Category Archives: Journalism

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The special relationship between numeracy and journalism

numbers_300I have to be honest.  My relationship with numeracy was never friendly.  We actually had major disagreements.

Quite a few journalists have the idea that numeracy is a kind of virus which, if caught, can damage the literary of brain, leading to a permanent loss of vocabulary.  This is nonsense, says Davis Randall.

He believes that many stories are based on statistics, in nowadays.  Well, indeed the use of statistics from several organizations can help a journalist derive plenty of themes.

After the first shock reading the task that consisted the word “numbers” in it, i started my own research around political and social subjects and I was amazed by the number of statistics i found, that could really help me.

I took a first look in different organizations and governmental departments and find out GamCare.  GamCare is an organization that deals with people who suffer through a gambling problem.

This organization states that 73% of of adult population in Britain had gambled within the past year.  Also, 2% of the British under the age of 16 were identified as problematic gamblers.  Most of the gamblers that seek for help to GamCare are settled in South East (6,511,647 people), while the other areas of Britain have quite less, but also a very high number, of gambling.

A similar organization to GamCare is Gambling Watch.  This organization is producing several reports about gambling problem.  Its latest one report was publish in September 2013 and it states that 15% of young teenagers had engage in some form of gambling that month.  Immediately we realize the high increase of the percentage, in contrast with GamCare’s report.

Both organizations offers a great variety of reports that could really derive several themes for the problem of gambling in the UK.  You can write about the increase of the number of young people gambling, how government can help these people, how these big organizations help these people, and hundreds of other stories.

Except social issues, I am highly interested on politics.  Writing and criticizing the political scene of the world is not always enough.  For that reason i made a research and try to find how statistics and reports could help me to find new stories.

The European Commission has an amazing number of press releases and reports.  I was amazed by the fact that every couple weeks they publish a new statistic about a new subject.  I found it interesting to open a report about the European Cohesion Policy.  The Union is planning to invest €164 billion for less developed regions, €32bn for transition regions and €49bn for more developed countries.  They divide the investment in two parts: Development Funds and Social Funds.

Another department of the EU is the European Parliament, which has information about the latest news within the Union.  But, i was excited with the infographics.  They are surveys about several subjects (immigration, economy, criminality) considering the European citizens .  The unique about them is that they have short phrases and pictures, that make a report more interesting.

Statistics and reports are very valuable for a journalist.  Many articles can derive from these reports, while there are plenty of themes in each one that can create a new story.  Of course not all the organizations are authentic.  A journalist should make a good research before writing an article that is based on statistics.  Check the valuability of the organization, subscribe to receive emails from them and add them to your news feeds.  It is guaranteed; you will receive an alert everytime the organization publishes a new report, and then you will be able to write your story.

It seems that numbers are not so scary at all.

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The Three Hundreds: The man who will travel by bicycle across Europe in 100 days

1236865_587980947912407_349521204_nEach one of us has on the back of his mind a goal for his life; a dream that he want to achieve.  For some of us this dream is an extreme adventure, a good job, an expensive car.

Alexandros Ioannou has this dream: to travel across Europe with a bicycle  in 100 days, cover 10000 km, visit 100 different places, and survive with just 100 Euro in his pockets.  For these reasons, he named his attempt The Three Hundreds.

He has so far visited Ireland, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Strasbourg, Basel, Lyon, Barcelona and Marseille.  By this time, he is in Italy.

The difficulties he faces are plenty.  He does not have enough money, the weather is crap for a traveler who camps in a tent during the night, and his bicycle needs continuous repairs.

Alexandros wants to show with his attempt a positive image to those who are suffering from the economic crisis and live in pessimism.

Also, his trip is supporting the charity organization ‘One dream, one wish’ for children with cancer and related diseases. Alexandros says,

Transport through a bicycle is a way of life for me.

He loved traveling since he was a little child, so he took the decision to do something adventurous just after he finished his Master of Design for Services, at the University of Dundee.

The difficult economic measures in Cyprus last March (where the banks were closed for three weeks) left him with no money.  Since he did not have enough money to buy a new bicycle, he decided to visit a recycling center and get parts from old bicycles and create his own.

