Are we all news reporters?

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I was having a chat with my wife the other night about what news had become in the modern day. It made me slightly sad about what we have come to, when it comes to what we deem as news or newsworthy and how news stories are created these days.

What has the word ‘news’ become?

I can’t remember how we got on to the topic of conversation that we did the other night, but it made me think a lot about how we use the word ‘news’. The word ‘news’ used to have a gravitas about it, but now it seems social media has stolen the word news by referring to collections of friends posts on social media, as a ‘newsfeed.’ As a society now we seem to be more interested in what is happening on our ‘newsfeed’ than what is actually happening in the news.

I also can’t stand the way that a lot of news has changed now. Many articles seem to be written in order to be social media friendly or to appeal to the social media community. Even worse than this though, is how many news stories are being based on things people like you and I have been posting on Facebook. Somehow now what we post has been deemed ‘newsworthy.’

Social media runs the news

The news stories that seem to get better placed online are the ones people are posting about the most on social media. Rather than reading or watching the news and deciding what we think the big issues of the day are, the social media community are really stirring what we are having our eyes and ears drawn to.

All of this means is that in todays world, we are all news reporters. If you have a blog, a social media page etc. you can break news. What you write has as much chance of being news as everything else. What is for sure, is that in some ways it is not a good time to be a journalist. Well thought out articles are being lost against a tide of irrelevance. We are now in a quantity over quality situation, where it comes to things to read on the Internet. Sadly there is so much vying for our time and attention that we can’t find and read all the good stuff. I just hope as many people as possible continue to write clever and informative pieces and that one day they win out.

What is value for money?

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In a lot of my life I come back to the question: What is value for money? Knowing the actual value of everything in your life and what you want is so important, but what is more important, is then knowing its value to you. Different things will have different values to different people, but that doesn’t make anyone’s value they have put on something right or wrong.

Value and cost aren’t always linked

The mindset we have to get out of, is that value and cost are linked. We need to get out of the mindset of expensive things either being value for money or not value for money, based on the price tag. When you are trying to save money you can get so wrapped up in things needing to be cheap and thinking that expensive things aren’t value for money. The price you pay is the transfer you make for something, but it has nothing to do with its value. Yes you can make good deals and bad deals on things but a good deal can be a bad deal, if you didn’t really value the thing you are getting.

In a sport I love at the moment ‘value for money’ is a big subject, the sport being football. In England we are getting ready for the end of the transfer market and already, in this shopping window spending records have been set. With every player purchased the first thing that is talked about is – if the player is worth the price a club has paid for them. So even before a player has kicked a ball for the team or had a chance to make a return on the investment the club have made in them, the purchase is judged.

Return on investment

Now in football players are purchased for silly money, so it is hard to see value for money in any of it but prices are still relative to what else is happening in those markets. The one thing I question though is – how many players actually make the club back the money they invested in them? There are lots of ways a player can make a club money, like prize money for trophies won and league positions obtained, merchandise sales from merchandise featuring their name or likeness, ticket sales from people who come specially to watch because of that player and so on. Regardless of their price, some players are better value than others and I wish we knew more about which players and deals actually were.

Money may be tight for you, but I encourage you this week to look at the value of things and not at the price. Are there things you are paying for, that actually have not enough value to you to be worth paying for? Could you be getting value by paying more for something, like buying a bigger box of washing powder that might make each wash cheaper and save you money long term or a brand of washing up liquid that is slightly more expensive but might last twice as long as the slightly cheaper one and so on and so on.

The Great British Bake Off

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Now as many of you are aware, not only do I work in TV but I am also a huge fan of TV. Something my wife and I look forward to every year on the BBC, is The Great British Bake Off. Now the License Fee gets questioned a lot over here in the UK but I would pay it for this programme alone, let alone all the other amazing BBC services. I was saying the same thing last week about the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics; I would pay the fee for just that as well.

With everything that happens in the world, news and entertainment the Great British Bake off is just something I think is very much needed. It is just a nice mixture of comedy, food, inspiration, joy and heart warmingness (I know that isn’t a word) that I never tire of watching. The programme always encourages me to bake, gives me ideas and always puts me in awe of some of the amazing home bakers we have in this country.

A phenomenon

The show is a phenomenon, not only is one of the most watched shows over here every year, but it has since had many off spin off shows produced in other countries and in the UK. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood have become national institutions because of the show and Mel & Sue have been taken in to hearts of millions.

The show needs these 4 people as they just make the show work. Every year the contestants are different, sometimes better, sometimes worse but that doesn’t always matter. The show is more about how Paul, Mary, Sue and Mel interact with the contestants, than the contestants themselves, although there have been many memorable contestants over the year.

The journey

The series progresses until they determine the champion and star baker of the series. The competition element though isn’t what is most important, which is why I like it. It’s not about everyone out to win at all costs; the winner doesn’t get a huge amount of money and a huge contract to do something. It is just more about the honour of being voted the best. Although this sounds cliché the show is about the journey we go on with all of them.

If you haven’t seen it before, where have you been? Hope you will all be tuning in at 8pm tonight on BBC One, for what I am sure will be another great series.

Making it means making it happy

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Lots of people claim to have ‘made it’ in this life. People claim to have ‘made it’ when they get a new high power job, a new car, a new house etc. etc. But to me the people who have truly ‘made it’ are those people that are happy.

Mastering skills

Some great skills to master in life are – judging your happiness by your own standards and not pretending to be happy when you think you should be happy. When you get somewhere in life, that you think will make you happy, it is also ok if it doesn’t make you feel as happy as you thought it would. If that happens, it just means to you need to keep looking and trying until you find something that does.

