Journalism of Attachment?

Martin Bell, former BBC war correspondent, has argued for what he refers to as a “Journalism of Attachment” in the reporting of conflict. What do you think he means by this, and does it contradict the traditional calls for objectivity and neutrality in reporting war? With reference to recent or historical examples of war reporting, discuss the ethical implications of a Journalism of Attachment.

The concept behind the term ‘Journalism of Attachment’ refers to a philosophy of journalists being empowered with their own freedom of expression and choice. Martin Bell argues that journalists are not robotic and that, as human beings, they cannot be consistently dispassionate to scenes of anguish and suffering. The philosophy encourages journalists to embrace their emotional attachment to what they witness and that even trying to uphold one of the most fundamental ethical constructs motioned for journalists, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) second journalist’s fundamental, “A journalist, at all times, strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair,” is irrelevant when it comes to reporting some conflict situations.

There are strong arguments for and against Bell’s idea. He is entirely within reason to comment that journalists are ‘only human’ and that as human beings we are naturally aligned to side with those who are oppressed and those who are suffering. We have an instinct that looks for someone to blame whenever anything goes wrong, and so we are genetically predisposed to want to paint conflict in black and white. Bell strives for ‘journalism that cares was well as knows’ , stressing that from his experiences in Bosnia, journalists were ‘no longer spectators, but participants’. As members of society, Bell urges journalists to uphold a sense of responsibility to abhors oppression and defend a ‘just cause.’

“If journalists spread the same antagonistic, reduced and distorted images of a conflict as do political and military elites (see Herman & Chomsky, 1988), this is not a clue to a conspiracy between policymakers and the media but rather results from the mere fact that journalists are society members themselves.”

The problem stands when, in a media savvy society, we understand that conflict situations are complicated, and that we expect a metaphoric grey cloud to mask the truth of events that happen within the situation. We trust that (at least within an ideal public sphere) journalists will work hard to verify their sources and report a balanced and fair representation of any specific event, although, in practice this is not always the case. This would be particularly destructive if all journalists were to embrace the concept of Journalism of Attachment. One of the main issues is that journalists who practice Journalism of Attachment are in danger or presenting a view that people will interpret their work as a version of truth, despite the fact that their story is bias. Chris Stevens adequately summarised;

“If the reader is left confused, so be it – better to be confused about a war that is, after all, deeply confusing, than be fed an opinion.”

This fully denies the construction for Journalism of Attachment. Feeding an audience an opinion plays on the conditions of Nick Davis’s – Flat Earth News . Not only that, it suggests that journalists who follow Bell’s impression may slip into reporting not only bias news, but propaganda.

Mick Hume wrote a direct and aggressive response to the notions of Journalism of Attachment. In his short book called ‘Who’s War is it Anyway?’ Hume argues that Bell’s concept is subject to the biases that journalists strive to be without. Hume even goes as far to describe the Journalism of Attachment theory as a ‘cancer’ in the public sphere;

“…time that taboo was broken and the unspoken issue of fashionable bias in war reporting was openly debated. Then it might be possible to set about cutting the cancer out.”

Hume goes on to argue that this conduct of ‘fashionable’ journalism is where ‘taking sides is taking liberties’. Clearly, Hume’s compendium is in no way an ‘open debate’ when it carries sentiments that describe his opposition as a cancer, however, his book does convey some fundamental flaws in Bell’s construction.

One of the most alarming attributes that Journalism of Attachment insinuates is not perhaps the most obvious. There is a danger that a journalist who interprets a situation and offers a skewed view of events by offering his or her opinion could in fact impose that opinion to the reader. This is in effect, a form of propaganda. Tim Allen states, on the subject,

“It seems likely it has important influence on the fighting itself. This is particularly so where coverage makes no effort to look beyond the public ideologies of combatants or highlights what appear to be exotic aspects of a conflict.”

If events are hidden within the smokescreen of ‘the theatre of war’, then it leaves room for atrocities and politically ‘embarrassing’ incidents to go unreported if reporters are content to write about their feelings and instincts, rather than the actually eventualities. If the reader happens to be a governing body, then a populace may call for action on a subject that has had little research other than a writer’s opinion. When Mick Hume writes about ‘who benefits’ from Journalism of Attachment, he says that,

“It is ultimately a moral crusade for Western governments, through the United Nations and Nato, to take forceful action against those accused of genocide and war crimes around the world.”

