I want to end 2015 by writing about something that connects death and life. On August 12th I went with my husband and our friends, Anne and Huw to the large village of Bellaghy in County Derry, Northern Ireland. I’d been there before to visit Bellaghy Bawn, a substantial house dating from the early seventeenth century, from the days of the Plantation of Ulster. It has for some time housed memorabilia connected with the poet, Seamus Heaney who grew up not far away.
But it’s not so much the Bawn that has stayed with me from this visit. It’s the graveyard.
On December 3rd the Welsh Centre for International Affairs hosted an excellent joint event with Cardiff University School of Journalism about reporting on international news stories. I was keen to hear from the panel of very experienced journalists and it was indeed a treat to have them all in Cardiff for the evening as they certainly did give us entertaining and valuable insights into their field of expertise in both broadcasting and the press. See reports below from Maria Diaz and William Hayward.
Roy Jenkins interviews the members of the Gen Verde performance group who spent a week with pupils from two secondary schools in Torfaen preparing them for a concert at the Newport Centre on 12th November. Impressive contributions to the programme from the young people about this experience of seeing life from someone else’s point of view. It was a privilege to help organise this fantastic project.
On the day of the IWA’s Cardiff Media Summit I fronted an analysis of the challenges facing broadcasting in Wales shown on The Wales Report BBC One Wales ahead of Huw Edwards’s interview with BBC Director of Strategy, James Purnell.
“This is the story I want to focus on this evening.” said Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC in a speech given to Cardiff Business Club on Monday 23rd November. “The BBC as a home for distinctive quality and creativity, supporting the best talent and brightest ambition – a driving force behind the UK’s extraordinary global competitiveness in the creative industries.”
How big is ‘small’ in terms of a nation? And to what extent should size determine the value of a culture? Or should cultural value be kept separate from political clout? These questions matter increasingly in many arenas but on 16th November I spent a day at the first of three University of South Wales workshops with people who address them in terms of tv. It was fascinating and inspiring.
I loved the trailer we were shown by the producer of Norskov, a new Nordic detective story set in a fictional regional town in Denmark. A cheerful character addresses a huge, jovial crowd:
“Some people say Norskov’s out on the edge. I guess they don’t know the world’s round!”
“get reading this thorough and classy piece of work”
I had the pleasure of chairing the second Cardiff Media Summit on the 11th November at the Wales Millennium Centre. The first summit was held in December 2014, a half-day event. It was clear then that in order to address the problems and take advantage of the opportunities facing the media in Wales there was an urgent need for objective facts as the basis for policy recommendations. Just under a year later we have the IWA Wales Media Audit 2015 , launched at the summit.
This is an update to the Media Audit done by the IWA in 2008. The 2015 Audit offers information about provision in Wales of press, online and broadcast media, includes a review of all major policy statements since the last audit and, drawing on the information gathered, makes 37 recommendations. Continue reading IWA Wales Media Audit and Cardiff Media Summit→