Short Documentary – Growing Communities: An Urban Gardening Project in the Heart of London

IMG_1198Growing Communities is an urban gardening project in London. The group hosts three sites throughout the city, each of which is open to volunteers at different times. Allen Gardens is located near the Manor House Underground station, in a residential neighbourhood. It serves two purposes:

(1) To educate community members and local groups on how to garden and the importance of organic produce; and

(2) To generate funds through its “veg box” scheme, in which Londoners can order a monthly produce box with salad fixings grown in the garden.

Allen Gardens is a peaceful, natural respite from the bustling London cityscape. Volunteers can come to enjoy the outdoors and escape from their daily routine while learning how to grow their own organic vegetables.

I had the opportunity to visit Allen Gardens on a Monday, when its open to volunteers. Grower Paul Bradbury and volunteer Geraldine showed me the garden and explained its importance:

 

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Marrakech

I recently spent a weekend in Marrakech, Morocco and documented some of my experiences in short video clips. After a few weeks in the video section of this MMJ module, I decided to create a short feature using the clips I had gathered. I applied what we have learned so far about adding music, editing clips, and telling a visual story.

From strong coffee and orange juice at our Riad to navigating the city’s crazy traffic patterns to the surreal nights at Jemaa el-Fna, this is my trip to Marrakech.

Harrow Campus Moves to 24/7 Entry

The University of Westminster’s Harrow campus has changed its entrance policy, now allowing students to use the front doors of the university 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Previously the main entrance was only open until 11 p.m., and students wishing to access the library after that time were required to use the back doors. Students see this change as increasing safety on campus.

“eBay Visas”

UK government officials have proposed auctioning off tier one visas to the highest bidders, allowing wealthy foreign investors to bypass many of the hurdles in the way of settling in the country. Foreign investors currently have the option of paying a minimum of £1 million to expedite the process, and this move would double that starting cost to £2 million, then auctioning off visas from that point. This change would be in an effort to increase the benefits to the UK economy, although critics complain that it would create an “eBay culture” and would give an unfair advantage to those who can afford to pay more.

For more information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26334978

Radio Feature: London’s Emerging Independent Coffee Scene and One of its Most Unique Cafes

London’s Emerging Independent Coffee Scene

and One of its Most Unique Cafes

London’s independent coffee scene has taken off in recent years, drawing locals and tourists alike away from chains like Starbucks and into local cafes. I visited one of London’s most unique cafes, The Attendant. Located underground in a Victorian men’s loo, it is equipped with a friendly staff, delicious coffee, inviting atmosphere, and all of the original fixtures of the 19th century toilet. Owner Ryan de Oliveira and barista Mitchell Smith explain how The Attendant stands out among the rising number of independent coffee shops in London. Listen Here

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Paper Review 11/2

Paper Review: 11 February 2014 – Today in the papers, The Daily Mail launched a petition for the UK government to suspend foreign aid in favor of giving more money to victims of the recent flooding. The Daily Express highlighted the growing housing crisis by telling the story of a group of 15 Romanian migrant workers who turned a public toilet in Edgware into a home. In broader European news, The Daily Mail decried the recent killing of a giraffe and a Copenhagen zoo “grotesque” and “grisly,” showing a picture of the animal in front of a crowd as it was prepared to be fed to the lions.

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Script:

Story #1: Floods (The Daily Mail)

The Daily Mail announced on the front page that it’s launching a petition calling for the government to temporarily suspend foreign aid in favor of giving more to flood victims here in the UK. This is obviously a huge issue in the country right now, and the photo splashed across the front page shows a family standing knee-deep in water in their living room in Moorland, Somerset.

While the Daily Mail cited many residents who support this action, Prime Minister David Cameron has advocated against it, saying the government will provide enough aid to victims without needing to dip into the foreign aid budget.

Meanwhile, the stormy weather is expected to continue throughout the next week, with hundreds more homes feared to be in danger.

