The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

Archive for the ‘media’ tag

NBC stun pundits as they blow rivals out of the water with English Premier League bid

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The English Premier League has long been the number one football league in the world according to TV figures but the move from NBC to buy the rights in the American market has stunned pretty much everyone who keeps a keen eye on these things.

When FOX and ESPN signed the last contract for the rights it was for $23million per year but the new NBC deal is for more than triple that and includes the shocking news that every single game will be broadcast. Yes every single game will be broadcast via one of NBC’s platforms (180 games solely online with 200 on TV). Up to 20 games will be broadcast over terrestrial TV live on NBC and these are expected to be the biggest games of the season. NBC Sports Network will be the primary home for the league but they are planning on having a regular set up for time slots so fans know where they’ll find games.

The EPL was first broadcast on terrestrial TV live last season when FOX used the Chelsea v Manchester United game as a lead-in to their Superbowl coverage and it performed way above expectations. Football in the States is slowly becoming more of a TV sport and last season’s final days slate of games saw FOX (and ESPN) show all ten games on Survival Sunday live over their collection of channels for a 72% increase on the previous season. Clearly eyeballs are being drawn to the EPL and the fact it now makes the home pages of SI, FOX and ESPN shows that the league (along with the Champions League and El Clasico) make enough waves to get written about amongst the big four sports.

What this means for UK viewers is not a lot apart from the fact Ian Darke now doesn’t have an EPL contract for next season. The Pompey fan and voice of the sport in the States is contracted through 2014 to ESPN in the States and will head up their coverage of the 2014 World Cup. He’s also slated to work on US Men’s National Team games as they attempt to quality for Brazil 2014. Now does ESPN allow him to go to NBC for EPL coverage? They might but another possibility is ESPN allowing Darke to be the voice of the new BT Sport channel which signed the rights to 38 live games from next season here in the UK.

After snapping up Jake Humphrey last month, the next thing BT Sport had to do was decide on who’ll be the voice of the channel. The obvious choice was always going to be Jon Champion but if Ian Darke is available then does he have interest? Would moving to BT Sport also end his boxing association with Sky Sports that has continued despite his ESPN football duties in the States. Does Darke return to the Sky Sports stable? Many questions but the possibility has arisen that Ian Darke could return to the UK screens for EPL coverage and would certainly be our gain. I’ll certainly be keeping a keen on on the developments on this front…

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Written by neilmonnery

October 29th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Posted in Football,Media

Tagged with ,

The day the BBC approached me for a new TV show asking if I wanted to get ‘more manly’

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I could be a TV star. I’m terribly excited. When you get an e-mail entitled ‘BBC America’ it will grab my attention. When the e-mail is about being part of a new TV show then you think ‘yeah I could do that’ but then some details become clear and the TV show opportunity that has excitedly presented itself is a chance to be more manly. Yes folks I’ve been offered the chance to try-out for a new TV show called ‘Man Camp’ which is designed to make single guys like me who can’t get a girlfriend well you know…be manly and get a girlfriend. Rock on.

The thing is though is I have zero interest in taking part in a TV show like this. I don’t want to be more macho. I fixed my boiler once and that is enough for me. Just because I don’t go to bars and try to pick-up women it doesn’t mean that I want to be able to do that. Lord no I’d hate to be that type of guy. They are the types of guys I don’t look at with envy I look at with pity that whilst they are busy at bars having a good time playing the dating game I am at home in my underwear watching Match of the Day eating takeaway food. I know which situation I’d prefer to be in and it doesn’t involve booze and chat-up lines.

Here is the e-mail I received just now:

Dear Neil,

I hope that you’re well and don’t mind my getting in touch after reading the interesting blog on your website. I work for a TV casting company and I’m looking to cast people for a new TV series for BBC America and wanted to get in touch to see if it is something that may be of interest to you.

It’s a series called ‘Man Camp’ and we’re looking for a group of Brits who feel that in some way they would like to become more traditionally ‘macho’ and boost their confidence, whilst taking part in a fun, light-hearted TV competition to win a significant prize.

The group of men who wish to become more ‘manly’ in the traditional sense will be sent to America in the new year to take part in a range of American ‘macho’ activities such as hunting/DIY etc. to compete to learn new skills and prove that modern men can still be macho.

