Editors Weblog - A publication of the World Editors Forum http://www.editorsweblog.org/feed en test http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/09/17/test-0 <div class="teaser"> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>test</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p>test</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/09/17/test-0#comments Tue, 17 Sep 2013 14:19:00 +0000 Anton Jolkovski 13473 at http://www.editorsweblog.org Press aid in France: online press to pay same low taxes as printed press http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/05/03/press-aid-in-france-online-press-to-pay-same-low-taxes-as-printed-press <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/French-newspapers-describ-007.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="84" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p dir="ltr">The reduced level of VAT that currently benefits the printed press in France thanks to a government aid program is due to be extended to the nation’s digital media publications as well, following demands from <a href="http://www.spiil.org" target="_blank">Spiil</a> (Syndicat de la presse indépendante d’information en ligne).</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p>On 16 January this year, <strong>President François Hollande</strong> addressed the press with a "message of confidence" (<a href="http://www.lefigaro.fr/medias/2013/01/16/20004-20130116ARTFIG00487-francois-hollande-reaffirme-son-soutien-a-la-presse.php" target="_blank">see <em>Le Figaro</em>'s article in French</a>). Concerning the topic of aid to the press, Hollande promised the French media that the government would get down to work on the somewhat thorny issue, with the aim of reorienting their aid towards the digital press. Following three months of hard work, this promise has finally been delivered: yesterday, Thursday 2 May, the group responsible for brainstorming ideas for press aid delivered its recommendations to the Minister of Culture and Communications, <strong>Aurélie Filipetti</strong>. The report does not suggest a complete overhaul of the press aid system, but instead recommends two major changes: firstly, that the government harmonises the VAT system applied to printed press and online press, and secondly, that it unites the currently scattered financial aid into one single fund, which would regularly report back on its usage. The report argues that, in the interests of establishing neutrality of government support, it is time to "put an end to the discrimination from which the online press is currently suffering" (<a href="http://www.lefigaro.fr/medias/2013/05/02/20004-20130502ARTFIG00642-aides-a-la-presse-un-rapport-prone-efficacite-et-transparence.php" target="_blank">see <em>Le Figaro</em>'s article in French</a>).</p> <p>The French online press currently pays 19.6 percent VAT on the sale of its content, but will soon profit from&nbsp;the heavily reduced tax of 2.1 percent currently enjoyed by the printed press. This change responds to one of the demands made by Spiil in a letter to Hollande on Monday 29 April. Yesterday’s report calls for this alignment of VAT levels to take place "without delay," meaning that the government will be in a position to apply these changes anytime from June onwards. The measure, however, does not comply with European Union competition law. The French government will have to get the law approved by passing through Brussels first, as it previously did for the aligning of VAT for paper and digital books at a level of 7 percent in April 2012.</p> <p dir="ltr">Contrary to the wishes of deputy, <strong>Michel Françaix</strong> –&nbsp;author of a report on press aid last autumn –&nbsp;there is no longer the possibility of reconsidering the uniform level of 2.1 percent VAT for printed press on a basis of whether the titles are part of the '<a href="http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_de_la_presse_d&#039;Information_Politique_et_Générale" target="_blank">Association de la presse d'Information Politique et Générale</a>' (titles focussing on politics and current affairs), or whether they are "recreational" in nature. In the interests of solidarity and equality between stakeholders, yesterday's report abandoned this idea.</p> <p>The current system combines direct aid (for example, for aspects of the press such as circulation and pluralism) and indirect aid (tax, postal aid, aid to <a href="http://www.presstalis.fr/index.htm" target="_blank">Presstalis</a>&nbsp;– a major French media distribution corporation), totalling 1.2 billion euros per year. Yesterday's report urges the government to unite the different types of aid in one main fund, hereby procuring one main instrument of aid for the press, rather than several scattered and uncoordinated funds. The report also calls for greater transparency. It recommends that a list of beneficiaries –&nbsp;including totals of their financial aid, direct or indirect, title by title –&nbsp;be made public in annual reports to ensure that the receiving and distributing of aid is not carried out under any secrecy.</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/05/03/press-aid-in-france-online-press-to-pay-same-low-taxes-as-printed-press#comments press aid tax digital media Fri, 03 May 2013 15:48:09 +0000 Emily Moore 13468 at http://www.editorsweblog.org The Free Press Principle http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/05/03/the-free-press-principle <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/WPFD_ad.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="188" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>3 May is a day to celebrate hard-won press freedoms, but also to recognise how fragile those victories remain.</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p><em>By WAN-IFRA</em></p> <p>Free the press! It is a familiar refrain, one that grows louder year-on-year yet never loses relevancy. Why should a free press even be up for discussion? Are we failing to get the message across?