Story #2: Romanian Migrants in Public Loo (Daily Express)

In other local news, the Daily Express is reporting that the influx of migrant workers from Romania is causing a local housing crisis.

The paper reported that 15 Romanian migrants have turned a public toilet in Edgware, northwest of London, into a home – setting up beds, a cooking space, entertainment area, and – of course – a loo.

Photos in the paper show the outside of a drab brick toilet building and a close-up of a cooker inside that the group skillfully hooked up to the site’s electricity.

Harrow Council leader Susan Hall was quoted as saying that “this was a public convenience but it was not meant to be quite that convenient.”

Local residents expressed shock that the situation was so dire, but most didn’t seem to mind the innovative use of an otherwise abandoned space.

Story #3: Giraffe (Daily Mail)

In broader European news, the Daily Mail reported on the continuing outrage over the brutal slaughtering of a healthy young giraffe. Photos show it lying lifelessly on the floor before a crowd of adults and children as a zookeeper prepares to feed it to the lions.

The paper decried the slaughter as “grotesque” and “grisly.”

I think everyone can agree that it was unnecessarily brutal – and the fact that they made it into a show for visitors makes it that much more unsettling.

Evaluation:

I found the paper review to be a little more intimidating, as I’ve heard fewer of these on the radio than features. As I started to look through the papers it became a little bit easier and I decided to choose a London-area story, a broader UK story, and one in the European Union. All three are issues that have been prominent in the news recently but that took on somewhat of a different angle in these particular articles. The hardest part was being succinct, engaging, and informative at the same time. I initially started out with a much longer script but had to cut down a lot. Editing this one was easier to do than the feature, as I had more control over the content that was recorded. I think this brief would be suited for a station like BBC Radio 2, as it isn’t very hard news but also isn’t aimed at a young audience.

Living at Home

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), more than 33 million young adults still reside in their family homes due to high unemployment rates and housing costs. Hayley Burgess reports: Living at Home

Production Note: The assignment was to choose a UK story and include one interview. It was our first time really crafting a piece with vocals from different people, and I think it was a successful first attempt in editing the two segments together. It was also a first try in drafting succinct copy. We definitely edited it down from the original draft to make it more concise, and were careful to not include too many numbers/statistics. That was challenging because it was an article about a report from the Office of National Statistics. However, we chose only a few to include and I don’t think they complicate the story too much.

Facebook’s 10th Birthday

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Facebook celebrated their 10th birthday today, marking a decade since the site first emerged at Harvard University. Facebook has since revolutionized not only the way we interact with friends and family, but how we consume news. Hayley Burgess and Frances Dumlao report:  Facebook 10th Anniversary Feature

Production Note: For this feature, I worked with Frances Dumlao to produce a brief audio feature about Facebook’s 10th Anniversary. We wanted our angle to be how Facebook has changed the way we consume news. We did this by drafting our script to not only introduce that it’s Facebook’s 10th birthday, but to also mention that many people now get their news on Facebook. To add different viewpoints, we did two vox pops with students at the University of Westminster’s media campus at Harrow. This was a fun project, and the only difficulties we encountered were with the software when we tried to adjust audio levels.

3 p.m. News Bulletin on Radio 4

Radio 4 News Bulletin: 3 p.m. News Brief

Production Note: For this assignment, we worked in a group of five people. Our first task was to choose stories that were likely to be covered in a Radio 4 bulletin. Therefore, we focused mainly on international news stories, with two covering news in the UK. We then split up the work for writing scripts. I wrote both the piece on Ukraine and the one about opening Buckingham Palace to visitors year-round. I also took on the role of editor, adjusting the writing and content of each piece. I think it was mostly successful, but I think I could have been more concise with the Ukraine piece. I had trouble with that one, as it was a very complicated and drawn-out issue that I needed to explain succinctly and clearly. As David mentioned, it probably would have been better suited for a voicer rather than just read by the main newscaster. Overall, I thought the bulletin came out well and I think our group did a really good job throughout the process.