Feedback Forms

This was my feedback from David Fewster, the Managing Director of Beverley FM.

Beverley Fm Feedback

I worked on two separate occasions for The Scarborough News. This was my overall feedback from Susan Stephenson, the News Editor.

Scarborough News Feedback

 

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Overall Evaluation of Work Experience

For my second year I completed the requisite two weeks of work experience with The Scarborough News and Beverley FM. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work within the newspaper print industry and  also in radio broadcasting.

During my time at The Scarborough News I was able to gain experience in working in a busy newsroom along with five of their main reporters. I worked on various features and events in the Scarborough area and had work published both in the newspaper and on their website.

On two occasions I went out with their photographer, Richard Ponter, who is now the sole photographer for all of the 5 newspapers published at The Scarborough News as well as for the Yorkshire Post. I felt privileged to spend time with him because he is a true professional and I learnt a lot from him. Most particularly the way he connects with people, quickly judges a situation, creates an image in his mind and then captures photos that bring a story to life. I found it refreshing to work with a photographer in an age where everyone clicks happily on their phones without even thinking about composition or the basic rules of photography.

I also went out on another project with the senior reporter, Poppy Kennedy. We interviewed several people involved in a housing project in Scarborough which is a huge construction, with shops, schools, care homes. The whole infrastructure which covers 400 acres of land is virtually a new town. This gave me an insight into how varied the role of a reporter can be. I enjoyed being given the opportunity to meet people in a very different setting.

Working at Beverley FM has given me the possibility of working in radio which is something that I had never previously considered. I did some work for them covering the Tour de Yorkshire, broadcasting live from Hornsea. I also did several interviews and recorded these for use on the radio.

I will be working at the radio over the summer on news stories for Beverley and the surrounding areas. I have sat in on various presenters to gain a feel of how it works and have been given the opportunity to present shows in the future. What is particularly exciting for me is that they are hoping to extend their coverage to the Hornsea area. They would like me to be involved in this project and want me to gather news stories from Hornsea and create local interest. They have also asked if I would be able to update their website which could be part of my project work for next year.

To summarise, I have found the work experience extremely rewarding and enjoyable. I have made new contacts, worked on the skills that I have learnt and also learnt new ones.

Transgender-2 different documentary approaches

As part of our work on documentary we were asked to reflect on fictional, documentary and journalistic approaches to non- fiction. I looked at two different perspectives on the subject of transgenderism. They are both based on the same topic but each one illustrates a different documentary style.

I first looked at a Louis Theroux documentary because I like his work. He presents things as they are without needing to embellish the facts. He also remains impartial and allows the viewer to make up their own minds. For me, many of his documentaries, whilst often controversial, have a feeling of timelessness. If you look at some of his older documentaries they are still relevant today.

LT

Louis Theroux: Transgender Kids provides an insightful and thought-provoking look into gender dysphoria. It was written and presented by Louis Theroux and, like most of his documentaries, was researched and documented over a period of time. The film was released in the UK in 2015 and caused some controversy, particularly among the transgender community who didn’t like the focus on such young children. However, I think this adds to the appeal. It makes the viewer feel uncomfortable at times but this is what provokes thought and question.

Louis Theroux travels to San Francisco where a group of pioneering medical professionals help children who say they were born in the wrong body transition from boy to girl or girl to boy at ever younger ages. He follows three families with children of different ages and in each case the filming takes place in their home surroundings. This is one of the reasons that the documentary remains true to life and, although the subject is something we may know little about, it gives credibility to the facts being presented. You can see that the interviewees are more relaxed and  that they are at ease with Louis, and confident enough to let him into their homes.

lt in home

The documentary opens with a scene that both surprises and intrigues the viewer. With Louis’ question:  ” Do you think you are happier as Camille or Sebastian?”

opening shot

Louis goes on to talk with Camille and her parents who respond, honestly and openly. In the space of a month, five-year old Sebastian changed his name to Camille and wanted to be seen as a girl.

