The New Day Launches in Britain: Success or Risk?

 

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Photo Courtesy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35685156

In today’s time and age, when the world is going digital from print, Britain takes a bold step in launching its very first national newspaper (in print) after a span of thirty years. This initiative itself is commendable because of two reasons. First, a newspaper is brought out in print form, when veteran newsprints like The Independent is all set to wrap up its print edition and go online. Second, after thirty years a new newspaper is being launched. This only highlights the fact that for the past three decades, there has been a leading monopoly of newspapers such us The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and the like. However, with the society and consumer patterns ushering in the digital age, the monopoly of these print newspapers is staggering to maintain their identities in the consumer market. All the above named newspapers and many more have their corresponding online portals for news consumptions through mobile phones and computers.

This much talked about newspaper is called The New Day. Interestingly, it was launched on the 29th of February 2016, which comes once in every four years (and a date which would go down in history marking actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar win after six Academy nominations). The marketing strategy for this newspaper is very unique. On the 29th of February, it would be given away free to attract new readers. Thereafter, for the first two weeks it would cost 25 pence; following which it would be raised to ‘full price’ at 50 pence. Comparing a nominal fee of 50 pence with other newspapers costing over a pound, those who prefer newspapers to online consumption of news might want to give this paper a shot.

 

Coming to the paper itself, the publishers (The Trinity Mirror) have acknowledged the presence of the online news consumption. But they have justified their paper by stating:

“It has to be a new type of newspaper. And everyone can have a voice. Be they the Prime Minister or passer-by on the street. Because both deserve to be heard. Our stories will be selected to impress our readers, not to impress other journalists. We’re just fairly normal people who want to create a paper you’ll enjoy. ”

 Indeed, the newspaper takes a fresh look on delivering stories to its audience. Instead of having a hard news as its top story, its front page adorns snippets of a feature story titled ‘Too Much Too Young’, a study based on the lives of the young children who help in taking care of their parents. The paper comprises all kinds of stories – politics, sports, research study features, opinion articles, photographs, activities and crosswords and even a quote of the day. But what sets it apart is its neutrality or impartiality. It puts forward all views on a certain incident or event and lets the audience decide for themselves which views to support.

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Two Interesting Articles (above)

Two articles that caughtmy eyes, were titled ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Would you help a child being bullied? ’. The  former because, often we have heard how children must take care of their parents, but by children one certainly does not mean those falling within the age group of ten and under; and the latter because, bullying is a big issue in contemporary society. The aftermath of bullying could demoralise a person to such an extent that psychiatric help might be required or in worst cases it might lead them to commit suicides.

Out of curiosity (and University work) I have been to two different newspaper stores, one in the MediaCity and the other in Rochdale. The store supervisors in both the shops have given me a statistics of about three New Day being picked up by their customers out of the sample stacks of fifteen newspapers sent to them. Personally, even if the statistics might not seem very alluring, the newspaper was launched just today and it should be given some time to build an audience for itself. The success or the failure of this paper would only be seen as the time goes by, but for the initiative of launching it in print with no online website, the publishers should be congratulated for their effort.

Print versus digital is a much debated topic in contemporary media. What is your opinion on the launching of a purely print edition? It is a risk or an answer to the challenge the print media is facing from the digital media? Let me know of your opinions.

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Politics, Youth and Social Media

A very interesting topic was taken up as part of my academic module in my class today. It was politics. Having been a student of politics, not so long ago, this grabbed my attention. Although lets be honest, my area of specialist journalism is far from politics, well so I thought so, till today’s class. Without beating around the bush I would come straight to the point. Two really interesting and important questions caught my attention.

  1. How has social media affected political behaviour of the citizens?
  2. What does political reporting encompass?

These two questions, in itself, are two highly debatable areas.

Social media has definitely affected political behaviour. This statement holds true and can hardly be strongly challenged. However, social Media is responsible for what we can call virtual politics rather than physical politics. This, I speak looking at the international scenario. To be very honest, today’s youth especially those aged between 18 to 30 are mostly interested in their own lives, celebrities, culture and arts. Have they got any time for hardcore politics amidst their daily schedule? But, with the presence of social media and mobile apps they have the headlines of day to day global, national and regional politics in their fingertips. Social Media primarily does the work of informing, educating and making the youth politically aware of the situation.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been highly used for sharing political views and arguments. Nearly every little meeting, talks, strikes, political elections or activities are discussed world over through these platforms.

