Lunchtime Lecture: Peter Rudge/ Duckrabbit – “Look At Something Long Enough, And You’ll See Something Different”

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“Journalists as a group are the best at telling stories – they get the most practice .” says Peter Rudge, part of the digital-production company Duckrabbit.
On November 23rd, Rudge came to Kingston University to discuss Duckrabbit, storytelling, and video versus photography.

“Good stories are endlessly attractive, and satisfactionary to people. IS a story well-told, we’ll experience some emotion through this.” says Rudge, as he discusses storytelling, and the importance of capturing the essence of a story. Duckrabbit is all about combining media to create a story that will captivate people, using photography, film and music to create the perfect picture of  a story, capturing not only the context of the story, but most importantly, the essence of it.

“Slapping The Fat Woman” – A Duckrabbit video.

Founded by Benjamin Chesterston in 2009, Duckrabbit makes films with different medias such as still-photo, animation, audio and photography, and mix them together in what Rudge referred to as “Photofilms”, where photography would be the dominant visual media. Having made videos for big companies such as the BBC, Duckrabbit believes it is all about ambiguity, as Rudge refered to their logo showing both a rabbit and a duck. If you look long enough at the picture, you will see something different, and to him, it is the same with journalism and a story – there is always something more than what we see at first glance.


To Rudge, the importance of photo and video in journalism is growing, as more and more people prefer visuals as opposed to text. It is easier to connect with people, evoke emotion and share it with others than it is with text – as the saying goes, a picture tells more than a thousand words, and to Rudge, this was definitely the case.

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A problem with media however, is people’s attention span. Reading a newspaper is something you chose and take your time doing, whilst watching a video online is something in which comes with a lot of difficulty. We are so easily distracted, so a video must stand out, and by using photography and audio on top of it, Rudge believes their videos stand out.

When answering questions from fellow students about how to succeed as a journalist and if digital media is the way to go, Rudge replied that media is the only correct way to go.

“Naïve to think that written journalism will be the only dominant force in years to come.” says Rudge as he finishes an enlightening lecture about the importance media will have on the future of journalism.

Make sure to check out Duckrabbit’s Official Page, Vimeo and Twitter.

Richard Peppiatt – “Daily Star Ate My Profession”

“To me , journalism is about telling people they don’t know, it’s to enlighten.”

 

Walking into another lunchtime lecture, I was definitely not expecting a reporter talking about going undercover in a burka, showing off his amazingly bad headlines that he has made during his career or a heated argument between him and one of the  teachers, where he slammed the Daily Star, in which the professor currently works at – but boy, was it a good one-hour lecture.

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Richard Peppiatt, well-known for his resignation letter to the Daily Star , came to talk to the journalism students at Kingston University about why he wrote the letter, what he disliked so much about working with the Daily Star, and what needs to change in popular press.

 

Peppiatt started the hour with a showcase of, if I may say so myself (and I think he would agree), ridiculous headlines in which came from major newspapers, including headlines such as “Telly King Cowell Is Dead” (he only resigned from the X factor), “Salt Banned In Chips Shop” (they just put it behind the counter”, and the headline that made him resign from the Daily Star, “BBC Put Muslims Before YOU!”.

 

For Peppiatt, the issue of how muslims and Islam is presented in British media was what made him quit the Daily Star, as well as was what made him question the popular press and how they have in many ways left the idea of enlightening people and instead use their papers to – in his own words – promote fear.

Peppiatt defined to us the word propaganda – “Information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view, influencing people’s opinions” -and made an emphasis on the fact that British publications had a tendency of forcing onto people headlines and articles which to some extent could possibly be defined as propaganda, as the pressure to sell newspapers has grown extensively over the years.

 

”  Do people really believe everything they read in papers? Might not, but it still influences people.”

 

 

 

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During his time at the Daily Star, Peppiatt was at one point forced to go undercover and wear a Burka as part of an article he wrote – a ridiculous “mission” for a man first and foremost, more so a job he found both embarrassing and degrading towards women and muslims. During his time at the Daily Star, he felt many of the headlines and articles there were all part of the “negative agenda” which so many newspapers search for during these times – newspapers shy away from enlightening and stay more focused on creating fear in people.

 

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Many a headline in the British press put the emphasis on people from different cultures and how they differ from the “average British population” – something which Peppiatt found both disgusting, as well as a truth he felt most people turned their heads to.