The show is meant to be good fun but we also want people who genuinely think they could have something to gain from taking part as well, and I know that your comments about lacking confidence in social situations is something that strikes home with a lot of people.

I don’t know if this is something that would appeal to you but if it would I’ve attached some more information for you to have a look and would be happy to talk about this further.

Either way thanks ever so much for you time.

Kind regards,

[redacted]

This is the attachment text he sent through:

Do you need to Man up?

Or do you know someone who just isn’t masculine enough?

We’re looking for men who are desperate to be more manly, to be a part of a new American TV series. You’ll be flown to America to be taught to be more macho by the nation that brought us Cowboys, Pick-up trucks and the Harley-Davidson.

Do you know someone, or are you…..

• Far too metrosexual for your own good
• Too old to be living at home…and still being looked after by your mum
• A computer geek with not enough friends or chat up skills
• Camp, but not gay
• Too in touch with your feminine side
• Unable to be one of the boys, talk about sport, or hang out with the lads

If this is you, or someone you know, we can help. This show will transform men who desperately feel that they are missing something that makes other men manly.

Filming will be in America in the New Year AND there will be a significant prize for the biggest transformation.

To apply please fill out this form and return it with a photo, your CV and if possible a 60second video clip (you can use your phone) of you telling us why you are right for this show, to [redacted]

If you want to e-mail the guy then I’ll pass on his details if you contact me.

Do I need to man up? Well it depends on what you mean by man up. Some may say yes but who wants to be overly macho anyway? I live on my own and look after myself easily enough. I’m certainly not metrosexual. I have friends (but few chat up skills) and I’m really not camp. I am in touch with my feminine side but there is nothing wrong with that but I love my sport but hate going out on the lash.

So all in all I really don’t fit in with this show and I’ll respond telling him that I am not really what he is looking for. However I absolutely loved getting the e-mail out of the blue and thought it was hilarious. These TV people are trawling the interwebs trying to find people for all these types of shows. It shows in this day and age we could all have our fifteen minutes but I’m waiting for a better opportunity.

Seriously imagine me trying to be manly and/or more macho. Oh the hilarity. Actually I think the real losers here will be the public not getting to be me try and shoot a gun or whatever. Watching me try to chat up a woman. Oh boy that would be cringeworthingly awesome TV. It is so bad in my mind’s eye that I even made up a word for it but people of the world I will not be appearing on ‘Man Camp’ for the BBC any time soon…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

September 24th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Media,Personal

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Jake Humphrey quits BBC Sports programmes to be the face of BT Sport

with 3 comments

There had been some speculation around the interwebs for a while as to who would BT bring in to be the face of their new sport channel ever since they grabbed live EPL games from the start of next season. The general thought was that Gary Lineker was the man for the job as his contract was up with the BBC and his contract is rather large so the Beeb would probably want it off their books but BT have gone in another direction and caught most of us off guard with today’s announcement.

BT today announced that Jake Humphrey had signed on to be the face of their new channel. The 33 year-old had won universal praise for his anchoring of Formula 1 when it returned to the BBC after an absence of 13 years and has quickly risen the pole at the corporation as one of their biggest stars. He came all the way through the BBC from CBBC to be in position to be courted by a rival network and no doubt offered an extremely tasty contract.

Humphrey wrote terrific insightful blogs for BBC Sport and without a doubt one of the most interesting was his one showing an unedited version of his open talkback system showing what he hears in his ears because a broadcast. I can’t embed the video as it’s a BBC Sport one but it is extremely interesting and a good lesson for all those who think presenting a live television show is easy. I’ve not presented live television outside a studio at university but open talkback is really disconcerting and takes ages to get used to but you do.

As for what the BBC will do their F1 coverage whilst not in shambles has some real issues now. They decided to get out of their contract with Bernie Ecclestone which led to Martin Brundle, Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham jumping ship to Sky’s coverage of the sport. Now Jake has left and David Coulthard is out of contract and is widely believed to be of interest to Sky for next season. Does Eddie Jordan really want to carry on doing it without his buddies? Lee McKensie will surely step up to present the coverage and there is no dramatic drop-off there but this is a blow to the BBC of that there is little doubt.

