from going to coin-operated shops.

Children as young as ten could walk in, put their pocket money in the machines and go on for as long as possible.

I spoke to Doctor Ian Lewis, head of cancer research Tenovus and he says young children are more at risk:

How dangerous are sun-beds then, I mean people are still going on them so what effects can this actually have on their health?

Many people use sun-beds to get what they think is a natural all over tan, but the worry is many are unaware of the health risks.

Skin cancer is strongly linked to over-exposure to ultra-violet radiation through the use of sun-beds.

Even occasional use can result in prematurely aged skin, eye damage and suppression of the immune system.

Skin cancer is the most common cause of cancer in 15 to 24 year olds and South Wales has one of the highest incidences in the UK.

Doctor Ian Lewis tells us why these changes were needed:

The new rules will protect under 18’s so why does this campaign just focus on that age group?

This campaign focuses on young people because they’re vulnerable and are more likely to get skin cancer if they’re exposed to harmful UV rays.

The dangers of using sun-beds can be all too real especially without guidance.This was highlighted In 2009 when two teenage girls from South Wales were badly burnt using sun-beds.

A 14 year old was treated for first degree burns after spending 19 minutes on one, and a 10 year old received burns to 70% of her body.

The new regulation will stop cases like this from happening in the future.

What next? Will there ever be a complete ban?

For now the ban is for under 18s only, but by introducing these health warnings and not an overall sun-bed ban it is hoped that people should make the right decision.

The new measures emphasise that sun-beds are not a safe alternative to tanning and the Welsh Government will make the legislation as effective as they can to help save lives.

In the near future Cancer charities hope to educate people of all ages by offering them a guide on how to be safe in the sun and to prevent skin cancer.

That was Bethan Muxworthy reporting on the new ban on unmanned sunbeds in Wales.

Reporters and the Reported Essay

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“Does the phone hacking scandal show that good journalism will be the first casualty of the digital revolution in the media?”

 Any review of the gloomy headlines of 2011 would undoubtedly include phone hacking at News International, which shocked and shamed Britain. During a few chaotic weeks in July, the scandal erupted into a crisis for the press, police and politicians, exposing corruption, malpractice and illegalities. In almost immediate reactions to the scandal; the News of the World closed, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner resigned, several leading media figures were arrested, Rupert and James Murdoch appeared before a House of Commons Select Committee and the Leveson Inquiry was announced.

The fact that journalists could stoop so low as to hack the phones of murder victims and dead soldier’s families, undoubtedly damaged the public perception of the press. It begged the question posed by Jeremy Paxman in Newsnight, “what’s gone wrong in the culture of the media in this country?” Broadcaster Anne Diamond asserted we live in a press world where “values have been distorted by the worst journalists.” The same press world where according to Nick Davies, The Guardian journalist, who appeared in the same programme, “journalists are stabbing each other in the back, routinely breaking the law to sell newspapers.”

Any attempt to answer Paxman’s question must consider whether the digital revolution has helped create a breeding ground for bad journalism and made good journalism its first casualty. We are undeniably being swept along by a wave of technological advances which have given us iphones, ipads, laptops and made us witness to the rise of social networking sites, blogging and growth of online resources. This digital revolution has not only changed the face of journalism forever but given birth to an arch-rival, citizen journalism. As Richard Tait, Director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University maintained in his lecture, “it seems anybody with a laptop or mobile phone can be a journalist.” In a world where, according to Ian Hargreaves In his book Journalism: Truth or Dare, “news is multimedia, global and ubiquitous,” news gathering is taking place in a highly competitive, overcrowded market place, with journalists racing to capture exclusive content.

 Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, in his post-Hutton guidelines for journalists  warns that, “inside many journalists there is a little demon prompting us to make the story as strong and interesting as possible, if not more so. We drop a few excitable adjectives around the place. We over-egg. We may even sex it up.” Regrettably, that demon has also prompted some reporters to practice the ‘dark arts of journalism,’ in a working environment where, according to former Mirror Journalist James Hipwell’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry last November, phone hacking was “a bog standard journalistic tool.”

Charles Reiss, London Evening Standard’s former Political Editoralso acknowledges that as story tellers in a marketplace there is the potential danger that reporters may be spurred on to “go that little bit too far and produce stories that depart from the truth.” He nevertheless has confidence that good journalism will only be a casualty of the digital age if basic principles of reporting are forgotten. As Peter Preston, former editor of The Guardian tells us, good journalism is a “journalism of verification…it must be accurate…must be authentic, complying with the law, complying with the regulatory framework.” Rusbridger reminds us of an important point, namely “it is the rogue actions of, I hope, a few journalists (which) have landed the press as a whole with a series of inquiries.”