“Popular discourse has focused on the use of social media by the Obama campaigns,” Boulianne concludes. “While these campaigns may have revolutionized aspects of election campaigning online, such as gathering donations, the metadata provide little evidence that the social media aspects of the campaigns were successful in changing people’s levels of participation. In other words, the greater use of social media did not affect people’s likelihood of voting or participating in the campaign.”

Source: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/digital-democracy/social-media-influence-politics-participation-engagement-meta-analysis

Political blogs are rising over the years. Youths who have their political opinions find it very easy to put them forward to the world through blogs. That apart, online petition, surveys, propaganda are also gaining grounds. In fact, all of these increase to a great level just before any political elections. They have become part and parcel of what is commonly called as modern day E-Democracy.

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Photo Courtesy: http://www.slideshare.net (http://goo.gl/ZxcW7z)

With such examples it is clear that globally youths are educated and informed about politics through the use of social media but does this information ultimately culminate into voting behaviour in all scenarios?  This is an important question which needs answering. Only thorough research in this field and time can give an answer to this question.

Coming to the second question of what does politics encompass; well the answer is everything. Everything that one does or happens around an individual is directly or indirectly linked to politics. But it doesn’t mean that everything comes under political reporting. I would personally say that everything around us has political linkage but everything around us in NOT political reporting. Say for instance, what is printed inside prescribed school text books might have political connections; but if a student does not score well in the exam, it is not political reporting.

The above opinions are purely mine and you are more than welcome to disagree. I would however, love to know about your opinions as well so please  do drop by and leave a comment on what you think is the role of social media in shaping up the political future among the youths.

Stepping out of the well, Manchester Homeless Crisis

Anyone who has walked through the streets of Manchester will have noticed that our city is, and has been for a while now, in a serious homeless crisis. With Halloween that just passed and Christmas round the corner, many mancunians are now getting ready for a festive end of 2015. Unfortunately for an increasing number of people, this coming winter will just be a long challenge for survival.

Probably entire libraries of books have been written already on the origins of such a phenomenon in our modern societies, but nevertheless the problem persists and nobody knows how many will die this winter in our very streets.

The range of reasons which can lead to homelessness is large and varied but ultimately it often leads to very sad stories. The process of ending in the streets is like a long, painful fall into a deep well. Once you reach the bottom, you could think things won’t go any lower, but in reality it is only the beginning of a journey on one of the only two paths available: stay and die in this well or try to pull whatever resources and strength that might be left in an attempt to get out of it. In any cases, both directions will lead to a person’s greatest life-changing experience.

Regardless of the so-called technologically advanced world- that is our modern society, whatever the number of so-called development and assistance programs our governments run, many will just inevitably get pulled toward the first path. And how could they be blamed? The circumstances, which led to the fall into the well, would have often strained to the maximum the resources and strengths of the person. Once at the bottom, totally dried out of any sort of possibilities to even attempt to get out of that situation, many will let destiny decide what to happen next.

And then there are those who once at the bottom, luckily, still find a way to pull together whatever is left of hope, will or even faith. During this long, never-ending, journey toward the ultimate goal of getting out of this deep well, every steps will be as difficult and painful as the next one. Sometimes, even personal will and strength is not enough, often one will feel to even abandon. In other times, the smallest external intervention of mercy and compassion can prove decisive. It could take just that little gesture from one person, compassionate enough to come and help, to throw a rope into the well and get him or her out. The question is: Can we be that compassionate person? And if yes, how can we go about it?

Well, all around the country, there are already a great number of people who have come together and decided to act, to be that person who comes and throws a ray of hope. The number of organisations trying to help homeless people is ever increasing, in all major cities. In a way it is unfortunate as it shows the direction our so-called liberal societies are taking. On the other hand, these NGOs, charities and volunteer groups are the last line of defence for our civilisation to remain in the realm of love, mercy and compassion, basic characters of humanity.

In Manchester, one of them, The Homeless Hub, has been working for years now to maintain this last ligne of hope for the ever increasing number of homeless people our city bears.