</p> <p>The simple answer is that the press equals power, and wherever power lies there are those who seek to control or influence it. By nature, a free press is untamed; capable of speaking unfiltered to public opinion, it has always been a vital conduit for free expression.</p> <p>It has therefore been a constant target.</p> <p>As we increasingly embrace our digital citizenship, the tyrants who oppose free speech are quickly learning how to act as digital oppressors. Targets are more numerous, attacks more complicated and diverse. Our awareness and vigilance must adjust with similar voracity.</p> <p>Impunity for the killers of journalists extends also to those who murder bloggers. Censorship does not discriminate between editorial platforms. Prisons are built for those who “offend”, regardless of media.</p> <p>It is impossible to prevent the oppressors of free speech from eroding our basic freedoms. And they do, as the press freedom indexes show, frequently and without heed for the consequences.</p> <p>Our right to seek, receive or impart information through any media may be enshrined in international human rights law, yet the media must fight daily to remain a bulwark against intrusions on free speech. As a check on power, an independent press acts as society’s window through which the abuses, digressions, untruths and self-interests of the powerful are revealed for public scrutiny.</p> <p>According to corrupt governments, violent criminals, and fundamentalists of every description, this window would be better permanently bricked-up.</p> <p>Take Mexico, for example, where journalists face a violent, often deadly reception. The wider effects are devastating. “A climate of fear grows and it becomes better to remain silent than speak out about events that may pose a threat,” says journalist and writer, Anabel Hernández “This leads to self-censorship, which affects freedom of expression, which in turn affects the quality and depth of information that society receives. If society does not know the reality that surrounds it, who can make decisions?”</p> <p>Wherever you live, whatever you do, pause for a moment and reflect on what kind of a society would be in front of you, were it not for the presence of an inquisitive media.</p> <p>Who makes decisions on your behalf, and just how transparent is the process?</p> <p>This, ultimately, is why we defend journalists and a free press worldwide.</p> <p>Yet the Internet is undeniably raising the stakes. Checks and balances that provide the counterweight to power, of which traditional media were for so long custodians, are shifting rapidly beyond media-defined parameters.</p> <p>The Internet invites censors into our homes, often unwittingly, and in the process has made freedom of expression a concern for anyone who signs on to social networks, communicates via email, and owns a smartphone or tablet device.</p> <p>Or at least it should be of concern. Paradoxically, the great digital revolution that has introduced a truly globally connected age provides yet another mechanism for control, an opportunity for speech to be curtailed. Online news media, forewarned by the experiences of the written press, may be better prepared to combat this. But are we as individuals?</p> <p>Online and off, new challenges or familiar threats are no less shocking. Each year heralds a roll call of journalist casualties, imprisoned media professionals or publications threatened, intimidated or financially strangled to the point of closure.</p> <p>Above all, with a sense of solemn reflection, 3 May is an occasion to remember colleagues targeted for their work, especially those killed in the line of duty.</p> <p>That ‘duty’ was not simply to bring us the news. Their work – by nature risky, sometimes dangerous, yet always outspoken – went beyond the headlines that became unintentional obituaries. Their work signifies a belief in a principle, exhorted by democracy and made tangible with every article, picture or broadcast.</p> <p>It is that principle behind which we stand proud. It is upon that principle that our industry is founded, and that journalism thrives.</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/05/03/the-free-press-principle#comments World Press Freedom Day Press Freedom Fri, 03 May 2013 08:56:47 +0000 Andrew Heslop 13467 at http://www.editorsweblog.org Twitter on the hunt for 'Head of News and Journalism' http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/05/02/twitter-on-the-hunt-for-head-of-news-and-journalism <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/twitter-journalism2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="140" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>It would appear that Twitter is looking to solidify its relationship with the news media following a <a href="https://twitter.com/jobs/positions?jvi=o5RpXfw2,Job" target="_blank">new job advertisement</a> posted online for a 'Head of News and Journalism', hereby announcing their search for somebody to "shape and drive the next growth phase of Twitter’s partnership with the news industry."<strong id="docs-internal-guid-6554073f-661d-29b2-1fa4-86f24946aefa"><br /></strong></p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p dir="ltr">So what might we identify as the motivations behind creating a media expert role? For one, this announcement comes in the wake of Twitter’s appointment of Simon Rogers as its new data editor (<a href="http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/19/simon-rogers-leaves-the-guardian-to-become-twitters-first-ever-data-editor" target="_blank">see previous Editors Weblog article</a>) - a move that signalled the social network site’s clear intention to increase its potential as a force of serious journalism, having somebody sift through their sea of tweets in order to fish out compelling news-worthy stories. Twitter already has a prominent media expert in its midst: Erica Anderson, who made it into Forbes’ "<a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eeji45eegdf/erica-anderson-28-manager-news-journalism-twitter/" target="_blank">30 under 30</a>" media list, appointed in February 2011 to "<a href="http://www.newsxchange.org/speakers/erica-anderson.html" target="_blank">specialize in helping news organizations and journalists use Twitter effectively to find sources, develop comprehensive stories and engage audiences in meaningful civic discussions.