BC Politics Notes

These are the initial lecture notes for an address to be given by Gareth Stack on Jason McCandless on Tuesday 1st of November at 1pm to the BC Politics class in TCD.

Course Outline

 Writing Articles

  • Choosing Topics – Pick what makes you angry ! Be it bin charges, copyright lawsuits, western imperialism, or even immigration.
  • Don’t be afraid to pick a side you disagree with – it’ll help you learn more about your own beliefs
  • Put your topic in context – what has created this phenonmena, what are its effects
  • Read around it – use newspapers, the college library databases (e.g.: Lexis Nexis), use google and informative websites
  • Your interests are great topic sources, and sources of expertise – E.G.: Sport, Shopping, TV – can all be sources of topics – Think outside the politics box
  • The personal is the political – this which effect you have broader causes and explanations – e.g.: the price of accomodation in Dublin is related to specific economic choices made by the government, and ultimately by the electorate
  • What makes a good article?
    • Take real world examples, and draw elaborations
    • Be very specific
    • Use a discursive style – these are essays rather than reports
    • Be controversial! Don’t be afraid to explore unpopular opinions…Do back them up with facts
  • Why you should do all five articles
    • You get better with experience
    • Writing for the course is a great way to question the assumptions behind your beliefs


Class Discussion

  • Don’t be afraid to pipe up – your probably smarter than the loudest person in the class
  • Your opinions are ALWAYS valid – there are no wrong opinions
  • Listen – nobody knows everything – sometimes you can learn the most from the person you agree with the least
  • The class discussion is a safe place to state controversial or developing opinions – no one is a politics student!



  • What is citizen journalism?
    • “participatory journalism,” is the act of citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information,”
    • “The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.”
  • Why is it necessary?
    • Corporate conglomoration of media ownership – Fox Newsitis
  • What are the dangers?
    • Sensationalism – popularity seeking exaggeration, fueled by potential add revenue – e.g.: Matt Drudge’s Drudge report
    • One sided perspective – group think, preaching to the choir – e.g.: American right wing blogs
  • What are the opportunities?
    • Perspectives from outside the mainstream
    • Very fast updates – e.g.: London bombings
    • Screen grab or Video of mobloged bombing
    • Don’t have to subscribe to a corporate agenda
    • Potentially ore of a discussion than traditional media – anyone can comment
  • What are podcasts?
    • A fusion of blogs and radio shows
    • Online radio shows – use variety of technologys to allow listeners to subscribe to automatically updated content
    • Screenshot from iTunes
    • Still primarily in the geeksphere
  • What is technolotics?
    • Weekly podcast dicussing Technology and Politics – primarily civil liberties, privacy and copyright issues
    • Humorous way of addressing serious issues
    • Examples of Topics: Western Corporations Helping to Censor the Net, Indiana State bring in licences for assisted reproduction, Recording industry lawsuits
    • This stuff effects you – it effects whether your lecturer can include pictures in your notes, it effects what music gets made (e.g.: Grey Album), it effects what your iPod can do


Blogs & Media


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