Final Letter

If someone ever told you first year was easy, they lied. The foundation is always important. It has been worthwhile experience in these few months that flew by. It is good to see that despite all the ups and down the terms have posed you are still able to smile and make the most of every opportunity.

I am proud of your achievement thus far and your grades have been exceptionally good. The bridge between college and university is indeed a wide one. In terms of the work load, assignments and how fast I had to adjust but you did it. Unlike college where people just somehow automatically became your friends, with university you realised you had to take the initiative of making friends and through this you have met some amazing people.

In the few months of starting uni the feeling of nostalgia was inevitable and you always used to sit quietly and count your blessings. One I believe is the opportunity to have gain admission and also been able to find a place to live in the last minute although through no fault of yours. Events turned out that as at a week of reporting to university you did not have a place to stay and that alone was a major headache but you looked on the bright side. Your very positive attitude most often paid off.

 Even though you detested the house you currently live in because of its size and distant location I can see you have come to love and appreciate it. I know you were grateful in the end that you lived there because it turned out to a five start accommodation compared to some of the places you had initially dreamt of living.

Your family continues to be proud of your achievement and you are constantly reminded how lucky they are to have you. It is marvellous to see that seven months in university has not changed you. Even if there have been a change, then it has been for the better. You never missed a lecture and neither did you miss any assignment deadline.  This was a true display of responsibility. You not falling asleep on your laptop how proved that you can doubtlessly cope on your own without mum and dad having to keep an eye on you.

I can see your warm-hearted nature won your house mates over. They enjoyed your food and your very good company. Although sometimes behaviour tried your patients to the limit you displayed a deep sense of maturity and always rose above it. Nana-Ama I am so proud of you and I know you look forward to moving your new secured house. This experience I know has opened your eyes immensely to appreciate the good and very disciplined upbringing you have had.

The advantage module was an opportunity you grasp with both and hands. You are one brave person for registering for Chinese Mandarin. Thinking you would have opted to continue with French when this moment came, chose mandarin instead. Your decision was truly out of the blue but I can also say with surety you have a sense of adventure about you and you wanted to break the protocol of the usual subject people always chose.

Your ever improving fluency and current grade for mandarin truly shows a deep understanding and interest in the subject. Very impressive! In as much as you focused deeply on coursework, it has not been all about it. Joining Gospel Rhythms was a healthy option to relax you from the constants commitments to your never ending assignments. I know you did it because you missed singing in the choir at home.

The tenacity with which you have engaged in other product activities I know gives you a deep sense of achievement. Although you are still gradually finding your niche you are working well on the opportunities that come your way. The interviews session, the visits to court and filing reports has been a very good exposure. It good to see you have bounced back from the set back and disappointments these months came with and have also learnt from the embarrassing experiences.

I clearly remember the joy and excitement you had when your first article got published in the Buzz newsletter and the continuous proud sense of achievement as you see your articles up on CU Today weekly. Keep it up as it will all work immensely to build up that very big portfolio you are aiming for.

First year is indeed almost over. Second year as it said gets harder but Nana-Ama I know that is not a deterrent to you. Still continue to look forward to the day of graduation. I look back and I feel a deep sense of accomplishment. Coming to university to study journalism has been a happy path for me.

In the more challenging days ahead I know your determination will see you through. Do not quench the fire of ambition. I continue to hope this will be a satisfying path for you.

As always I say to you fear not and never let anyone put you down or tell you can’t.

Sincerely yours

Under Represented people in the Media

         The media continues to evolve into a very powerful entity. For some people it has either made them famous or inferior. The world today has reached a very high level of industrialisation. The internet, television, ever-expanding newspaper cooperation and radio contribute greatly to it. The media is very concentrated of late and dominated by just a small number of firms.

When we talk about underrepresentation, we take into account how certain groups of people are depicted. This is a powerful concept as it helps society form an understanding of people either in a positive light or it creates stereotypes. The media can sometimes victimise people and for some the seeking to shed off their stereotypes is difficult.

One group of people most often underrepresented in the media are women. For a very long time women have been objectified in the society. In as much as most women are engaging in very productive junctures, the very patriarchal society is intolerant of it. They are gazed on as images of beauty or objects of desire. In the job sector they are most often underpaid and also find it hard to vie for prestigious positions. Women who opt to be housewives for the good of their families on the other hand are seen as incapable and lazy individuals.

Another group of people the media under represents is disabled people. They are often ostracised because of their disability and always considered second best. Society is becoming more tolerant of same sex couples but their positive representation by the media is still few and far in-between. More so, when it comes to politics and turmoil in third world countries, they are often ignored by the main stream media.