This could perhaps be applied to a more contemporary situation like the war in Iraq. Media publications, including the BBC, wasted no time in stamping the label of ‘genocide’ when it came to Saddam Hussein’s weapons testing on the Kurdish population in Iran. Even recently, an article from the BBC headlines with the term genocide, as an attempt to grab attention with “UN report says DR Congo killings ‘may be genocide’. Another example could even be in Bosnia. Media reports suggest that as many as 250,000 people were killed in the country. There were plenty of accounts where the term ‘genocide’ cropped up in descriptions of the conflict there, however, the Stockholm International Peace Institute said that the Bosnian death toll was closer to 30,000 or 50,000 on both sides . Mick Hume talks about this in his section called ‘A Twisted Sort of Therapy.’

It might be an exaggeration to denote the concept of Journalism of Attachment as a form of distraction for contemporary writers to offload their dissatisfaction with our own societies but Hume suggests that our own hermeneutic horizons are too convoluted and complex to divide into right and wrong. People choose to label good and evil in foreign cultures so as to escape pointing fingers closer to home. It is perhaps more prudent when Hume criticises journalists for searching for a sense of trend worthy stories, of which their purposes are not to highlight an events but to idolise the reporters. He states that,

“If the journalist is to be taken seriously as a crusader for the cause of Right, she (or he) cannot be seen messing around in dirty little local wars that don’t matter much to the rest of us. Every conflict she is reporting has to be recast as one of world-historic importance…”

There is not so much of an argument to put this down to Bell’s concept of Journalism of Attachment. Many journalists will try to persue stories that will land them in good stead with their editors, as an ambitious drive. This is not something that all journalists are immune to, whether they are for or against Journalism of Attachment. It does cause concern that Journalism of Attachment might encourage ‘bad habits’ in terms of journalistic practice. This goes back to the concept that if journalists are looking for stories solely to grab the attention of viewers, and that the content that they supply is bias, then that surely constitutes to propaganda, and will act to fuel and continue war efforts, rather than to pacify. Even more debate would arise over whether or not it is a journalist’s duty to be a peace maker, however, Journalism of Attachment certainly insinuates a level of warmongering, since conflict can idolise a journalists and their efforts. Good stories from a wartime situation will most certainly launch a journalist’s career to new heights.

Martin Bell promotes the cause of ‘the human element.’ He urges that journalists should in all accounts, strive to find those who suffer and those who are helpless in conflict situations, to report their anguish, so that their suffering might not be in vain as viewers sat comfortably at home might feel compelled to help. This in theory could be highly positive and productive. He suggests that when editorial decisions are being made about what content is to be shown, then that is, even at a basic level, a level of bias. In order to harness the loophole, he adds that the notion that it should be harnessed and so, the since the human element sells well in the first place, it should be prioritised. However, Hume argues that focusing on the human element deletes the complexity of a situation and dramatises war;

“Instant reports from amid the rubble that focus only the blood and tears will always tend to make warfare look like the apparently mindless act of evil men.”

Wars are products and eventualities of political and social unrest that have reached melting point where they are then converted from hostile sentiments to hostile manoeuvres. These would be the only elements that would be reported if Journalism of Attachment were in effect. Not only that, it could be argued that these reports would be damaging in the long term, with regard to Western societies current media consumption. Desensitisation in the media already deems many stories dull and obsolete as we see elements of human suffering every day. This relates to the point of ‘Crusader’ journalists, who are search for stories to make their names, rather than highlight important issues, since the issues are become less and less important to a growingly ‘immune’ public audience. Adam Curtis summarised this with a short film called ‘Oh Dearism’, which compares the notion of a desensitised culture to a ‘depressed hippy.’

Bell seemed to reach a point in his career where his Journalism of Attachment epiphany occurred almost simultaneously to his injury in Bosnia. Robert Fisk is a reporter of a similar accolade to Martin Bell. Fisk also suffered in a conflict situation, perhaps more severely than shrapnel to the stomach, however, Fisk was adamant that his own experiences should not change his opinion on the topic he was reporting;

“Why record my few minutes of terror and self-disgust near the Afghan border, bleeding and crying like an animal, when thousands of innocent civilians were dying under American air strikes in Afghanistan, when the War for Civilisation was burning and maiming the people of Kandahar and other cities because ‘good’ must triumph over ‘evil?”

