Features: Writing Reviews

Any review must have two elements:
1. A description of what it is and what it does- what you are reviewing. The first part of the review is 'What is it?' You must go into great detail in this explanation. 
2. The second part of your review will feature your comment. Reviews are in place so a journalist can give their fair comment. Often a well known person may review, this is more gonzo journalism. 

Writing reviews and the law 
- A review is a combination of copyright law and libel law. 

The law of libel - if you were to defame someone/something your defence would be:
 1. Justification, it is true? But you must prove its true ( this is always difficult to do) 
You have no statutory qualified privilege if it's not said in court. Your status may give you qualified privilege (Chris's would be that he is a professor) 
Fortunately another defence is in place that is easier to access for us journalists:
 2. Fair comment.  In the UK we are entitled to say what we what to if it is our honest opinion. To have the protected of comment you must honestly believe what you say. 
Public interest is a necessary precondition. Racism is unlikely to defend because it's not in 
An unfavourable opinion can be said so long as it's not malice. 
3. It has to be based on the truth and facts. 'She's a terrible hairdresser' would mean she has to be a hairdresser etc. 

The adding in of comment is a legal devise. 

Product reviews
Malice in produce review is slander. You must say that other products are available if you focused on one product. 
A phone launch gives the journalists a peg. 
To avoid malice you must review other products. 
Some reviews in broadsheet newspapers will either make a product successful or break it. 
Freebies are often handed out to publications,  Chris Horrie: "if you did use the freebies you must review it, fairly and negatively."A mountain of freebies are sent. 
In the BBC they always pay for products, meals, holidays etc and never use freebies. 

Sight and Sound, international film magazine. Business to business magazine. Would review every independent film released for the week. A classic guide for training journalists to read for how to write your own reviews. 
The start would be great detail about what the film is, all the facts. And then comment would be introduced at the end, is it any good?
The mainstream publishes may put comment first but then pass factual information about the product. 
The daily mirror review of Hamlet. Famously short it smiley said What it is, in one line. And the second paragraph ' not for everyone.' 

Writing a single review is a lot of work in broadsheet, usually written by people with literacy degrees. The more mainstream publications will involve less work.

A feature review bundles of several things of the same format. 'Top horror films'  on Winol we would commission a piece like this, but on a bigger publication you wouldn't because you would leave too many procucts out.

Witch? Magazine. Lots of facts that the reviewers have spent time on getting and very little comment. 

Reviewing isn't very rewarding for a journalist. 

Another type of feature is a reader response
Reader response features can be in a variety of formats:
-They used to be letters to editors. Now reader responses are on blogs. 
-Agony aunt advice. 
-'How to' from experts 
-Diets- most people are looking for diets. 
-Health and beauty advice
-Competitions- give always, the features team work hard on these because a competition can generate views. Fantasy football Is a good example, viral idea sold to the telegraph. Ideas for viable reader response views. 
On Winol there was lucky dates, generated lots of website views, drumroll and then a review. The lucky year wasn't printed on the cards. If charging money to enter there must be a prize winner. If you are charging people to enter this would be a lottery which is illegal. 
On TV- A competition, a contest a simple question, 
Reader response competitions that charge money must win a prize and must be a contest.
Press complaints commission on this. The bingo daily star/ sun scam. The daily star would put bingo cards through the door and on the Sun there would be a place to enter your numbers. Generate People to buy newspaper with no actual prize. 
cover mounts. Get the barker right. They can triple circulations. 

Horoscopes. Justin Topper recycling predictions around the month. The sceptic James Ramdy. 

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