Author Archives: Mel Hart

About Mel Hart

A creative at heart, I love writing, photography and the worlds in between. Graduated from the University of Malta with a B.A. (Hons.) in Maltese; thesis focusing on sex and sexuality in Maltese literature. While at university, I worked for an online art company, procuring artworks for sale in various foreign markets. Freelanced for various magazines as a photographer and contributor. Gained a Masters in Creative Thinking and Innovation with the Edward de Bono Institute at the University of Malta with a thesis focusing on Innovation Patterns in the Video gaming industry. Currently working in communications with a startup, and in the process of obtaining a Master of Arts in English and the Media. Opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Would you like to hire me? Get in touch to see what I can do for you or your brand. Follow me on Google

To The Malta Independent – you SICKEN me!

This is how CNN do it

This is how CNN do it

The Malta Independent has been doing all it can to get as many pageviews as they can, and why wouldn’t they? Pageviews mean that more people are on your website which means you can get more revenue for your advertising. After all we do live in hard journalistic times.

Whereas other newspapers get their pageviews through breaking news stories and doing investigative journalism, The Malta Independent has been relying on sensationalism to get people on their site. As a person who works in the digital world I understand the need to attract as many people as possible but there are lines that should never be crossed.

Today The Malta Independent crossed that line!

One of their articles treated the very delicate subject of animal cruelty. Instead of going about such a subject in an ethical way they thought it would make more sense to crank up the shock value so that pageviews could come a knocking.

The title is already a sick way of getting people to click.

It started about the kind of cases the animal welfare have to deal with. That is very honourable, and is something which we need more of. People need to know what is happening out there, especially so that if they see it happening they know what to do.

What wasn’t honourable for the newspaper to do is show the pictures of dead, mutilated animals without any warning.

This is not journalism, this is sensationalism. Shock is not how to educate people. The ones who will be shocked will be the ones who are really disturbed and probably do not need to be educated anyway. The rest, if they weren’t shocked, than your article is beyond reaching them isn’t it?

Those are my qualms about distributing those kind of pictures. However, if there was the need to distribute them, and this can be an editorial choice, they should have come with a warning and not simply use them to pepper an article. This is how to ethically do journalism. You would think that a newspaper which has been in circulation for the past 20 years would know that.

What is even sicker is that they were very quick to also change the cover photo on their Facebook page to one of the photos procured!

Finally, I am also aware that writing this will probably send more people to go have a look but if you are reading this and you believe that what The Malta Independent is doing is wrong then please send an email to Mr Stephen Calleja who is the Editor of The Malta Independent Online – scalleja@independent.com.mt. If like me you’re super pissed off you can go above Mr Calleja and contact Mr Noel Grima who is the consulting editor – ngrima@independent.com.mt.

Tell him how this is not doing those poor animals any favours. Tell him that if the newspaper really cared about this subject they would have treated this article in a very different manner. Alternatively you can also tell The Malta Independent what a sick bunch of assholes they are for trying to get pageviews through showing animal cruelty.

Congrats Malta Independent, you truly sicken me!

Three alternatives for the Valletta entrance

This morning Malta woke up to the news that the entrance of Valletta will be adorned with a sculpture of four knights commemorating the Knights of Malta.

bronzeknights1 To many, this was a bucketful of ice in the middle of summer, especially since news arrived only after a few days of the unveiling of Austin Camilleri’s beautiful piece of art ‘Żieme’ (currently the centrepiece of VIVA – the Valletta International Visual Arts festival). Culture Minister Owen Bonnici praised Camilleri’s art and many breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe, with Bonnici at the helm of culture, Malta can start expecting something other than the usual brass knights and historical figures being erected at every empty corner in the hope of embellishment and a nod to Malta’s past.

Turns out it was all a bubble of hope which was quickly burst when the MEPA notice for the Knights’ sculpture was issued. It does feel like the sculpture was commissioned without taking any notice of the current designs and will be placed there ‘just because’.

Since ‘just because’ seems to be the modus operandi of filling up empty spaces in the Capital I thought I’d offer a few suggestions the Government can find on MaltaPark.com for the fraction of the price. Thoughtful right?

Sottospecchio Nothing screams entrance hall more than the good old sottospecchio. In certain instances it can also come complete with a free haunting for all those special guests who enter Valletta. 3576611_1

Tork tat-Taraġ Statues who to this day still feel incredibly racist and still terrify children everywhere, the Torok tat-Taraġ would be a great addition to the entrance of Valletta. Afterall, like the Knights, the Turks too dipped their invading thumbs into Malta. 3576895_1

Par Vażuni Antiki Because, why the hell not? These are the pride and glory for many homes in Malta. Antique vases whose purpose is to never hold any flowers have been the rage for decades now. 3574271_1

Do you have any other suggestions? If you do, simply share your thoughts below.

Malta busses – At 0.09 you will notice this is dangerous, at 0.40 you won’t believe your eyes

First of all I’m really sorry about the title but this video felt too much like an opportunity for click bait! Do watch it till the end, it really is worth it. 