As for BT they get one of the rising talents of live sports presenting in the country. Live top-level football will now be presented by Adrian Chiles, Ed Chamberlain, David Jones and Jake Humphrey across the channels (not including Gary Lineker as it isn’t confirmed he’ll still be around in 2014 at the Beeb) whereas in the recent past it had been Gary Lineker, Des Lynam, Steve Rider and Richard Keys. All of whom had long broadcasting careers behind them (although Gary and Richard’s careers were mostly just in the jobs that they became known for).

This shows both a change in philosophy for broadcasters as they have moved away from the same faces who were mostly of the older generation. Sky’s decision to replace Richard Keys with the two-headed presentation team of David Jones (Saturday’s and midweeks) and Ed Chamberlain (Sunday’s and Monday’s) showed they wanted to keep it in house. The BBC now only have live football at the tournaments and don’t have Lineker signed up as yet although it now seems likely they’ll keep him as going into the 2014 World Cup with Colin Murray as the face of the tournament is rather scary. ESPN had Ray Stubbs who was solid enough but he’ll continue with darts and other presenting duties you’d suspect with them.

This leaves the BT Sport venture as the new challenger to the dominant Sky. BT’s huge victory was getting a share of first pick games over the course of the next football contract. They paid top dollar for them and know it’ll not be easy to make it pay but they are already getting other sports rights to compliment their EPL coverage as last week they got domestic Rugby Union rights. I have no idea if BT will be successful but it’s certainly an interesting opportunity and now is the time to jump ship as London 2012 is over and Jake got to be one of the faces of the BBC’s coverage of that spectacular summer.

In jumping ship he is giving up World Cup presenting duties (as well as possibly fronting the coverage) but that major football tournaments happen once every two years and in this gig he’ll get a live football match most weeks throughout the football season. I’ll probably get BT’s new sport channel when it comes out because I like to watch all the games. Thanks to the EU for making sure I have to pay even more money than I should for this privilege but that is a rant for another day.

This is a good move for Jake I think and a blow to the BBC. It should be pointed out that Jake is set to become a father next spring so leaving the F1 travelling circus and staying in the UK must be a very attractive proposition. The BBC haven’t got anyone what you’d call ready to step up to his all-around role in the sports department. Colin Murray is not a live sport presenter and as it stands he’ll have a significant role to play in Brazil in 2014 and that does worry me. F1 will survive and do fine if DC and EJ stay to backup Lee McKensie but if they leave too then BBC’s award winning coverage will have none of that on air talent either still with the corporation or in the same role and that is quite a dramatic fall from grace in under two years.

Time as they say will tell…

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Written by neilmonnery

September 18th, 2012 at 10:59 am

Posted in Media

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This ‘No More Page 3’ petition is highly unlikely to do anything but the sentiment is fab

with 5 comments

In the past few days some momentum (well I say some momentum – a few people have blogged on it but actually at the point of writing only 8,772 have signed the petition despite featuring in national newspapers) but lets ignore that and pretend the momentum is gathering.

I have strong feelings on Page 3. I don’t like it but I don’t feel that it should be banned. This petition though isn’t about banning it. It is about getting the editor of The Sun to decide that it is time to move on and ditch this aspect of his newspaper. Sounds good in practice but one of the posts talking about it entitled ‘For what it’s worth‘ sums up exactly why the petition has very little chance of succeeding:

The campaign isn’t trying to censor The Sun, either; no one is seeking to “ban” Page 3, but merely wishes to implore Dominic Mohan, the editor of the paper, to do away with it. It is not good enough to merely cease to buy the paper, or skip the page; firstly, because many of the supporters of the campaign probably do not read the paper in the first place, but also because ignoring a problem does not fix it.

So as the author says herself the petition isn’t exactly aimed at the people who buy the newspaper so why would the editor of a national newspaper give a damn what people who don’t buy his newspaper think? I mean seriously? If I was the editor of a newspaper and was told that a lot of people who didn’t buy the newspaper anyway were pissed off with a part of my publication then would I give a damn? Of course I wouldn’t and more importantly nor would anyone else.