Through a journalistic approach the documentary presents  the unspoken truth about a section of society largely ignored and misunderstood. The question raised is what decision parents should make when choosing whether or not their child is too young to know if they want to be a boy or a girl.

In this film Louis Theroux shows his skill in creating a great rapport with the people he interviews and getting information from them that they thought would never be shared. He maintains fluid conversation, somehow always keeping the situation natural.

What I particularly like about this documentary is Louis Theroux’s unique angle on a highly controversial topic. He manages to present the facts in an impartial but sensitive way through his empathy with the people he interviews.

Louis Theroux remains calm throughout the documentary, he never raise his voice or interrupts. The tone of his voice is always on the same pitch and he questions without being probing or judgemental. He rarely shows much emotion but you can see that he empathises with his subjects. He also becomes part of the story as it unfolds, sharing intimate thoughts and feelings of all involved as well as in their daily activities. He observes, presents the facts but also participates in the documentary.

It is extremely touching when he shares his own thoughts: ‘When I was 14 and turning 15, that was probably the hardest year of my life, it really was’. It was clear he was touched by the challenges these young individuals were facing.

shares insight

It is a long documentary but there is plenty to keep the viewer interested, moving at a steady pace and changing location from homes, to clinics, hospitals and stunning views of San Francisco.

There are a few scenes that may shock the viewer but they add authenticity and are presented in a way that makes these things almost normal. As they are for those involved.

the use of a forearm to create a phallus for a transitioning female to male

Puberty blocker implant

A boy of 14 has a puberty blocker implant to prevent his breasts from growing

The documentary continues with Louis visiting the families four months later. Filming over time shows change but also continuity. It is important to show the progress of these young people, the viewer has been given an insight into their lives and wants to know more..will there be a happy ending?

The documentary ends with Louis’ concluding, thought-provoking statement:

“The choice to transition involves the possibility of social rejection and a lifetime commitment to medication, but it is also a chance to exercise the most fundamental right we have – the right to be ourselves. In the end, the hardest part of the challenge may be knowing who it is we really are.”

In contrast to this I looked at a short documentary called ‘The Swimming Club’ by Cecilia Golding and Nick Finegan.

The Swimming Club

“The Swimming Club”, follows participants at Tags (‘Trans and Gender non-conforming Swimmers’ Group) in London. This documentary looks at transgenderism from a completely different angle. It is not about the physical process of transition but the cruelty and indifference of the spaces around them.

powerful visuals
The empty swimming pool and deep water sign are a poignant reminder of how many transgender people feel in public places. Exposed and like a fish out of water.

As one transgender male explains: “When I speak of my transition, I increasingly find it less interesting to talk about how I have changed but how the world around me did. Places that once felt comfortable – the bus stop, the gym, the beach – suddenly became places of fear. Where I had once been pleasantly invisible, I was now on show and up for discussion.”

All of the filming takes place in the same location both inside and out of the water. There are many close up shots which make you feel like you want to be there yourself. To dive under the water and feel the freedom it allows.

underwatercalm, soothing

The documentary is extremely visual and with the blue colours of the water and surrounding pool area the viewer is lulled into the calming nature of this environment. The soothing music helps to enhance the atmosphere. The narration provides the story but the visuals create the true feeling and emotion of this documentary.

The voice over is narrated by various members of the club who say a little about themselves without going in to great detail. I feel that this gives us a really special and personal insight into how difficult it must be living in a world where you feel unaccepted.

I love the analogy of the safeness of the water: ” We all come from the womb, the first 9 months of our lives we’re encased in water.”

womb

One of the swimmers in the club explains how the scrutiny of trans people’s bodies and their meaning quickly transforms into the language of oppression: “They say that we’re unnatural, that we’re perverted, that we’re not genuine people.”