The Homeless Hub describes its mission as follow:

Our mission is to bring change to the lives of those we touch by creating opportunities for the marginalised and disengaged to change their lives. We work with the homeless and the marginalised across Manchester. We want to change our world. We are not afraid to lead the way and challenge the status quo.

The organisation operates a variety of projects and events, including food banks and street feeds. Wether you think you could participate in person to distribute hot food, drinks and clothes or help by giving a small financial donation, please, remember that no matter how small you think your help is, it could be that one crucial step taking one man or woman out of the well.

If you think you could help in any way, please visit The Homeless Hub now and register your interest.

Four Cannot-Miss QuickMeals

Life in Manchester is very fast paced. In this tempo sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves and thus our daily balanced diet is disturbed. Of course, there are also those who want to diet and remain in shape. But that is no excuse for missing daily meals. That is why I bring to you four Quick Meals which can be prepared without much hassle and are tasty and long lasting. These meals are very healthy and contain a balanced diet which an adult human being would require. The ingredients are easy to find and always available in the kitchen.

KIMCHI SLAW

Requires you to only toss and mix red cabbage / green cabbage, vinegar and sugar. For those who want to include other vegetables like juliennes of carrots, potatoes, turnips, radish or even chopped potatoes are most welcome to experiment with it. It is recommended to garnish with some coriander/mint/parsley leaves.

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GREEN SALAD

Use toasted sesame seeds or toast the seeds instantly during your cooking time. Keep it aside in a plate until needed.  In a pan heat groundnut oil (or olive oil according to your choice) and garlic. Add the pak-choi and spinach with a little water. You can also put in more greens like broccoli, lettuce, cabbage and the like. Stir till the spinach has wilted and the pak choi is properly cooked. Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.

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MINI PIZZAS

Heat olive oil (or groundnut oil) in a pan. Add Kale, red chilli (roundly sliced), green chilli (roundly sliced) and fry for 1-2 minutes. Take pizza breads and layer it with sliced cheese or grated cheese. Put the kale fry on top of it. (Add more cheese if you want to) Put it in a pre-heated oven and bake for 5 min. Voila your mini pizzas are ready to eat!

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SPICED CHICKPEAS SALAD

Soak chickpeas overnight in a bowl of water. Take a bowl and add in olive oil. Put some paprika sauce, horseradish sauce, soya sauce to make it spicier (depends on your palette). Add in the chickpeas and give it a nice toss. Sprinkle sugar or add in a little honey if you think the chickpeas are too spicy. Now enjoy a nice chickpea salad by adding in cucumber, onions, tomatoes and lettuce. You can serve it in a bowl or even in little paper cones.

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These four recipes are very quickly made and does not need the knowledge of state of art cooking. Anyone who does not cook regularly can cook these meals. Moreover those who love cooking can experiment with these as and when they get time. If you are bored of seeing the same food in your canteen then you can try to get some of these cooked from home. Recipes like the MINI PIZZA and SPICED CHICKPEAS SALAD can even work well in a cocktail party or in a lazy evening when you boycott work and want to chill out with friends. These can also be made in bulk and carried as picnic foods.

If you have more such QuickMeals in your mind, do share them with us.

Signing off until next time!

Manchester : City of the Youths

Every time I have heard people discussing about Manchester, football has remained the prominent topic. Manchester United Football Team is the most loved team amongst the youths all over the world. In fact, those waiting for me back home are probably more anxious to get Manchester United goodies than knowing about my life abroad.

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Although ManU is a privilege that most of my friends are denied of, I would not agree more to the fact that Manchester is beyond ManU. It is a city with a heart that is immortally youthful considering the young population of the city. The city lives for the youngsters and has been progressing due to the developments envisioned by them.

The younger lot of this city constitutes a cosmopolitan group making it a pot-pouri of cultures and traditions. With such diversity in the youngsters the variety of interests are also diverse. From music, literature, theatre, films to charity organisational events, food, religious festivals, youth festivals – there is a lot to catch up on.

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But with so many events it becomes really difficult to keep a tap on what’s going around the city. This blog aims and hopes to inform its readers about some of the events that would interest the heart of the city.

Do look out for interesting things to do in the future.