Fisk has inadvertently touched upon perhaps the most important issue. A war will still continue, despite people’s opinion of it. Whether or not someone is pro Journalism of Attachment is irrelevant. Philip Knightly states that it does not matter if you are for or against Bell’s concept, he dismally depicts that there is no use trying to report as an independent journalist in an increasingly dangerous theatre of war and that Western military powers are currently too clever and manipulative to undermine and report;

“Fear for the lives of correspondents who want to be independent will deter their organisations from allowing them to be so. As well, insurers will either refuse to underwrite the risk to correspondents’ lives or demand prohibitively high premiums.”

He continues to criticise The Pentagon since he feels that it does not ‘care’ about public concern. Knightly paints a dark picture that the only way for future journalists to be able to report safely from a conflict situation is by being embedded, and that way, having to see a conflict from one side. In this effect, Martin Bell’s theory seems to already have been accepted as a norm and according to Knightly, it may have to be embraced. He concludes;

“Whether war correspondents would wish to continue as propagandists and myth-makers, plying their craft subservient to those who wage wars, is a decision they will need to make for themselves.”

Knightly is denying Herman and Chomsky’s theory that journalists will infringe their opinion because they want to. Knightly stresses that journalists report one-sided accounts because they have to.

If the future for war reporting is only to become an embedded journalist with the an army, then that would spell defeat for the freedom of information and even freedom of expression. It would mean than countless people would have their stories and lives lost in an opaque ‘grey area’, otherwise known as the theatre of war. It has perhaps already happened. War reports have become entirely sanitised as we see images of high tech weaponry like missiles being fired from a battleship in a market in Iraq. Viewers are never shown the images of the missiles in the market, but we can only speculate. The problem arrises when, if we relate back to the idea of bias reporting acting as propaganda, and propaganda fuelling conflicts, then are we to expect an era of conflicts that never end? Perhaps the reverse will happen and the conflicts will be reported as military powers want us to see them, as short, lossless, and glorious pursuits.

Websites;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11450093

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/19/books/review/19bron.html?_r=1&ei=5070&en=55044ab9f817eb99&ex=1153454400&pagewanted=print

http://www.nuj.org.uk/

References:

Herman & Chomsky, 1988

Ethan Bronner, A. Forign Correspondent Who Does More Than Report. New York Times, Nov 19th 2005.

Chris Steven, covering the Macedonia conflict. The Scotsman, 2001

Nick Davis, Flat Earth News, Chatto and Windus, 2008.

Bibliography:

Jake Lynch, Reporting The World. Conflict and Peace Forums, 2002.

Martin Bell, In Harm’s Way; Reflections of a War-Zone Thug, 1996.

Wilhelm Kempf, Conflict Coverage and Conflict Escalation. Goteborg Nordicom, 2002

Mick Hume, Whose War is it Anyway? Informinc, 1997

Philip Knightly, The First Casualty. The John Hopkins University Press, 2002.

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Magazine Production, take 5

At this point is must be noted that I am literally dragging my fingers over the keys. Four cups of coffee no longer keeps my eyes open. What would normally give a healthy person heart palpitations has now become my basic fuel. This is unhealthy.

It’s safe to say that my learning management could definitely improve, it would be safer to say that I could do with a concept of it in the first place.

Studying in the second year of this course, I should have realised that there is actually work to be doing at University. This blog entry in itself is compulsory. I know that on my course, I do marginal amounts of work compared to most people on most other courses. I hear that the photography students have to produce a blog entry about their recent lectures every week or suffer a 2000 word essay.

Why is it so challenging to motivate myself? I love my course. I have real passion for what I’m doing. I desperately want to be a journalist. So what else dose it take to inspire motivation?

Today, in the print newsroom, I saw the whole group rushing and panicking. Our group was the first to finish our magazine project. This initially allowed my mind to rest at ease. When everyone else is suffering around you, it makes your own dilemma much easier to deal with. I wonder if that is transferable to other strenuous circumstances?

I could definitely have worked harder on the content of the writing that I produced. The photography was the element that I was particularly proud of. The other members of my group either produced photographs that had been taken by someone else, a photography student in each case, or that the photos (not mentioning names) had been taken with their phones, and had little thought into the composition.

I also found satisfaction in actually having mastered InDesign. On the Sunday night, I was up until 3am working on the InDesign package that we had to produce. The only training we had were a few lectures, ages ago. I didn’t really get my head around it. I just figured that we’d have loads of time… What a prat. It was at first intensely frustrating. The program just wouldn’t do what I wanted. Even simply moving an image around the screen was a challenge. However, after 8 hours I had mastered it. So much so, that I had even learnt a few little tricks. I could edit the images, include little effects, even edit things in and out of photographs using photoshop and the Adobe bridge software… I felt pretty chuffed with the final product.

