Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Broadcast Journalism: a bibliography

Posted in Adam, Broadcasting and Media by Adam Westbrook on November 1, 2008

Here’s a post which has been sitting in my draft folder for more than a year! No Idea why I never published it at the time…but here it is. Other journos: feel free to add your own suggestions or reviews of the below!


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Jack Bauer: the Facebook 24

Posted in News and that by Adam Westbrook on September 3, 2008

For not  very interesting reasons I’ve been searching Facebook for a Bauer group. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but what I did find was dozens of groups hailing appreciation upon “24” icon Jack Bauer.

More than 160 different groups in fact. Each with at least 100 members.

And some of them are brilliant – so here’s my compilation of the 24 best ones

24.  I am going to be jack bauer when i grow up (150 members) Nice to see people have ambitions in life.

23. If you wake up in the morning, it’s because Jack Bauer spared your life (276 members) A warning to us all.

22.  Jack Bauer- Part man part machine, ultimate legend (38 members) Not so popular this one. Not sure Jack Bauer is part machine either.

21. In God we Trust, but God trusts Jack Bauer (916 members). The first of several religious based groups. Enjoy comedy lines like “curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Jack Bauer did.”

20. If Hilary Clinton becomes president, Jack Bauer will probably kill her (6,919 members) Just as well that’s not going to happen then.

19. Superman Wears Jack Bauer Pyjamas (360 members) Yeah he does.

18.  Jack Bauer is Back and Refuses to Stop Kicking Ass (133 members) I think you really have to believe this one.

17. If Jesus was a CTU agent his name would be Jack Bauer (157 members) …but JB would clearly kick some JC ass

16. In my free time, I pretend to be Jack Bauer (180 members) That’s a lot of people with too much time on their hands…

15. The new facebook helps Jack Bauer protect freedom (138 members) And he also likes the design of the status application.

14. Coalition to change the dictionary definition of ‘Badass’ to ‘Jack Bauer’ (130 members) He is one Jack Bauer Muthafucka afterall.

13. Fuck sending troops to iraq….. send jack bauer (312 members) He can’t have done a worse job in honesty.

12. If Jack Bauer shopped at Tesco, he’d destroy the self-service machines (251 members) Lesson: never tell Jack Bauer there is an unexpected item in the baggage area. This group also claims ‘Jack Bauer has 657 points on his Clubcard, but he’s too hard to redeem them.’

11. I‘ll name my first born son Jack Bauer if this group reaches 500,000 people Sadly this isn’t going to happen. So far it only has 177 members.

And here’s the long awaited top ten….

10.  Don’t ask what Jack Bauer would do for a Klondike bar. (1,447 members) I don’t know what a Klondike bar is, but this is still funny.

9.  1.6 Billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight. (258 members)

8.  If Jack Bauer Were Real, Iran Would be Nuc-Free in 24 Hours (174 members)

7.  I would gladly take a bullet for Jack Bauer (230 members) Also claims “if it looks like chicken, walks like a chicken, tastes like chicken, but Jack Bauer says it’s beef…then it’s fucking beef.”

6.  Guns Don’t Kill People… Jack Bauer Does (2,837) And rappers, obviously.

5. Your attraction to Jack Bauer in no way affects your sexual orientation. (267 members) Thank God for that.

4. All men are created equal. They are all vastly inferior to Jack Bauer. (20,148 members) The most popular group here by far.

3. Every mathematical inequality officially ends with “< Jack Bauer” (154 members)

2.  …and on the seventh day Jack Bauer said, “I’ll take it from here.” (758 members) The last of the many, many religious piss takes…

…and the numero uno group is…

1. Jack Bauer Could Strangle You With a Cordless Phone (3,334 members) Yes, he’s that good.


Ghana @ 50

Posted in International Development by Adam Westbrook on March 6, 2007

Today’s Ghana’s jubilee day. Here in the UK, the Worldwrite charity, which has been filming a documentary about Ghana at 50 has just launched a new website with trailers for the film.

