• June 2021
    M T W T F S S

Big Brother 8: Not me, not this time. Pt.2

Another deviation from Community Media, just for another second…..

I turn my back for a minute and see what happens!

This is a transcript of the conversation between Emily, Charley and Nicky that led to Emily’s departure from the house in the midst of another race row for the show.

EMILY: (referring to Charley dancing/pushing her hips forward) You pushing it out, you n****r.

NICKY: (shocked laughter) Erm, I can’t believe you said that.

CHARLEY: You are in trouble.

EMILY: Don’t make a big thing out of it then. I was joking.

CHARLEY: I know you were… but that’s some serious s**t, sorry.


CHARLEY: Oh, my God. I’m not even saying it.

NICKY: Just don’t talk about it.

EMILY: I was joking.

CHARLEY: Do you know how many viewers would watch that?

NICKY: Okay, don’t make a big deal out of it.

CHARLEY: Fancy you saying that. I can’t believe you said that.

EMILY: Somebody has already used that word in this house.CHARLEY: No way. (Pause) Yeah, me. I’m a n****r.

NICKY laughs.

CHARLEY: I am one. Fancy you saying it. I know maybe you see it in a rap song. Maybe you and your friends sit there saying it.

EMILY: I’m friendly with plenty of black people.

NICKY: You call them n****rs?

EMILY: Yeah and they call me n****rs. They call me wiggers as well.

NICKY: I’m quite shocked.

CHARLEY: I’m in shock.EMILY: It’s not a big deal though, is it?

CHARLEY: Not for us it ain’t.


Shawn’s note: Just to clarify, even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, it is for us. Ignorwe the ignorant rappers! The n-word is not a term of affection so don’t use it! It isn’t funny.


To read BBC News article about this story click here.

Big Brother: Series 8. Not me, not this time!

A deviation from Communiyu Media, just for a second…..

For 8 years it had me, hook, line and sinker, but not this time. Since the first series I’ve said “not this year”, and I still end up hooked. Like Zammo, though smacked on the nose by addictive reality tv, not heroin. Much the same thing I guess.


My downfall every year is that my curiosity usually makes me watch the “characters” (as they’re are now called, not just people!) enter the house. From that moment I just kiss the rest of my weeks goodbye. Whether the civilian series, celebs or teenagers, I’ve been there witnessing all. After last year’s civilian series with that prat Anthony winning I said “never again”. But along came the celebs with Jermaine Jackson so of course I had to watch that. (Don’t you think that Jermaine is what Michael could have become if he hadn’t gone off the rails of sanity. Such a shame!!) After the “race row” car crash of that series, sure enough I said “never again!” But I meant it this time.

It’s quite refreshing to stumble over Big Brother conversations on tv, radio or by the (mythical) water cooler and not have the faintest idea who they are talking about. I know there are loads of females and one boy band look-a-like guy in there. And a WI woman and an activist type, and a pair of twins, but these tit-bits have been picked up along the ways, There’s no harm in that. I also know there’s various guitar bands out in the world called Razorlight, Muse, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and a few others, but I couldn’t pick any of them out in a crowd – sonically or visually. Just the stuff of life, in the mix with the things I’m actually more interested in.

So, what am I doing with all my Big Brother free time?

Yep, writing blogs about Big Brother.

Surely there’s more to life than this?

A water cooler, yesterday.

Media Literacy and the Power of Institutions

10 days ago I went to the Houses of Parliament with my comrades Emma Agusita and Cathy Poole, for a seminar discussing Media Literacy, hosted Danny Alexander MP and the Associate Parliamentary Media Literacy Group. After introductions by Danny, Ian Hargreaves (Dir of Ofcom & Researcher at Cardiff Uni), and Peter Packer (Strategy Adviser to UK Film Council and UK Media Literacy Task Force), there followed presentations from young people involved in news production media projects with the BBC (School Report) and Channel 4 (Breaking the News).


The Houses of Parliament, yesterday.