</a>" Anderson already set up '<a href="https://dev.twitter.com/media/newsrooms" target="_blank">Twitter for Newsrooms</a>' in 2011, an online toolkit designed to help journalists use Twitter for "finding sources, verifying facts, publishing stories, [and] promoting [their] work and [themselves]," already a significant step in fostering a relationship between Twitter and the media.</p> <p dir="ltr">Perhaps by appointing an official 'Head of News and Journalism', then, Twitter is looking to make official, and be taken more seriously in, its commitment to working closely with news entities to ensure that they get the most out of Twitter. The company are clearly looking for a seasoned media expert, specifying a requirement for a&nbsp;"minimum of 15 years in news in editorial or journalism, 10 years of managing teams and at least 5 years executing strategic partnerships." They may also be looking to keep up with other social networks such as Facebook, who appointed a "managing editor" in 2012 to curate '<a href="http://www.facebookstories.com" target="_blank">Facebook Stories</a>' a journalistic project offering a platform for the stories of people "using facebook in extraordinary ways." It might be interesting to note, though, that the journalism graduate appointed to this position, Dan Fletcher, <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2418438,00.asp" target="_blank">left the project a few months later</a> claiming that his job title was misleading and that "the company doesn’t need reporters."</p> <p dir="ltr">It also follows a number of events in the world of current affairs which have cast a certain degree of doubt over Twitter’s credibility as a source of trustworthy breaking news stories. Most prominently, the Boston bombing and subsequent manhunt: events which provoked a wave of harmful false information that ended up misleading the public who were consulting Twitter for its immediacy rather than traditional news sources, which clearly take longer to verify their stories in the interests of reliability. The job advertisement makes what seems to be an indirect reference to this issue, in acknowledging the fact that they already provide a "way for consumers to find news in real-time," and then by specifying in their job description the need for somebody who will strategise an increase in the "volume and quality of professional news content on Twitter, especially in breaking news."&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">And something else to consider which might be identified as the most urgent motivator - the fact that this new job search follows a series of high-profile attacks on organisations such as Associated Press and the Guardian by a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army. As the <a href="http://observer.com/2013/05/twitter-wants-to-get-more-journalists-on-twitter/" target="_blank">New York Observer</a> suggests, "now’s probably a good time as any for Twitter to develop a liaison who can calm frantic journalists frothing at the mouth." <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22351987" target="_blank">BBC News</a> reported that on 29 April, Twitter contacted news organisations with suggestions of how they might tighten up their security, responding to pressure from security experts who have advised that they take more action to ensure the protection of their users. Advice included ensuring passwords were more than 20 characters long and consisted of random combinations of letters and numbers, and also having just "one computer to use for Twitter" that is not used for any other purposes such as reading emails and surfing the internet to "reduce the chances of malware infection." However, the BBC quoted security researcher Rik Ferguson, who pointed out that "the point of Twitter is that it’s instant, and you can react instantly. If you have to run back to the office to get to a particular computer to use Twitter, that’s obviously going to impact upon its use."&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Appointing this new 'Head of News and Journalism', then, might well constitute another example of Twitter engaging with the media world to ensure that it remains a safe tool that can be used by journalists to report on news items. Twitter clearly wishes to remain at the forefront of the news industry, having "already changed the way news breaks and provided journalists with new ways to connect with their readers," but recognises the need to respond to the threat of hackers. News organisations with Twitter accounts have been made vulnerable, and with serious global consequences (<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/apr/23/ap-tweet-hack-wall-street-freefall" target="_blank">the hacking of AP's feed</a>, for example, caused stocks to dip), and it has therefore become necessary for Twitter to take up responsibility and ensure that its relationship with the media becomes stronger rather than fractures.</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/05/02/twitter-on-the-hunt-for-head-of-news-and-journalism#comments social media Twitter Twitter for journalists Thu, 02 May 2013 15:55:52 +0000 Emily Moore 13466 at http://www.editorsweblog.org Citizen journalism platform Groundviews thrives in Sri Lanka http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/05/02/citizen-journalism-platform-groundviews-thrives-in-sri-lanka <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/sanjanahattotuwa_sm.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="126" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>In 2006, journalist <a href="http://www.wan-ifra.org/events/speakers/sanjana-hattotuwa" target="_blank">Sanjana Hattotuwa</a> created <a href="http://groundviews.org/" target="_blank">Groundviews.org</a>, an influential website based in Sri Lanka intended as a “safe space for debate and discussion” during and after Sri Lanka’s long civil war, where people could write freely about news and events that interested them.