Catch it here.

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Another youtubeauty!

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Westbrook on January 23, 2007

After the popularity of the two insane youtube vids I linked to a few weeks ago, here’s another youtubeauty, this time paying tribute to the Apple iPhone.


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CoJo baby yeah!

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Westbrook on January 18, 2007

Austin Powers has his mojo. And now the BBC has it’s CoJo.Austin Powers

To the rest of us that’s College of Journalism and it launched it’s new online service this week.

The College itself was set up as a result of the Hutton Inquiry and the BBC’s own internal inquiry which suggested that BBC journalists get more regular training, partly so that fat morons like Gilligan don’t get on air while still in bed in their pyjamas.

It is with some irony then that the man chosen to “edit” the college is none other than Kevin Marsh – the unfortunate editor of the Today Programme on the morning of Gilligan’s imfamous broadcast.

And Marsh is confident:

“CoJo online will become the best in the world because BBC journalism is the best and most trusted in the world. And it will draw on, build on and pass the lessons of that journalism and those journalists”

he wrote in this week’s edition of the BBC in-house mag, Ariel.

But CoJo Online is only available to people with access to the BBC intranet gateway. So I’ve taken the chance to have a good snoop while still in the loop so-to-speak.

And I’m impressed.

It’s a positive gold mine of journalism practice, info and advice, with films, tutorials and links to other resources.

It’s full of videos, like midlands video journalist Mark Egan taking us through a typical shoot. And correspondent Allen Little fronts an inspiring piece on writing for radio.

I’m confident about it because the man behind it is Vin Ray, and he’s written the book which is my bible. It’s called Television News and if you don’t have a copy then get one. 

So I hope it’s embraced and used by journalists – even experienced ones – without too much snobbery; it’s a wealth of info on not just how to be a journalist, but (as Vin Ray would say) a really good one.

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At the Frontline

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Westbrook on November 17, 2006

Frontline Club logoWent to a very interesting awards/debate event at London’s Frontline Club last night, after an invite from the lovely James, Rachael and David at Westminster Uni.



Hosted by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, it began with the Kurt Schork Awards, highlighting brave freelance journalists like Kurt himself who was killed reporting from

Sierra Leone in 2000. One award went to Steve Vincent who was killed recently in
Iraq and there was a touching moment as his widow accepted the award from Kurt Schork’s widow, which really brought home the sacrifices some people choose to make.

Then came a debate on the impact of new technology (such as DV Cams and VJs) on local freelance journos around the world. Some were worried that the accessibility of equipment would water down journalism, and others that the equipment’s too expensive for local journalists anyway. But I reckon the flood of “citizen journalists” (if the flood ever happens) will only strengthen the need for accurate, well trained journalists (cough-cough!).


But I remembered something the venerable Emmanuel Bensah said a while back when I got excited about new technology:

Video journalism is all exciting, innit, but I have to say that I espouse a visceral belief that journalists are far from dead. In the long run, these are TOOLS, TOOLS, and TOOLS, NOT substitutes. When all else fails, we need our journalists to do the quintessential work of, erm, journalism, no?”

I also got to meet David Dunkley-Gyimah who runs the ever expanding View Magazine site. He’s riding the new media wave big time, and apparently View Magazine’s going to make Minority Report look like Postman Pat before long. Brilliant.

Ruud ElmendorpDavid also mentioned that Ruud Elmendorp just won the International TV Award at the Video Journalism Awards in Berlin. Ruud works freelance in East Africa and his reports are a much needed alternative side reporting in Africa. Definitely check out his excellent report where he meets the imfamous Joseph Kony. Great to see he’s got some recognition.

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The Battle for Afghanistan

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Westbrook on November 14, 2006

This week Channel 4 News has launched an invasion of Afghanistan, presenting an in-depth series of reports live from the country every night for a week. But the BBC are defending their terrority and pulling out their big guns to win the hearts and minds of the British viewing public. But who will win?

