Philippa Thomas Online

Occasional thoughts about life, books and news.


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Skiers with tennis rackets. #Coachblog #Coaching

I start training on Wednesday to become an executive coach.

I am excited and I am nervous because I am so keen to do this. The practice of “coaching” has fired my imagination. Continue reading

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#Trials on #Twitter – the #Stephenlawrence case

I’m not a legal expert. I’m not even a regular court reporter. But I was one of the BBC team assigned to cover the Stephen Lawrence murder trial at the Old Bailey in November.

I am also the BBC broadcaster who used Twitter to present “breaking news” programmes about the verdicts and sentences given to  Stephen Lawrence’s killers this week.

This is not a polished article. It’s my attempt to reflect on the uses – and perils – of using Twitter in our courts. Thank you for your comments on the issue; do keep the feedback coming!

A little about me first. I love using Twitter as @PhilippaNews. It keeps me in touch with stories & contacts around the world, and I enjoy what we’ve come to call the curation of news – sharing links on everything from London life to Arab Spring politics to the US election campaign.

But this was the first time I’d used the social media channel as another form of broadcasting. Continue reading


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Send the BBC your views today on “Technology – the pace of change”

Hi there – I’m very excited to be a first time presenter on the fantastic World Service radio programme “World Have Your Say” at 1800BST today. It’s a programme that belongs to the audience, and I’m asking YOU to give me insights that I can read on air.

Here’s the idea. Can you imagine living in a world without the iPod? Using a computer without Google? Sorting out your social life without Facebook? Or your news without Twitter?
Or imagine a world where you didn’t have to hear about them all the time?

Well it’s not long ago that none of us had heard these names. Today marks a number of BIRTHDAYS – ten years since the iPod was unveiled, thirteen years since the launch of Google. And it seems every day brings us a new product launch – Amazon’s Kindlefire? – or a social media makeover – like the new look Facebook.

SO I’m using the moment to ask how this whirl of invention has changed YOUR life. What does it make you think about the way we communicate, the way we share, how our behaviour has changed

Are you excited about living in a world where it seems every day brings us a new product launch or a social media makeover?
Is it a lifestyle you aspire to?
Or is the world of Apple and Google and Amazon unreal and irrelevant – or one that makes you excluded and frustrated?

You can comment here – or tweet to @PhilippaNews or @BBC_WHYS – I’ll try to get as many of your thoughts as we can into our hour on air.


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How to be Happy

This isn’t original but it’s new to me, and they’re words worth spreading. Here are the late psychiatrist Anthony Clare’s Seven Steps to Happiness. I’m taking them to heart as I transition from the US to London, to a different desk, different home, and different assignments. I’m still following what fascinates me in the media, politics & society. I’m still reading novels & streaming tweets. And one of my passions will definitely be… to continue to blog!

So, here are seven tips from a thoughtful man about a life worth living… as recounted by author Gyles Brandreth at the end of my latest read, his biography of Prince Philip.

“Number one: cultivate a passion. It is important in my model of happiness to have something that you enjoy doing. The challenge for a school is to find every child some kind of passion — something that will see them through the troughs. That’s why I’m in favour of the broadest curriculum you can get. Continue reading


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Talking to Brian Lehrer TV

I’ve given an interview about this blog – and what happened after my post about Bradley Manning & P J Crowley. It’s part of a programme with New York TV host Brian Lehrer called “Citizens cover the Uprisings”. I apologise in advance for alarming any viewers by being scarily close up to the camera on Skype, and gosh do I really have such a terribly British accent?


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What I did and What you said.

On Thursday I published a short story here about the U.S. State Department spokesman’s view that the Department of Defence is being “ridiculous and counter-productive and stupid” in its treatment of Wikileaks whistleblower Private Bradley Manning.

On Friday, President Obama was questioned about it.

On Sunday, the spokesman P.J. Crowley resigned.

I’m writing this because I’ve been a reporter for the BBC for two decades, broadcasting through the traditional mass media of television and radio – and now as an individual, I’ve learned at first hand the power of the blog. Continue reading