In the morning, we all had a meeting to put together what we had made. This was interesting because it turns out that most of the people hadn’t got to the stage I was at and that they had given up on InDesign. What added insult to injury was that I was able to help them instantly. My toiling for hours and hours, trying to get my head around the program was condensed to making other people’s pages in a fraction of the time. No-one would believe the labour that I had endured. What a muppet.

Despite this being hugely irritating, it was also profoundly rewarding. I could measure how much I had improved in a direct ratio. 8 hours on my old project condensed to 20mins on a new project. That’s a ratio of 24:1. I had improved 240% on Indesign. I was 240% better than those who had no idea how to use the program. I have no idea what that combination of emotion fuses as, however, I’d like to suggest it as a feeling of amusement. I was laughing at myself. What a prat.

We took the time on Wednesday to add the final touches. Sarah Stevenson had elected herself the production editor. With her fancy new, and monstrously expensive, Macbook Pro, it seemed prudent. Besides, we hardly had time to argue over power. Despite a few scuffles and Sarah confidently embracing the high horse on a few occasions, she was brilliant. We don’t always see eye to eye, but I don’t think we could have managed without her.

The main problem we faced was that everyone had used different margin sizes and different amounts of columns on the page set ups. This actually proved disastrous! When compiling all the pages together onto one document, the document still has to be set up like any other publication… all with the same settings. With all our pages having different settings, it wasn’t an easy fix. However, we got over that pretty soon. The margins weren’t that different anyway, and the only person who had to seriously reconfigure her page was Sarah herself as she had set her page up with 5 columns instead of 6.

The next problem arose when we realised that all the photographs on InDesign are simply links to the original file, so the original photographs all had to be sent to Sarah’s computer. Easy fix.

All in all not such a bad show! I produced a media pack myself whilst the girls were faffing with the front page. I thought I’d make it on Indesign, one last show of my new found talent!

If anything, I know I could have used this module to further my comprehension and understanding on how to write, to perhaps define my writing style, but to be honest, I think I got the best out of the module.

InDesign is an amazing program. Adobe have got it down to a Tee. What we produced, what I produced, is easily professional quality. I definitely feel more than ready to embark on more ambitious magazine projects, more specifically, I’d love to learn how to make iPad apps.

I quite literally cannot write anymore. My eyes are sore and heavy, I still have a huge essay to write and two radio documentaries to make. Dammit. My thoughts and feelings about how the iPad will change the world will have to wait, although… it won’t!

Magazine Production, take 4

Francesca Geary set up The Outside blog. She said that she loves making blogs, and I’m afraid that I don’t share her enthusiasm. I’m not quite sure what the blog is for? I’m not sure that it’s been created to share the reflective practice blog entries for the magazine, however, I’m going to stick this in there anyway, and copy this on my own blog!

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about blogging for personal reasons anyway. Surely having a blog where people write down their personal feelings is a concept that encourages a sense of voyeurism? Salam Pax, the famous Bagdad Blogger, admitted that he is a self confessed ‘bloggaholic’ but what I don’t understand is why people infringe on their own ‘right to privacy’. It’s a basic human right that people forgo when they write a blog. I must also acknowledge a certain sense of intrigue right now. The questions in my head about who my audience is? Who will be reading this? Will what I write here ever get back to me (with in an underlying tinge that I hope it does)?

Musing about Web 2.0 is not what I’m supposed to be writing about. I’m supposed to be writing about the way the magazine is developing and how the group is working together.

I have to say that it is going rather well. The main problem is that I have internet at my house and therefore I have to rely on the college computers. I must also stress that to be able to afford to be at University, I work for Starbucks (for my sins) 3 days a week. So I’m working half the time, and working on my degree for the other. One day a week is for Hockey, but that is quite literally ‘neither here, nor there.’ – Exercise and team sports are important.

Without internet or the time to get to it, I find that I am often delayed on the uptake, however, I’m still doing alright so far. I have only missed one meeting, because of having to work, as in lame work, and I feel the input I have had has been positive.

I feel my role is a suggestion maker, thought provoker, and decisive decision maker. A subliminal leadership role, without any glory. This is a brilliant position to be in. Having a loud, deep voice, and being quite tall with an abnormal sized chest probably makes me quite imposing.