When Cardiff University hosted a debate ‘Hacked off,’ Rob Williams, online Sub-editor of The Independent agreed with Rusbridger  believing a far more representative portrayal of the profession is one in which journalists are “working hard to get things right, operating in a professional and ethical manner day in day out.” In Jon Snow’s 2011 shown on Channel 4, Ian Hislop makes the important observation that journalists’ bad behaviour was exposed not by MP’s or the police but by other journalists.

The Leveson Inquiry has in essence been tasked with washing the professions dirty laundry in public. Whilst it has to date and undoubtedly, will continue to uncover uncomfortable truths about the way a number of journalists have behaved in the past, Rusbridger optimistically asks that, “as we enter this period of reflection and investigation of the worst of what journalism can do, let’s also keep in mind the best of what journalism can do.” To Rusbridger this is “a once-in-a-generation chance to celebrate great reporting.”

When The Sun editor Dominic Mohan appeared before Lord Justice Leveson in January he pleaded with him to create a “level playing field” between papers and the internet, blaming the totally un-regulated web for the falling circulation of newspapers. Lord Justice Leveson has already described the internet as “the elephant in the room” of his inquiry. With or without a playing field therefore, surely the best way for journalism to display its wares must be to capitalise on the very fact that it is a profession.

News online tends to have bias and as Peter Preston argues is geared towards a “specific audience.” To regurgitate such subjective reports would not be an example of good journalism. It is the job of the good journalist to take these accounts, add opinion, other facts and perspective to provide an end product which offers an objective, trusted view of events. Preston sees journalists as being imbued with a “sense of mission” and in a world of information over-load have a unique professional ability to sort out the “wheat from the chaff.” To quote Mark Brayne, former BBC Correspondent, good journalism matters because “it is the mirror through which people get the knowledge of where they are living.”

The digital revolution could therefore be seen not as a threat to good journalism but rather its saving grace, equipping reporters with the necessary tools to continue to ply their trade as trusted, responsible, impartial news gatherers in an ever-increasingly over-crowded media world. Six months after the phone hacking scandal rocked Britain January has seen the editors of the disgraced News of the World’s sister titles, voicing their support for a radical reform of press regulation to uphold press ethics but not through legislation. James Harding, editor of The Times has told Leveson “we don’t want to be in a position where the Prime Minister decides what goes in newspapers.” In contrast Alan Rusbridger has welcomed the prospect of a “regulator with teeth” and statutory under-pinning.

Lord Justice Leveson has summarised his challenge as finding a system that will work for press and public in the long-term. He has stressed that it will not be good enough to have an inquiry which will only lead to an “immediate improvement” in the behaviour of the press in the wake of one ethical scandal, only to be followed by “a gradual drift back” to old bad ways until the next ethical scandal. Leveson is therefore determined to establish a system “sufficiently robust to cope with the trouble so that in ten years time we don’t have to do the whole thing again.” If Lord Justice Leveson can achieve his laudable goal, good journalism will continue to thrive and the phone hacking scandal will make bad journalism the first casualty of the digital revolution in the media.

Valentine’s Day

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Today was a very eventful and fun-filled day. Most people spend Valentine’s Day with loved ones and are showered with gifts. My day was somewhat different. Myself and my trusty irish friend had a 7 o’ clock start with camera and tripod in tact as we headed through the valleys to our desired destination.

As we all know it’s Valentine’s Day and as part of our course we decided to cover one of our television/online production days on this topic. Rhondda Cynon Taf Council  gave us a helping hand as their campaign ‘Love Leisure for Life’ encouraging couples to exercise  together seemed like an exciting initiative to cover. Especially for Valentine’s day the leisure centres had organised some promotional deals and ‘romantic’ events across the Borough.

I borrowed my friends Satnav, which bizarrely spoke to me in a strong Irish accent but decided to take me through the most narrow country roads imaginable and even off road. We arrived on time luckily and headed into the leisure centre to see what romance was in the air and this was what we saw…

Tonyrefail Leisure Centre

Valentine's Day in Tonyrefail

A romantic swim in ‘pink water,’ as the swimmers eagerly waited to jump into the pool of romance we rushed around to get some effective shots of the dye taking effect. After interviewing the manager and doing a piece to camera we had some great conversations with friendly locals, plenty of pictures and a vox-pop with possibly the sweetest elderly couple ever.