With headlines in the popular press like “Spitting Beardies” (about protestors being disrespectful to soldiers), Peppiatt emphasized on the fact that the British press in many ways were just as bad as the people they tried to condemn – and the muslim/British subject is one many a journalist in Britain take advantage of to sell papers.

 
After his talk on the anti-muslim, fear-spreading propaganda talk, students were pleased as a debate began between him and one professor who works at Daily Star, discussing whether or not Daily Star did in fact have an anti-muslim agenda, and if muslims since 9/11 can be easily used as scapegoats in today’s press. The professor, of course, disagreed.

 

“It’s not journalism – it’s storytelling”

 

When talking about journalism, Peppiatt defined the two forms of truth; the moral (what is right/balanced way of presenting the truth), and the legalistic truth – what can I get away with writing?
And according to Peppiatt, it was no question which of the two tabloids put first. He went from talking about the anti-muslim agenda in which so many British newspapers seem to follow to talking about a related subject, people’s privacy, and what’s morally right, taking the example of Mr Jeffreis, accused of being a pervert by newspapers; if something’s repeated over and over again, even if it’s false…doesn’t it in the end seem right?

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He took a moment to talk directly to us as students, and wanting us to think about everything he had been talking about,as well as what you should put up with as a journalist.

“The good thing about being a journalism student right now? Change Newspapers argue over the right to have free speech, and use this to justify what they’re doing. I am behind them, however, people also have a right to privacy, which is not less important than free speech. Newspapers want to trample over people like Jeffreis, but still be protected, they want it all on their terms.”

He lowered his voice and told us all to be proud. Be proud of out work, and not do what he used to do. He wanted us to take a look at what we’ve written in a couple of years, and be proud of everything, and not just a few of the many articles we will all write in the time to come.

People are afraid, and the tabloids use that for all it can be used for. You have to dare to be different, and go outside the boundaries of “normality” – change, he said, doesn’t come unless you dare to do so.

He also gave us a warning of the butterfly effect – how the impact on one person can change the course of things. (As he also discussed in this article.)

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“Small things can have big consequences – a headline can make someone say that’s it.”

Sites on Peppiatt worth checking out:

Independent Article

BBC Article

Richard Peppiatt On The Guardian

 

Twitter Account

 

 

Lunchtime Lecture: Kathryn Corrick

Facebook status update: What do the recent Facebook changes mean for newspapers & journalism?

On Wednesday the 26th of October, I alongside several of my fellow journalism classmates took part in a lecture by Kathryn Corrick on the changes Facebook will be going through and how it will impact both the individual as well as organizations, newspapers and of course, journalism.


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Through a detailed slideshow, Corrick discussed the new features that will be available on Facebook over the next months; TIMELINE, a feature that will document your history on Facebook, from events to what apps you’re using, and give you the ability to “backfill” your timeline on Facebook with more or less content, Open Graph, which will enable you to post not only what you like or are listening to (referring to the new Spotify feature) through Facebook pages, but through other websites as well, and how PAGES will be changed, and SUBSCRIPTIONS will be further developed.

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Corrick discussed the good and bad sides of all these changes, as well as what it would mean for newspapers and journalism, as Facebook’s becoming more of a platform for information, and not only just connecting.

Several newspapers have got widgets on Facebook that allows the user to post which articles they read and when they read them, though some apps proved not to live up tp expectations readers might have in terms of appearance and accessibility.

One question remains – are all these changes to Facebook really necessary?

Many Facebook users, myself included, feel that Facebook is starting to sidetrack from it’s original purpose, much like Myspace did, by introducing too many new features that most people don’t find necessary or feel should be on a page of its own. Facebook, once used to keep in touch with others, is slowly, but steadily turning into somewhat a platform of self-promoting, advertising, and some feel, invasion of privacy.Employers now finding information about their applicants through their Facebook profiles is something that is causing many young people to fear their chances of getting a decent job.

As much as I can admit I spend ridiculous amounts of time on Facebook to talk to my friends and look at their pictures, videos, what music they are listening too and so forth, I fear Facebook might go too far and end up as Myspace – too complicated, too unorganized, too old-school.

Make sure to check out Kathryn Corrick’s Official Page, Twitter, as well as an interesting slideshow on telling tales using digital media.