Tiffany is the editor, although I’m not sure what she edits, although it’s good to know that there is someone who has the responsibility to have things run by her. It’s good to know that things would be checked before getting set on, like a font chance, or colour pallet decision.

Francesca has been fantastic at keeping us all informed and organised with regular email updates. She would make a fantastic assistant editor I think, or at least a powerful secretary.

I think the rest of us are quite happy to just go with the flow. We have regular meetings, let each other know our progress and then get on with it. It’s a good place to badger those of us who are falling behind. I am definitely on top with things though. I have all the photos I need and I’ve done the articles, except for the news story.

This blog entry has been written just after our 3rd meeting. It’s getting pretty late in the production process and at this point we’re all supposed to have started on out InDesign projects. If I’m going to be completely honest, I have not started. What’s worse is that I have not even thought about starting! I have no idea how to use InDesign. We had a lecture on how to use it last week. It went straight over my like water over a duck’s back.
I’m not too worried though. How hard can it be? We still have plenty of time. The deadline is three weeks away. I’m sure I’ll find some time to work on it before then (he says, with an appropriate sense of apprehension)…

Magazine Production, take 3

I’ve done two articles, one is about Celebrity Chefs in Cornwall, and the other is about that journey from Falmouth to Helford Passage. I’ve yet to do that news story, although I heard there was a problem with the Eden Project’s ice rink. I will investigate and report my findings. Hopefully it will be better than the other rubbish I’ve written for the magazine…

I’m just going to stick them up to be honest. I’m not at all proud of either of them. As pieces of writing they are not great. Although, I can see by reflection that I am a highly cynical writer, and I tend to write directly from consciousness, almost like speech. I do not like my own style of writing.

This needs to change. I strongly hope that I will develop and climb out of this journalistic slum.

First up, ‘Flushing to Helford Passage.’

 

 

Flushing to Helford Passage

 

By George Richardson

 

 

There is life beyond Gyllyngvase Beach…Much as we love it…

 

If you catch a ferry, or even just walk to Flushing, you get another perspective, another angle of Falmouth. It’s very pretty. Flushing is the perfect place for a picnic but that’s about it. You can watch the boats go by, ogle at the expensive houses and admire how old everyone is around you, but there’s only so much of a different angle you can get until you remember that you’re still looking at the same thing.

 

Most people go to Cornwall with that glamorous image of surfing everyday, sun, sand and general beach going. Unfortunately, the reality is somewhat colder, and gravely damper than what we’d like to imagine. However, the area is still just as stunning in the cold. It just takes more willpower to go out and enjoy it…

 

The ferry across from the pier costs £7.50 return, pretty steep for a boat trip to the same place. There are a few pubs to visit though, not exactly student friendly, and there are a few other beaches, one or two. You could easily have a just as much of a good time sticking to what you know on the other side of the estuary, at least when you’ve had enough you don’t have to contemplate swimming home.

 

It’s not fair to say that that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. At least the sand is yellower on the Flushing side, being real sand! It makes a change from Gyllyngvase, except without the essential beach bar. You could make a day of it though, if you really wanted to. You could pack up lots of food, a load of drinks, bring a few instruments and a bunch of your mates, sit around on the beaches on the other side for a change… but you’d have to really want to.

 

If you fancy another walk in the other direction then you might tread the sands of Swanpool. It’s another beach in a sheltered cove, not that much different to where you’ve already been, but it’s definitely worth a look. Real sand is again, a bonus. The restaurant at the top specializes in local seafood, particularly shellfish. If you’re hungry, then check out the surf and turf, if you have a spare £56.15. With that sort of price tag, you’d have to be starving and have the money to spare. Definitely not student friendly. Indaba and the Gyllyngvase Beach Cafe shouldn’t be compared, they are not restaurants for the same function, although it should be said, the cafe is at least easier for a budget.

 

Local Cornwall is not limited to what’s across the water or what’s around the next cove. If you’re lucky enough to know someone with a car around here, and cheeky enough to ask, then plague them for a short road trip to Helford Passage for a chilled afternoon. This place genuinely does grant another perspective. The beaches here are popular with locals in the summer, to get away from crowds at Gylly, and if you get at chance to have a look, you’ll see why.

 

There is in fact, a coastal path that runs all the way from Gyllyngvase to Helford. The path takes you past Swanpool, past the golf course of Falmouth Golf Club, past Maenporth beach, and then onto Helford Passage. It might take a while, but if you’re wrapped up this winter, and want to stretch you legs, or rather if you need to as you’ve flinched at the thought of doing anything in the cold, then this would be an adventurous change.