The problem with this petition (and all of the Page debates) is that The Sun will not stop until they are either banned from doing it or it is not worth it financially. That is it. That is the list. Now I have no doubt that News International do extensive research on this issue and I fully expect they know that if they ditched it but it wasn’t banned then one of their tabloid rivals would straight away go with it and pick-up a significant percentage of their circulation.

If they knew (or believed) that by ditching the Page 3 girl they would increase their circulation as all the people who don’t buy The Sun would suddenly buy it then they would. However they know that the people who don’t buy the newspaper don’t do so primarily because of the tits on show. They lost half a million off their circulation in the past year but that wasn’t because of tits it was because of phone hacking. They’ll also very closely monitor the circulation figures after the Hillsborough report finding what it did. So the newspaper may well see a drop in sales again over the next few months.

Page 3 to The Sun is nothing to do with their thoughts of sexual objectification. It is all about money (like most businesses) and financially it obviously is worth it to them otherwise they wouldn’t do it. The people who don’t like it don’t buy it anyway so why would they care what these people think? Isn’t that a very bizarre way to run a business? Would you run a business where the people who make you money like what you do but those who don’t make you money are complaining and you listen to the latter and not the former?

Look if you want to sign the petition then go for it and good luck to you. I would like to see it succeed as I don’t like Page 3. The link is here but in the real world the likelihood of this petition making waves in the boardroom of News International or even at the editorial level at The Sun is extremely extremely low. You can debate whether that is right or wrong until your heart is content but that is a fact.

The Sun is not going to change its philosophy on Page 3 out of the goodness of their heart. They just won’t. Even if they hit the million signatures that they are aiming for, if they see no drop in their circulation figures then they won’t do anything.

Sometimes we see the world from our own point of view and not from the point of view of others. Page 3 sells newspapers. I don’t like it. You probably don’t like it but it is a fact and until it doesn’t then why would they stop? The Sun as we all know isn’t the bastion of moral fortitude and it doesn’t pretend to be. It is a newspaper that serves as the news of the lowest common denominator. I don’t think that is an unfair statement and the people that buy it are not those who care about tits on Page 3.

If we want to change the perceptions of women and get Page 3 consigned to the history books then this isn’t the way forward. Attitudes need to change within the people that buy the newspaper and not the other way around. A newspaper is not going to take the lead when money is at stake. So it needs other avenues to succeed. What they are I don’t know but I sure as hell know that this won’t change a thing.

Sexism is still prevalent in our society and whilst it is slowly changing (it is slowly changing) there are still many problems. Would killing Page 3 make any difference? Maybe but killing Page 3 is unlikely when there is a willing audience both to buy it and star in it. Change has to happen from the bottom up and a media outlet with shareholders to answer to will not lead the way unless they believe it is financially worthwhile. Like it or not that is the bottom line and that is where the buck will stop.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

September 15th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Media

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Prince Harry did nothing wrong whereas The Sun did everything wrong.

without comments

Unsurprisingly I was truly disgusted at The Sun for their decision to publish the Prince Harry photos. Not a few hours earlier had I been praising the UK media for their handling of the situation and not showing photos of him naked. It was a clear invasion of privacy and even though it was out there the UK media had no need to go down the same path. Then of course a certain newspaper broke ranks and decided that they had to do so because it was in the public interest. Public interest trumps privacy but was this really in the public interest?

The newspaper say that they published the photos so that everyone could be informed about them and then we can have a proper debate about them. Well they are the words that came out of their mouth but all I heard was, ‘we knew people would buy our newspaper if we had a naked photo of Prince Harry on the front so we decided we didn’t give a shit and just wanted to enhance our circulation figures.’

Some believe that even in private Prince Harry has to do things in a certain way. Look at Paul Walter from his post on the subject:

Of course we have a right to see publicly available evidence of his behaviour. Of course he has to uphold certain standards even in private. And, of course we should be able judge for ourselves as to whether that behaviour is compatible with his position as 3rd in line to be head of state and as a commissioned officer in the British Army.

Someone who is the third in line to the throne, holding an officer’s rank in the army, should not strip naked with random girls.