Another group of people that are sometimes offensively represented by the media is the Romany gypsy community. Gypsy travellers are an estimate of 30,000 people with Romany gypsies forming 60 percent whilst ethically Irish traveller’s forms 10 percent. New traveller’s form 5% however these are people who have chosen to live their lives as travellers: Nomadic by choice. Roma gypsies form 15 percent and they tend to be darker skin and come from eastern European state. In all we are looking at a population of over 12 million people; bigger than Sweden and Denmark put together he reported.

Channel 4’s cutting edge documentary ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ watch by an estimate of nine million viewers prompted a backlash from the gypsy community.  The Guardian called it a platform for bigotry. Romany Journalist and broadcaster Jake Bowers stated it was a poor representation of his community. He also added that the continuous negative representation was one of the reasons he became a journalist.

Over the years, gypsies have always been portrayed negatively in the media. They have been stereotyped in literature as depicted in the ‘hutch back of Notre dame’ and in film as seen in ‘Snatch’. Channel 4 was rambled for presenting documentary as facts. Consequently, the programme added to the already existing stereotypes. This resulted in unprecedented consequences such as people losing their jobs and the encouragement of bullying in the play ground.

Representations like these for instance leaves the wider community confused as we are constantly bombarded with false information. Jake bowers during his visit to Coventry as the speaker for Coventry conversation said “the gypsy community is not a secretive one as everyone likes to think and most of us don’t live in caravans anymore”.

The media is however not all about spreading false information. As well as bringing our attention to the events happening around us, it presents us with facts and opinions. More so, Journalists are supposed to check their facts before reporting them and Reports needs to accurate and fair. Nonetheless, the images and representation should be in a positive light so that no group of people are left to feel inferior.

Artefact(Poem)

THE DAYS WE LIVE IN

There have been days before today.

People have existed long before you have.

Your time is now in the space you occupy.

Although sometimes small,

It is how much you invest in the space,

You occupy that matters.

Nothing is certain in the days we live in.

 

The sunsets in the distance,

The moon rises at night,

Chirping birds announce the,

Dawning of a new day,

But every day is different.

Today we see those we love,

And even those who don’t quite like as much,

But tomorrow they are no more.

 

In a matter of seconds,

The world’s most powerful nations,

Most powerful economies are begging on their knees.

In an age where the heart of man is wicked,

And the thirst for material things is insatiable,

Nothing is for certain.

Those that strive to learn,

The secret of contentment find it.

 

There are days when time feels slow,

And other days fast.

But whether fast or slow,

In the moment of it all tell people,

How much they mean to you.

 

In the fast lane of life where the sun will always rise,

Nothing is for certain.

Invest in the space you occupy,

And in what you believe in.

If you don’t believe in Heaven or in Hell,

Whatever it is that you believe,

You better be right.

 

As the days come and go people will always,

Live through the yonder years.

Some longer than other others.

But in the days that we live in, nothing is for certain.

Reflection on Andy Kershaw’s Coventry Conversation

Coventry conversation is well known and acclaimed and as journalism students we are required to engage in it. Although some students fine it boring, for me it’s the speakers or the topic of the afternoon that drew me to attend.

Some topics turned out to be deceptive because although it sounded interesting it’s nothing close to my expectations. Some topics on the other hand delivered exactly what it outlined and I was always glad I attended if it turned out that way.

My interest to listen to Andy Kershaw was because he was in our morning lecture. Speaking to us in the morning was a taster of what to expect in the afternoon. I knew he was a Radio 3 DJ but l seldomly listened to Radio 3 and to him for that matter. But hearing him speak in person, I picked up on the passion and enthusiasm with how he spoke about his life stories and I knew the conversation that afternoon would be worth attending.

The filled lecture hall didn’t really come as a surprise as Andy did have a voice that caught your attention. Although I arrived on time, the seats were filling up fast but I secured myself a place. The passion with which he approached his subject showed that this man had truly led a very picturesque life. I was glued to his every word as he told his story about his visits to Haiti, North Korea and his coverage on the Rwandan genocide.

The stories served as a deep inspiration and encouragement for me. Although I’m gradually finding my niche, it really got me thinking which aspect of journalism I want to focus on. I was so motivated by his every word that it led me to write an article for the Buzz newsletter and it was a joy when it was published. 

Although he never graduated from the University of Leeds, he made something substantial with his life. However it has often brought him criticism as some people still refuse to see him as a proper journalist. For me this served as a reminder that, there would always be people who would tell you what you can’t do but it’s for you to believe in your abilities and pursue your dreams.

Hearing Andy say in his difficult times, the only people whose opinion mattered to him were his children. For me it was also a further reminder that, sometimes you don’t need everyone to sing your praises. Rather if those closest to you believe in you, that alone was a motivation.

I think he considers himself very lucky because he made good use of the opportunities that came his way. The theme was clear for me was that of taking chances and that was my highlight for this Coventry conversation.

Reflection on Street Art Exhibition

 

The fifteen minutes bus journey to the city centre was not something that particularly excited me. I was on my way to see an art exhibition. It was not because of the lack of interest in art gallery exhibitions but rather because of the street art factor to it that got me less exited.

I was thinking to myself it will be full of hooligans and probably not so disciplined youths. I didn’t suppose a random fight would break out although with the people l imagined would be in attendance it could be possible.

New in Coventry and also looking for a news story to write my article on, I decided to attend. I was amazed by the vibrant crowd that were milling about anxious to see what was on display. The exhibition had attracted people from all over and there were certainly no hooligan amongst them.

The people in attendance were from all ages. Some came alone like me; others came with their family and others with friends. When I heard about street art coming to town initially I did concede it will just be about graffiti being beautified and to my shame it was something more sophisticated than that.

I deemed it a privileged to have met the likes of Ben Slow, Mohammed Ali and many other artists who were present to talk about their work that evening. And listening to them was amazing.

This experience taught me to put aside my stereotypes and embrace events with an open mind as there is always something new to learn or something to add on to what I already know. If I had allowed my prejudgement to get in the way, l would have missed out on a beautiful evening that gave me a lot it talk about and also a good piece of feature article I wrote as a follow on.

Reflection on Interviews

From an early stage of start my modules I made a mental note that collating interview will be part of it. I’m sure a vast number of people do not enjoy face to face interviews as it may sometimes be boring. This is either due the way the interviewer is asking the question or the way the interviewee is responding.

I was nervous a few times when I had to do an interview to help me write an article. Well I didn’t think I would get eaten up on the contrary that never had to anyone running an interview session. Most times the nerves were just down to whether the people will receptive to me. However their receptiveness was not a major problem as I always had a back up. To get me going I constantly reminder myself, that as budding journalist, stories won’t fly to me, I would have to go out there and find it and my inquisitiveness always kept me going.

The first interview I did was for a feature article I wrote on natural food supplements. This particular one was not daunting as such because an acquaintance helped agree a meeting with the specialist. I had read a bit about natural food supplements so I knew what to say and it turned out to be a successful interview.

The interview I found a little daunting was when I have to go to the Herbert art gallery to interview the experts in there to help me produce my news package. When I go to the Herbert, it was solely just to explore the arts displayed and the concept of a one to one interview did not particularly get me excited. I found myself wishing I could go with a friend who would do the talk while I made noted. But you know what they say beggars would do if wishes were horses.

The lady at the reception was very helpful. I reminded myself of the sense of accomplishment I always felt when I my work was completed ad take kept me going. The interview to my surprise also turned out to be a successful because I was genuinely interest in the subject I was covering for my new package. My initial fear of fumbling was soon thrown out of the window.

One thing I’m still working on is to try and show the end product of my work to the people I contact for interview session. This is to reinforce the notion that their time they scheduled for me was put to good use.

Hansel & Gretel (Terracotta)

                                                                                        “The world is an unimaginably strange place…”

      Eun- soo (Chun Jeong-myeong) wakes up in a dark forest after skidding off the road and crashing his car. He is led to safety by a beautiful girl in red cloak holding a lantern Young-Hee (Shim Eun-kyoung). She leads him deeper into the forest to her idyllic house that looks like it comes from a fairy tale.

Inside he is introduced to the rest of the family. The parents are always anxious and nervous yet overly friendly. Hoping to stay only for the night, Eun-soo gradually learns he is trapped. Every attempt to escape proves impossible and invariably forces him to return to the house.

The sudden disappearance of the children’s parents causes Eun-soo to become desperate and also causes him to realise he is left to care for these seemingly innocent children. As the plot unfolds, it also dawns on Eun-soo that the children lure lost adults into their home in the woods and make then stay in an attempt to gain loving parents.

Things get further complicated by the arrival of an insidious couple who seem not to realise they can never leave. The cast is all about the children who grow close to Eun-soo and carry on calling him uncle. The director Yim Pil-Sung plays on the imagination of children which becomes reality. There are scenes that captivate the audience imagination as they, like the protagonist search for answers.

The children are brilliant with playing their parts as Man-Bok (Eun Won-Jae); the older of the siblings manages menace and youth effectively. The youngest also invests a lot of personal emotion into her role. The plot and the dialogue sometimes circles a few times however, there are memorable scenes in the film. The visual effect adds to the creation of horror and also hints at cannibalism due to the large supply of food close at hand. Also, the massive chunk of meat in the freeze gives a spine-chilling effect.

There are definitely scary scenes although subtle.  The sequence of events also causes viewers to develop a good bit of sympathy towards the characters.

Directed by Yim Pil-Sung

Running Time: 116 minutes

Language: Korean (with English subtitles)

Rated 15

Fine Totally Fine (Third Window Films)

  

   “A young man can do nothing without fire in his eyes.”

YosiYosi Arakawa impresses the audience as he takes on his lead role as Teruo. He is a full time part time tree trimmer on the park and nearly 30 he still hasn’t accomplished anything substantial in his life. Teruo is the son of a second-hand bookstore owner, where he occasionally offers to help out. He has a dream of creating the world’s scariest haunted house and he is always testing out his homemade gory devices on his friends and family to see how they react.

Hisanobu (Yoshinori Okada) his agreeable childhood best friend is a clean-cut guy who works as a hospital administrator. However, he finds Teruo’s pranks outrageous.

Akari (Yoshino Kimura), a very clumsy and accident-prone yet talented artist comes to work in the bookstore. Teruo starts developing feeling for her. However his best friend Hisanobu also finds himself attracted to this beautiful yet shy Akari. Soon, both men fall in love with her and rival to win her love and affection.

Fine Totally Fine, has some great moments of comedy. The characters are not the typical characters we see in romantic comedy but they work well together. The story unfolds in a bookstore and yet it is heart warming and easy-going.

The beginning of the film is slow paced and irritable; however as the plot progresses it engages the audience. Some scenes that are meant to be humorous can sometimes leave you cringing, but with an open mind, it is enjoyable to watch.

Fine Totally Fine is somewhat strange to watch but the film does grow on you. Also, watching with the subtitles on the screen can sometimes be distracting but after a while you see it as part of the movie.

The director Yosuke Fujita creates a very natural feel about Fine Totally Fine. Yoshino Kimura as the very clumsy Akari is fit for her character, whilst Yoshinori Okada’s performance as Hisanobu puts across the great sense of life in his character. Arakawa’s easy-going yet annoyed-looking face makes him a natural for comedy.

Fine Totally Fine was one of 2008’s most anticipated Japanese films and when audience are able to put aside their typical rom-com genre expectation, this fine quirky comedy is entertaining to watch.

Directed by Yosuke Fujita

Running Time: 110 Minutes

Language: Japanese (with English subtitles)   

Rated 15

Instant Swamp (Third Window Films)

    “Most people laugh way more than they cry”

   Instant Swamp is a comedy about Haname Jinchoge (Kumiko Aso), an occasionally eccentric but focused magazine editor. The film centres on her journey through her work and family life. She wakes up everyday thinking that day will be different but she goes to bed disappointed. She believes her daily dose of Milo sludge which is a mixture of ten spoonfuls of Milo and milk is what she needs to make her happy.

   Haname is adamant about her belief in superstition but secretly believes her bad luck is due to a black talisman cat she threw into a swamp as a revenge on her father for abandoning her. Her magazine company on the verge of going bust is just a tip of the ice-berg as her mother also falls into a coma. Haname embarks on a journey in search of her real father and the different boundaries she comes across makes her a better and care free person.

She discovers the identity of her real father Noburo Jinchoge (Morio Kazama) aka ‘Mr Light Bulb’. He also turns out to be an eccentric antiquities shop owner. She doesn’t reveal her identity to him from the beginning but with time she gets swept into his whimsical hobbies and a bond soon develops as both start to hang out a lot. The new found closeness with her biological father gives her the idea of also starting a delightful junk shop.

Instant Swamp is a film with definitely hilarious bits. The humour although subtle was effective. The high key lighting makes the film upbeat and light hearted and appeals to people who like simplistic East-Asian light hearted comedies. The characters bounce of each other in amusing ways. Similarly there are several little stories within ‘Instant Swamp’ and we are also able to move from one to another without feeling confused.

Haname’s character is likeable and also the loss of structure and responsibility sometimes motivates her to act as an adult. Her blooming friendship with the spike-haired electrician Gus (Ryo Kase) is a twist that pleased the audience. Secretly the audience expected a bit of romance to have blossomed between the two, but they are not left disappointed when they wind up as very close friends.

The story was effectively told through Haname’s life journey which also gives her a realisation of the things surrounding her.

Directed by Satoshi Miki

Running time: 120 minutes

Language: Japanese (with English subtitles)

Rated PG