Alexandros says,

I managed to build my own bicycle; I loved it and it was entirely my own.

For that reason, he decided that he could not sell his bike when he was leaving from Dundee after his studies.  So he took the decision to drive it back to Cyprus.

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The people of Dundee supported him as soon as they heard his decision of the trip.  His teachers made a good publicity of his attempt and gave him money, in order to help him.  Also he organised a fund raising event, where he sold everything he had in order to earn some extra money.

His family’s reaction was not the same with the people in Dundee.  They were in shock.  Alexandros says,

My parents thought that I was going crazy and that I was not OK psychologically; my mother was crying every time I talked to her and my father did not want to hear anything about my idea.

Hopefully, his parents realized at the end of the day, how determined he was and that they could not change his opinion.  Alexandros showed them that he was well prepared, gave them the map he created and explained them all the plans that he made about the route of his trip.  Because of his positive energy, they realized that they had no other option than stand near their son.

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He departed on the 1st of September 2013 from Dundee, Scotland with his bicycle and hopes to arrive in Dali, Cyprus in 100 days time.

The night before his departure, Alexandros was very scared and asked himself what his I doing.  However, everything changed when he took his bicycle and started his journey.  He says,

I was excited.  The feeling of satisfaction I had, deleted all my bad thoughts and made me more determined for my new adventure.

Most of Alexandros trip will be covered by bicycle.  However, he will be forced to use some other ways of transportation.  For example, he had to use a ferry to travel to Ireland and Holland and he will do the same to travel from Greece to Cyprus;  pretty logical since he it is not possible to cover these distances by swimming.

Alexandros is wild camping and sleeps in a tent, while sometimes  some local residents are volunteering to host him.  It is notable to mention his experience in the Isle of Skye in Scotland.  An unknown man saw him outside in the rain and told him to stay in his house until the next morning.  These are the positive things that Alexandros want to gain from his trip.

He wants to learn to live without amenities and gain new experiences.  He believes that,

This trip is a University of life.  I can learn about other people, see how other civilizations are, and leave without stereotypes.

1186275_588424691201366_440331445_nOf course there are many difficulties during his voyage.  First of all, he has many expenses for the maintaining of his bicycle.  Also, he is not well trained to drive a bike on such a long distances.  Another important difficulty are the weather conditions.  He has to live five to six days under heavy rain and cold.

Above these problems, Alexandros believes that the difficulties are less than the things this trip offers him.  He says that,

You must be positive and not a pessimist.  I got used to the rain.  I mean, if you are under the rain, just grab the opportunity to have a bath and later on see the beauty of a rainbow.

The publicity he received a few days after his departure shocked him.  He could not believe that he was being interviewed from newspapers and TV channels.  His goal was to show the positive things he could gain from his trip.  However, some journalists changed this happy image and presented him as a man who was having a difficult time and was struggling to get to Cyprus.  These facts are untrue, since he is so happy with what he is doing and wants to show that all this attempt is happening for a good reason.

Alexandros says, “life is simpler than we think.”

He believes that,

All the people should try to do something that pleases them;  this is, according to him, the best reward a human could have.  Though this, everyone can face all the difficulties in their lives.

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Each new experience is a new chapter in our life.  Alexandros is an adventurous and positive person who looks forward to make his ‘chapter’ more colourful.  People must try to accomplish their dreams, take the risk and grab all the opportunities they find in their road,” he says.

Continental Market in Newcastle

IMG_2529When markets make their appearance on the streets, it is time for Christmas shopping.

People need to get into the Christmas spirit, make their shopping and feel closer to the largest celebration of the world.

What more could we ask for; a Continental market is in Newcastle and is promising great taste experiences.

The populace of Newcastle is pleased with the reappearance of the International Christmas market, which is taking place in the city centre from the 16th November.

Different stands from all over the countries are being settled at Grey’s Monument, while the delightful smell of different cuisines is spread in all over the city centre and attracts both young and old people.

Walking on a Saturday afternoon at Newcastle’s city centre, I realised that all the people were going straight to the market.  Happy kids were waiting to taste some of the unusual kinds of candies and at the same time their parents were tasting a different kind of cuisine.

The market looks wonderful under the Christmas lights and gives you the opportunity to learn new things about international cuisines and taste foods that you may never have the opportunity to have again.