As far as I’m aware no-one was stopping anyone viewing these photos online. Everyone has to uphold certain standards even in private but these are mostly ‘don’t break the law’ as who cares what people do in private as long as it isn’t against the law. You know what? Playing strip billiards is as far as I’m aware not against the law either in the UK or in Nevada. So a guy gets naked in his own hotel room. Who gives a crap. Just because he is third in line to the throne does that mean he can’t play strip billiards? Is it ok if I played strip billiards? Does anyone want to play strip billiards with me? I don’t have a billiards table though so does anyone want to play strip putting the dishes in the dishwasher with me? Sounds like a fun game, no?

I couldn’t disagree with Paul more about that final sentence. Who cares if a guy strips naked with some random girls. I mean seriously. If David Cameron wants to get down and give Tory HQ a pole dance behind closed doors I wouldn’t give a stuff (although I would be bizarrely interested to see how it went down) but I’d have no rights to view any evidence.

That is where the difference is. The public interest is very different to ‘would interest the public.’ Most things that go on in private would interest the public. However privacy is something we all deserve as long as we aren’t breaking the law of the land. A Tory MP Damian Collins tweeted, ‘Harry is a senior royal so there’s clear public interest in the Vegas pics. If this had been another public figure there would be no debate.‘. He gets the public interest and would interest the public thing muddled up. If Mr Collins MP partied at a private party at his home then would he think the photos would be in the public interest if any of them turned out to show him in a less than stellar fashion?

Talk of MPs we move on to another Tory MP – well is she an MP? She quit but she won’t leave and we are talking Louise Mensch. She told the Today programme that she chilled that the Palace had asked the media not to publish the photo and that she hoped the press would stand up for their rights. Basically she’s down with invasion of privacy. It is all good as long as she gets a good look at Harry’s todger.

Teachers and parents used to always say things like ‘just because Tom is doing such and such doesn’t mean that you should’ and this is the point here. Just because the American media and other worldwide publications think that they can make a bit of money by invading someone’s privacy it doesn’t mean that you should. The Sun broke ranks and showed that they were happy to get in the gutter as long as they had plenty of company they could use to justify their decision to jump right in.

They have showed their true colours but deep down we all knew what they were like. Prince Harry has done nothing either illegal or immoral and yet he is being dragged through the mud. The Sun have tried to legitimise their decision but deep down it was all about money and exposure (excuse the pun) and heck it sold them a few more newspapers than usual and got them high on all the news bulletins for 24 hours. I hope that it was worth it as selling your soul and decency to me is a rather heavy price to pay…

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August 26th, 2012 at 6:55 am

Posted in Media

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My Top Ten moments of London 2012 so far…

with 2 comments

Inspired by the Queen of Lib Dem blogging thoughts on the matter. I have decided to put together my top ten list of the Olympic Games so far. She says that boys running fast for a few seconds doesn’t do it for her. Maybe it is a man thing, a cave-man instinct to know who is the fastest person on the planet. It is like how many people describe Man v Food as a man thing…I suspect the 100m will rank highly for me but let’s go…

Well Caron and myself agree on the number one as the Queen’s acting debut in a scene with James Bond was kick-arse. I didn’t see it live as I had a visitor and he wasn’t interested in the opening ceremony but when I saw it I thought it was just amazing.

However the excellence of women athletes isn’t number two for me. Oh no. The Men’s 100m Final is still – and always has been – and always will be the grand-daddy of the whole games. The fact that NBC were not showing it live in the States was sheer madness as they were showing a pre-season NFL game instead but still the fastest person on Earth. Yes. There is a reason over 20million people watched it in the UK. I had Bolt losing until I saw him in his semi-final and then I was all in on Bolt and he didn’t disappoint. Awesome.

Thirdly words that will resonate with me and it should with us all, ‘I am proud to get a bronze, there is nothing to be embarrassed about,‘ – Becky Adlington after getting bronze in the 800m freestyle. Damn straight. I think that is something we all need to remember. Not being the best on a particular day doesn’t mean you are a failure. Not by a long shot. I was always a Becky Adlington fan but after that she went even further up in my estimations. Really impressed.

On to number four and this is a hard one because it was so painful but it was so gripping – in a horrific way. Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase taking silver in the lightweight double sculls final. First of all a seat broke in the boat but they were allowed to take part in the restart and then they led for the whole 2000m course apart from that final 50m and sadly that is the most important. The race was dramatic enough but their interview with Sir Steve Redgrave and John Inverdale was just heartbreaking but it is something that will stick in the mind for many years to come.