</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p>Groundviews has also been an important example for both Sri Lanka and the region to show how technology “could help create new forms of media that would not necessarily be subjected to the same censoriousness, the same violence, the same clamping down on freedom of expression that so many journalists and at the time, so much of media had endured in the 27-odd years of conflict,” he says.</p> <p>In this edited interview, Hattotuwa, who will be speaking at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wan-ifra.org/events/65th-world-newspaper-congress?view=sessions&amp;stream=1" target="_blank">World Editors Forum in Bangkok</a>&nbsp;on Wednesday, 5 June,&nbsp;tells us how the site has evolved, the challenges he faces, and his hopes for Groundviews’ future.</p> <p><strong>WAN-IFRA: What are some of the things that have changed the most since you started the site?</strong></p> <p>Sanjana Hattotuwa: Initially it was thought of as a tri-lingual space and that quickly became very difficult to manage, so I played to my strength and it evolved into an English-only platform. …</p> <p>What also changes is the manner we use technology. We’ve pioneered – single-handedly almost – models of news and journalism on the web: Investigative journalism, data visualization, open-data driven journalism. Participatory models of getting readers to also add to the story in the space we’ve created … It’s regarded as a very rare thing in the country, unfortunately, which is a safe space for debate and discussion and the articulation of difference in a civil manner.</p> <p>… we’re now experimenting with various forms to tell stories: photography, short form video, long form journalism, of which we are the only platform in the country who are proponents of, also because the economic model of mainstream media doesn’t allow for long-form journalism. We’ve actually pioneered new ways of investigative journalism and the way people engage with journalism as well by creating presences on Twitter, on Facebook, many years before the mainstream media recognized the value of embracing those social media platforms and also in creating an iPhone app, which we are now discontinuing in favor of HTML5-based website, which we are going to launch very soon.</p> <p><strong>What are some of the biggest challenges you face?</strong></p> <p>As I said, it’s very sad that Groundviews is the only example. … I have no desire to be the only spokesperson for this kind of model from my country or indeed this kind of model and its applicability in any other conflict zone. It is exhausting work. It is time-consuming work. It takes a lot of sacrifice and risk-taking. … There is no immunity that comes as a consequence of engaging with this type of journalism.</p> <p>The other thing that has been a big challenge is that we have published stories that mainstream media simply cannot publish or will not touch. These are stories related to political dispensation, the first family, high level corruption, significant human rights violations, significant concerns over allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity towards the end of the war, allegations of cluster bombs. …</p> <p>We have endured, I think, because we have an editorial and comment moderation policy that is explicitly put up on the website and whatever does not fall under those guidelines is simply not published, which might be one easy explanation as to why the site has been allowed to function in the way that it has, but it has been very, very challenging. …</p> <p><strong>What are your goals for Groundviews for the next year or two?</strong></p> <p>Technically, I want us to always be ahead of the curve in terms of local and regional media. We’ve been small and very agile in our technical development and experiment and demonstrate by example the potential of new technologies, technical standards and their impact and their possible impact for investigative independent reporting and journalism on the web, primarily for the web and mobile devices, so that’s something I would like to continue to demonstrate by example how HTML5, for example, and content that is being developed now increasingly for tablet-based experiences as the first, and possibly for most, primary interfaces with the web: how that can actually be factored into website development.</p> <p>The third major redesign of the site, is due in around a month and a half time and that will negate the need for custom apps for Android, IOS, BlackBerry and the Windows 7 forms, because it will be a purely 100 percent HTML5 implementation, which is going to be the first time that such a site is going to be created ever in the country as far as I know. I don’t think there’s another HTML5-based site in the region – mainstream or civic or citizen. That’s something I’m looking forward to.</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/05/02/citizen-journalism-platform-groundviews-thrives-in-sri-lanka#comments Thu, 02 May 2013 12:59:09 +0000 Brian Veseling 13465 at http://www.editorsweblog.org 'Voices in Danger': Jim Armitage speaks about the Independent's latest project http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/30/voices-in-danger-jim-armitage-speaks-about-the-independents-latest-project <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/Voices_in_danger.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="105" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>Launched yesterday, Monday 29 April, the <em>Independent</em>’s new press freedom project, '<a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/campaigns/voicesindanger/" target="_blank">Voices in Danger</a>' will endeavour to "give prominence to the plight of journalists being harassed, attacked or pressurised" <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/voices-in-danger-journalism-in-the-line-of-fire-8591566.html" target="_blank">according to its pioneer</a>, owner of the Independent titles, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evgeny_Lebedev" target="_blank"><strong>Evgeny Lebedev</strong></a>. The announcement of this humanitiarian campaign is timely, given that it falls in the same week as <a href="http://www.wan-ifra.org/articles/2012/03/28/download-and-publish-the-free-wan-ifra-3-may-editorial" target="_blank"><strong>World Press Freedom Day</strong> (Friday 3 May)</a>.