Archive for the 'Television' Category

The day I met a proper journalist

Had I not chosen a career path which had taken me down a bizarre route into a niche avenue of journalism, I would have like to have become a proper writer on a national newspaper. Like John Pilger, perhaps. Or Jay Rayner.

Marco_Pierre_White
Y’know, Jay Rayner. The one who’s the stunt double for Marco Pierre White on those Knorr stockcube adverts?

You must know him – he’s that restaurant critic with over 17,000 followers on Twitter, the Observer column and his own slot on the One Show at 7 o’clock on Fridays?

The Jewish one who didn’t go to Oxbridge and lives in Brixton?

Jay Rayner
Yes, that’s him.

Anyway, it turns out Jay is in Birmingham to speak at the NFU conference today. Hopefully he’ll whip up the audience into a frenzy over his views on organics, food security and the (lack of) meaningful policy changes the coalition government’s made to enhance  UK agriculture since it came to power. Or he might just give us some anecdotes of when he met the president. Or the pope. Or whoever it was.

Pig-tail pulling aside, I actually had quite an interesting chat with Jay in the NFU conference bar last night. Once I’d got past his insults, it was nice to see there’s someone with a national media profile who actually understands and supports British agriculture.

It’s even better that he’s a proper journalist, with a real notebook and everything. Fingers crossed he takes good notes and feels inclined to share his thoughts with more people in the real world.

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A confession…

I was forced to watch some James Bond this weekend.

And I liked it.

Ssshhh – don’t tell anyone….

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They’re not clones, okay?

If I read one more headline about cloned cows being in the food chain, I think I’m going to scream.

Let’s get this straight, people. You haven’t eaten a clone. You haven’t drunk the milk produced by a cloned cow. Even if you had, it wouldn’t kill you, cause you to grow an extra arm or make your head spin in an Exorcist kinda way.

The cattle that have caused this week’s initial national media, storm-in-a-tea-cup are progeny of a cloned cow from the US (a cow, incidentally, created using the same genetics that creates identical twins in humans – nothing scarier than that). That means they are the children of a cloned animal, not clones themselves.

cows in lane(In case you’re worried, these are ‘normal’ cows, not the ones related to the Yankie clone. I just thought you’d get bored and click away if I didn’t put a picutre on here)

The story then moved on when it was discovered 96 cattle have been bred from those initial eight imported progeny. This makes them the grandchildren of a clone – again, they are not clones.

I initially got wound up about this story because it was published by my favourite chip wrapper, the D*ily M*il, and any story in there tends makes my blood pressure go off the scale. But it was also written in such a ridiculous, dangerously scare-mongering way that I wanted to find the journalist who wrote it and belt him about the head.

The saga has brought up some interesting questions about our role as journalists at Farmers Weekly. We reported on the story as it broke and unfolded, but we did it in a way that was (I hope) measured and rational.

Continue reading “They’re not clones, okay?” »

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Never steal a journalist’s sarnie…

There are times when the person you’re interviewing frustrates you so much you find yourself giving them a death-stare in the hope that it’ll scare them into answering your questions.

There are times when you put the phone down and use a few choice words to describe the person on the other end.

But I’ve never got to the point where I’ve been quite as apoplectic as Sky News’ Adam Boulton yesterday when interviewing Alistair Campbell.

I love this comparison someone made on Twitter:

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Video thrilled the television star

Minutes after I’d finished recording this week’s Farmers Weekly noos revoo this morning, I went to an excellently-timed company workshop on how to be a better video presenter.

The session was run by one of the stars of a rather popular 1980s TV show (as I’m about to mock him a little, I won’t reveal his name. Sorry if I seem unfair, but That’s Life).

Having been ribbed mercilessly (sorry, constructively criticised) about my video appearances, I wish I’d sat in on a session like this when I first started doing the revoos.

He had some tips that are worth remembering if you ever have the misfortune of appearing in front of camera – the most obvious but useful of which were remembering to keep a good posture and taking deep breaths to keep your voice steady and clear.

He also said you shouldn’t be afraid of stopping an interview to record part of it again if you don’t think you answered the question in the way you meant to.  Of course, you can only do that when it’s not live, eh Prezza?

Mr Video Workshop Presenter had some helpful suggestions, but he just couldn’t stop himself from illustrating his points with a spot of name dropping from his 80s hey days. Dr Miriam Stoppard anecdote anyone? A quip about Esther Rantzen? No? Hmm, thought not.

I’ll be trying out some of the things I learned on next week’s noos revoo anyway. Though rest assured I won’t be getting a bad perm, wearing shoulder pads or hunting out Alsatians with party tricks…

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