Next up I have to say that the infectiousness of Laura Trott. I’m a sucker for happy people as happy people make others happy but this girl has overcome serious physical issues to become a double Olympic Champion at just the age of 20. Serious talent but also someone with a seriously infectious personality.

We are on to number six and Saturday night in the Olympic Stadium. As the night start we knew Jessica Ennis was going to win Gold. We had high hopes for Mo Farah but Greg Rutherford came from nowhere to grab that Long Jump Gold. It made you proud to be British. It really did.

At number seven I’m going with Chad Le Clos’s Dad. We’d all be proud to have a kid win an Olympic Gold medal but boy was he proud. An exceptional interview made him the biggest star who wasn’t a member of the Royal Family who wasn’t actually an athlete of these games.

One of the men he beat was Michael Phelps and I personally have to mention him. I truly love the swimming and that and the athletics are my favourite part of the games. Phelps was truly great after he got that monkey off his back and a pleasure to watch one final time.

The whole cycling team needs to be mentioned so here they are at number nine. We tuned into the velodrome and basically we got to learn pretty damn quickly that Gold medals were in the offing. They were all terrific and so many Gold’s and World Record’s. Sir Chris Hoy finished it off but they were all out of this world.

Lastly the BBC’s reaction to Mo Farah winning Gold. That is quite simply what sport is all about.

Although ‘Here comes what his name’ comes close to being just as good.

I haven’t put in the coverage by the BBC yet because it needs a whole section of its own. From wonderful presenters (bar Gary Lineker) to having every single event live online or through the red button or on dedicated extra channels on Sky and Virgin to excellent commentary teams and pundits. I’m a Sky guy but the BBC still know how to cover sport. I might say that Sky have the better football and F1 talent but seriously the Beeb have nailed this.

Sue Barker is supreme, Clare Balding is wonderful (will she front Horse Racing on Channel 4?) Hazel Irvine is solid enough and Gabby Logan was underused in the highlights show. Lineker is clearly the weak link. He’s not even good at football presenting and he’s been doing that for nigh on two decades. Ian Thorpe, Michael Johnson, John McEnroe – the BBC still have fantastic pundits. They might all get handsomely paid but boy do they deliver.

The BBC is paid for by us but with the Olympics they are starting to pay some of that money back in the form of outstanding Olympic coverage.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

August 7th, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Media,Other Sport

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Helen Skelton quits twitter – begs the question ‘what is fair criticism?’

with 10 comments

Blue Peter host Helen Skelton has quit twitter this week after what we assume is negative reaction to her part of the BBC Olympics coverage. The 29 year-old has been out and about in the Olympic Park doing vox-pop type segments that have to be honest not been great. Having done vox-pops I know how evil they are and whether it was her or just the vox-pop concept that I dislike – these pieces aren’t working.

Now we don’t know exactly what sparked her to leave the microblogging site. Whether she got some personal hate or just received criticism for her part of the coverage. She signed off just saying, “Turns out I don’t have very thick skin after all so I am closing my twitter account. Enjoy the games. Signing off, skelts x” which doesn’t really answer that question.

There is a distinct difference between legitimate criticism and personal insults. We don’t know the situation here. The abuse Tom Daley received was personal and vile and that just isn’t on. In this case though we are unclear of what sparked her decision to move on from twitter.

For example some might think that my first paragraph in this blog was unfair. Is it unfair to say that I don’t think someone is doing a very good job on TV? I have had people tell me that they don’t like my blog or my radio shows. Is that unfair or is that just personal opinion? Surely we are all still allowed opinions are we not?

Graham Linehan weighed in on the issue tweeting, “Another one down. This is why we can’t have nice things.” However he has said this not knowing exactly what spurred the TV presenter to leave twitter. Is twitter now a place where no negativity is allowed? If Nigel Farage tweeted that UKIP were the third party of British politics even though they don’t have an MP are we not allowed to ridicule him?

We don’t know the full story behind this. Miss Skelton has chosen not to divulge that information and that is her right. If she got personal abuse then no shock that she quit twitter. If she just got criticism then it is just one of those things and it is indeed her right to close twitter. If you have a thin skin and are on TV then twitter probably isn’t the place for you. Maybe one day we’ll find out.