The swimming club provides a place where transgender people can feel safe. A place where trans people – who are rarely allowed to enjoy their bodies – do so together. The ‘together’ is important, the sharing with others at the swimming club. Shame works by isolation and in this film we see Tags combatting it with the freedom, fun and laughter of community.

group activity

This is a short but powerful documentary. It is bitter-sweet because we see the joy and happiness in this place, yet we are reminded of the cruelty of others and the world in which we live. So often people who are ‘different’ are seen as a threat but this film puts everyone on to the same level. It is heart-warming, uplifting and endearing.

hopeful

Here’s the full film, watch and enjoy!

The Swimming Club from Cecilia Golding on Vimeo.

 

Evaluation of Specialist News Story

My specialist news story is written for those who have an interest in both winter sports and music festivals. The title refers to ‘rock’ music and ‘ride’ which is the terminology for snowboarding  These winter festivals have become big business in most of the major European ski resorts, some aiming at bringing Ibiza to the mountains with big name groups and DJs.

Chamonix has tended to steer clear of this sort of event but realising what this can mean for tourism, have chosen an event more suited to their resort. The festivals attract a different clientele and often help to boost the economy in quieter weeks of the ski season, usually towards the end when snow conditions are poor.

I heard about the festival, in December when I visited Chamonix. The event was already widely publicised and attracting a lot of interest. I got most of the information and quotations from the Chamonix Tourist Office whilst there.

The article could be published in the English section of  ‘Le Dauphiné Libéré’, which is an equivalent to ‘The Yorshire Post’. It would appeal to readers of many of the snowboard/ski magazines such as Snowboarder’, ‘Whitelines’ and ‘The Telegraph Ski and Snowboard’ magazine. It could also be featured in ‘Mountain Festivals: A Complete Guide’ webpage or in the travel supplement of any UK newspaper.

 

Evaluation of Proper Feature

For my proper feature I chose to focus on the current bank closures in the UK. It is a subject that has frequently been in the news headlines and something that affects many small communities.

I was invited to attend a coffee morning for pensioners which is held on Monday mornings in Hornsea. The guest speaker was Amanda Smith, the newly appointed NatWest Community Banker. She talked about the closure of the Hornsea branch and her role in giving support and guidance to its customers.

I had intended to do my short documentary film on the subject. Unfortunately it was extremely noisy and the footage that I took was not suitable. I therefore decided that this would be a good topic for  a feature story.

I took some of the quotations from the people I interviewed and put a question to the ‘Hornsea Rant and Info’ group on Facebook about people’s’ thoughts on the imminent bank closures in Hornsea. As you can imagine, I got a lot of response, some not printable, as the group has over 9,000 members which constitutes more than the Hornsea population.

I did further research into the bank closures to get statistical information to validate the story.

Although the story focuses on just one town, it is something that is happening in many other small towns across the UK so has a wider appeal. It could be published in he business section of a local newspaper such as The Yorkshire Post or in a weekend supplement of one of the larger papers such as The Guardian or The Observer.

Specialist News Story

Rock and Ride-Snow Problem at Chamonix Mont Blanc

Festival

A new pop-rock festival will take place at the foot of Mont Blanc this spring.

Scottish pop-rock band Texas are set to kick off the event along with UK new wave band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

Chamonix, the French alpine capital, will host the event which will be staged in the ‘Bois du Bouchet’ paragliding landing station at an altitude of 1040 metres.

The festival takes place over three days from 19-21 April 2018. Seven bands will feature each day, from mid-afternoon until midnight, covering a wide spectrum of musical genres and nationalities. From the blues of Ben Harper to Swiss rocker, Stephan Eicher, French electro group, Synapson and  neo-blues and soul from Rag ‘n’ one Man.

Musilac Mont-Blanc is co-produced by the Chamonix Valley Tourist Office, Rémi Perrier Organization (Musilac Aix-les-Bains) and Mont-Blanc Media. For the past 16 summers Musilac has been rocking the shores of the Bourget Lake in Aix-les-Bains. Building on its success the organisers of this major French festival wanted to launch a winter version of the event.

