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Invitation To The Voyage

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Month

October 2013

Critical Reflections

It’s been now a month since I started university, since I started Journalism and Media, since I settled down.

A part of being a journalist is being able to have a critical point of view on every topics but also about himself. A  professional journalism  shall be capable of critical reflexions, to look backyards and to judge if he took the good decision, why does he find it was a good or bad decision . What he would have done if he had to make the same choices but in the present time. This is a reflection upon what I have been doing so far.

Getting used to lectures, learn how to be organized : two essential things for this year

I wrote a letter to myself in which I explained what I wanted to gain this year. I wrote that I wanted to have more experience in journalism area, that I would like to try a brand range activities of this trade. I wrote that letter one month ago and by reading it again recently I realised that I had accomplished some of my wishes. Nonetheless there are some other things that I would have done better if I have had known.

I was very exciting about studying in the media world and I have to say that so far I’m not disappointed at all. I have discovered plenty of activities and I am dayly aiming to broad my range of skills.

I was afraid to be overtaken lectures ,homework, parties. But since the beginning I have been wise regarding partying, I try to have a balance life between studying and leisure. I have learnt that thanks to last year when I went out a lot: I have evolved and understood that this year was getting serious and that it was time to be mature and to work if wanted to succeed. I used to read a lot but last year I lost this habit and I’m glad because I am now reading again.

Coventry is a vast city, the university is huge. offers a lot of diffrent activities, a lot of parties!The fresher’s week was all about partying. There was so much to do that I end up with not knowing what to do. And I was confused about life. Getting used to a new city, new people, new personalities, new university. And at the beginning I wanted to do everything at the same time. My schedule was very busy. But I quickly realised that I had to slow down and take things once as a time.So I focused on gaining Journalism skills.

And also moodle was a brand new system for me: I wasn’t used to it at all. And at the beginning it was very confusing, I got lost and I didn’t understand my timetable.

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We have been to some of journalism task : interviewing art.We had to be in pairs and to interview people on the street about anything we liked. It was the first time I was confronted to such a task, but I took a real pleasure to do it. I found out that I really liked communicating with people and I find it quite easy: it’s the basic if I want work in the media area. In a personal way ,it  was a very beneficial activity. We learnt how to interview people, the way you have to talk to them and to be friendly, you can find below a rush of one of our interview :

This is me interviewing a student and  my classmate recording the interview. I was quite comfortable during the interview, the student was nice and was answering to the questions I was asking and was very fluent. All the interviews  went very well except one maybe, we were interviewing a manager of the university. I was asking the questions but despite the fact that  my colleague and I prepared some questions before the interview I run out of words and I had a blank. I really felt embarrassed on the moment but failure is only human. I didn’t know what to say and when finally I gathered my wits I began to ask questions on a whim . If I could go back in time I wouldn’t have done so because it end us talking about global warming whereas we start our conversation discussing about international students; there was no connecting thread,no structure and no transition from a topic to another. Nonetheless this was a very good experience, it helped me to understand  how important it is to  structure  the news. I know that I still have a plethora of skills to learn from this course but I have that day by day , by setting my heart on learning and expend my knowledge I am getting closer to my aim: becoming a journalist.

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I tend to be shy sometimes  and I didn’t dare talking because I wasn’t very self asserted but I thing that I’m becoming more and more confident. I have started a radio show with two friends of my class and I really like it, I really do enjoy it. One other thing I wanted to find out this year was which job will I do in the future and I think that after my radio experience I would like to be a part of it. I’m trying to get involve the much I can. A major difference between high-school and university is that we students, have to create our own opportunities, they won’t be brought on a silver platter and throughout  the year I’m willing to take all the opportunity and to try new things to see how it. works.

I will end up my reflection with a quotation of the American Author Margaret J. Wheatley in her book Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time : “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful“.

 

My Cabinet of Curiosities

Welcome in my Cabinet of Curiosities, you will discover a part of me: things that I like and are important in my life. Some of my passions that made the person I am. And in some ways it helped me to find interest in Journalism. 

  

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The first image of my Cabinet is a photo that was taken two years ago when I spend a weekend in Normandy with my mother in France in Givenchy (Normandy). It is the mecca of impressionism: Some painters were highly inspired by the marvellous Normand landscape such as Monet, Renoir, Degas or Caillebotte.

We visited many of the cradles of this artistic movement. This was in the garden of Claude Monet a French impressionist painter. This sunflower is one of the several sunflowers that inspired the famous painting Sunflowers.

I am keen on art, I relish painting my favourite movement is impressionism.

An other reason why I particularly like this picture is because it reminds me good memories I had with my mother and I think that this garden was one of the most wonderful place I’ve ever seen on earth.  

When I visit a place, what I really appreciate is lush vegetation and this was the perfect example.

 

The second object I chose to store in my Cabinet of Curiosities is my iPhone.Image

I think I have it since two years and I can say that he has been following me since then.

It participates to my organization: I write down all my appointments, my homework, I watch the weather everyday before going out so I know how to dress. I can’t begin my day without it.

In order to avoid spoiling paper, I prefer reading news on my iPhone that in the newspaper so I don’t throw it away after and it avoids pollution as well. Thanks to it I can read every kind of media: news, entertainment, newspaper, culture or sports news.

I am also a keen music lover and a pianist so my iPhone is a way for me to carry my music and my podcasts wherever I go. I know I can’t get bored. I have more that a thousands songs, I have every genre on my iPhone. When I’m playing the piano it is very useful: there is a metronome integrated in it and before playing a piece I can listen to it so I know how to interpret it in a more personal way. 

  

These pieces of my Cabinet of Curiosities are a pair of smart flat shoes. It’s my favourite ones.    Image             

They remind me of the fashion trends in France in the 50’s. I can wear them with anything: a dress, a skirt, a short, and jeans.

It is a treasured possession also because it’s a present from my grandmother that I don’t see very often.

They are really characteristic of the French style and the sophisticated style of most of French women.

  

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Cooking is also one of my all-consuming passion;  on this pictures you can see a little part of my pastry stuff.

Cooking taught me different qualities I will need this year while studying journalism: organization, creativity, commitment and perseverance.

I began to cook two years ago and as I began to cook I acquired some pastry stuff, at first I didn’t have a lot of accessories but now I have quite a lot. Unfortunately I couldn’t take it all with me , my kitchen is way too little to cook everything I want because I need a lot of space.

I used to suffer from a lack of creativity until one day where I discovered cooking, and I needed to be inventive to find new recipes and decorations. It was a real relief to find out that I was capable of a lot of imagination. 

 

I will end up my Cabinet by presenting you my favourite novel: La Princesse de Clèves written by Madame de la Fayette. The story is about the princess of Chartre who gets married to a husband she doesn’t love but falls in the forbidden love of a lover. Her husband is aware of the affair of her wife, he can’t stand it: he is so jealous that he commits suicide. Though the princess is in love with the Duke of Nemmour she chooses to go away forever, she chose to step down from love. This novel is considered as the first psychological novel, for the very first time we know exactly the thought of the character, what they think inside us in each moment, in every single situation.

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The first time I discovered this book was in my grandmother book shelve. That is also why this novel is precious to me. I find that is essential in life to convey knowledge from the ancient generations to the contemporary ones. Actually I find that it is the most precious asset humankind has to offer.

 

Letter to Self

Letters to self

A key part of the course is the ability to write creatively and to reflect upon the learning. So I wrote a letter to myself in one year’s time that outlines what I want to have done, produced, thought about, read, seen or heard and how I want all those experiences to help me in my personal and professional development .

Letter to self

Dear Nour,

  This year you took the plunge and plucked up the courage to leave your native country in order to study in England. A different country, a new culture and another language: you took the challenge.

You quitted your calm and peaceful life for an exciting and hectic one. You took your independence; your parents will no longer nurture you: you would have learnt to manage on your own. And it is here life is joining the course you chose you must not lean on others you have to find your own way; there will not always be people around you all the time. Some of them will help you sometimes but most of the time you will have to be clever and get by. I hope in one-year time you would have understood this, and that you would be less gullible. But I’m not very worried about it. I know somehow you are a pillar of strength.

You chose to add a step to this challenge by studying Journalism and Media, indeed get used to a new system in another European country will not be easy everyday. So you will have to be perfectly fluent and express yourself like your fellow classmates.

By the end of the year I hope you would have developed a vast array of skills that are this course demands.

You must know it, but what is making a journalist’s strength it’s his versatility: he should be able to react to any subject: sports, politics, entertainment, news, culture…Nowadays in any trade versatility is put on a pedestal.

You also chose to study a brand new language. As you know itbeing multilingual can stand you out when you will be looking for a job. Learning Arabic could just be an advantage moreover seeing that you want to become a reporter, speaking the language is a big part in understanding a culture and obviously it makes the communication easier.

Another point that is important in our society this days it’s sports. It represents an essential financial part on its own. I know that sport is not your all-consuming passion but it is important and considered by most of citizens nowadays. If you want to communicate with the world sport can be one of the master key so you made some efforts to try following the sport news, reading sports magazine and eventually by the end of the year you were able to explain clearly the rules of the off-side.

Obviously, by the end of the year you would have produced some piece of work that would have shown your commitment and all the progress you did throughout the academic year.

Another point that is also relevant in your study was confidence .I know talking in front of a large audience is not easy, how disturbing and awkward it can be. Nevertheless, I would like you to increase your self-confidence and trust yourself. You know what you are capable of, it is a part of the challenge you’re accepted: you must go the whole hog. 

You already had an insight of what the job of what the job of a journalist consists in. But sometimes it can be full of illusions. Do not delude yourself .It will be tough. You will be on the field, and you will see what is going on from the inside with professional journalists. Sometimes you’ll have to fight to find a place but it’s a part of the game. However I know you are willing to do your best to achieve you goal.

You made a very good choice by studying Journalism and Media, you have learnt a lot about the world, about people. It broadened your horizons. You have discovered so much; you rub shoulders with a new culture, a different ways of living. On the human side it was such a beneficial experience: meeting a very wide range of person that all come from different background. But also on the intellectual side, you’ve learnt how the attractive world of media is working and what you need to do to find your path.

To finish, I would say that throughout this year you kept in mind the most important which is the matter of journalism: the main purpose of journalism is conveying knowledge.  It is getting closer to people and help them to understand the world they are living in.

Nour”

“Twenty years f…

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Explore, dream, discover”
Mark Twain

Banksy, one the most well known street artist didn’t finished to amazed us. He decided to overthrown the codes of street art by selling his work. Traditionally you would find his work along the street, because what characterizes street art from another art is the fact that it won’t last and that an other graffiti will be recovering his drawing. It’s the rules of street.

The other astonishing fact is that since Banksy has began his activity he always remainded anynymous and nobody knows his real identity. We just know that he was born in Bristol (where we can find several of his work).As a  street artist he is worldly acknowledged.

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One of Banksy’s painting in Bristol
But he left his hometown to settle down in New York for his project “Better Out Than In”;  he took his fans into a treasure hunting all around the big apple streets. He draws on the wall and then posts a picture of his work  upon his blog and people take pleasure to find the place in the city.To make the  buzz he  set up a stall in New York Central Park, where original and signed canvasses of his painting were sold for 60 dollars each (around £38). Usually his work is estimated  to be worth up to £20,000 each. He didn’t tell a word to anyone, he just posted a video on his blog with the simple legend : “Please note: This was a one off. The stall will not be there again today” .

The video of the stall he put on his blog

Though the old man, settled his stall from 11 am he made his first sale at 3.30 pm : a woman bought 2  canvasses after negotiating a 50% discount as well  a New Zealander .To thank her the old man gave him a kiss on the cheek. The last buyer was a man from Chicago who needed something “only to decorate the walls” of the new house he just acquired. At 6pm the graybeard packs up his stuff, he earned 420 dollars.

A lot of people have been traveling around Bristol or New York especially to gaze at his work,his videos have been watched by millions of people all around the world (more that 5 millions people have already watched the video of the sale). Despite this worldwide succes only 3 persons stopped at the stall and bought canvasses. We could wonder if when people buy painting they are rather buying the signature that is on it.

This story reminds me of a experience made by the Washington Post in 2007. In Washington’s underground a  man  starts playing the violin : 45 minutes and 6 pieces of Bach performed with excellence, talent and grace.  As  the performance took place during rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people cross the station, most of them were on their way to work.

The video of the talented violinist entitled Stop and hear the music

Only a man recognized that the street musician was in reality a world famous violin virtuoso and gave him a 10 dollar note. An other one leant against the wall to listen to him but he looked at his watch and carry on walking. A woman throws a coin to the violinist without stopping by. Several children fell on the musician to admire him but all the parents (without exception) forced them to walk because they were in a hurry.

During the 45 minutes he played only 6 persons stopped by and stayed a while, 20 gave him some money and carry on walking. He received 32 dollars overall. When he finished to play nobody noticed and there was no standing ovation. In fact this musician playing anonymously was  Joshua Bell,one of the best violinist in the world    and the violin he was playing on was nothing but a stradivarius (a very rare violin worthing 3,5 millions of dollar) . Two days before he was to playing  to a full house and the ticked were sold out for 100 dollars.

These surprising stories raises concern about people view on art in general and about how our world is evolving. Nowadays things are going faster and faster, and people don’t take necessarily take the  time to appreciate what is going on around them.In the recent  years, the world witness a fresh outbreak  of  lack of time that transformed our lifestyles. Fast food, frozen food sales  have significantly increased. Because of the social networks we don’t take time to call or to drop a line to a friend anymore. New technologies (smartphones, tablet, laptop) are ruling our lives we became a connected society. Though all this thriving inventions  helped  us to improve our everyday life it,  tends to make us miss the essential of what living is. What is the point of having everything if we can’t take advantage of it.

Art is everywhere, even though we don’t always pay attention we are surrounded by it. If we don’t see the music of one of the best musician on this globe what else are we missing? Can we recognize the talent by itself, for it’s own value? For what it really is ?

If we were a little bit less selfish and sensitive to the world we are living in, I’m sure we’ll be overwhelmed by the all beauty we can find on earth.

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