Both projects and presentations were impressive, and demonstrated to the audience the great things that can happen when professional practitioners work with young people, and visa versa.

BBC’s ‘School Report’ involved 11-14 year olds from 120 schools to produce video reports about stories from their local areas and issues that effect their worldviews. This project was linked with Hackney’s City Learning Centre and Vivi Lachs, (who I first came across in 2002 at a FutureLab conference at the Watershed in Bristol named ‘Contagious Creativity’. I was immediately inspired by her back then and was pleased to see her still on the front line of media literacy education). The children talked about the video reports they produced, which ranged from Muslim children discussing their responses to feeling ‘British’, a report on the ‘true picture of Hackney’ (in response to a C4 programme naming the area the worst place to live), and the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. They also interviewed Tony Blair and had 2 days support time with BBC journalists. Helen Shreeve from BBC said their aim was for this experience to be had by EVERY 11-14 year old at least once in every school across the country.

Channel 4’s ‘Breaking the News’, as described by it’s co-ordinator Adam Gee, involved 14-16 year olds from schools and community organisations to attend C4 news briefings to get a true behind-the-scenes insight, and they came up with alternative ways of producing news stories. They also set up parallel news rooms in various schools and set up an online editor which allowed the young people to edit stories in their own way. One of the big impacts of this project was the way it made the C4 producers such as Martin Fewell, (deputy editor of Channel 4 News) think differently about their audiences, and take them out of the comfort zone of always reporting certain stories in a certain way. (Time will tell as to how this will change on screen.)

In the Q&A session with the young people, the most common responses to the question, “what impact have these projects had on you?” were;

1) Self-confidence
2) Wanting to be a journalist
3) Ability to have own voice heard

Both BBC and C4 are rolling out their projects to be taken up by schools and other groups across the country, or actually anywhere in the world as the resources are web based.

There is no doubt that these were fantastic projects, though watching the presentations I had a strange sense of de ja vu, as they (especially BBC’s School Report) was identical to our (Firstborn Creatives’) 2003 – present project Channel Zer0. (Or to see the website for Channel Zer0 in text only version rather than Flash, click here) What I saw in these presentations in Parliament was Channel Zer0 again, though on a much grander and gigantic scale. Please know that with these comments I’m not being a jealous playa hata as I’m applauding them on their achievements. It was slightly strange for me though as I saw before me how an institution such as the BBC could (seemingly) effortlessly mobilise in 4 months a project that we have been trying to really galvanise over 4 years. Same with the Channel 4 project which was also quite similar.

channel zer0

And here in lies the opportunity for a more sustainable future for both BBC’s and Channel 4’s projects, that I fear hasn’t really been grasped as yet.

Both are relying on teachers, youth workers, etc, to visit & download their online resources and replicate the projects year after year. The BBC talked about this years schools becoming mentors for the news schools. Whilst knowing the BBC I’m sure they could make this happen, but really teachers are far too busy and already swamped by initiatives for a huge number of them to take it upon themselves to deliver an online media literacy project.

Here BBC & C4 are missing the opportunity to commission community media companies across the country to take these initiatives forward in the subsequent years after this initial pilot. Helen Shreeve quite rightly said they wouldn’t be able to give the same access tob BBC journalists, etc as they did this year, but contracting smaller media companies to take this work forward would allow access to media expertise. Here it might sound like I’m touting for work for Firstborn Creatives, which I very well might be, but much bigger than that is the unique opportunity for the big institutions such as BBC & C4 work strategically with the smaller community media companies to deliver an annual project that would have national impact, and a model globally on what is achievable in the name of media literacy.

To be fair both Adam and Helen did suggest they could link with community video outfits, but the emphasis and resources definitely were steering in the direction of their online resources. For starters, they are A LOT cheaper than getting funding to commission a load of community media organisations. Finance is obviously a huge issue here. But so is the opportunity. I’ll work my hardest to at least getting it discussed at a deeper, logistical level.

Watch this space.