Rémi Perrier, the co-founder of Musilac said: “We were approached by the Chamonix Tourist board who put forward the idea of taking the festival to the mountains. We have been contacted by several ski resorts over the years, with similar proposals, but the opportunity for a festival to take place in the majestic surroundings of the Mont Blanc entranced us.

This year will be our 17th summer in Aix-les-Bains and we wanted to create a festival with the same ethos: musical moments in magical places. The shores of the Bourget lake are magical as is, of course, Chamonix Mont Blanc.”

Music festivals have become very popular in ski resorts, attracting a clientele who want to combine their passion for both music and ski-ing/snowboarding.

Nicolas Durochat, tourist office manager, said: “Our goal is to build a festive and popular event by and for the inhabitants of the Chamonix Valley. The vocation of the event, built around the concept of rock & ride, is to highlight and enhance the appeal of spring skiing in an exceptional environment.”

With its impressive line-up, the festival has turned out to be one of the most eagerly awaited  for events for this small town of just under 9,000 residents. Over 40,000 festival-goers are expected to attend over the three days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proper Feature: Hornsea, yet another bank-free community

Hornsea, yet another bank-free community

In a weekly coffee morning, held in the Parish Hall, opposite Lloyds bank in Hornsea, pensioners are discussing the imminent closures of the town’s two remaining banks.

This small town on the East Yorkshire coast has been caught up in the accelerating pace of Britain’s bank closures. Hornsea residents have been left with a feeling of abandonment following the recent revelations that both NatWest and Lloyds will close their branches in June.

The decision is linked to a steep decline in usage of traditional branches in favour of online banking.. Banking giant RBS announced, earlier in the year, that it is to close 259 high street branches across the UK, including several in Yorkshire. A total of 197 RBS-managed NatWest outlets and 62 RBS branches will shut in 2018 due to changing customer habits.

Hornsea is on the front line, facing a double whammy. Both its NatWest and Lloyds branches will close within a week of each other this June. Alongside RBS’s planned 259 closures, Lloyds is axing 49 branches , which includes the Horsnea bank.

Many of the town’s 8,500 residents are both angry and dismayed. Pensioners at the coffee morning are furious about the closures.

Jean Robinson, a 75-year-old retired fruit wholesaler, has been running the weekly event for 10 years, including organising a minibus to pick up people who struggle to walk, or who live in the nearby villages. She is incensed at the branch closures.

“It’s disgusting, we could have done with one bank being left”. she says.

Don Paget, a 95-year-old Lloyds customer, also condemns the bank’s actions. He is semi-blind and says his condition means he can’t use the internet.

“It’s terrible,” he says. “ All the old people here use the banks a lot. It’s dreadful that they’re not caring about the older people, just money.!”

Ron Hughes, a fellow Lloyds customer in his seventies, is registered blind and would also find internet banking “just impossible”.

“What’s so dreadful is both banks are closing but they’re not taking into account the needs of people,” says Hughes. “You see the people in wheelchairs on the high street. The bank staff know the community – if someone doesn’t come in as normal they will share that information with the family.”

In this retirement town, where over a third of it’s residents are over the age of 60, many are concerned about how closing the last banks in town will impact the Hornsea community. Susan Stoddart, a 68-year-old Hornsea resident, understands banking is moving online but says:

“It is such a shame the banks are going. It will take so much away from Hornsea. We need people not computers. They don’t give you a smile and a good morning.”

Many young people in the town, whilst typical of their generation in that they rarely use bank branches themselves, are also opposed to the closures. Software developer Dave Yeomans, 31, has not set foot in a branch for over a year but he is still concerned about the older generation.

“Older people are not luddites,” he says. “Many simply don’t have the access or the inclination to take up these technologies.”