Don’t let the world tell you

Don’t let the world tell you what should make you happy and what ‘making it’ is. ‘Making it’ can be whatever you want it to be. Everyone is different so everyone should have their own version, of what ‘making it’ is. Don’t be jealous when other people have achieved things, as you don’t know whether they have truly ‘made it’ or not. Just because you think someone has ‘made it’ or you think you would have ‘made it’ if you had achieved what they had achieved, it doesn’t mean they have.

To me ‘making it’ is always about the next thing I want to achieve and not about I have just achieved. It’s like when I was coaching and the team I was coaching was playing – when they were playing ‘making it’ was about winning but then as soon as the final whistle had gone ‘making it’ would have changed to winning the next game in my eyes.

Whatever it is and whatever I am doing in life I always want the goal to be happiness. I might not always find it and sometimes I might not find it where I expect to find it but I know I love being happy more than anything in the world, so I am always going to be on the hunt for as much happiness as I can find.

Car breakdown

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So last week my car broke down on my way to work. I had only purchased the car a few weeks ago and after having our last car for 5 years, with no break downs, it made me wish we hadn’t changed it. I didn’t know what to do, so I rang the AA.

Friendly Advice

I had been a member of the AA for years but haven’t had to call them out since around 2006! When the chap from the AA came he looked at the car and broke the bad news. My gearbox and clutch would possibly need replacing. He took the car to a garage for me and the quote came in at £1800! But thankfully before he towed the car for me, he armed me with what to do and what to say to the place I got my car from, he didn’t have to but he stopped and gave me so much friendly advice, which I will never be able to repay him for.

The long and the short of it was, after various phone calls and emails to and from the place where I got the car from and the garage it got repaired at, I eventually got the car back with a new gear box and a new clutch but more importantly, without it costing me anything thanks to the place I purchased it from.

Consumer Rights Act

From my previous blogs you will know that I love saving money where I can, so I was so pleased with the outcome of this one. This week I would encourage anyone to read the Consumer Rights Act. Even if you are not buying anything big at the moment, a good knowledge of this will help safeguard your future purchases and will let you know where you stand, when something you buy breaks unexpectedly.

Cutting costs doesn’t always save you money

My small yearly fee to the AA given faithfully and not used for 10 years became priceless this week. My AA membership just might have been my best investment this year. Things like this are a great example of when spending money, can save you money. Don’t always think of cutting costs as saving money, think about the bigger picture and the risk you can leave yourself with if you don’t have something like AA membership.

My car breaking down was one of life’s situations where all ended well this week. It was very stressful when it happened but I dealt with the problem and felt better for it. It inconvenienced me for a little while as I had to then rely on public transport to get around until the car was fixed but it was another chance to adapt and overcome for which, I am thankful for.

Making money out of something you enjoy doing

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This is a question that has been going round my head a lot this week. Lots of people spend a lot of money on the things they are interested in or enjoy doing. I now want to take my passions and the things I enjoy and work out how to make money out of them.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t need the money and I enjoy my job and am not looking at replacing my job, I just have an urge at the moment to see if I could make money out of something I love. Sometimes I think it will be really hard to do it, because I am in to a lot of niche things and I know many others have struggled to draw a profit doing businesses around them, but for some reason it doesn’t stop me from wanting to try.

Figuring things out

If I could run a business doing something I love and not lose money, even that would be amazing. Anything I do, I am not going to risk money or do something which requires spending a lot of money up front, but I do want to do something. It is now just a battle in my head to figure out, what people that have similar interests as me want and what they would spend money on.

I know a lot of people who are running small businesses and following their passions. Some of whom have a lot of trade but little to no profit, but I am in awe of those people who are trying to do something and make something happen. Making your time pay is a very hard thing to do but it would be a nice feeling to know I was doing something I love but getting paid for it at the same time.

In no hurry

It’s going to take a while but I am in no rush and I believe one day that I will get there. Not many businesses are overnight sensations and with not wanting to put

What does being a man actually mean in today’s society?

I am so honoured to have my story and my words featured in a fantastic new book titled ‘Being ManKind.’ The book is all about tackling the question – What does being a man actually mean in today’s society? The book looks to address the unique issues faced by men in the 21st century, to break down stereotypes and to help people live positively.

Sadly I can’t make the big launch event in London this August but this is truly a heavyweight book in more ways than one. It has a forward written by Olympic Gold Medalist and World Heavyweight boxing champion – Anthony Joshua MBE. The company behind it (Super Being Labs) is also a heavyweight in their field, really innovating how to make a social impact in the 21st century.

Ordinary men doing extraordinary things

The book is a collection of stories from ordinary men doing extraordinary things, people who have survived and even thrived even against the biggest of challenges, people who are really making a difference. I have read many of the stories in the book but I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, to read it all in context and to be inspired.

An interesting question the book poses is – How would you define masculinity? I think that this is a very pressing question for today’s world. There are so many people trying to tell you what being a man should actually be like friends, culture and the media. We live in a world now where the phrase “man up” is commonplace. The phrase is normally used to get people to do something but that’s not what being a man is always about. Being a man is about so much more.

Being proud of who you are

Through my involvement with this project it has really made me challenge the way I look at myself and manhood in general. I think it takes a stronger man to show emotion rather than bottle it up, especially when the world tells you that men should be tough and strong. I think being a strong man is about more than physical strength, social standing, money etc. It is about being able not to bow to what society thinks you should be and being proud of who you are, proud of trying your hardest, sometimes being proud of failing, proud of being different and proud of being helpful.

My one hope is that my small part in the book will touch someone when they really need it and inspire them to be the great man that they have the power to be. Please if you can, go and purchase a copy. I know you won’t be disappointed. When you buy a copy you will be also being help someone else, as with each copy purchased another copy will be donated to a school or youth organisation for them to use with the young people they work with.

To buy a copy and to find out more go to: