Hopefully not the end

This will be the last post that I submit for my Online Journalism assignment, but hopefully not the last post on this blog. Blogging has definitely been a learning curve for me, and the most important thing I have learned is to keep doing it; after not posting during the Easter break I found it extremely difficult to get back into the swing of things.

After spending quite a lot of time on my slideshow, I ended up having to abandon that too due to technical difficulties. It may eventually make its way onto YouTube, if only Windows Movie Maker would unfreeze.

 I hope I will keep this blog up, it (hopefully) improves my writing skills if nothing else, and I have learned a lot about the environment along the way,


Climate Change Festival this weekend

On Saturday, a week long festival will begin in Birmingham aiming to show people the city in a new light.

The Climate Change festival runs from Saturday May 31st to Sunday June 8th and will have events ranging from parkour performances to clay workshops where you can build your own city. There will also be seminars with talks on climate change, energy and waste.

A statement on the festival’s website says that Birmingham, a pioneer of the industrial revolution is going to ‘help lead a low-carbon revolution’.


A change of plan.

Unfortunately I have had to abandon my video content that I was planning to film for the time being; with the bad weather we’ve been having at the moment it is too dangerous to film by the canal and under the bridges when it’s so wet and slippery. There’s also a rather strange man hanging around the area I wanted to film in asking for change while eyeing up my bag and equipment, so I’ve decided to put the idea on hold. I will film it eventually, but it won’t be in time to hand in as part of my assignment.

Instead for the interactive/multimedia element of my assignment I am doing a slide show of environmental protests around the UK, which involves honing my skills on Windows Movie Maker. It’s a program that is really simple to use, not something that I often come across, being quite technologically backward. I feel confident enough now to create more slideshows and may possibly upgrade to editing a video soon.

A New Challenge

Just when I thought I’d got the hang of online journalism and all its tricks and foibles, another new challenge is presented: online video content. In class, we have been presented with the task of embedding video content into our stories. I must admit I’m finding it difficult to find stories that are best suited to video, or indeed interesting enough.

Paul Ullah and his wife Amber Angier are preparing to film a short documentary about the dangers wildlife face from litter in Birmingham’s canals. I’m planning to film them as they make their documentary, perhaps as a ‘making of’ style feature. One of the benefits of online video content is that material that may not make it into a written article can be included, so this video could be useful as a test to see how well I can transfer my ‘skills’ to a different medium.

One Brain Less?

Ever since I started my personal Plastic Bag Challenge, I find myself using more plastic bags than I would if I hadn’t made a concsious effort not to, so I bought a cotton bag from Oxfam that not only carries my goods in an environmentally friendly way, but also tells people off for using plastic bags.

On the front is a print declaring: “One Bag Less. Each person in the UK uses 134 plastic bags each year. Each bag takes 500 years to decay.” The next time someone asks me about my challenge, I shall point them to the bag.

As I was paying for my new environmentally friendly carrier, I toyed with the idea of asking if I could have a bag to put it in as a joke, but decided against it for fear of looking hypocritical. Then, as I was being given my change, the cashier asked; “Would you like a bag for that?” She wasn’t joking. About 30 seconds later, as I was paying for some other things I had picked up in the shop, she asked again if I wanted a bag.

 I’m sure most people at Oxfam would be on the ball about recycling plastic bags and I know the people who work there are volunteers, but surely it’s defeating the object to offer to package up an environmentally friendly alternative to a plastic bag in a plastic bag?

Podcasts, schmodcasts

On Monday I attempted to create a short podcast with a few other girls in my class, Stephanie, Laura and Natalie. I say ‘attempted’ because my contribution to the five minute discussion was pathetic to say the least. I’d actually forgotten that we were going to be practising podcasting (is that a verb? It is now), so I was not well versed in the subject matter: the debate over whether supermarkets should be responsible for making fairtrade and free range food cheaper and more readily available. And I now know that I am no good at blagging my way through a conversation on something I know next to nothing about, so I am swotting up in preparation for the real thing tomorrow, when we go into Birmingham city centre to discuss the issue with representatives from Fairtrade Fortnight. Hopefully it will go well, I cannot possibly be worse than I was on Monday. I think.

A Learning Curve

It’s been a busy week for environmental news, and it’s also been a learning curve for me in terms of honing my ‘nose for news’.  When the earthquake happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning, my only thought was ‘ugh stop shaking my bed’, before I rolled over and went back to sleep. It wasn’t until I got up for uni several hours later that I realised what I should have done, and what a few people in my Online Journalism class did, was to write an article about it for ENO. I could have kicked myself, as it was a prime opportunity to see what it would be like to follow and report on breaking news (which would have been an achievement at 1am). So when news broke that environmental campaigners had climbed onto the roof of the Houses of Parliament to protest against runway expansion at Heathrow Airport (granted, not as exciting as an earthquake, but the late bird does not catch the worm), I shot off to my laptop faster than you could say ‘Plane Stupid‘. The result was not as polished as I’d have liked, but I felt quite proud of my effort, especially as I had managed to research and write the whole thing in about 15 minutes. I now have my eyes and ears open for anything remotely environmental and will be keeping my laptop on at all times to ensure hastily written articles at any time (though this may not be the environmentally friendly option- I wonder if I could get a solar powered laptop?)