From which stand could I start and which one can I disclose?

First of all, I recommend you to go to the market hungry. You must not miss the opportunity to taste the dishes of that unique cuisines.  There are Italian, French, German, Spanish, Mexican and Greek stands.  The Mexican Wraps and the Spanish Paella were excellent.   But, if you are really hungry then visit the German Hot Dog stand.  They have numerous kinds of sausages and cook them with onions and other herbs.  When its cooked just choose the sauce you prefer and enjoy.

I highly recommend you to have a dessert after your food.  For ‘dessert lovers’ there is an Italian stand, named ‘Little Italy’.  It sells the most amazing sweets you will ever taste in your whole life.  The owners are very friendly and will help you to chose something that suits to your preferences.  Definitely their cannoli is very tasteful.  Made from powdered sugar, ricotta cheese and a feeling for all the tastes; chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, etc.  It is cheaper to buy the Italian biscuits per kilo.  If you prefer alcohol in your dessert then buy one Amaretti cake.  It is not too sweet and leaves a great amaretto taste in your mouth.

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Last but not least is the hot wine under the ‘Mulled Wine’ stand.  The combination of cinnamon and red wine is very relaxing and the price is shockingly low (just £3 for a medium size cup).  Even more amazing is the way they boil it.  A big casserole is on the middle of the stand and boils during the day in order to keep its visitors happy.

There are not only food stands in the market.  Some stands sell accessories, flowers and decorations for your house.  The flower shop has amazing trees for your yard, flowers to customise your house and many other Christmas decorations.  The most beautiful one, is a basket made from a rope and its fill in with dried flowers and peanuts (costs £10).  It can be hanged from the wall or decorate the dinning table.

Newcastle International Market has nothing to jealous from other ones.  People are friendly, food is great.  It achieves to combine different cultures together and offer a splendid time to its visitors.  Who doesn’t want to taste new cuisines and learn through them about the tradition of other countries?  No one.  So just take your family and friends there and have a great time.  To be honest, is nicer to go during the night when the Christmas lights are one and you can more easily feel Santa Claus approaching quicker than ever.

Continental Market is on from the 16th of November and will stay at Grey’s Monument until the 30th of the month.  It is open daily until 8:30 pm.

Jeffrey Sarmiento marries Culture and History in glass

Photo 18-11-2013 11 24 15 Jeffrey Sarmiento’s solo exhibition of contemporary art  is now taking place at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

Sarmiento is a Reader in Glass and the Programme Leader of MA Glass at the University of Sunderland.

The exhibition ‘Constructions” explores the cultural heritage of the artist, alongside with experiences and reflections on living for years in the USA, Norway and now in the North East.  His show merges family and history together, constructing the cultural identity of Sarmiento.

‘Constructions’ is presented in three different layers: on tables, on walls and on the floor.

At first view, you feel like you are in another one common art show.  Works on the walls, some other on the floor and one or two big works to attract you attention.  However, in the case of Sarmiento’s exhibition you feel different while you walk through the room.  It is not just a simple show.  In this case the artist has managed to marry together history and art, glass and photography.

The more someone walks through the different projects,  the more she will feel like turning the pages of a book.  Photographs and deep thoughts will carry you across America, Philippines, Norway and North East.  In sequence his work, “Two mirror image Photographs” have the shape of an angle of 90 degrees.  The one photo captures the runners of Jarrow race and the other shows a group of captured Philippine.  The whole work was in the shape of a wall made from bricks.  Its one surface was retail while the other was irregular.Photo 18-11-2013 11 25 57

His artwork “Encyclopaedia” attracted me the most.  It is at the entrance of the show and consists works both on a table and on a wall.  3D screen printed individual glass with pictures that were printed, packed together and fused in one block .  On the table there, one big formed glass has images from various sources of the artist; for example, there is one image with diagrams of Sarmiento’s father who was a Physician.  The work is colourful and gives you the opportunity to analyse it from any angle you wish to.

His “Muse” is also a great piece.  It is the portrait of a feminine figure, who wears traditional Philippine clothing and has a Philippine background.  This portrait is not a usual one.  It is not only made with glass, but is made through small balls of glass.  The artist cut by hard the piece of glass and put it on a head in order to be soften and loose its edges and corners.  Then piece by piece he created this amazing portrait.

