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John Mair

is a journalism lecturer and former broadcast producer and director. Twitter: @johnmair100

Blog posts in total 35

Posts

  1. Lime Grove at 100: Remembering a great BBC studio

    The BBC's Lime Grove studios would be 100 years old this year - if they still occupied their home in Shepherds Bush. The old studios are no more, but BBC staff who worked there gathered recently to remember them.

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  2. Green shoots in the killing fields of local journalism?

    Sir Ray Kindle is a very unlikely pioneer. He is 87 and set up the Tindle Newspaper Group (starting with one paper) with his £300 pay-off from the Army six decades ago. Today that paper is thriving - so too is his local newspaper empire

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  3. The British press in crisis, and in denial

    What do you call a group of newspaper editors in collective denial? Try the Society of Editors. I have just spent two days at its annual conference in Runnymede. The theme: Magna Carta II - A Modern Media Charter. Simple, portentous and probably misguided. In a parallel universe, 15 miles awa...

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  4. Alex Crawford: making history in Libya

    She trended worldwide on Twitter. Alex Crawford of Sky News was one of the first three journalists - all women - to enter Green Square in Tripoli with the Libyan rebels. She broadcast live to the world from the back of a pickup truck. "The most exhilarating moment for all of us," she called it. ...

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  5. Guyana air crash: new media loses out to old

    Flight BW 523 came to a screeching halt beyond the end of the runway at Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Guyana, at 1.32am. It broke in two. The pictures tell the story. But all 163 passengers and five crew escaped largely unharmed in this 'miracle'. Just three are still hospitalised. T...

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  6. Chill wind in 'Arab Spring': Can the media change its narrative?

    As the 'Arab Spring' moves through Midsummer's Day to what could prove to be a very cold winter, is the British media flogging an out-of-date narrative? This came out clearly in Mirage in the Desert, the BBC College of Journalism/Coventry Conversations conference last week which brought togeth...

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  7. Do we report the 'Arab Spring' fairly?

    As midsummer day approaches, the 'Arab Spring' of democratic revolts of varying degrees is still in full bloom, and shows all the signs of becoming an Arab Summer, Autumn and Winter. How did (and do) we report it? - Were we too optimistic and not nuanced enough, especially on television? ...

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  8. TV, politics, power and curry - with Guyana's media elite

    John Mair concludes his reports about the media scene in his native Guyana: It was an exclusive gathering: the opening of a new Indian restaurant, the Maharaja Palace. The great and the good, and the Cabinet, were there. I was ushered behind the curtain to meet my newly decorated friend (w...

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  9. Forget the death of advertising. Try the advertising of death

    Sometimes, here in Guyana, you have to pinch yourself and remember this is not Alice in Wonderland. Or is it? Take the economics and output of one station broadcasting here: CNS Channel Six. The figurehead is Chandra Narine Sharma, a five-foot-something former fridge repairer turned Poujadist...

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  10. Postcard from the media Wild West

    I am in media frontier land, in Guyana, South America, on a university exchange trip to the country where I was born. It is truly the media Wild West here. TV is all-present in all homes. Plenty of local channels - 20-plus at the last count. They're segmented not by genre but by race and polit...

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  11. Chinese TV: latest from the crankshaft factory

    This time last week, I left Hangzhou to head home from a very large, very empty airport. It was modern, full of familiar brands and had coffee at £4.50. Like other parts of the new China, it felt too big, and I wondered if it had been built to please some local baron. A little vignette: I lik...

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  12. Back to the future in the school for announcers

    I am in Hangzhou, southern China, on an exchange with Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, which has 11,000 media students. Yet it is only the second biggest in China: Beijing University has many more. China understands the importance of mass-media to the Party and the country. Ea...

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  13. What makes a great newsroom?

    Big question that. I started wondering during a recent tour of the stunning new BBC W1 building conducted by the affable Andy Griffee, the BBC Director of W1. The new newsroom is certainly shaping up, and the first journalists should arrive towards the end of the year. In 18 months, there ...

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  14. Jon Snow: the making of a national treasure

    Towards the end of a distinguished on-screen career, newsreaders can expect to get a CBE, OBE, or even a 'K' if they are lucky. Jon Snow, who has presented Channel 4 News for 22 years, has instead become a national treasure. He would in any case refuse most of the official baubles offered; th...

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  15. Has Al Jazeera come of age in the 'Arab Spring'?

    Will the protest movements in the Arab world be a turning point for Al Jazeera English (AJE)? Could the 'Arab Spring' be AJE's equivalent of CNN's 'Scud moment' - when Ted Turner's 24-hour news channel from Atlanta achieved recognition breakthrough in the 1991 Gulf War? Senior AJE presenter St...

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  16. Is Wikileaks investigative journalism - or even journalism?

    I have been pondering this question especially since a Coventry Conversations/BBC College of Journalism conference on investigative journalism last week. The Great and the Good of the digging fraternity were all there - in the flesh or on screen - from Harold Evans to Bob Woodward to Donal Ma...

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  17. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: doc- or mock-umentary?

    It was a rip-roaring success for Channel 4 - nearly 9 million viewers watched the last of the five-part series on 15 February. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings became a national appointment to view on Tuesday nights, and the subject round the water coolers on Wednesday mornings. According to Firecracke...

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  18. Behind the royal PR scenes

    It's less than two months until the royal wedding, which will no doubt also be the occasion of a less-than-harmonious match between royalty and media. I was given a privileged insight into that relationship at one of the UK's oldest universities when, under Chatham House rules, a select group...

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  19. Judge not, that ye be not judged - unless you already have an RTS Award

    Oscars? Who needs all the razzmatazz when we've got the Royal Television Society Journalism Awards. I was there ... on the judging side. Last week, 18 grateful recipients went away with a plastic trophy. Many did not. But just how do you get an RTS? First, it pays to have talent and ab...

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  20. The view from the commercial side of radio street

    In Coventry, commercial radio only fears the BBC Network giants Radio 1 and - more - Radio 2. BBC Local is considered no contest. Two commercial radio moguls - Phil Riley, CEO of Mercia FM/Orion, and Steve Orchard, CEO of Touch FM - shared a Coventry Conversation as 'The last men standing in ...

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