Helford Passage’s passage is a narrow squeeze down some steep steps around the back of a pub. At the right time of day, you might emerge with your eyes squinting from light bouncing off golden water as you step onto a patio of The Ferryboat Inn. Let your eyes adjust and try absorb the details of a waterscape that is nothing like Falmouth.

 

The best way to enjoy the view is from the beer garden on the front. Grab yourself a pint and sit outside. After you’ve finished your drink, there is a footpath that trails the edges of the water. You might get the impression that the footpath you’re walking on is someone’s drive… that’s because it is to a certain extent, but keep walking and the path continues past those grand gates and yew lined drives. Lavish homes are peppered over the valley and you wonder ‘who would live here.’ Apparently Roger Taylor and Joanna Lumley have their humble abodes there, but these are just rumours…

 

If the tide is in, then the beaches are just narrow causeways that link pebbles to pebbles with slipways in between. It seems to just keep going as you look into the sunset. Let the sun go down and skim a few stones over water as flat as a mirror.

 

Helford Passage is a panoramic experience. Looking over the water you’ll notice that almost everything is pleasing to the eye. This is serene Cornwall. This is the Cornwall you see on boxes or Cornish fudge, on the bottles of Cornish ale, or perhaps on those flyers that say ‘Visit Cornwall!’ This is the image that the Cornish are proud of.

 

ENDS

 

I have very little to say in terms of reflection, other than I hate it. It’s not interesting to me, however, I do appreciate how it might interesting to someone else, even though it’s about an experience of my own. Whatever happens, even if it provokes someone to say, “what, that’s wrong?! I love Flushing, there’s loads going on,” then it might have succeeded in the sense that it is evocative. Next up, ‘Cod Envy: Battle of Celebrity Cornish Chefs’

 

Cod Envy: Battle of the Celebrity Chefs

 

Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver have very little in common. They are both professional chefs with the ‘celebrity’ label, but their styles are very different. One is old and uses ‘bouquet’ to describe and encompass specific tastes. The other likes to get political with school dinners and describes his food with grunts and groans.

 

Another thing they both have in common is that they both have established restaurants in Cornwall. In fact, Rick Stein loves the place so much, he put in six, not to mention his numerous delicatessens.

 

In Padstow, Rick has created a culinary empire that has become integral to the town’s identity (and economy). Four out of the six ‘Stein stations’ are actually in Padstow; The Seafood Restaurant, St Petroc’s Bistro, Rick Stein’s Café, and Stein’s Fish and Chips. Rick began his journey to stardom with his philosophy, “Nothing is more exhilarating than fresh fish simply cooked.” It clearly worked since now, six restaurants, three delicatessens, 23 TV series later, two marriages and an OBE from her majesty for services to West Country tourism; he’s still at it, currently making another television series on food in the Mediterranean.

 

But does all that mean that the food in his restaurants are any good?

 

Jamie Oliver. Now this man hasn’t been around for as long as old Rick, but he already has a firm footing in Cornwall. In 2002, Jamie set up the ‘Fifteen’ initiative, designed to give young people a ‘second chance.’ This scheme was originally based in London but it was duplicated in Cornwall as the county is one of the most deprived areas in the UK. The restaurant is situated near Newquay in Watergate Bay, between Padstow and Newquay.

 

Fifteen has its staff composed of school dropouts, drug rehabilitators, and people who generally fell off the band wagon in life and are trying to get back on. In an ideal world, this is a highly humanitarian effort. In practice, it’s not quite so black and white.

 

Steinism or Jamie and friends. Two very different approaches to fine dining and expert cuisine, but there’s only one way to find out who is the Cornish culinary king… try them both.

 

The Outside has compared the flagship of Rick’s fleet, seafood restaurant in Padstow to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen near Newquay.

 

Watergate Bay is one of the most stunning locations in all of Cornwall. It’s hard not to enjoy the views, which is brilliant because unfortunately, you’ll be staring out of them for what feels like hours whilst you’re waiting to be served.

 

Dinner at Fifteen is an odd affair as you have very little choice, other than to fork out at least £55 per person. You quite literally don’t have the choice. Fifteen offers a ‘tasting menu’ after 8pm, where you can choose what you like from the menu, but the price is the same, no matter what you order. This excludes drinks, so if you fancy a bottle of wine, you’ll be pushing close to £120 for two of you.

 

The taster menu offers 4 courses not including starter nibbles and coffee at the end. The food is the best bit. It is amazing. The staff clearly have their priorities clear. Table service, and time keeping are perhaps lower on their list. If you do find yourself in the money and maybe fancy treating yourself and someone clearly close to you, since £55 is a luxury that most of us would skip in terms of a restaurant bill, then the grilled monkfish is spectacular and well worth recommending.

 

After your coffee and Amedei chocolate shot, it may take you some time for a bill to arrive. In fact, it might be a while for anyone to pay any attention to you at all. In some cases, that can be a good thing. Not however, if you want to make a similar trip to sample what Rick Stein has to offer…

 

The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow was first set up in 1975. Oddly, the restaurant has never managed a Michelin star to date, although that’s not to say that Rick doesn’t know what he’s doing. For a start, the staff know what they’re doing. You’ll step into the a room that doesn’t quite reflect a Cornish fishing town, but you probably won’t complain since, after you’ve sat down, you’ll realise that everyone can hear you. The tables are crammed in to optimise capacity, much like you do for car parking, or maybe battery farming, but that shouldn’t put you off too much. The bill might as you look over a menu that suggests £65 for a ‘taster menu’ that looks a lot like Jamie’s.

 

The food is stunning. The fish is genuinely fresh, as if it had swam onto the grill. The grilled Dorset sea bass is well worth a try, and try it you can, since you’re not obliged to invest in shares with the place, you don’t have to have a taster menu if it’s past 8.

 

If you have the chance (and money) to be able to try them both then it’s well worth it, just for the exquisite food. Both restaurants have chef teams that really know how to cook. The staff at the seafood restaurant have less bumps to iron out, however that may be because the establishment has been around for decades, much like Rick himself, and so, they know how to look after you. The guys at Fifteen could perhaps benefit from a lesson or two with old Rick.

 

In total summary, if you have to choose between trekking it to Newquay for Fifteen, or travelling all the way to Padstow for the Seafood Restaurant then maybe you should go for neither…

 

Rick, being the older and craftier of the Cornish celebrity chefs, has his fingers in many pies. One of these pies is just cooling off on the window sill of Falmouth, right on the wharf. If you really want to sample celebrity standard cuisine then you needn’t look any further than down the road.

 

Again with a slightly weighty price tag, the fish is amazing, the chips are a little dry, but it might just be the best fish and chips you’ll ever have.

 

What I really didn’t want to do was to review the restaurants. I really really really absolutely, one hundred percent, loath the concept of writing reviews. I prefer the concept of suggestions. Why do certain people assume that their opinion is one to be taken and so, perhaps they might publish it in a publication that carries respect or authority, and therefore their opinion might be trusted. I hate that construction within journalism. A film critic, food critic, or book critic. Whatever critic, if they are actually only journalists, then why on earth should their opinion matter in the slightest? Critics are arrogant. There is no other way around it. However, that’s not to say that being critical is not constructive. Constructive criticism clearly is, hence the name, but I loath the concept of journalistic practice that to be honest, shits all over the fundamental that a journalist should be dispassionate and non bias. I need to look into it, I can already see holes in my argument, although that’s not what this post is about.

Good luck mysterious reader, I hope you find more interesting blogs to read! I strongly suggest WikiLeaks at the moment…

 

Magazine Production, take 2

I had literally no idea what to write about in the magazine until today. Even now, I think this article is weak and boring. It has nothing interesting, it merely shows tiny snippets in a journey from Falmouth to flushing, then, once in Flushing and realising that there’s not much there, asking the girlfriend if she fancied going to Helford Passage instead. That is basically what I wrote the article about. I admit, it’s probably quite crap. And yet…

The article is not that dissimilar to a blog… I am not one to embrace blogging, however, the article is only slightly worded differently from a personal account of what I was thinking at the time. You can even tell what mood I was in. With this in mind, perhaps those personal voyeurs out there might enjoy it? If anything, I was pretty pleased with the photos, although I couldn’t quite get my head around the camera. I normally use my Cannon AE1, a delightful piece of a equipment that allows the photographer full control over everything… and it’s not digital. I used a Nikon D5000. This camera is far too automated for my liking. There’s no control since the lens, aperture, shutter speed, and pretty much all the settings are too deeply locked in fathoms of digital menus. At the same time, it’s a beauty, and I can see that, perhaps with more practice, I might be able to do things with that camera that I might never have imaged whilst using my good old Cannon.

