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Rupert Murdoch proprietor of News Corporation and whose newspaper portfolio includes The Sun, Times, News of the World and The Sunday Times, has announced that he will be charging customers for all online content.
The fear is that if Murdoch ends free online news in the Britain, as it has in the US; other UK newspapers may be forced to follow such as the Guardian, Daily Mail and The Independent.
Mr Murdoch is no stranger to setting benchmarks in the industry; in the 1980s he turned Fleet Street on its head by moving the headquarters of his newspapers to an industrial estate in Wapping after disputes with trade unions. They are still based there today, setting a precedent that was soon followed by other news organisations.
One major problem for News Corporation and all other newspapers trying to deal with the collapse in advertising revenues during the credit crunch is that the BBC’s globally established website is funded by the taxpayer. Critics argue that this guaranteed fixed income skews the market too far in the BBC’s favour.
“Dumping free, state sponsored journalism on the marketplace makes it hard for journalism to flourish on the internet. Yet it is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for people who value it.” James Murdoch, Chairman of News International addressing the Media Guardian's Edinburgh TV Festival said.
The BBC estimates that it spends £180m a year on news gathering which is more than its competing news organisations spent all together.
Whether the UK public who pays can get online news free as part of their licence fee will pay for alternative sources remains to be seen, but recent
Recent opinion suggests that the licence fee is seen as good value for money.
Mark Thompson Director General of the BBC recently said in a staff briefing: “We need to pick our fights, and responding to every attack will not win us any friends. We need to ensure that we continue to provide the quality and the content that license fee payers want. This is a moment to keep our nerve.”
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The University of Exeter has brought together three leading experts on J.R.R. Tolkien, to celebrate his work and place in English literature.
Regarded by many as the "father" of fantasy literature Tolkien has written extensively in the field and entered the imaginations of millions through his 1937 children’s classic adventure The Hobbit. Tolkien is best known, however, for the Lord of the Rings a trilogy that began it's literary life in Cornwall in the 1930’s under the name The Lost Road.
"Steeped in Arthurian legend, Cornwall is often experienced and treated as a mysterious and mystical landscape, haunted by other worlds." Professor Nick Groom of Exeter University told the student guardian. The seeds for The Lord of the Rings were sown and published in three volumes during 1954/5.
Today three of the world's leading experts on Tolkien, are preparing to give presentations as part of Tolkien Day at Exeter University's Tremogh Campus in Cornwall to raise the profile of Tolkien's work as worthy of serious academic study.
‘The academic neglect of Tolkien can be put down to sheer prejudice, as his work doesn’t fit into an easy category", said Professor Nick Groom of Exeter University.
Professor Groom teaches Tolkien at postgraduate level and plans to launch an undergraduate option for BA English students dedicated to Tolkien’s achievements as a writer, scholar, and critic. ‘At the University we are interested in Tolkien’s mythology of England and his approach to different regional identities, which are deeply rooted in English literature and the landscape. We use his work as a point from which to focus on writing, place and identify,’ Professor Groom added.
Famously adapted to the screen Tolkien’s influence is unquestionable, under the direction of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King was critically acclaimed winning 11 Oscars from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, in 2004, including Best Picture and Best Director. Tolkien’s work is also believed to have inspired the online computer game the World of Warcraft, which amuses millions across cyberspace every day, but it is Tolkien’s literary and scholarly quality that are often overlooked.
"Although Tolkien’s work goes in waves of fashion and popularity, the University of Exeter’s School of English is committed to developing academic research into one of England’s most popular and influential English writers." Esther White, Press Officer for Exeter University told the studentguardian:
Student Information: Professor J. R. R. Tolkien, C.B.E.,
Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and from 1945 to 1959 Merton Professor of English Language and Literature
He was the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which sold millions of copies and is widely translated.
Tolkien died in 1973 aged of 81.
On the big screen whether viewed as 3D technical masterpiece or just a damn good story Avatar reaffirmed James Cameron’s imaginative filmmaking genius - it was just a pity it took quite so long to tell the tale.
2D Avatar is a little shorter than the 3D version and without the fancy 3D visuals, makes it harder to miss Cameron’s potent anti-war message. Despite no 3D version on DVD Avatar sold 6.7m copies in the first four days topping Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight’s and making a cool £86m for film maker Twentieth Century Fox.
Ten years in the making and costing an estimated $280m Avatar came with the usual dose of hyperbole. True to form, as if it really matters, Avatar was trumpeted as the “most expensive film ever,” but Twentieth Century Fox needn’t have panicked about recouping their investment. Fans already hooked by Terminator, Titanic, King Kong and the Lord of the Rings didn’t need much convincing to re-enter the Cameron cult and Avatar was an empathic and well deserved sell-out at the box-office attracting both mass audiences and disciples alike.
Set in 2154 the story begins when ex-marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is inserted into an alien planet Pandora. Half man and half alien Jake Sully is on a mission to secure natural resources to save the earth from imminent collapse. The forest dwelling Na’vi tribe, peeved about the threat to their idyllic way of life, fight back and the plot develops into a psychological battle between the proud Na’vi and what the indiginent Pandorans call the “Skypeople”
Straddling the divide between the military-backed corporation (Skypeople) and the Na’vi is the brilliant Sigourney Weaver of Alien fame, torn between advancing her environmental study of Pandora’s unique biology and genetically engineering Avatar’s to infiltrate the Na’ vi to cheat it of its wonder-fuel “Unobtanium.” Weaver as Dr Grace Augustine is the brains behind the project combining human and Na’vi genes that ultimately, by creating an Avatar with the mind of Jake Sully, blows up in her face.
