I’m getting sick of lazy journalism. Are you?

We are supposed to rejoice that we live in a country that enjoys a free press, the freedom of speech, the ability to criticise and challenge authority and to keep the government to account.

Of course, I do personally.

However, I also believe that with this should come responsibility. Responsibility to deliver news stories factually rather than with any specific bias and I certainly expect that from the BBC, a publicly owned institution.

So I have become somewhat disillusioned over recent months to find that time and time again, this isn’t the case and we are being presented with incorrect information that will cloud our judgement when forming our opinion on specific items.

A case in point, yesterday, when the British Prime Minister visited the Wigan Lads and Girls club, a fantastic facility that is run completely independently from any public purse, and has been established by the charity, On Side through public donations, corporate sponsorship and lots of fundraising. Rather than present this factually, the BBC decided to concentrate on the demonstration outside by a small group – no more than 15/20 people and invited someone from this group to comment on the youth club.

This ‘ex Liverpool Militant Councillor’ then stated incorrectly that “how can the PM celebrate such a facility when within a matter of months the council will be forced to close it down due to funding restrictions imposed by central government”

An incorrect and highly political statement that wasn’t challenged or corrected in any way.

There are many such events that will help people generally and the youth in particular form an opinion. I’m not asking for much, in saying that news should be presented with balance and indeed factually.

Otherwise we are no better than the countries across the world that don’t have a free press.

Is this lazy journalism or just poor journalism, I don’t know, but please the BBC, just concentrate on delivering the news and let other people form their own opinions.

Why is profit a bad word these days?

I’m sick to death of all of the media and politicians criticising businesses that made significant profits.

Do they not realise that it is these organisations that will drive the country out of recession?

Do they not realise that without profits, investments in new projects/ jobs etc will simply not happen?

More interestingly, do they not realise that it is the Profits on which Companies are taxed and not Revenue – so enough of the moaning about the amount of profits, let’s encourage our businesses to be the most successful that they can be, let’s celebrate success as opposed to decrying it.

I’m encouraged by the stance taken by Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph – please please will all journalist/ politicians start beating the success drum.

New Leadership is Required – again!

“There are a few fertile fields in which there has been a decline of leadership, and in which the new type of leader may find an abundance of opportunity.

First – In the field of politics, there is a most insistent demand for new leaders; a demand which indicates nothing less than an emergency. The majority of politicians have, seemingly, become high-grade legalised racketeers. They have increased taxes and debauched the machinery of industry and business until the people can no longer stand the burden.

Second – the Banking business is undergoing a reform. The leaders in this field have almost entirely lost the confidence of the public. Already the bankers have sensed the need of reform, and they have begun it.

Third – Industry calls for new leaders. The old type of leaders thoughts and moved in terms of dividends instead of thinking an moving in terms of human equations! The future leader in industry, to endure, must regard himself as a quasi-public official whose duty it is to manage his trust in such as a way that it will work hardship on no individual, or group of individuals. Exploitation of working men is a thing of the past. Let that man who aspires to leadership in the field of business, industry and labour remembers this.

Fourth – The religious leader of the future will be forced to give more attention to the temporal needs of his followers, in the solution of their economic and personal problems of the present, and less attention to the dead past and the yet unborn future.

Fifth – In the professions of law, medicine, and education, a new brand of leadership, and to some extent, new leaders will become a necessity. This is especially true in the field of education. The leader is that field must, in the future, find ways and means of teaching people how to apply the knowledge they receive in school. He must deal more with practice and less with theory.

Sixth – New leaders will be required in the field of Journalism. Newspapers of the future, to be conducted successfully, must be divorced from ‘special privilege’ and relieved from the subsidy of advertising. They must cease to be organs of propaganda for the interests which patronise their advertising columns. The type of newspaper which publishes scandal and lewd pictures will eventually go the way of all forces which debauch the human mind.

These are but a few of the fields in which opportunity for new leaders and a new brand of leadership are now available”

So, what do you think – do you agree that everything that I’ve printed above is an accurate reflection of the state of the Britain and the world in 2012?

Your comments are most welcome.

One thing that I should point out though is everything that I have written above is take from the book – “Think and Grow Rich”, written by Napoleon Hill and published in 1937!

Isn’t it amazing that history repeats itself time and time again!


Banning of Irresponsible Alcohol Promotions in the UK

As a result of the increasing alcohol-related crime and violence in the UK, banning of irresponsible alcohol promotions has come to effect.

The first stage of the new mandatory code for retailers has been introduced (and announced by Alan Johnson, Home Secretary in January), this includes the following:

  • Banning of “All you can Drink for £10”
  • Banning of “Free Drinks Promotion for Women”
  • Banning of “Speeding drinking competitions”
  • Banning of “Dentist’s Chairs” where customers have no control of the amount of alcohol that is being poured directly to their mouth.
  • Thus, only Tap water can be served free to all customers to cut down the risk of becoming dangerously drunk.

The speaker also added, “Alcohol-related crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year while the vast majority of retailers are responsible, a minority continue to run irresponsible promotions which fuel the excessive drinking that leads to alcohol-related crime and disorder.

 “These practices have a real impact on society not to mention the lives of those who just want to enjoy a good night out. The government and the industry have a duty to act, this mandatory code will allow us to take action against an issue which affects us all.”

 The second stage of this new mandatory code will soon be introduced on the first day of October 2010 that will require all alcohol retailers to have an age-verification policy and only a small amount of any alcohol products like wines, beers can be served to any customers.

 Anyone that is proved to be breaking the code will be punished by the law.  The range of sanctions is as follows:

  • Confiscation of license
  • Serving of additional tough conditions on their license
  • Maximum penalty of £20,000
  • Six months imprisonment

Implementation of this code will not just put crime and violence to an end but also it can help reduce the increasing number of cancer cases in the UK caused by relentless drinking of alcohol.