I stumbled across Helford Passage last year. It really is beautiful. The pub serves fantastic food, slightly over priced, but to be honest, it’s just an amazing location. It is perhaps one of my favourite locations in all of Cornwall.

When we arrived at Helford Passage this year, the lighting could not have been more perfect. It literally turned the water golden. The tides lay the estuary to rest like a millpond, you could almost have skated across it.

I’m just going to use this blog entry to post some piccies that wouldn’t be noticed. The magazine is not a place for me to exhibit any sense of photographic talent. Besides, the photos have come out too blurry… it’s not too bad, but if I were a photography student, they would not pass.

Little Green Boat

I’d quite like to compile a collection of photographs of small boats one day. I took a load when I was on holiday in Portugal. I might make a collection on this blog actually… good idea. I wonder, is a blog a space of streams of consciousness? Probably not when your tutor is supposed to be reading them. I doubt that happens to be honest. I should probably stop.

I’ve just worked out how to insert a gallery. Lesson learned. Hopefully this might be a way to store images for future reference. Hmmm, anyway. That’s about it to be fair.

Magazine Production Module, take 1.

I hate blogging! It has become apparent that I saved a collection of blogs as drafts ages ago. It is now around 30 hours to our deadline and it is only now that I have remember to go back and edit them! What a pain!

I’m sure Anne won’t mind. I can only hope that I will learn to embrace blogging as much as so many others seem to…

This was supposed to have been the first entry, months ago;

We are to embark on making a magazine! I already have ideas of having little extras, such as a deflated rugby ball with a map of Cornwall on it, stuck to the front page. I even thought about having a magazine that existed solely as a tent, with the articles, photos, and features all pasted over the inside and outside of the walls, so that it could be read passively. Magazine still have to be picked up, imagine a media concept that just fed you the media as you lay there. It would be great for reviews at festivals like Glastonbury, but probably not for a Cornish travel mag… I would like to copyright this idea by the way! If I find someone selling tent mags at Glastonbury next year making their fortune, I will be extremely angry if I’m not included on the project, or at least a fair old cut of the profits…

The group is so far… The Norwegian connection or the NCUK as I have dubbed them, which includes Mari and Christina, both of whom are extremely attractive girls and, as Andy has recently discovered, both taken. We also have Andy, who is a good lad, but I think he might have a rude awakening sooner or later that he has to work at some point. There is myself, who will probably also awake to whatever wakes Andy up. Tiffany Naylor who is somehow our editor, although I don’t think there will be much to edit. Sarah Stevenson, I’m not sure what she does, I think she’s the photography editor? There’s also Polly and Francesca, who, like myself and Andy, do not have any official roles, however, it’s safe to say that Polly and I have developed a sense of leadership… probably because we are the loudest.

We shall see how this project develops.

Good hunting bloggers! Hopefully you might find more interesting posts!

Iron Man 2

It’s not always fair to compare a sequel film to its predecessor but you just can’t help it. Especially when the two relate so much. This isn’t Batman Begins compared to Dark Knight. Dark Knight stands alone, as something quite simply amazing.

Iron Man is an old Marvel comic. Marvel films are huge, they have massive scope and brilliant imagination. The concept of juxtaposing something extra-ordinary in an ordinary world is not original, but the circumstances of how the characters achieve their greatness isn’t always too difficult to imagine. They are crazy, bitten by a mutant spider, go off the rails and trained by ninjas, or even super intelligence. Either or, however outlandish, you can’t help but wish quietly in your 12-year-old head, “That could have been me.” It’s because the heroes stumble across their ‘awakening’ moment accidentally and clumsily. It’s almost reassuring because you can come out of the cinema and you start thinking, with just a few more hours in the gym…

You come out of the cinema, often having witnessed super cool super hero beat super villains in a plot that seems super complicated, but you understand, because again, you’re not too different from the hero, and you dream for a super moment… that it could happen to you. It’s not too difficult to imagine yourself in their shoes as he gets bitten by that spider, or begins building a mechanical suit. You start racking your brains. You pick out basic facts in the science fiction that you feel you know about and then, you apply it to your 12-year-old thoughts and then you have your own awakening moment! You are deluded. You are in such awe of the characters because you know you’ll never get around to finding the time or money to build a super advanced robotic suit of armor.

Thats how we should feel coming out of the cinema. Iron Man 2 was no disappointment in that regard. Although, it was much less of an original experience.