Alex ThompsonChannel 4 News from Afghanistan” is the lastest in a strand of excellent ‘news events’ produced by the C4N team, as part of their nightly bulletins. Earlier in the year Jon Snow reported from Iran, a series which was nothing short of groundbreaking. This time, Alex Thompson’s donned the desert fatigues and is presenting the programme live via satellite all week.

Monday’s programme introduced us to the head of Kabul’s CID, in charge of stopping drug dealers and the Taliban, plus an interview with Pakistan’s President Musharref. Tonight the team are getting dirty with the blooming opium industry.

At least half of the 50 minute programme was dedicated to Afghanistan last night so there’s no messing around and each report is a real in-depth analysis of events.
Alistair LeitheadNot to be outdone, the BBC have brought out their heavy artillery in the form of Alistair Leithead, their correspondent embedded with British troops, who did a special report for the 10 O’clock news.

Now I’m no fan of embedding and I think it tarnished the Iraq War coverage but it served the Beeb well yesterday. At times, I thought the package was an astonishing piece of solo-journalism and was ready to praise Leithead’s VJ skills. But it’s since transpired that producer Peter Emerson and cameraman Fred Scott did admirable jobs on the piece. The troops were open and the footage dramatic.

The winner? I think the Beeb took it this time, but with four days left of live coverage from Kabul, Channel 4 News may well prove me wrong.

  • Watch some of Channel 4 News here.
  • Watch Alistair Leithead’s report here.

Incidentally, the BBC/C4N battle is now a digital one. The BBC’s excellent Editors’ Blog has been challenged by the long-needed Channel 4 News blog

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Frustration and inspiration

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Westbrook on November 8, 2006

…all in one day.

Today I’ve been in radio reporter mode, my task: to report for a local station based in North London called EC1 FM.

As part of our training we spend one day newsgathering, and then tomorrow we produce bulletins with our material.

It didn’t look promising as we all rolled in, bleary-eyed, at 9am.  There seemed to be a distinct lack of news in the Islington area: the local rag was already a week old, and council websites were fruitless. But we did manage to scrape together about 20 ideas between us, which ranged from a new CCTV initiative in the area, to a local bikshed being given an award (oh yes.)

Normally days like this are one of complete frustration over stories, rather than anything else. Your best idea falls through when the interviewee pulls out. Or worse still, it turns out not to be a story at all. Not today. This time, I somehow managed to grab 3 different stories: a hard news story about asylum seekers living rough on London’s streets, an interview with a local world record holder and an off diary idea about the lack of poppies on sale ahead of armistace day.

But then the frustrations began.

I recorded some vox pops with students about whether they’d been able to get hold of poppies. Great stuff, but the battery on my Minidisc recorder died halfway through.

Then I went to Highbury, North London, and got a good interview with the record holder (she irons clothes under water). Then to Shoreditch to Amnesty International HQ to record an interesting asylum seeker interview.

I’m a happy man, but when I get back to Uni, I discover the MD has mysteriously erased my interviews. Aaargh!

It’s the worst feeling ever, but at least it’s happened now rather than when I’m getting paid. Definitely going to be more careful from now on.

So I ended the day feeling immensely frustrated. After work, we headed for a talk by some of the team behind Channel 4’s excellent Unreported World. The reporter of last Friday’s programme about gang warfare in Guatemala is Ramita Navai, an ex-City student, who amazingly only graduated from here 3 years ago. Alongside her was David Lloyd, renowned producer, behind Dispatches and Unreported World on Channel 4.

It was a totally inspiring two hours – Unreported World is a brilliant, unique piece of journalism, that goes to the places we never hear about. And Ramita’s story of how she got to where she is, gave us all the real get-up-and-go to do great stuff.  It takes time, perseverance and, it would seem, luck to make it far in television journalism, but I felt far more motivated than ever before.

If you’re in the UK, watch the programme: Friday’s 19:30 on Channel 4. If not, you can listen to the programme in radio, by clicking here.

So a bit of a mix today, but far better than any day at the office!