And that can’t be a bad thing can it!

Why is the UKs number of Cancer Cases reaching US figures?

If only people were healthier, increasing number of cancer cases in the US as well as in the UK can be brought to an end.

Health is Wealth

Living healthy, maintaining a well balanced diet complete with fruits and vegetables, healthy weight and taking exercise as a routine can help minimize the outgrowing number of cancer cases in the UK and the US.

While there is much higher rates of obesity in the US yet Britons tend to drink more alcohol and as a result the total numbers of cancer cases are equal in both areas.

People may notice that most cancer cases in the US are linked to body fats in fact 20% of the seven cancer types are weight related issues while in the UK the percentage is only about 17%. According to experts, despite that Britons are much healthier in weight yet they are hard alcohol drinkers causing them to match the US in cancer rates, says Professor Martin Wiseman.

Too much of everything can make us sick, so better watch out for your health. Life is good especially if we are healthy and even if we don’t have much wealth or money we can still live happily.

Networks are the way of life – pass it on…

There was a fascinating article in this weeks Sunday Times – click on link below to read the whole article – which highlighted the strength of a network to change practically anything in life.

It is only in the last few years where the computing strength has been available to pull together the volumes of data required to really understand the impact that our networks have of us and our lives.

I suspect that this all links back to our need to be ‘loved’ and to ‘fit-in’ and by ‘following the lead’ of our networks, then this can be achieved – read the article and you’ll see what I mean.

This does raise one very interesting point though – what will the impact of all of these social networking sites have on society and will the power of electronic communication be as great as that of face to face contact. Only time will tell…

Read the article here  http://tinyurl.com/yjs4zfx

Monthly Book Club – or What I’m reading now…

I’ve always be interested in leadership and what makes a good leader and I was drawn to the book ‘Leading in times of Crisis’ by David L Dotlich, Peter C Cairo and Stephen H Rhinesmith.

The central message is that leadership is reaching an almost impossible level of complexity and recent economic events have created the perfect storm for leaders out there trying to make businesses work. They claim that even the most accomplished leaders are exhausted abd confused by the challenges presented in these turbulent times.

The key to riding the storm is leadership style – the need to be the whole leader – ‘head, heart and guts’.

Their guidance is simple;

1. be clear about what you have the courage to be known for

2. prioritise relationships

3. lead everyone, not just those that report to you

4. be clear about what is important

5. consider the things that are limiting you

The book challenges you to rethink things and for this, it makes a very interesting read.

10 ways to use Twitter

I have to say that I’m not yet a Twitter convert, but I’m interested in learning more about it and more importantly how people use it to develop new business opportunities, rather than the incessant bleeting about the finite details of what they watching on TV or eating for tea…. Why would I be interested in that…

During my research, I have come across this list of 10 ways to use Twitter.

1. Drive users to your website

2. Search for customers’ opinions

3. Promote offers

4. Highlight industry news and research

5. But don’t just brag about successes

6. inject some personality

7. Network with other businesses

8. Be genuine

9. Get involved in the community

10. Do it right and learn the etiquette

The list looks and sounds right – however, I’d be really interested in hearing about real stories of how you have used Twitter to develop your business.

10 Public Speaking Pointers

How comfortable are you in making a public speech?

Do you get a standing ovation at the end of your speeches?

Here are my top 10 tips for giving great speeches;

1. Have something to say – the old adage that less is more is very relevant here. Make sure that you have something tangible to say and when you do, make sure that you focus on the key aspects

2. Don’t try to sell – don’t treat the speech as an opportunity to deliver a sales pitch. Build interest in your audience so that they proactively follow up with you

3. Understand who you are talking to – tailor your speech to the needs of your specific audience – it will help to engage them and retain their interest. Use examples from their sphere of influence.

4. Dress appropriately – you want the audience to focus on your message, not on the way that you look.

5. Don’t slag off the competition – it only reflects badly on you

6. Recreate stories – pull your audience into your message through the creative use of stories

7. Build expectation in your audience – can you circulate information beforehand? can you converse with your audience prior to the event? – use the latest social media tools such as Linkedin etc

8. Make sure that the room that you have feels small and the audience is packed in – there is nothing worst than giving a speech to a large room with a small number of people in it.

9. Try to arrange for your speech to be at the start of the event – your audience will have high expectations and be alert – this wanes significantly as you proceed through the course of the day. Never accept the graveyard slot just after lunch

10. Practice, Practice and Practice some more – make sure that you are comfortable with the contents of your speech – this will help you relax and perform to a much higher standard.

Please add your stories – both good and bad – of your experiences

Should YouTube be used in the classroom?

It has recently been reported that schools and colleges in the Uk are increasing using YouTube in the classroom.

Is this right? How do you feel that your child is being fed with YouTube images as part of their learning experience?

On the one hand it seems utterly foolhardy to encourage the use of YouTube in schools – it is full of silly exerpts, self promoting people and disgusting images isn’t it?? If you are over 35, this is probably your view!

However, when was the last time that you looked at YouTube?

Yes – you can spend hour after hour looking at the latest experiment of what an extra strong mint does to a bottle of coke – if you haven’t seen this – take a look now – you’ll be amazed. But take a little time to consider the other aspects of YouTube.

Are you looking for some information or a better understanding of something? If so, take a look at YouTube and don’t be surprised if there are videos that can help you. YouTube is full of informational ‘how to’s’ and guidance notes. Another excellent resource is Slideshare.net.

Being over 40, my initial thought on this report was ‘are they made!’ However, once I’d sat back and reviewed what is available, I now believe that we should engage with this new media and take advantage of the data that it contains.