Another guide to what I’m meant to do

7 Sep

From Paul:

This is what your project is assessed on:

Utilise a knowledge and critical understanding of professional conventions and possible innovations in an appropriate area of professional practice;
TRANSLATION: What conventions are you adopting? What innovations are you exploring?
Plan and implement an appropriate production project which will solve contemporary problems of professional practice, and deal creatively with complex issues;
TRANSLATION: What problems are you trying to solve? What problems came up during the project that you had to deal with – and how?
Critically evaluate project products and processes in relation to industry norms, current trends and opportunities, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
TRANSLATION: What have other people done in the same field/problems? How did you adapt that?
Reflect on the process of media and cultural production and evaluate the usefulness of the knowledge and skill developed as strategies for professional advancement.
TRANSLATION: What did you learn, and how can/have you communicate/d that to the industry?

Deep fried chip and pin, anyone?

6 Sep

From the website of the Chatham Islands, 500 miles off New Zealand:
“Essential services: post office, bank and fish and chip shop.”

The top-ranked site on St Helena is in, er, Sweden…

5 Sep

Interesting to learn that St Helena Online is now the most active website relating to the island. The one in the South Atlantic, anyway.

There’s perhaps a tendency for webmasters to link to other sites because of a perception that they’re, I don’t know, more “official”… the St Helena Broadcasting Corp, for instance, is government funded at the moment, and is at least based on the island, and run by Saints, which gives it quite a claim.

Actually, though, the biggest hitter of the lot is a site that now just ticks over gently. was set up in Sweden in 1996 and according to the home page has been visited by a million users. And now it links to St Helena Online, for which I’m grateful. 

So the highest ranked and most active sites for St Helena are both a long way away, in a different hemisphere, even., which is at least run by a Saint, is also UK-based and one of the highest ranked. Interesting.

On the island, the main media outlet is Saint FM, and its partner, The St Helena Independent. They’re not St Helenian either: they were set up by another Swede.

Branding, and acceptance

30 Aug

The internet is making it possible to provide a local news service remotely for St Helena. But that doesn’t mean just anybody can do it – or indeed, just any journalist.

One also has to be able to build contacts, and be accepted.

Bizarrely, I think it matters that I am known on the island not for my journalism, but for my dancing and other seemingly frivolous things. When my wife and I boarded the RMS St Helena at Walvis Bay for our second trip to the island, I was the one who was immediately recognised, and not my wife – even though she had been the one with the prominent job, as a doctor. And I was remembered not for the radio programme I presented, but because I “danced down the street”: with a troupe of island women, I performed an umbrella dance in the first yacht race carnival parade.

When we went back, I was asked to perform in the Girl Guides’ parade, and did so. I also took part in an evening of music and dance (singing Gilbert and Sullivan with the Palm Villa Singers was the result of a neat ambush).

These are things that have made me stand out from the usual run of expats, who are often regarded with suspicion (with some justification, on the basis that most are excellent, but it’s hard to know which ones aren’t).

So when I won a dancing competition in the UK, I wrote a flippant story about it for The St Helena Independent. In the UK, I kept quiet about it outside folky circles. The Indy ran it under the headline, “Wasted talent”, which was great.

A point here is that branding needs to work two ways for a job like running St Helena Online: I’m trying to establish a brand as a journalist and island expert in the UK, but on St Helena itself and among the diaspora, I also need a brand – and it needs to be more personal.

SHG is accountable – but only after the event

29 Aug

A formal request has been made for St Helena Government to publish agendas and associated reports for council meetings. Its reply: our request will be borne in mind.

They haven’t refused, then… but we still don’t know what’s going on in this so-called democratic government.

How does this tie in with a comment in the April 2012 edition of the St Helena Audit Service newsletter?

What is public accountability, it asks on page 1?

“When a person is given the responsibility to hold, use or dispose off resources not belonging to him, he must be held fully answerable to the owner of the resources for what he does with them.

“This, in essence is the principle of accountability.”

It begs the question, does accountability not count until after the damage has been done? Why doesn’t the government have to give account of what it’s planning to do – which is when the information would be really useful – as well as what it’s done?  

Incredibly, I’ve only just found out about the reports published by the audit service, thanks to Mike at the St Helena Independent, who forwarded an indictment of management failures with the new customs building. It’s not even safe and shouldn’t be in use, it says. As far as I can tell, though, this is the first significant report to emerge since I started covering St Helena affairs this year.


Next job: write an ebook

29 Aug

I’m planning an e-book on St Helena once I’ve finished the MA, the idea being to have a book I can then use to get other writing work. Paul Bradshaw tips a publish-as-you-write set-up called   Looks interesting.


Interesting that Paul doesn’t set his links to open in a new page, meaning readers leave his site.


Recording interviews at the annual UK gathering of Saints

28 Aug

Nearly 2,000 St Helenians and their friends and families got together for the 2012 Reading Sports, the annual reunion of Saints in the UK. I went along as an “official helper” to record interviews and greetings, which we then relayed back to the island for broadcast on Saint FM. Radio shows that link Saints on the island with family members on the Falklands and Ascension, or in the UK or South Africa, are a traditional part of the broadcasting fare at Christmas – and now, on the August bank holiday weekend too.

Click here to listen to an interview with a couple who’d travelled from Florida – to sit in a field in Berkshire.