Sarmiento’s exhibition really is worth a visit.  It is fresh, contemporary and unique.  It is not a simple art exhibition.  It is a marriage between history and art.  Just a single look through each glass work and you will be able to travel through his life and experiences.

You can visit “Constructions” at National Glass Centre in Sunderland, everyday until Sunday 5th January 2014.

Best skills for a successful interview

A good journalist must be a good writer and full of imagination person.  Furthermore, it is very important if he has great interviewing skills.  A theme is becoming alive when a journalist takes an interview for it.  The interviewee will make the article more direct with his quotes and explain paths that will colour the article.

The interviewee will not start talking and provide you all the information by himself.  The journalist must work on his interviewing skills and be prepared to get the best information and create the best story he can, through his interviewee.

Journalist Simon Hattenstone says, “the best way of finding out what people want to know? Ask them.”  You must be honest and have the courage to ask difficult questions.  Of course, you must NOT become rude.  Remember that you have to respect the person opposite you, like you want him to respect you.  Some themes are sensitive for several important figures, and a journalist has to respect the possibility that the interviewee might not want to answer a deep personal question.

Being polite and having a good attitude towards your interviewee will gain you the trust of the person you are talking too.  Keep in mind that you are trying to write a story and the person you are interviewing is the source of the information you need;  so you better not behave rudely towards them.

Also, a journalist must be confident and relaxed on his interview.  He must be able to gain the attention of his interviewee and attract him to open himself and talk.  It is like you are having a conversation at a cafe with a friend.

Likewise, the interview must be done at the perfect time.  If you are obligated, choose an hour early in the morning or during the weekend;  during these times, your interviewee will be more relaxed and happy to answer your questions.

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An interview must be also well prepared.  For example, the interviewer has to prepare his questions before the interview;  read about his interviewee, learn things about him, read some of his previous interviews and write down the best questions that can derive information from that person.

Mirta Ojito, from the New York Times, believes that, “you have to try to know almost as much as they do about their subject, so it seems we are ‘chatting.”

The best questions for  journalist to use are the open-ended ones.  Those beginning with “How?” “What?” “Where?”.

According to reporter and feature writer, Chip Scanlan,

these words are conversations starters and encourage expansive answers that produce an abundance of information needed to produce a complete and accurate story.

Closed-ended questions are also very helpful since they put people on the record.  For sure, you must never use double- barreled questions because they give the interviewee the opportunity to avoid the difficult question and chose the easy one.

According to journalist Sarah Stuteville ,  flow of your questions is the most important skill an interviewer can develop.  She urges that a journalist must achieve a balance in the conversation and always think what he will ask next and why.  This flow of questions must seem natural and conversational.

Stuteville believes that,

you must not spin your subject off on a completely different topic just because that’s the next question on your list.  Think about segues and transitions. This way your subject doesn’t feel forced to give you soundbites and may open up a little.

Decca Aitkenhead‘s interview of  chancellor Alistair Darling, is a good example for a very good interview.  Above the fact that it is very lengthy, you can figure out in it how the journalist managed to have a ‘discussion’ with her interviewee and help him to open himself out through her questions.  The interview is well flowing and it is like you are reading an action story and wait what you will read on the next page.  She also took the interview while the chancellor was on vacations at his home. The timing is very important because she talked to him, when he was not under the stress of work and stuck under long working hours.  Additionally, Aitkenhead interviewed Darling at a time that he seemed willing to talk.

There are hundred of skills that can make someone a good interviewer.  Each one has his own tactics and methods that help him to have the best possible interview.  Just remember that an interview is good only when the interviewer is interested and curious on the subject.  With this way he will manage to have a nice discussion with the interviewee, manage to get the information he needs and provide to the readers an interesting reading peace.

Rebirth of the Extreme Right: Its effect on the European sphere

Unite Against Racism, Fascism and Islamophobia Demonstration London

Unite Against Racism, Fascism and Islamophobia Demonstration London

Decades after the Second World War, we are now face to face with a new rise of the extreme right parties in many European countries.

