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.

30 years of hip hop

Catch this while you can. A comprehensive review of the most hip hop people of the past 30 years.


Three decades after The Sugarhill Gang released Rapper’s Delight, BBC 1Xtra decided to celebrate the impact that the music form has had on popular culture.

Fear not, the two-hour-long show doesn’t take itself too seriously. Someone should give Zane Lowe and Westwood a joint show. They’re hillarious!

Hudson Mohawke’s Overnight

I’ve been wanting to blog about this producer for ages, in fact since the first time I heard Benji B play Overnight  on his Deviation show on BBC 1Xtra.

Hudson Mohawke’s style  is simultaneously dirty and delicious. It’s been labelled ghetto tech, which sounds perfectly fine to me. When you hear the dark, bassy flows you can totally imagine some genius holed up in a room in the wrong side of Detroit.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I logged on to his MySpace page to find that actually Hudson Mohawke is a young white guy from Glasgow. It’s amazing the amount of shit hot electronic that comes out of that city. I really should go back and pay a visit sometime soon.

If you fancy checking out Mr Mohawke in action, he’ll be playing at Plastic People on Thursday 5 March.

Fried chicken lovers – UK grime stars Red Hot

The first time I heard this track played on BBC 1xtra I fell on the floor with laughter. The attitude mixed with the subject matter is a pretty hilarious combination!

For those of you who don’t know, a “junior spesh” is a child-sized portion of food; like a low budget version of a Happy Meal. Jay Z and Kanye might rap about jets and jewels, but for Red Hot, rising starts of the UK’s grime scene, life is all about cheap fried chicken.

My favourite lyric: “give me some tissue in case of mess”. Love it! It’s all about the homemade mayo baby!

As Red Hot explained on Tim Westwood’s show last night whereas people in EastEnders go to the pub to chill out and others might hang out at the golf club for young inner city kids the fried chicken shop is where it’s at.

If you don’t believe me just try to count the number of greasy fried chicken boxes that litter the streets around east or south London.

Riva Starr on Pete Tong’s BBC Radio 1 show


One of the perks of my job is that I get to sit at my computer with my headphones on. The assumption is that I’m quietly editing away packages of breaking news that come to me via the news wires.

In reality I’m actually plugged into the BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Last fm or (i’m delicious) listening to the latest tunes around.

One of my must have shows is Pete Tong’s Friday night dance music show that religiously welcomes me into the weekend every fortnight.

Only problem is that I’m sitting here pretending to cut packages on the Senate vote on the bail-out of the US economy when the most ridiculous track comes on. The base is so heavy I can’t help but let out a squeal of excitement.

The media managers gave me an odd look but I have to share this discovery. Check out track 11 on the mix I’ve posted above. Rockafella Starr is a sick remix of an old Fatboy Slim tune.

Riva Starr is definitely a name to watch. Details to follow on where he’s spinning next…

Reuters Journalism Fellowship, Oxford

Enough of these frivolous postings Zoe!

To redress the balance between the vacuous and the worthy, here’s the text behind an address I made last Saturday at the Reuters Journalism Fellowship Programme’s 25th anniversary event at Oxford University.

I took part in a Moral Maze style debate (yes there is more to be than blogging about boys). The topic was “Good journalism is in crisis“. I was on a a team alongside Charlie Beckett, Mehdi Hassan and Bill Dutton that opposed the motion.

Not the easy call that you’d imagine, is there is much to lament about the current state of British journalism. But ultimately I’m optimistic… anyway, enough rambling from me. Below are my thoughts.











Firstly, I take issue with the question. The suggestion that journalism is NOW in crisis implies there was a time when all was well and good.

I admit my daily experience of our trade is a far cry from the exploits of those who inspired me like Hunter S Thomson, Joan Didion and Harold Evans.

But I’ve read Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop and you can call it the arrogance of youth but really I don’t believe there ever was a Golden Age of journalism.

If there WAS ever a time for journalism to sit on its laurels and feel contented with itself, surely THAT was the moment when it needed to engage in a bit of introspection.

A trade that consists of people who ask questions for a living is always going to go through changes.

The advent of commercial television broadcasting, Murdoch’s moves at Wapping and the boom in 24-hour news are all examples of the seismic changes journalism has gone through over the past century.

These testing times are not crises, they’re opportunities that, when embraced, force journalism to raise its game.

“New media is killing journalism” was the plainly hysterical title of a World Press Freedom day debate that I thankfully missed earlier this year.

But as reporter at Press Gazette I did sit through my fair share of hand-wringing lectures on how the internet has stuck the knife into the heart of journalism.

It’s wrong to blame the internet for our woes. It’s the democratising potential the web offers to journalism that keeps me in this trade.


In 1960 journalist AJ Liebling said – “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own it”. 

That potential liberty is now within reach of the masses, anyone can with access to a computer can publish content.

But this reality, which I personally find exciting, shouldn’t cause journalism to have a nervous breakdown.


Journalism is not in crisis, rather the public has sent us to sit on the naughty step.

Instead of indignantly stamping our feet and wailing about how unfair it all is, we should use it as an opportunity to learn from our past mistakes, embrace new opportunities and ditch some of our unacceptable behaviours.

It’s serves no purpose to be resentful that users are deserting what we’ve traditionally sold to them.

If they’re not distinguishing between ‘Journalism’ and ‘Content’ we must focus on the message as much as the medium.

The public remember our failings over WMDs, the controversies over Hutton, the New York Times’ Jayson Blair incident and allegations of TV fakery in Britain.

The old order of journalism has many questions it has to answer.


The digital revolution is a phrase that I’ve long loathed. But the more I think about this question, the closer I come to the conclusion that this is what we’re going through.

Whether a revolution appears as a crisis depends on where you’re standing.

For the bourgeoisie, the French revolution was a crisis, for the disadvantaged, it was an opportunity to change the status quo.

 Similarly while it may be a catastrophe for some older correspondents who take issue at the idea of having to blog, or self-edit their packages on Avid, for skilled young journalists who been cutting video they’ve shot on their mobiles for years, new technology offers another medium to tell great stories.

We ARE in a new age.  And it’s not going to be the last challenge we face.

But good journalism is not in crisis. This period of self-assessment we’re in has seen the rise of a much needed academic assessment of our trade.

Combined with the process of trial and error with new media I’m convinced this will lead to a much needed maturity in journalism that will help distinguish GOOD journalism from the masses of content that is on offer.

Quality will always be at a premium.

Credit Crunch or Monetary Meltdown

Ok, ok! My hands are up!

I know that as a member of the media I have no leg to stand on when complaining about the incessant flood of credit crunch news. I’m the first to admit that my trade is seriously culpable of pouring petrol onto the financial turmoil that we’re in.

That said, the prospect of having to face the nauseating voice of BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston on a daily basis is surely more punishment than any hack deserves! Assuming that I’m not forced to cancel my broadband contract due to rising inflation (4.7 percent! Ridiculous), I’ll be sticking to his blog as my main source of economic revelations.