<strong id="docs-internal-guid-09c094d2-5bae-2fa9-c7d3-637c68f6126c"> </strong></p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p dir="ltr">Offering a groundbreaking platform for journalists silenced by the repressive regimes of their home countries, <strong>Lebedev</strong>’s project will not only carry out insightful case studies into the hardships encountered by individuals throughout their journalistic careers, but will also provide an arena for these journalists’ own work, promising to enrich the UK public’s awareness of the political situation in these countries by giving them access to the investigative journalism of true insiders. In an <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/voices-in-danger-journalism-in-the-line-of-fire-8591566.html" target="_blank">article</a> published online yesterday, <strong>Lebedev</strong>, owner of the <em>Independent</em> and <em>Evening Standard</em> newspaper, explained his personal motivations behind the project –&nbsp;namely, the murder of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Politkovskaya" target="_blank"><strong>Anna Politkovskaya</strong></a>, a journalist who was working for his family’s Russian newspaper, <em>Novaya Gazeta</em>, when she was assassinated as a result of her work on exposing Russian atrocities in Chechnya.</p> <p dir="ltr">Adviser to <strong>Lebedev</strong> and curator of this new project, <strong>Jim Armitage</strong>&nbsp;told us today during a phone conversation that they have not followed the general rule of "only launch a campaign when you know you can win." He clarified that theirs is not a "binary victory-or-defeat type of project" –&nbsp;the team behind 'Voices in Danger' merely hope that they can contribute in one way or another to raising awareness of corruption in countries where journalists are threatened, harassed, forced into hiding, and sometimes even killed, as was the case with Politkovskaya and countless Syrian reporters and citizen journalists killed during the past few years. He explained that if an oppressive regime in a country such as Chad or Somalia has a major national media organisation like the <em>Independent</em> highlighting cases of its abuse, this has a wide impact, but not necessarily one that is easily measurable or quantifiable.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Armitage</strong> talked about some of the campaigns run by the <em>Independent</em>’s sibling newspaper, the <a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/" target="_blank"><em>Evening Standard</em></a> (also owned by <strong>Lebedev</strong>), in order to illustrate the benefit of using a newspaper as an instrument for exposing social injustice. He listed '<a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/news/dispossessed/" target="_blank">Dispossessed</a>', which raises and donates money to charities helping impoverished people in London, '<a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/staticpage/londonladder/" target="_blank">Ladder for London</a>', which helps young unemployed adults to find work, and '<a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/news/get-london-reading/" target="_blank">Get London Reading</a>', which signs up volunteers to offer weekly reading sessions for children in the capital. He also mentioned the <em>Independent</em>’s campaign to help child soldiers in the Central African Republic to demonstrate the positive impact of using "high audience numbers" and "encouraging readers to share stories" in spreading awareness on silenced issues.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Armitage</strong>&nbsp;says he believes social media will be at the very core of 'Voices in Danger's potential success: "we want these stories to be read and shared, tweeted, and blogged" he said. The more readers disseminate the stories via social networks, the greater the level of awareness and pressure that is brought to bear on governments, hereby making these journalists’ stories unignorable. "We’re trying to get governments to respond," he said, something which he admits has not yet happened. That is precisely why the role of social media is so crucial in spreading such awareness.</p> <p dir="ltr">In terms of other levels of reader engagement, <strong>Armitage</strong> cited <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/voices-in-danger-prageeth-is-my--courage-he-always-worked-for-peace-and-unity-8591451.html" target="_blank">the project’s first case study</a>, one illuminating the story of Sri Lankan journalist and political cartoonist, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prageeth_Eknaligoda" target="_blank"><strong>Prageeth Eknaligoda</strong></a>, who disappeared in 2010. The story included a message from Amnesty International encouraging readers to write to the president of Sri Lanka in order to put pressure on him to respond to queries regarding his disappearance. However, <strong>Armitage</strong> pointed out that sometimes this level of engagement is discouraged by certain NGO’s.