These right movements vary from country to country; some of them name themselves Fascists, other Neo-Nazis and other members of a Far Right Political party.  However, the result is the same; the Far right is growing dangerously.  The question is one: How can we stop this emerge and protect next generations?

The majority of Far right political parties were created decades ago and just found the opportunity now to emerge.  PhD Candidate at the Department of Politics and International Studies of the University of Warwick George Iordanous believes that,

The rise of the Extreme right is not a phenomenon that started in the 21st century; for example the Golden Dawn in Greece was created in the mid 70’s and got stronger during the last years because of the economic problems of the country.

Several people believe that the main reason of the reappearance of Far Right movements is the economic austerity and the problems this creates.  Like Hitler managed to have hundreds of thousand followers due to the economic uncertainty, the same will happen in the present time with the Far Right movements.

George Kyris, the course Director for the MA in International Politics and Europe in Warwick, believes that

Hardening economic conditions in EU member states and external pressures (like immigration) have favored a nationalistic discourse.

Economic problems increases the number of unemployment and creates psychological problems to young people who have nothing to do, feel disappointed for not having a job and blame the recent government for that. (channel4)  Europe is straggling and the Fascists grabbed the opportunity to gain the favor of the people.  For example, the Gold Dawn in Greece managed in 2012 to elect 18 MPs in the Greek Parliament, at the first elections the party was taking part, while the National Front in France with Marine Le Pen has been raised from its ashes and gain power once again.

Different governments are also blamed for the increase of popularity of these parties.  The people are disappointed by the existing European governments, which have the same policies for decades.  For example, the French are disappointed by their government over the highly important themes of immigration, security and unemployment; so they decided to punish the large political parties by voting the extreme right party, National Front. (National Post)

George Kyris believes that

the Eurozone crisis has certainly damaged the popularity of parties that are considered responsible for economic problems.

Through this statement we can realize that economy and politics through their unsuccessful policy agendas are equally connected with the rise of the Extreme right movements.

But is the problem only for the country members of the Eurozone?  The answer is no.  The same is happening in the UK where the UKIP and BNP are increasing the number of their followers and becoming stronger.  According to recent polls in the country, there seem to be an extensive hostility towards immigration and the EU.  Also, according to James Bloodworth, the debate over ‘benefit tourism’ and the advantages that immigrants can have in the health system gives the opportunity to these parties to widespread their extreme policies, like closing the country’s borders and become independent from the European Union.

The BNP Hold A Demonstration In Central London

The BNP Hold A Demonstration In Central London

Many of the members of the Far Right parties are people who are pure Fascists, go to the demonstrations and are ideologically connected with the Far Right.  They have tattoos with the emblem of the Nazis and adopt the Fascist attitude which is characterized by high levels of aggression.  This ‘passion’ however seems to be fake;  for example when the MPs of Golden Dawn in Greece got arrested a few weeks ago, many of their followers had a tattoo removal so not to be recognized as fascists from the outraged crowd.

Nevertheless, how threaten is the expansion of Fascism and their propaganda to young people?  According to Iordanous, “The 21st century youth has the idea that it is cool to be a Fascist; like the trend of dislike the immigrants and the political refugees”.

The Fascists in the UK are using social media to attract potential followers.  They use Twitter, Facebook and create YouTube videos where they set out some themes that attracts the people and keeps the movement alive.  A recent theme that concerns the people is the dangers of immigration and political refugees which the Fascists use to increase their supporters.  The Fascist also knows that cultivation of children is far easier than the one of older people.  For that reason, their propaganda platform also consists a summer camp in Essex, where Far Right ideologues contribute to proceedings according to Paul Jackson.

The rise of the Extreme Right sounds very dangerous and has horrible results.  Gary Duncan, from the Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition believes that,

The role of fascism is to hinder the development of the working class and ultimately destroy its organizations and prevent it from reaching power.

Considering next May European elections, there is a great threat that the European government will be composed by anti-Europeans.  This is “a major threat of paralysis” Francois Hollande warned.  According to Kyris,

Worsening economic conditions in the UK have caused opposition to more basic elements of European integration, like the free movements of people, and particularly the migration from new EU member states.