Twitter can still have criticism but personal abuse is a different kettle of fish entirely. If we can’t criticise people then what is twitter going to do the next time Mark Lawrenson is heard doing a football commentary? Rightly or wrongly if you have a job in the public eye then you’ll get criticism. I remember once blogging about the Channel 4 athletics coverage and their lead commentator John Rawling read it and wasn’t happy. Now we all know Ortis stunk up the joint as lead presenter and was replaced after just a few days therefore vindicating my initial reaction to the announcement. Was that fair? Was that just?

Criticism is what it is and if you are involved in the entertainment industry that is part of the job description I’m afraid. It has always been the case it is just in this era people can read the criticism much easier than people discussing it down the pub. Personal abuse is not fair or just but I don’t see the problem with having an opinion or passing on comment. I don’t think you should ever message someone on twitter saying they weren’t very good or anything but if I tweeted for example – not to her but just a general tweet, “Really not loving these Helen Skelton look-ins on the Olympic Park.” then is that fair or foul?

You tell me…

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Written by neilmonnery

August 2nd, 2012 at 11:43 am

Posted in Media

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Lee Dixon joins ITV Sport

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Days after Lee Dixon announced that he was leaving the BBC, ITV have released a press release confirming that he would be joining the channel. This happened on the same day that Gareth Southgate left his job at the FA meaning that Lee Dixon is in effect the replacement for Martin O’Neill who left ITV for the managers job at Sunderland in the middle of the last football season.

The pree release reads as follows:

ITV have announced that Lee Dixon has joined its pundit team covering the range of major football competitions broadcast by the channel.

The former Arsenal and England defender will be part of ITV’s on-screen panel led by presenter Adrian Chiles from the start of the 2012/2013 football season.

Dixon will offer insight and analysis throughout England’s World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign, as well as FA Cup, UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches.

Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “We are delighted that Lee is joining our team with his wealth of experience, knowledge and insight. His appointment follows our acclaimed Euro 2012 broadcasts and signals ITV Sport’s intention to continue to bring viewers top-quality coverage.”

An interesting move as Dixon is well thought of but the old boys network at the BBC limited his opportunities coupled with the lack of lack football on the channel until the 2014 World Cup. ITV have recently dropped to just one staff commentator so to move to three permanent pundits is a bit of a surprising move. Still we’ll see the best of Lee Dixon I expect with him reuniting with his old MOTD2 mate Adrian Chiles.

I have to admit I think the ITV football output is the best it has been for a while. I think Dixon and Keane will be a good combination even if I think Southgate is a bit meh. I am a huge Martin O’Neill guy so that is a loss but the BBC’s coverage has just got too stale. ITV is at least trying something new and I might be one of the few people knocking about who still enjoys Adrian Chiles.

Looks like Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson are set to dominate at the Beeb for a good while yet…

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Written by neilmonnery

July 20th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Posted in Football,Media

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Did I miss the memo that high school proms are newsworthy?

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I am now three weeks into my self-imposed ‘I will buy and read the local newspaper – the Southend Echo every Monday-Friday’ commitment. I have to admit that the £6.75 I have spent on doing this hasn’t been the best £6.75 that I have ever spent but it has taken me back to being a journalist. One thing though has really stood out and that is they seem to have a photographer at every single local high school prom. When did the high school prom become newsworthy? Can someone enlighten me?

Now I know some of you will be thinking, ‘but Neil you are just jealous because you didn’t go to any of your high school discos or proms or anything social’ but you’d be wrong – I went to one. Hah! Although it wasn’t a prom or anything it was a big leaving VI form party in the park – or more accurately Sandown or Shanklin Rugby Club. I can’t remember which. Anyway as per usual I digress. I’m not jealous of either going to proms or having the local rag deciding it was newsworthy. I just think it is preposterous to have the gall to pretend it is even remotely newsworthy.

No doubt the local paper will say that it fills up space and no doubt people buy it to see their photos and to see them all but isn’t that the type of thing that Facebook and other forms of social media was invented for?

Here are a couple of photos from the last two days but in the 15 days of buying the local rag I’d say a good eight of them have had double page spreads from a high school prom.

high school prom southend

High School Prom Photo 1…

southend high school prom

High School Prom Photo 2…

I just don’t get it. Maybe I am just a grumpy old man. I know that the local rag will have quite a few non-stories in it. It isn’t easy finding enough news to fill up a newspaper every single day but prom photos?

The whole high school prom thing is also a bug-bear of mine. It is the Americanisation of our young people. More and more pressure is put on young people to have a good time at these things and make an impression. I read a story in a national newspaper the other day that two girls had waited too long to hire a limo for their prom that they went out a hired a helicopter instead. The helicopter cost them £500 to hire between them. I don’t think I even had £500 pocket money throughout my teenage years yet alone to spend on a helicopter trip to arrive at a prom in style.

Proms are essentially for the popular kids and it deeply harms the less popular kids self-worth. If you aren’t popular or you can’t afford a new dress or to arrive in style then people look down on you. Having the local newspaper photographer there doesn’t exactly help this.

I could bang on about it for hours but I’ll be good and won’t. It just really pisses me off. Not just the whole newsworthy issue but the prom culture itself. I’m not sure the benefits outweigh the costs in fact quite the opposite – I’m pretty darn sure the costs outweigh the benefits.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 20th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Posted in Media,Neil Rants

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The (well one of the) main problems with journalism these days…

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I know most of you don’t care about the Penn State scandal but it has given us not only a chilling A-list story on child molestation alongside the Catholic Church but it has also given us a glimpse of how sports writers work these days. Being right has always been at the forefront of journalism with being first a hair’s breadth behind. These days though being the loudest voice in the room is by far the most important thing.

Let me just give you two prime examples. Stephen A. Smith is a well known writer and broadcaster in the United States who specialises in basketball. When asked on ESPN’s First Take programme whether Penn State should receive the death penalty he reiterated that it should – and not just the death penalty – it should get it for a minimum of five years. Got no problem with that as we all have opinions but then he went on to say the following, ‘I have only glossed over the Freeh Report but I’ve read what I needed to know.’ So he has just a strong opinion based on glossing over a report. That is enough for him to have an opinion. I know one man who I wouldn’t want on my jury…

The other example comes from Sally Jenkins who is one of the very best in the business, long time columnist for the Washington Post so she really isn’t any mug. She wrote a column last Thursday after the release of the Freeh Report where upon she felt comfortable enough to say that Joe Paterno was guilty of perjury and of being a liar. Ok again that is her opinion but she says this due to what is in the Freeh Report.

The Freeh Report was 267 pages long and took me the best part of four hours to read. The report was released at 9AM local and yet her scathing column was posted at 9:31AM local. She hadn’t read the Freeh Report when she wrote her column. She had written the column, then when the Freeh Report came out flicked to a section in the Freeh Report to check that her narrative hadn’t been blown and went for it.

When I was plodding my way through Journalism at university I got to the stage where I to be blunt felt so disillusioned with the whole profession that I pretty much decided not to pursue a career in the industry. From what I could see there were a lot of very lazy journalists about who liked the sound of their own voice far more than they did informing the public of what was going on. That is even more evident to me now not just through the Penn State story but about politicians, bankers, foreigners etc… – a newspaper has a narrative that they want to get across to the public and they’ll fit the facts around the narrative. Not only that but they’ll change the narrative depending on what the public want. The most important thing isn’t to be right or fair or balanced but to check most boxes in a focus group.

I find this scenario extremely depressing but it is what it is. I know I’m just another pointless voice in the world that in the interweb but I at least choose to be a pointless point that has no narrative. I write what I think even if it is against how I thought I thought. I don’t care if 99% of the people who read a specific blog disagree with what I wrote. I write this blog as a place where my own personal thoughts on issues can come out.

It is like journalism just without being told what to write. It is a type of liberation. Maybe I had a lucky escape from journalism as I’d no doubt be too much of a loose cannon. I have opinions and I won’t swallow them. I think people knew that and so instead of working in the fast-paced action world of news or sports here I am doing internet type stuff to pay the bills and write my blurb on the side.

Maybe things didn’t work out too badly on that front after all…

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Written by neilmonnery

July 17th, 2012 at 11:55 am

Posted in Media

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