I’m a blogger get me out of here

Thanks to Shea Gunther at MNN for the tip-off on NBC’s latest online competition to send one of seven bloggers to Costa Rica to blog behind the scenes at the latest season of ‘I’m a Celebrity’.

Taking a leaf out of the Australian Tourism Board’s marketing book, the competition generates a hell of a lot of online publicity by shortlisting some of the most influential bloggers out there.

The competition is closed to new entrants but as the original format was devised by Granada, I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before a UK version of the competition is launched.

In praise of the lunch hour

As someone who lucky to get lunch let alone a lunch break, I was enthused by news of a campaign encouraging Britain’s desk-slaves to make the most of their 60 minutes of freedom.

I’m tempted to do series of lunchtime adventures, detailing all the things I get up to in my lunch break but this sort of series works best with pictures and without internet access at my new house (AOL, please bring my broadband) I’m stuck to posting in a singularmedia. Boo – maybe next week though…

A new tourism organisation today launched a £3 million campaign urging Britons to explore their own country – even if it is only in their lunch hour.

A poll by VisitEngland showed only 36% of Britons regularly took a full lunch hour, while 66% did not make the best use of free time.

In a campaign entitled Enjoy Every Minute, Enjoy England, the new organisation urges people to make the most of what is on their doorstep.

The survey of 2,052 adults also showed 56% felt stuck in a rut and 55% reckoned taking a lunch break helped them work more effectively in the afternoons.

Also, 82% felt better when they had been on a day trip and 69% were happier if they had something to look forward to.

VisitEngland marketing head Amanda Smyth said: “We want to help people plan their free time better and make the most of what England has to offer.”

The campaign includes a series of TV adverts with a voiceover by actress Helena Bonham Carter.


Dream job (for boozers)

Inspired by what has to be the marketing campaign of the year, US winery Murphy-Goode has taken a leaf out of the Australian Tourism Boards book as is offering the prize of a $10,000 a month job to a ‘social media whiz’.

Based in Healdsburgh, Sonoma County the winning applicant will report on lifestyle and winemaking in the area using a variety of media.

Aspiring wine correspondents simply need to create a 60 second video explaining why they’re the ideal candidate.

Experience required – drinking wine and good living. Now that sounds like my kinda job! It’s beginning to seem like nowadays all the ideal jobs are content marketing and not journalism.

Vanessa Feltz wins a Sony

Vanessa Feltz hosts the best radio show in London. I’ve always known it and tonight it’s been confirmed at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.

The Robert Elms Show, also on BBC London 94.9, is a close  contender among my personal favourites but I’m really glad Vanessa has won as there are few other shows that capture the glory of London and Londoners in all their zany beauty.

Escape to Puerto Rico, Hunter S Thompson style

It’s the sort of reporting that makes you feel better.  Jason Booth’s almost poetic comentary on a recent trip to Puerto Rico inspired by Hunter S Thompson’s novel The Rum Diaries soothes over you, an effect due as much to its delivery as its content.

Retracing the steps of the fleeing Gonzo journalist, Booth escapes the media hubbub of New York for the white beaches of San Juan but finds that paradise isn’t as perfect as first impressions may seem.

The sense of a need to escape and the desire for adventure seems to have convinced Johnny Depp that the story was worth adapting for the silver screen.

Journalists cycle in memory of CBS colleagues

I remember reporting on a media conference up in Edinburgh when news came in of abomb in Iraq that killed two CBS journalistsand seriously injured reporter Kimber Crozier.

It was an unwelcome reminder of just how fragile the safety of journalists reporting in the field had become. (The war in Iraq has been the deadliest armed conflict for the press since the Second World War, according to Reporters Without Borders).

It’s interesting how when looking for positive news stories they almost seem to come you way, or maybe you just become more perceptive of them.

News has just flashed up on PA of a bike ride organised by three colleagues of Paul Douglas, a news cameraman, and James Brolan, a freelance sound man, died alongside a US soldier and an Iraqi translator in the attack in central Baghdad.

The money raised will be shared between the Rory Peck Trust and Reporters Without Borders, two charities which protect and support journalists around the world.

To find out more or to donate to the cause visit http://www.justgiving.com/bayeuxbybike

An open invitation – journalism’s new futures

For the past year and a half I’ve been running a (more or less) monthly session where I gather together hot young talent working at the top levels of British journalism. The sessions are made up of journalists, producers and editors working in print, radio, television and online.

The ‘gatherings’ have ground to a halt after a got a little bit deluded by the sense that they’d turned into talking shops rather than the sort of events that inspired people to make a difference.

But I think I’m going to resurrect the concept later this month (venue in central London TBC) . All the doom and gloom that dominates the papers is really getting to me. There has to be another way or at least a more efficient way of fighting the decline in journalism that the commentators seem to be saying is inevitable.

So here’s an open invitation to the next event – let me know if you’re interested in coming along

Howdy all,

You’ve probably noticed that things have been a bit quite on the Gonzo front.

I got to the point where I felt it was time to stop talking and start doing but recent developments have me thinking the sessions should be resurrected (albeit in a slightly different format).

It seems like everything journalism related, from the events I’m attending, to the articles I’m reading to chats I’m having, is imbued with an impending sense of doom.

How about having a get together to brainstorm about positive outcomes in this seemingly gloomy environment?

This could take the form of anything from great story ideas that you might want to collaborate on, good places to pitch to if you’re looking to freelance viable alternatives to working for mainstream media organisations etc.

I’m imagining it as an event which by the end of it might just help us all to do something rather than just feeling like we’ve had a good debating session.

What do you think?