The banks may want people to believe that this is a story of enlightened pensioners managing their ISAs and direct debits on their smartphones. Yet five million British people don’t even use the internet. This is the major dilemma for Britain’s big banks. How do they adapt to the rapid take-up of digital banking without leaving vulnerable customers and small businesses that rely on branch services behind?

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said:

“Banking is in the midst of a customer-led revolution with more people than ever before making use of digital innovation and alternative ways to bank to help manage their money on a daily basis. However, banks are very aware of the role branches play in the community and conscious that customers and businesses should not be left behind. That is why decisions to close branches are never taken lightly and why it remains important that customers continue to be able to access banking services if a local bank branch closes.”

The problem for Hornsea residents is that the closures will make it difficult for customers to access bank branches. After June, the nearest Lloyds will be in the outskirts of Hull, 16 miles away, a two-hour round trip by bus. The nearest NatWest will be in Beverley, 13 miles away.

Patrick Finn, a Lloyds Bank customer, emphasises:

“To pay anything in involves a 35-mile drive to Hull. If you live in a reasonably sized town you shouldn’t have to travel for 40 or 50 minutes to get access to a bank.”

A number of residents contacted MP Stuart Graham who wrote to both banks to raise concerns. He said:

“It’s important that banking services are available to everyone, not just the tech savvy and people who are able to drive to alternative branches. I have also asked the banks to provide information on how alternative face-to face banking services can be accessed by my constituents.”

In response, Lloyds plans to introduce a mobile bank van service. NatWest says it will employ a community banker based in Hornsea to serve customers in the area and help them access alternatives, including basic banking services at a Post Office counter in the back of a local shop.

Nevertheless, the town’s politicians are not placated by the pared down services Lloyds and RBS are offering. Anne Padgett, the town’s Mayor, is drawing up plans to launch an independent bank to make up for the vital services being lost. Councillor Brian Morgan suggests an alternative currency as part of a possible solution. He says that this has already been used successfully in several other towns and cities and would help to boost the local economy, since money spent within the town remains there. Brian argues that local currencies are “good examples of how towns can be masters of their destinies.”

There is some scepticism as to how a local currency would be able to fill the void left by the loss of the banks. However, there is the possibility of bringing a Credit Union to the town which may be able to fulfil this need in the immediate future.

Despite opposition and protest, there is no doubt that the closures will go ahead as planned. Figures given by a spokesman for NatWest show that, since 2012, the way in which people use the NatWest Hornsea branch have changed dramatically. Transactions in the branch have reduced by 23 per cent since 2012 with only 70 customers visiting  on a weekly basis. 58 per cent of customers are now choosing to bank digitally. Whilst figures, published online by Lloyds’ own review of the Hornsea branch, show that 814 customers use the branch, they say that the number of customers who visit on a regular basis continues to decline.

David Dunning, a former employee of NatWest, and author of ‘Hornsea, A Reluctant Resort’ says:

“There is still a lot of debate going on about how we can replace the disappearing banks. The reality is that they will not change their minds, the small local branch is no longer a viable option. We must embrace the 21st century. Everybody – individuals and businesses alike – must stop worrying about how to do their conventional banking and focus on doing things differently. I haven’t written or received a cheque in 10 years and I rarely carry cash. There are better ways of handling your finances.”

RBS and Lloyds argue closures are a necessary response to customers’ shift online. The big five lenders, which includes HSBC, Barclays and Santander, also argue their profits are under more pressure than many Britons realise, with competition from a growing band of challengers and low Bank of England interest rates. These pressures have led to several rounds of aggressive branch closures already.

Record bank closures are part of a wider story of building pressure on Britain’s high streets, with retailers also pulling out in the face of intense competition from online rivals.

This does little to appease the fears of pensioners at the Hornsea coffee morning. Hilary Brant, a 68-year-old resident, concludes:

“I dread the day we have no banks, I recently had to sort out a very complicated and unusual procedure that would have been impossible to do online, I fear for the future.”