This is a result of the nationalist agenda of far right parties in the UK, which made the conservatives to be harsher to their decisions in order to keep their voters who are moving to the side of the UKIP. (RT)

The Extreme Right is a problem that must not remain on papers.  It must be transmitted into actions.  Gary Duncan mentioned that,

All political differences must be put aside so that unity prevails and fascism is successfully countered by a mass movement.

Of course, actions must be taken on a democratic platform.  “It is undemocratic to criminalize far right political parties since you have to respect the percentage of that party’s voters”, warned George Iordanous.  European MPs urged that the EU has to pay more attention to citizens’ concerns and investigate the activities of Far Right organizations in order to find the roots of the problem and solve it.  According to George Kyris, “European governments have to think of solutions for the problem of immigration and focus on the social element of the economic crisis”.  Established economic policies have to change and the destroyed standard of living has to rise up again.

In Britain, like in the whole Europe, anti-fascist movements take drastic actions to stop the rebirth of the Fascists.  The Europeans has suffered a lot from previous Fascist governments and do not wish to face the same problems.  European governments have to support the determination of the citizens and regain their trust.  Drastic measures have to be taken so that the people feel again secure in their country and understand the real intentions of the far right movements.

Good Stories, Good Reporters, Strong Sense

Everyday we read hundreds of stories from several journalists.  There are plenty of sources for a good story, which journalists are responsible to figure out.  Each reporter has a unique habit that helps him to have the very best production of great stories.

I truly believe that a good reporter must have great senses and always be ready to cover unknown subjects that will probably derive from a story.  Each immediate story hides a secret subject.  For example,  behind a murder case you will find the reasons that lead the murderer to kill and learn about the family and personal life of both the victim and the abuser.  That is why a good journalist must be interested on the whole subject he covers and try to derive new , more interesting subjects from the story he is covering.

Tor Constantino believes that

If you ask the hero of your story broader questions , you will receive golden information and quotes

Indeed Constantino’s idea is a very effective way for the discovery of new stories.  In case you are taking an interview related to the story you are covering then why don’t you try to catch your interviewee attention, attract him to open his heart to you and if his background is mysterious, try to uncover it!

A good reporter must always be prepared to grab the opportunity and transform an information into an interesting story.  A good reporter must be open and quick-minded and ready for anything.For example, if you are covering live news you must hear to what each person has to say.  Maybe most of them will just talk about the specific event, but maybe one or two person’s will analyse the story in more depth and give the reporter a new theme to work on (Kevin Loker, July 2012).

You have to remember that if you don’t have confidence while you are covering a story then probably someone else will be quicker and steal the lollipop from you hands.  It sounds awful to find out a story that had reached the news headlines and your name is not on the writer’s name.

For example, Raymond Anderson of the New York Times attended to the press conference of Aleksandr Ginsberg’s wife after her husband was jailed.  The Russian government warned the reporters that severe measures would be taken against those who attended.  Anderson with three other reporters went to the press conference.  The result?  After a few months he received an essay written from Sakharov, who was challenging the Soviet system.  His story was on the top of the headlines in all over the world (David Randall, 2005).

Showing interest not only to the immediate story but to the whole subject, is a habit that i really want to embedded in my work.  I truly believe that behind a murder there is a reason, behind a criminal there is a terrible family story, behind a successful organisation or company there is a working hard chief,  behind every story there is a different one.  Bare these in mind a reporter will become better and his stories will be not only good but unique, which is for me one of the most important things for a reporter’s story.

“Have you ever imagine a day without internet?”

Have you ever imagine a day without internet?  Well, try to think how a day would be without the ‘beep’ sound of your email and your Facebook chat, without tweeting or reading the news online with your morning coffee.  If you asked me this question a week ago I would answer you with a determine “No way!”.  One week after it seems that my answer was wrong; I lived a day without the internet and guess what? I can easily imagine how life would be without it.

To be honest it is very difficult to take the decision and push a button that turns off you internet rooter.    At the beginning we think that there is no way we are going to make it without internet for a day.  You think that there is nothing to do and feel like being an isolated person in an island far away from civilization.  The most important thing is that you do not panic and try to find things to do, things that you love and do not need internet.