All was going great and so we headed back to university to edit our package together. We sighed a breath of relief as we sat back and began to contemplate how we would organise our minute and a  half  package. First things first my friend jokes ‘ha can you imagine we forgot the tape,’ as the manager had previously joked about it during the interview.

The joke was on us as my friend turns her bag upside down and the tape is nowhere to be seen. We call the manager to find out he found it in the plant pot beside where we had done our piece to camera. Back I went through the valleys to recover our tape!

 Luckily as were both calm and collective my friend stayed to edit the material we had and wrote it up as I went back to Rhondda. We managed to finish it and it was a lesson learnt. I must admit not the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day but it was definitely worth it, meeting all the people in the Leisure Centre and finding out about different campaigns in our area was a great experience and it’ll be one I’ll never forget.

Valentine's Day at Tonyrefail

Valentine's Day at Tonyrefail

The joys of growing up

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Admittedly it’s been a while fellow bloggers and I know it’s not acceptable to keep apologising for MY lack of blogging and so I’m just going to fill you in on my busy life and continue to do this as often as I can.

I really am learning how to be a broadcast journalist in 9 months- a bit like a journalistic pregnancy. I sleep, eat and breathe news and my brain is constantly working overtime as I think about ways I can be interesting, creative, organised and as my lecturer keeps telling me ‘relax and slow it down.’ I have a tendency when i’m excited to speed up and it has its positives (meeting deadlines,) but can also have its flaws (sometimes I feel like im in the panic room on the Exit List.)  Anyone who hasn’t seen that game show, it’s very addictive.

Nevertheless my life is 100 miles an hour and with less than a month before I break up for a very exciting 3 week work placement the pressure is on. It is possibly the most important year of my life but I am still making time for socialising and fun and of course I’ll be sharing that with you.

Firstly, yes it’s that time of year again- the Six Nations! Possibly the most exciting time of the year as I’m a massive

the aftermath of the rugby match

Crowds flocking out of the Milennium stadium

rugby fan and there’s nothing quite like a rugby day in Cardiff. Any home games at the Millennium stadium brings thousands of supporters, the streets are packed and the atmosphere is phenomenal. Yesterday Wales were playing Scotland and as the game ended the streets flooded with happy Welsh fans and the Scots were a great sport as they proudly wore their kilts.

This weekend was my 24th birthday and was celebrated in style with a house party theme, ‘seven deadly sins.’ My very good buddies made me heart-shaped biscuits and decorated the house with birthday banners and balloons.

I also loved the practicality of all my presents and how they were all useful for my journalistic lifestyle- a blazer, a smart shirt, posh handbag, pearl earrings, classy necklace, ‘State of Play’ DVD etc. 

It was definitely a memorable birthday and I am lucky to have so many good friends. The costumes were great;  a pride of lion’s, a lot of people GREEN with envy, some Katy Perry style ‘Gluttony’ costumes, Mr. Darcy himself (lust,) Miss Pride and many more.

Birthday fun

Seven deadly sins birthday

So that’s pretty much the social side of my busy life but journalistically it’s also been a bit crazy. Every Tuesday and Friday we have production days which reflect a real day in a newsroom. More often than not, the days will start with a stressful rush to get a 5 minute bulletin out by 9 o clock but then as the days go by and the interviews begin to come together the days are a massive adrenalin rush.

There’s no better feeling than working and developing a story, timing a bulletin perfectly, getting some great interviews and the list goes on. As I have finally got to grips with the technology side of things thanks to practicing in the TV studio and radio  booth the journalism can be the main focus.

TV studio practice

Practicing in the TV studio.

 

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day, that time of year when men feel a huge amount of pressure to buy the perfect gift and treat their loved ones to the usual cheesy gifts: chocolates, roses, teddies ETC.   I am very much looking forward to covering a story on it in the Rhondda.

Valentine’s Day is often focused around couples going for candle-lit dinners but this year the council are running a campaign ‘Love Leisure for Life,’ to encourage couples to exercise together on Valentine’s Day. It’s going to be an early start tomorrow as we go and see for ourselves how many couples will be hitting the leisure centres for a romantic swim.

I’ll let you know how it goes!