</p> <p dir="ltr">A number of NGO’s will be involved in 'Voices in Danger' to assist in providing contacts and advice for <strong>Armitage</strong> and his researches, the main being <a href="http://en.rsf.org" target="_blank">Reporters Without Borders</a>, <a href="http://www.cpj.org" target="_blank">Committee to Protect Journalists</a>, and <a href="http://www.amnesty.org" target="_blank">Amnesty International</a>. According to <strong>Armitage</strong>, the main priority of the project is "to tell these people’s stories through their own voices." Unfortunately, issues of security often intervene, and it is often necessary to protect the identity of certain journalists using aliases. For example, <strong>Armitage</strong> revealed that an Iraqi journalist had recently shared a compelling story with him, but 'Voices in Danger' will be prevented from using his real name for fear of the backlash in Iraq. If the journalists themselves cannot speak freely, the alternative is to speak to their family, colleagues and lawyers. <strong>Armitage</strong> talked about how the second-hand sources can often prove as interesting to talk to as the journalists themselves. He cited a case study that is currently in the pipe line concerning a journalist in Chad who was imprisoned without trial and denied legal representation until an NGO discovered his situation. <strong>Armitage</strong> managed to speak to the lawyer that picked up this journalist’s case on a pro bono basis because he was outraged by its gross mismanagement. The lawyer provided a unique insight into the horrific conditions of the prison in question which had been responsible for inmates dying in the past.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Armitage</strong> is "excited" about future case studies, which will be carried out by himself and "a couple of researchers" and published on a new section of the <em>Independent</em>’s website. Upcoming studies to watch for include the story of the journalist imprisoned without trial in Chad, and another involving a female journalist determined to expose sexual violence against women in Honduras. As a journalist himself, he is finding the project is deeply "inspiring". The most powerful message to be taken away from it, in his opinion, is the determination of journalists to stay in their profession even after harassment and imprisonment. "This rarely gets recognised. Journalists don’t usually like to be the story. We’re not here to boast about the risks we take. We’re not looking to self-aggrandise." But these individuals’ personal stories deserve to be shared, and what’s more they <em>need</em> to be shared in order for the mismanagement and corruption of certain governments to be brought to light.</p> <p>The <em>Independent</em> is undertaking a noble venture with its 'Voices in Danger' project –&nbsp;it is taking advantage of its privileged status as an "independent" newspaper to act as a mouthpiece for journalists deprived of such independence in their home countries.</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/30/voices-in-danger-jim-armitage-speaks-about-the-independents-latest-project#comments Independent Print Ltd press freedom safety of journalists The Independent violence against journalists Tue, 30 Apr 2013 15:36:54 +0000 Emily Moore 13464 at http://www.editorsweblog.org Being right is more important than being first http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/29/being-right-is-more-important-than-being-first <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/Screen%20shot%202013-04-29%20at%2018.28.56.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="96" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>The news media’s <a href="http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/18/false-information-clouds-coverage-of-boston-bombing">less-than-perfect coverage</a> of the recent Boston bombings and subsequent hunt for suspects <a href="http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/23/social-media-summit-hosted-by-new-york-times-and-bbc-college-of-journalism">has reignited debates</a> about how sure you have to be before publishing anything, whether through your own platform or <a href="http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/17/in-times-of-crisis-what-role-does-social-media-play">through a social network</a>. This issue arose during several discussions at the<a href="http://www.journalismfestival.com/" target="_blank"><strong> International Journalism Festival</strong></a> in Perugia in the last few days, and panelists overwhelmingly agreed that being right is far more important than being first, and this should be reflected on social media.</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p>In the age of social media, scoops can last just a matter of seconds. As <em>New York Times</em> interactive editor<a href="https://twitter.com/pilhofer" target="_blank"> Aron Pilhofer</a> noted in a session on moving towards smarter, better online content, gone are the days when competitors would have to wait 24 hours to take your scoop. Now, he said, it’s almost irrelevant to be first, and the value of being right outweighs the value of being first by magnitudes.</p> <p>It’s not just traditional news organizations who feel this way.<a href="https://twitter.com/adamblottr" target="_blank"> Adam Baker</a>, founder of citizen journalism site <em>Blottr</em>, said that his team can’t afford to get anything wrong, because they don’t have the reputation of an established brand.</p> <p>Most normal people don’t even know who broke a story, said <a href="https://twitter.com/AntDeRosa" target="_blank">Anthony De Rosa</a>, <em>Reuters</em>’ social media editor, in a session on citizen journalism. <a href="https://twitter.com/EricCarvin" target="_blank">Eric Carvin</a>, social media editor at the <em>Associated Press</em>, suggested that scoops are becoming less relevant, with great investigative pieces becoming more important. Pilhofer made a similar point, commenting that any blog could cut and summarise a breaking news article, but a piece like <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/#/?part=tunnel-creek" target="_blank">Snowfall</a> will always be unique to The Times.</p> <p><em>The Economist</em> is an antidote to the obsession with speed, said community editor <a href="https://twitter.com/majohns" target="_blank">Mark Johnson</a>. The paper uses social media to strengthen its already strong community, but focuses on sending out links to articles and cultivating discussion rather than covering breaking news. “You don’t need to know what’s happening minute by minute, sometimes a good analysis 24 hours later can be more valuable.”