Instrumental in the plot to rob the Pandora tribes people of its raw materials is the inevitable and implausibly convenient romance between the chief of the Na’vi people’s daughter Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and our lead man Jake Sully. If you listen carefully, towards the end of the movie you can here ingenious bits of soundtrack that triggers what suspiciously feels and sounds like something out of Titanic. This seems corny at first, but in the end it sort of worked.
Along the was Avatar introduces a whole host of weird and wonderful alien wildlife, what looked like skinned black panthers (Viperwolf) flocks of immense incandescent dragons (Mountain Banshees) and herds of Hammerhead Titanothere, rhino-like creature than manage somehow to stay in tune with the forest where the Na’vi people live “as one”.
Cameron has borrowed much from American Indian Culture in Avatar. Ideas of earth as the original mother and of peoples living by the four simple commandments of the “great spirits” the Na’vi people call “Eywa”. The Na’vi value system, grounded in respect of our fellow man, individual freedom and mother earth are naturally rejected by the murderous Skypeople intent of robbing Pandora of its treasures. Personified by an unholy alliance between pig-headed Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) whose sole purpose in life is to serve his country and mercilessly crush anything and everything that gets in his way. Quarich is also the muscle behind the company’s operational chief played by drippy Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) who played dozy Frank Jnr, the brother of Phoebe, in Friends.
There are some truly spellbinding moments in Avatar and despite the final thirty minutes degenerating into ludicrously implausible Transformer like battle Avatar is convincing enough. Overall, despite its inventive graphics Avatar, in essence, is a digitised and futuristic version of the Last of the Mohicans or Dances with Wolves that depict a US dominated earth that prowls the universe plundering other worlds and capable of annihilating anything and everything that questions its right to take what it needs.
Without the overwhelming 3D graphics to distract you Cameron’s pacifist anti-capitalist dialogue comes through powerfully, but 2D Avatar lacks that captivating virtual brilliance that hits you on the big screen. Out now on DVD Avatar is definitely worth a look, but don’t expect to get blown away as you were by the 3D version.
Production year: 2009
DVD Release: April 2010
Cert (UK): 12A
Runtime: 155 mins
Director: James Cameron
Cast: CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Zoe Saldana
The offbeat comedy, that will be broadcast from Source FM’s studios at Falmouth and streamed live on the web, was written in just three days by students studying for their MA in professional writing. The show currently being engineered in the studio ready for broadcast this afternoon.
The team is being lead by producer Paul Dodgson who has spent 15 years at the BBC and has made more than 400 programmes that have been broadcast over BBC networks. In 2001 Paul left the BBC to work as a freelance writer, producer and composer. Since then Paul told the student guardian that he has written twelve plays for BBC Radio 4 including, most recently, Binge Drunk Briton - the musical, and Winscale famous. Paul also spent eighteen months as part of the East Enders writing team and wrote Monsters We Met the award winning drama documentary series for BBC 2 whilst continuing to produce BBC drama and documentaries for the BBC. While directing Off the Rails Paul was delighted to say that has his Radio 4 play, Ivan and the Dogs written by Hattie Naylor has won the 2010 Tinnisswood Award for best radio play.
The Off the Rails manuscript was recorded at University College Falmouth’s state of the art studios at their Tremough campus with the help of four professional actors. The show is currently being engineered for broadcast this afternoon. Susan Appleton, also studying for her MA in professional writing said, "It was a shock to the system. I was expecting a gentle introduction and not to be thrown in at the deep end, but I am excited by the finished result. I never expected that after only one week I would be telling my friends and family to listen out for a piece of my work and going public."
Course Leader Christina Bunce says, “Today is the day after a long week of hard work that MA students finish their radio play. We hope you're all looking forward to listening to it as much as I am".
Off the rails will be broadcast today at 3pm and streamed live by Source FM and keep an ear out for Military Ron, the hapless Security Guards and the Marmosets.
Didn't catch the programme live? Listen again HERE
Images by: studentguardian
The Lost Bride is a true story based on a ghost that, according to folk law, remains active at Pendennis Castle, Cornwall.
We think the Lost Bride is a beautiful atmospheric piece.
Directed by: Sean St John
Written by: Alex Cayzer and Sean St John
The Lost Bride is sponsored by Mysteria
More about Pendennis Castle
Originally constructed between 1540 and 1545, Pendennis and its sister, St Mawes Castle, (also an English Heritage property), form the Cornish end of the chain of coastal artillery fortresses built by Henry VIII to counter a threat from France and Spain. In 1598, during Elizabeth I's reign, a new and much larger type of defensive rampart was added around the original fort. The castle was strengthened again prior to the Civil War and played host to the future Charles II in 1646, before he sailed to the Isles of Scilly. It then withstood five months of siege, before becoming the penultimate Royalist garrison on the British mainland to surrender.
Pendennis continued to play a vital role in Cornwall's defences throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and saw significant action during the Second World War. Evidence of its fascinating history is on show throughout the site, for example in the Guardhouse which has been returned to its First World War appearance.
Pennis is now a popular venue for weddings and ghost hunters