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August 19, 2010

Journalism News
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» Spend on public service broadcasting in Wales falls again

The continued decline in spending on public service broadcasting in Wales is highlighted by Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report, published today (19 August).

Expenditure on English-language TV programmes for viewers in Wales (by the BBC and ITV) fell by 16 per cent last year. Since 2004, spending in Wales has fallen by 44 per cent – the biggest drop in any of the four nations.

In light of the new government’s decision to scrap plans for an independently-funded news service on ITV Wales, it’s noteworthy that spending on news (on BBC Wales and ITV Wales) has fallen substantially.

By genre, the reduction in Wales was driven by an 18% (£1.6m) decline in spend on news
programming for viewers in Wales to £7.6m and a 17% (£3.5m) reduction on non-news/noncurrent affairs output in the nation to £17.2m. Investment in current affairs programming was broadly flat in real terms, down 2% to £2.7m in 2009.

The report does not cover recent, more encouraging, developments at ITV Wales which suggest that the network is rethinking its earlier decision to scrap its regional news service (a decision which led to the proposal for an independently-funded alternative). A number of journalists have been recruited for the Cardiff newsroom and there is an air of restrained optimism about the medium-term future.

The full Ofcom report – covering the whole of the UK – can be read here. The details for TV in Wales are accessible in a separate section.

February 4, 2010

Journalism News
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» Less than two months to decide the future of news in Wales

Hopes for a continuing – and improved – news service on ITV Wales depend on the speed with which a choice can be made between the three consortia bidding for the contract.

The chairman of the panel set up by the Government to choose between them admitted in Cardiff today (3 Feb) that they would have to make a decision by the end of March if there was to be any chance of finalising a contract before a General Election in May.

The Conservatives have made it clear they are opposed to the plan for pilots in Wales, Scotland and the North-East of England to replace the current ITV news service. If they win the election, all bets are off.

A one-hour session at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay this afternoon was the full extent of public participation in the selection process. Apart from a group of students from Cardiff University – and one from Glamorgan – the public appeared to be represented by interested parties from the Cardiff media world.

Gordon Main of Pembrokeshire TV – an experiment in local web-based journalism (who’ll be speaking here at the Atrium next month) – complained that the whole process of bidding and selection had been carried out without a real public debate.

All three bidders – in their pitches – promised a new start for journalism in Wales if they were successful, which was no surprise as the panel have made it clear they don’t want ‘business as usual’.

All three talked about ‘citizen journalism’ and offered people the chance to tell their own stories in one way or another. When pushed, they appeared to concede that it had more to do with a two-way relationship between the production company and the public than with turning citizens into journalists. People will be encouraged to contribute their stories, videos and pictures and, in return, the news provider will make its publicly-funded output freely available to local websites, bloggers and other non-commercial outlets. They were pressed hard on the need to fund real journalism rather than feed off enthusiastic amateurs.

The web, of course, featured large in all three plans. While the main evening TV news would be the ‘showcase’ (in the words of one of the bidders), the website would be central in all three plans (the UTV-led consortium’s site is already live at www.waleslive.tv).

So what’s the real choice? The biggest beast is Taliesin, which has ITN, the current ITV Wales news staff and what Clive Jones called ‘the Grand Alliance’ of media companies from across Wales (in TV, radio and many local newspapers) along with no fewer than four universities (www.taliesinnews.co.uk). He promised ‘the first comprehensive alternative to the BBC across every platform’ with ‘100 platforms’ to tell stories. The word heavyweight doesn’t do it justice – this is a truly big beast and that may be its weakness. It sounds as though it would be bigger than the BBC, raising the fear that it will limit the range of journalism on offer rather than promoting diversity. (At an earlier session, hosted by Ofcom, one of Taliesin’s potential partners had spoken of the benefit of more ‘consistency’ in the news – which would save people the trouble of having to choose between different versions of a story!) When questioned, both Clive Jones and Spencer Feeney, editor of the Swansea Evening Post (a member of his consortium) denied that all its outlets would be pushing the same story. Jones was the only one to promise investigative journalism.

The idea that a company from Ulster should be qualified to run the news service in Wales may not immediately ring true. But UTV’s news service is acknowledged to be good and beats the BBC hands-down. They own Welsh radio stations Swansea Sound and The Wave and they’ve teamed up with North Wales Newspapers in what comes to look like a strong bid. They stole a march on the competition with their own publicity van broadcasting the message in words and pictures outside the Millennium Centre.

Llanelli-based Tinopolis presented a very confident pitch, based on the wide experience of a Welsh-based company which has become (through acquisitions) ‘the biggest independent supplier of public service programming’ in Britain (www.tinopolis.com). Of the three, this was the bid which seemed to have its finger most on the pulse of the changing world of communications and the blogosphere; if that’s what the panel are looking for, this could be the one to watch. Rather than a heavyweight consortium, they’re selling this as a network of bloggers, local websites and professional journalists passing information in both directions. Their weakness must be their lack of experience in news.

There was a nice moment when a student tweeter asked each of the bidders to sum up the unique character of his pitch (ideally in 140 characters). Two pleaded commercial confidentiality. Ron Jones of Tinopolis highlighted his idea of an ‘open-source’ network, giving a helping hand to other new media to get off the ground.

James Stewart.

July 13, 2009

Genomics News
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» Congratulations to Reader Rachel!

The GPU is very pleased and proud to congratulate Dr Rachel Iredale on her promotion to Reader. Rachel moved to the then embryonic GPU at Glamorgan in 1996 and she has driven our ‘public engagement’ strand ever since. Rachel is renowned for her innovative approaches to public engagement, more latterly with a growing focus on young people (who can forget those GAMY monsters!). One of her more recent highlights was to involve youngsters in meeting with the Human Genetics Commission to present their thoughts on genetic technologies.

Well done Rachel!

July 9, 2009

Genomics News
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» President Obama Announces Intent to Nominate Francis Collins as NIH Director

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Francis S. Collins as Director of the National Institutes of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services in a press release from Washington yesterday. The press release also stated:

‘President Obama said, “The National Institutes of Health stands as a model when it comes to science and research. My administration is committed to promoting scientific integrity and pioneering scientific research and I am confident that Dr. Francis Collins will lead the NIH to achieve these goals. Dr. Collins is one of the top scientists in the world, and his groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.”

Francis S. Collins, Nominee for Director, National Institutes of Health, Health and Human Services Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project, served as Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health from 1993-2008. With Dr. Collins at the helm, the Human Genome Project consistently met projected milestones ahead of schedule and under budget. This remarkable international project culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book.’

This announcement is good news for genetics in health care as it continues the challenge to raise awareness of its relevance and importance in health professional practice. I have had the privilege to hear Dr Collins speak on a few occasions and found him to be inspirational, as well as a witty and down-to-earth person. I know this will be welcome news to collaborative colleagues in the US.

June 22, 2009
» The choice is yours

As you may be aware, the Make IT Personal Project which brought you this student portal is still ongoing. Work has been taking place to enable Glamlife to enter the next phase of personalisation, which will allow you to have a Glamlife experience which is personal to you.

Very soon, you will be able to select the Glamlife channels from which you receive information. When we talk about a channel, what we mean is a group in the University that has the facility to send information direct to students – this includes your faculty and various departments around the University (for example, the Student Money Service).

Once you have subscribed to a channel, you will then receive news from this channel direct into the news feed on your home page. It is important to remember that you will still be able to access all the information Glamlife holds by using the ‘Search’ box and/or by looking in the Glamlife Directory (the tab near the top of the page). This update simply means that the information that is fed to the ‘News’ section on your front page will be only that which you have chosen to receive. Please note that you will automatically receive news from your faculty, and also from the Glamlife Team (but we will only send you information which we think is important for you to know). If you want to see news items from other sources, these will still be available by clicking on the ‘News’ tab near the top of Glamlife.

In order to select which channels you wish to subscribe to, click on the ‘Your Profile’ tab near the top of Glamlife and then select ‘Edit your profile and preferences’. Once you have chosen your channel subscriptions, you are able to change your selections at any time by visiting the ‘Your Profile’ section. New channels will be added to the list from time to time.

In order for you to begin to receive news that is personalised for you, the ‘News’ section on your Glamlife home page will be cleared, so don’t be alarmed when you see this happen. The box will be renamed ‘Your News’, and will then begin to fill with news items from your chosen channels. You will also be able to see which channels your news items have come from by the text and icons which will appear by each item.

If you have any questions or feedback on how you feel about this update, please feel free to contact the Glamlife Team by email at glamlife@glam.ac.uk.

May 11, 2009

Genomics News
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» Telling Stories shortlisted for 2009 award!

Telling Stories has been shortlisted for the Association of Healthcare Communicators 2009 Communicating Healthcare Awards, in the ‘best use of new technology’ section. Winners will be announced at the 2009 Conference Gala dinner on June 3rd. Meanwhile, the website continues to attract interest, with over 3,600 visits since January 10th 2009 to the date of the blog post, with over 21,100 page visits.

April 7, 2008
» How to be an effective Researcher 18 & 19 March 2008

This a full 2 day course and is held in conjunction with UK Grad, Cardiff University and UWIC - and is designed for first and second year PhD students. The course will cover PhD project planning, effective working practices, research enviornment, managing your supervisor, negotiating, getting feedback, making the most of your PhD and planning for the future. The course is FREE to research students and will be of great benefit to your research experience and give you the opportunity to network with other researchers as well as people from academia, industry and other sectors who will be there on the day. Only 12 places are available, so please book your place by Friday 7 March to avoid disappointment and we will send you further details. researchoffice@glam.ac.uk

» Overseas Research Student Awards 2008

To be eligible to apply for the award, students must be currently a self funding overseas student paying the oveseas tuition fee rate at the University of Glamorgan. Closing date for application is Friday 7 March 2008. The award is offered on a competitive basis to a student of outstanding merit and be able to demonstrate excellent research potential. The award will cover the difference between the tuition fee for UK/EU full time students and the fee for Overseas students, so the successful student will be charged at the UK/EU rate. The award will commence at the beginning of academic session 2008/09 and will continue; whilst studying on a full time basis and will be subject to satisfactory academic progress - for a maximum period of 3 years or until the research is completed. Further information on the award and the application form can be found on the handbooks and forms section of the research pages or alternatively contact the Research Office. email: researchoffice@glam.ac.uk. closing date is Friday 7 March 2008.

» Research Supervision Training: 23 April 2008 (12pm-2pm)

The aim of the seminar is to keep staff up to date with the QAA code of practice relating to PGR degree programmes and how we are complying with them. It is a great opportunity to meet, share and talk about issues that you may have or want resolved. The seminar will also outline the responsibilities of both supervisor and student, give advice on how to deal with complaints, appeals, procedures and any concerns supervisors may have with supervisory or examination issues etc. The seminar will be of relevance to experienced supervisors, relatively new supervisors and those who wish to supervise in the future, as it is now compulsory to attend training before embarking on supervision. Previous training will also be taken into account at Research Application Panels, when allocating students to supervisors. The seminar will be led by Professor Mike Wilson (Chair of RPSG) in the GBC between 12pm-2pm with lunch provided. If you would like to reserve a place please email researchoffice@glam.ac.uk