I spend my day without internet by going for a coffee and window shopping with a few good friends; I also read a book that I had forgotten since summer on my bookcase.  Later on that day I did my homework and realized that I needed half of the time that I usually need to study.  Why did this happen?  But of course because my mobile was not beeping every minute with notifications from all the applications I have.

Until the sun gone down I forgot where my mobile and laptop were, I did all my homework and walked through the majority of Newcastle’s city center roads.  It was at that time that I got panic and said to myself “Zina what else can you do until tomorrow morning? Can you get through the night without internet?”.  After several minutes in shock, I told myself how stupid I am and felt angry because of my weakness.  I just called some friends and grab the opportunity to discuss with them and hear their news without the invasion of social media.  I did not even realize that my day without internet had finished until a friend remind it to me.

Linda Wolff mentioned that,

Days without internet are painful and strangely wonderful; just not at the same time

Not being able to access your email and get informed about your job it is very painful.  Moreover, a person like me who wants to read the headlines every morning and know what it is happening in every country finds it very awful to be disabled to access newspapers’ headlines.  Above all, the most hurting for me was that I could not access the social media (like viber, facebook, etc.).  It was painful, not because I could not check what each one of my ‘friends’ was doing, but because these applications are the ones which connect me with my family and friends back to Cyprus.

The wondrous result of the absent of internet in my day was that I realized how dependent the majority of people is on the internet.  It is significant to check out the survey of Wave 7 which surveyed people in 65 countries and find out that 73.3 per cent owns a Smartphone; an increasing of 28.6% from last year.  Furthermore, 51.9 per cent of 16 to 54 year olds are using social media.  People became alienated and do not even know who the person next to them is.  Our sociability is on the edge of its destruction and it is a matter of time when we will start drinking coffee with our friends through internet not face to face.

According to Joshua Millburn ,

Internet is not evil, just like candy is not evil.  But if your entire diet consists of candy, you get sick and fat fairly quickly

The same happens with the Internet; if you use internet 24 hours per day then you are going to have a problem.  It is true that internet managed to gain a very important place in our daily life, but it is on our hands to make it helpful and use it only when it is necessary.  I cannot imagine my day without surfing on the internet, talk with friends that are away and read the news.  However, we all should try to find out activities that do not need an internet access and make us happy and give us time to think, relax and widen our knowledge.

 

Obsessed with…

It is very difficult to write in one page all the obsessions I have as a human being.  Like the majority of people, i am obsessed on learning new things.  More specifically, i have an obsession about politics and mainly the news.  Everyday I read the headlines of several newspapers and online sites.

I am also obsessed with writing.  I wrote my first tale at the age of twelve and since then i never stopped, since i truly believe that through writing I can express my feelings and beliefs.

Furthermore, I am obsessed with the analysis of historical occurrences and i always try to conclude to my own reasons and results for those events.  I love learning more things about new cultures and customs:  different cuisine, language, way of life, etc.

At this point i have to mention my passion for travelling.  See new sight seeings, visit museums, meet new people and see the differences between the Western and Eastern European civilizations.

I wouldn’t name my self an adventurous person but i really love bicycling and camping;  over the past five years I went for camping in several sides of Cyprus, explore them and feel the relaxation a human being can feel leaving in the nature.

I also have to mention that I am an adorer of coffee, since i get fascinated from its different kinds of redolence.

Another obsession that i have is the love i have for animals.  From a small age i used to have several animals in my house and felt like a mother to them.  I am a volunteer in a dog shelter and try to make happy “humans best friend”.

Well what other obsessions do i have?  I really enjoy reading Greek tragedies and philosophy, go to art and music festivals, listen to music and more specifically rock music,  visit new restaurants and taste unique cuisines, learn about sport news, play video games and learn everything about new technological advances.

Below I present a list with forthcoming events in Sunderland and Newcastle which are very interesting according to my obsessions.

Events

  • Newcastle Does Vintage (Theater Royal, 29 September 2013)
  • BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2013 (Sage, Gateshead, 25-27 September 2013)
  • 13 years of goodgreef with Paul Van Dyk (Digital, 18 October 2013)
  • Thrillseekers Adventure Film Festival: Programme 1 (Tyneside Cinema, 14 October 2013)