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ABOUT ME

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Best entry by a young North Wales journalist 1983 Press Awards, Trevor Williams Memorial Trophy and Editors' Prize

North Wales Young Journalist of the Year, 1983

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Western Daily Press, September 3, 1987

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South Wales Argus, April 21, 1989

I am an experienced, time-served journalist with a track record in regional newspapers. I won an award as a cub reporter and went on to cover the regular beat of magistrates and crown courts, councils, royal visits, agricultural shows, inquests, births, deaths and marriages.

Many newspaper articles were written including a story for the Western Daily Press about a man who kept a lion in his large back garden (people living locally were very careful about feeding the animals though Miles assured me that Khan wouldn't harm a soul and in fact was quite cuddly) and one for the South Wales Argus on the tributes at Liverpool FC to fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster. Some of my stories were taken up by national newspapers and I did reporting and sub-editing shifts for them.

Also, I interviewed numerous people from Freda and Fred in their home celebrating their golden wedding anniversary to politicians at high-profile conferences like Ken Livingstone and Douglas Hurd (both fascinating, personable men) and backstage interviews with celebrities like Lenny Henry and Frankie Howerd (both big men, one was charm personified the other, sadly, was not).

I served as branch secretary and father of chapel for the National Union of Journalists http://www.nuj.org.uk/ but my journalistic career halted in 1997 when I started a psychology degree conferring graduate basis for registration of the British Psychological Society http://www.bps.org.uk/.

A teaching qualification followed the degree and I was delighted when I won a £10,000 Wellcome Trust bursary from the Association of British Science Writers http://www.absw.org.uk/ to fund a Masters degree in science communication at the University of Bath, where I wrote a dissertation on how scientists perceive journalists ("lazy and unoriginal", according to  The Language Instinct author Steven Pinker)

Since completing the MSc in Science, Culture and Communication, I have been studying on part-time courses in political philosophy, media and law in the lifelong learning centre at Cardiff University, using the Bute Library at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies for academic researching to gain a Certificate of Higher Education. I have also been engaged on the school’s Community Journalism Massive Online Open Course at Future Learn, benefiting from the interaction online with journalists and journalism students from all over the world.

Many of the discussions in the Community Journalism MOOC have been about the issue of media ethics in the post-Leveson age, with fellow bloggers and citizen journalists seeking answers to questions about how they should behave in a new landscape where Wikileaks, whistle-blowers and anonymous contributors now break news before established media outlets, often without any understanding of the legal and ethical constraints set up to regulate professional journalists.

The future of the media after Wikileaks, Snowden and the phone hacking scandal has featured in reports I have written based on interviews or talks with speakers including veteran Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein; human rights barrister Michael Mansfield; media law lord, Lady Justice Arden; Granville Williams of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom; David Puttnam, the Labour peer; John McCarthy, the Beirut hostage; senior officials in the National Union of Journalists; Dr John Lister, from the Health Journalism MA at Coventry University as well as activists in his Keep Our NHS Public campaign; and a wide variety of professional journalists, some of whom I know from my working days, who have lamented the downgrading and underfunding of traditional print media. I also attended the Old Bailey to hear Andy Coulson give evidence in the hacking trial and I have kept up to date with Nick Davies’s work in exposing the truth about hacking as well as the JOMEC research accompanying it. I have an abiding interest in this subject and scour literature on it.

I was selected at interview to represent Welsh service users and carers on the British Psychological Society’s national committee in 2010 for three years and I went on to attend meetings and conferences throughout Britain, liaising with clinical psychologists carrying out research into mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. I actively contributed by offering the voice of the service user on the editorial collective of Clinical Psychology Forum (I take medication to control severe depression and irritable bowel syndrome and have benefited from therapy with an NHS hospital psychologist and now also have an abiding interest in media representation of mental ill health and suicide and the contentious issue of the NHS and its future funding).

Also, I completed an Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy course at Cardiff University recently examining the fundamentals from Hobbes’s “state of nature” to utilitarianism, liberal egalitarianism and communitarianism. I found the extensive background literature hugely engaging and stimulating and referred to it in essays. I also completed a course on the English legal system and read extensively on various approaches to law and order, civil liberties and how governments have controversial powers to restrict and supress freedom and free speech often backed by senior high court judges. This has helped to give me a broad academic base and a very good grasp of complex issues surrounding civil liberty, free speech, social deprivation and discourses on power and how it is wielded in British society.

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  • I will write on  media, health, psychology, science and lifestyle issues. Welcome to my blog.

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