And after watching this video the first reaction is, most probably, to laugh, but when you start thinking how this was a bus full of people then the situation becomes more serious, bordering on frightening. 

This video was uploaded to YouTube on the 31st of August and already has 5000 views, shows the sorry state of public transport. The more time goes by the more Arriva is looking like a distant dream Malta should have clutched onto. 

Unfortunately this incident happened just one day before The Malta Independent featured a story about a bus driver who mocked a lady by first insulting her saying “Itla, kemm ghandek h**a ma s****k” and then continuing by calling her a goat, completing the whole charade with goat noises. 

The main problem with public transport nowadays is that there is less of a sense of accountability. Had this incident happened with Arriva a complaint would be in order, but nowadays people don’t feel like it’s worth their time and energy to contact the Public Transport Authority because it will just fall on deaf ears. 

We’ll wait for the new bus operators with bated breath but in the meantime, Minister Joe Mizzi, don’t you think it’s time for an explanation as to why these things keep on happening?

Google doesn’t lie – Konrad Mizzi did mention groceries

As soon as the news was out about a week’s groceries costing €25 I have to admit that I immediately jumped on the bandwagon. How could a Minister or his advisors not know how much people, even ones who are immensely careful every week, spend for a week’s worth of groceries?

This angered many people. If a Minister is elected to Parliament (especially on a Labour ticket) most people would assume that he is close to the pains common people face everyday, including how much it is spent on basic needs like groceries every week.

After I wrote the blog – which you can read here – I noticed that the mention of groceries were slowly disappearing from news reports and instead ’10 days worth of electricity’ was being mentioned.

After a whole day of being personally attacked about having some kind of agenda and being called a liar I decided to do some digging.

Google has a very useful feature called cache. Cache in simple terms shows older versions of webpages.

Here you can see how both Times of Malta and The Malta Independent reported how Minister Konrad Mizzi said that €25 is a week’s worth of groceries. I doubt two journalists from competing newspapers made the same mistake.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 08.39.27

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 08.39.36

What does this mean for the rest of us? Not much. The truth is that online news can be manipulated and whilst other news organisations have comments about what has been altered from a news report as times go by, this is not done locally.

The €25 being worth a week’s groceries was bad PR by the Minister. Trying to hide it and sweeping away every evidence of it is horrible. If the Minister felt he did a mistake this should have been clarified by his PR person by issuing another statement.

In politics, especially in the age of Google, these lies will come to surface.

The top 5 things you can do with Konrad Mizzi’s €25

What the Government thought would be the perfect PR exercise to show people compassion after last week’s power cut quickly turned against them when Minister for Energy and Health Konrad Mizzi showed the rest of Malta how out of touch with the realities faced by the common people.

During a press conference where Minister Mizzi announced the compensation given to individual households after the blackout, Mizzi said that a week’s worth of groceries would cost €25, so that is the perfect amount to pass along.

Now I don’t know where he shops but when going to the supermarket I have to actually pay for things with this weird thing we common people call money.

Now apparently there is this thing called Konrad €25 Mizzi money which if you’re one of the lucky 8,000 you will get through the post. This note looks something like this:

Konrad Mizzi €25This note seems to have hidden value. It might have €25 euros on the front but can be redeemed for much more. Yes you guessed it, a whole week’s worth of groceries. Or else, if you want to treat yourself we count down the top 5 things than you can do with this special currency.

Number 5
For the sensible people amongst you, you can use this money towards your next ARMS bill, that’s three months worth of free electricity.

Number 4
Why not go for a bottle of Champagne, say a Bollinger GD Anne Rose 75cl, 2002. This will also leave you with a bit of change if you want to feel patriotic and want to follow it with a few cans of Cisk.

Number 3
If you really want to treat yourself why not go for a one night stay at one of the fabulous 5 star hotels we have in Malta. I hear Gozo in October is simply magical.

Number 2
But your loved one that special piece of jewellery, after all, who did you turn to when Malta descended into darkness and you had no fan or AC to cool you down?

Number 1
Finally, if you’re feeling extra generous you can share this with 5 of your friends and treat everyone to a special meal at your favourite Chinese restaurant.

Just in case you were wondering, this is what €25 of real money gets you in the real world.

  • 1 Benna full fat milk – €0.83c
  • 1 Benna flavoured milk chocolate – €0.62c
  • 4 yoghurts – €2.00
  • Flora proactive 250g – €3.25
  • 200g Sliced ham – €1.75
  • 200g mortadella – €1.50
  • 175g Cheddar- €2.60
  • 6 pieces fresh gbejniet – €4.70
  • 500g of bigilla – €2.20
  • 250g stuffed olives – €3.25
  • 6 eggs – €1.45

This is just the basic food every family have in their fridge. I am not counting any vegetables, meat or fish or even anything that one might have had in the freezer. On another note, if you would like to read my thoughts on last week’s blackout you can read my piece on The Times of Malta by clicking here.

And just in case you’re thinking “but Konrad Mizzi did not mention groceries…” The truth is that he did, and here is the proof.