Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Am I getting repetitive? Good way to check

I stumbled (literally, not using my favourite time-wasting tool) on Wordle from another friend's blog and could see straight away how useful it can be: analysing the amount of times 'rage' or 'crusty jugglers' (sorry, Hot Fuzz joke) is used in a Daily Mail article or how often try-hard cool reporters talk about Tweeting on their blogs (I'm avoiding it). Sure, it works just like the tag tool but looks much better!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Beyond Sport Summit: closing session

I've never been to a conference where a speaker or interviewee walks in to a standing ovation but then I've never seen Archbishop Desmond Tutu interviewed live on stage before. His more than capable interviewer Michael Parkinson said it was a first for him as well and it was probably one of his easiest interviews ever - just ask a few simple questions and let one of the most well-known anti-apartheid campaigners talk for the next 40 minutes.
In keeping with the theme of the conference, social change through sport, Parkinson interviewed Archbishop Tutu on his relationship with sport and the way sport helped to 'demolish' apartheid in South Africa. One of the choice quotes: When South Africans travelled oversease during the worldwide anti-apartheid movement, 'sport brought home to the ordinary white person what it means to be a pariah'. Tutu said the movement would continue past his lifetime because of the followers who support it, not because of him.
Archbishop Tutu said hosting the World Cup was a win for the whole continent and would add more fire to the anti-racism movement by bring different cultures together through a shared of football.
Full coverage and clips from the days talk are on the Beyond Sport website.

Beyond Sport Summit: afternoon sessions

Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images

The media room computers became occupied for the rest of the afternoon with people checking their Facebook, so without my laptop handy (and still yet to work out blogging from my phone) had no way to upload the rest of the day's happenings.

Lewis Pugh injected some educational fun into proceedings with his description of swimming across the North Pole, claiming 'it's fucking freezing!'
His aim was to expose to world leaders the environmental damage being down at the Pole through a 1km swim, supported by a 29-strong crew. Following the swim, he called the British Prime Minister to inform him of the changes in ice thickness he had seen at the pole from one year earlier, which he suspected helped the announcement of the first UK Climate Change Minister a week later.
An amazing effort in -1.7 degree celcius water for a good cause and Lewis summed up by saying 'sport can carry a message to our leaders'.

Hon Tessa Jowell, Olympics Minister, said sport was a means for change around the world. She said 'dotting in with a few thousand pounds for a project that makes people feel good for a while is not on'. She claimed the Olympics could help improve economies, literacy levels and sporting participation around the world, points that Olympics host cities love to boost but none of which have been conclusively proven.
probably four years away from where a new tenant will move in to the new stadium.
Afterwards in a media interview, Ms Jowell told reporters the Olympic stadium would not become a white elephant but that London "doesn't need another football stadium" and that every Olympic venue would have "a concrete legacy." Having personally seen the concrete legacies of a few Barcelona venues - that is, they turned into unused piles of concrete - I hope London doesn't make the same mistakes.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Beyond Sport Summit: second session

Livestrong CEO Doug Ullman dealt with cancer as an aspiring soccer star and started a support and awareness program for athletes. Lance Armstrong spoke through a video message on the spread of Livestrong, 'takes a time like you guys to bring these issues to light'.'on behalf of the millions of cancer sufferers around the world, thank you for your passion'. Doug said it was a massive challenge to get media to talk about the cancer problem worldwide, not just Lance's achievement.

He mentioned Livestrong Global Cancer Summit in Dublin in August where they will discuss problems and solutions with the goal of committing 6 billion dollars globally.

Dame Kelly Holmes praised Sue Campbell and Youth Sport Trust for their work with school children.

The concept that businesses are not charities cropped up constantly from corporate partners and Gib Bulloch from Accenture said every partnership needed a solid business case to be successful.

Sir Keith Mills from London 2012 made good point that Olympic bid winners had to follow through on bid promises. Some of the international will involve 20 countries and develop sport in developing world. He said Olympic sponsors needed help to see the Olympis could do so much more for the world than just provide 3 to 4 weeks of action. Keith said he will get unis next year to do long-term benefit study on Olympics and claims this hasn't been done before. IOC representative Christophe Dubi said a report will be compiled with 170 indicators to show the benefits from the Games.

Beyond Sport conference: opening sessions

Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images

The early sessions at the Beyond Sport conference have provided some inspiring moments.
Compere Kevin Carroll discussed how hiw life "saved by a ball" and how he rose from a disadvantaged background to become head athletic trainer at NBA team the Philadelphia 76ers.

In the first session, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair described what sport does for us: excites, insipres, promotes tolerance andhelps many get out of a bad home environment. He also said he had learnt the power & limits of government to really develop and promote sport. Lord Puttnam received a round of applause for his points that educating girls creates systemic change and men are respomsible for a majority of the world's problems.
Former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo has journeyed regularly to African countries, including his childhood home in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the last 18 years to help children develop their social and sporting skills. He said basketball had made it possible for him to open a US$30m dollar hospital in the DRC and admonished FIFA and European football associations for often merely scouting talent in Africa when they could be doing good.
Multi-Olympic gold medallist, swimmer Ian Thorpe, gave a powerful address on his own journey beyond sport, starting a charity at age 18 to help poor and disadvantedg people. He used the speaking opportunity to highlight the major health and socioeconomic problems in Australian Aboriginal communities and said it was disappointing that his own opinion was more important to the media and general public, because of his sports achievements, than that of the experts.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Beyond Sport Summit

I'm heading along to day 3 of the Beyond Sport Summit for what should be some fascinating insights into how sporting greats, administrators and charity groups are using sport as a means for change across the globe.
The panellists and key speakers include international sporting names such as multi-Olympic medallists Michael Johnson and Ian Thorpe, business and charity heads such as Richard Branson (Virgin), Doug Ulman (Lance Armstrong Foundation) and Lord Puttnam (UNICEF UK) and Beyond Sport Ambassador and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
It's always slightly unnerving to hear present and former athletes, who are on multi-million pound/dollar salaries and endorsement deals, talking about giving something back to the sport or their community but the names I recognise in this lineup have already made big contributions through their charities.
Live updates from the conference are on the website.

Monday, 6 July 2009

technorati listing


Friday, 3 July 2009

Big week at World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ)

I haven't had much time for blogging of late and had a very busy week, spending most days at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Westminster, London. The conference obviously focused mainly on science writing, the state of journalism in the online age and the future of this fairly new (under 100 years old) journalism field.
One of the gratifying points to note was that many of the journalists and PR people alike that I spoke to are no longer afraid of what the internet will do to their professions but are embracing it as a normal part of their working day. A lot of those people were past the point of sneering at 'citizen journalists' with no professional training, to the extent they are using these people on the street as credible information sources and contacting them via blogs, Twitter, Facebook and many other formats.
Krishna Bharat, Principle Scientist and Founder of Google News, gave an interesting explanation of how the Google News system works and the way rankings are dictated. While there are complaints to be made about the rankings Google gives certain news outlets when doing simple keyword searches, Krishna reminded everyone that his service is the main source for news searches worldwide.
Many bloggers have already written their views on the conference, some of my favourites so far include Ed Yong's piece on Not Exactly Rocket Science, a nice summary of the week from Jacob Aron and some good tweets from colleagues.