</p> <p>“The use of social media shouldn’t be changing our overall value as journalists,” said Carvin. “We use social to further our goals as a news organization. Our number one priority at the AP is to break news: to find stories.” He is happy for AP journalists to use social media primarily as observers, looking out for stories and potential sources. Of course the advantage to having a prominent presence is that it helps you to build your network and widen potential sources: you want to be the person who people want to come to. This has to be done with care, however.</p> <p>“I think we really need to re-establish a commitment to accuracy on social. Lots of people view it as a ‘softer’ platform,” Carvin continued. The AP has a rule that its reporters should never tweet something that the organization wouldn’t be happy to share on the wire.</p> <p>This point became particularly pertinent during the events in Boston. “As news organisations, we are tweeting news,” Carvin said. During the hunt for bombing suspects, however, many reporters and others were live-tweeting what the police were saying over scanners, but this was often unconfirmed information and discussions.</p> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/suellewellyn" target="_blank">Sue Llewellyn</a>, digital media strategist, agreed that it’s far too easy to get carried away on social media, and stressed the necessity to remember that you have the right to remain silent and you are often right to be silent. She recommends that journalists think a bit more before posting on social networks, urging them to ask “is it true? Will it add any benefit to the story and to myself?”</p> <p>All panelists agreed that inaccuracy can be very damaging to a news organisation’s brand. As Carvin pointed out, inaccuracy that goes out as a tweet might be seen more than anything else you publish. The three golden rules of using social media, Llewellyn said, are “verify, verify, verify.”</p> <p>Carvin said that he only tweeted once or twice the day of the hunt for the suspects, rather focusing on watching what was coming in and looking for people to talk to. “I find that a lot of times, when big dramatic news is breaking is to focus on news gathering.”</p> <p>De Rosa expressed a similar sentiment. “I have decided to slow down, do fewer updates on social media and do more live coverage, taking time to pull in more context around the things we’re seeing.”</p> <p>It is widely accepted that social media will continue to play a key role in breaking news. Will journalists find news ways to use it more effectively, and more safely?</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/29/being-right-is-more-important-than-being-first#comments Associated Press International Journalism Festival Reuters The Economist The New York Times editorial direction editorial quality social media two-speed journalism Mon, 29 Apr 2013 16:26:17 +0000 Emma Goodman 13462 at http://www.editorsweblog.org South Africa Secrecy Bill – 'this fight is not over' http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/29/south-africa-secrecy-bill-this-fight-is-not-over <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/right2know_0.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="81" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>The ability of South African journalists to expose corruption and other criminal activities in their nation is under considerable threat following the passing of the Protection of State Information Bill last Thursday (25 April).&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p>Labelled the "Secrecy Act" by its critics, the controversial <a href="http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=151319" target="_blank">Bill</a> seeks to "provide for the protection of certain state information from alteration, loss, destruction or unlawful disclosure" – in other words, it poses an ugly threat to the investigations of whistle blowers and their fundamental right to access and disseminate information of public interest.</p> <p>Right2Know campaigners, who before the vote, warned on their <a href="http://www.r2k.org.za/about/what-we-do/" target="_blank">website</a> that, "if passed the Bill would add to the generalised trend towards secrecy, fear and intimidation that is growing in South Africa today,"&nbsp;held a silent vigil in parliament in Cape Town, alongside a picket outside the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, but to no avail.</p> <p>The Bill was passed 189 votes to 74 with one abtension, meaning that the matter now lies in the hands of President <strong>Jacob Zuma</strong>, who has the option to get it passed into law. Significant improvements have already been made to the Bill after consultation by the National Council of Provinces, but according to <strong><a href="http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71654?oid=372437&amp;sn=Detail&amp;pid=71616" target="_blank">Lindiwe Mazibuko</a></strong>, parliamentary leader of the Democratic Alliance party, the Bill nevertheless remains "flawed" and "does not pass constitutional muster."</p> <p>Many believe that the Bill could still be manipulated as a tool of secrecy, eliminating any hopes for openness and transparency and thus discouraging whistle blowers from carrying out their investigations and reporting on their findings.</p> <p>In a speech to Parliament just before the passing of the Bill, Mazibuko announced that "if the majority party passes this Bill today, we will petition the Honourable President to send the Bill back to the National Assembly under Section 79 of the constitution." She spoke out against the dangers of the Bill to freedom of speech in South Africa, warning that "the media cannot function when important information is suppressed. Bad governments thrive under the cloak of darkness. Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear."</p> <p>So what exactly are the improvements that have been made to the Bill and why were they deemed insufficient? According to <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/04/29/south-africa-secrecy-bill-improved-still-flawed" target="_blank">Human Rights Watch</a>, "the current version, while improved, remains unclear on the key question of whether whistle blowers and journalists seeking to expose certain sensitive issues, such as corruption, would be protected under the law."</p> <p>One significant amendment "[states] that prosecutions under the law must respect the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and the right to access information." Another positive change tightens up the grounds for prosecution by specifying that "there must be unlawful intent to disclose information."</p> <p>However, an amendment that doesn’t really seem to improve the Bill significantly is one stating that an individual will not be violating the act if they disclose information that exposes criminal activity. As Human Rights Watch points out, this amendment is inadequate since "it is unclear whether [it] would apply to someone who exposes conduct that might not be considered criminal in an effort to promote transparency and accountability." The example they list is revealing how the government spends taxpayers’ money – something which does not constitute a crime, but which is still useful information that the public has a right to access in a democratic society that claims to be open and transparent.</p> <p>Even after the amendments, then, there remains the frightening possibility that a whistle blower, journalist or activist who discloses classified information that is not considered to be serving the exposure of criminal activity, or is seen to be carried out with "unlawful intent," could be convicted of "espionage" and face "<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/25/south-african-activists-secrecy-bill" target="_blank">draconian sentences</a>" of up to 25 years. As campaigners such as Right2Know are arguing, this move would constitute a serious mark of regression for South Africa, dragging the nation back into its dark past of pre-democracy corruption and restriction of information.</p> <p>It remains to be seen whether the Bill will make it to the Constitutional Court for further review, but if Mazibuko has anything to do with it, the act will not pass into law in its current state. She assured the rest of Parliament during <a href="http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71654?oid=372437&amp;sn=Detail&amp;pid=71616" target="_blank">her speech</a> that "this fight is not over."</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/29/south-africa-secrecy-bill-this-fight-is-not-over#comments Legislation press freedom South Africa Mon, 29 Apr 2013 14:20:57 +0000 Emily Moore 13461 at http://www.editorsweblog.org Emily Bell on newsroom organisation in a post-industrial journalistic age http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/28/emily-bell-on-newsroom-organisation-in-a-post-industrial-journalistic-age <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/IMAG2774.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="79" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>News journalism just isn’t an industry any more, said<strong> <a href="https://twitter.com/emilybell" target="_blank">Emily Bell</a></strong>, director of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.journalism.columbia.edu/page/628-tow-center-for-digital-journalism/426">Tow Center for Digital Journalism</a>&nbsp;at Columbia Journalism School, and co-author of the report Post-industrial journalism: adapting to the present. Newsrooms all used to look the same but they are changing fast. The rows of desks with hundreds of people are going, but what will they be replaced by?</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p>Old institutions are trying to adapt but they find changing processes a much higher barrier than lack of resources, the report found. Obstacles such as how a content management system worked could be more serious than a lack of money, Bell specified.</p> <p>A power shift is taking place from the brand to the individual, she said. “I think the shift to individualism in journalism is very important,” she added, citing <a href="http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/01/04/will-the-purest-simplest-model-for-online-journalism-work" target="_blank">Andrew Sullivan as an example of someone who is betting on this shift</a> (although adding later that she thinks his chances of success are no more than 50:50).</p> <p>This doesn’t mean that institutions aren’t needed, however: you need strength, longevity and continuity to hold the powerful to account, and this must be provided by institutions. But, the institutions must realize the value of their people, and maybe act more like an agency or a studio system, where they have a looser relationship with a network of individuals, she suggested.</p> <p>Nate Silver, <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/17/nate-silver-interview-election-data-statistics" target="_blank">the statistician wizard</a> whose <em><a href="http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/author/nate-silver/" target="_blank">FiveThirtyEight blog</a></em> is now part of <em>The New York Times</em>, doesn’t have the relationship of a conventional employee with the paper, Bell noted. He has more independence, and clearly has his own brand.</p> <p>Many people in journalism are thinking about how best to reorganize their newsrooms, Bell said, but they never start the change by thinking “what are we going to allow the journalists to do?” It doesn’t make sense to organize around a process, when your real value resides in your people, she said.</p> <p>Integrated newsrooms might not be the best solution going forward, Bell said, citing a speech by <a href="https://twitter.com/ClarkGilbert" target="_blank">Clark Gilbert</a>, president and CEO of Deseret News Publishing, that he gave last week. He believes that integrated newsrooms will not survive, as tying two such different processes together such as print and digital will hold you back.</p> <p>“I think the integrated newsroom is a bet on a future that we thought might be sustainable in 2005-6 but now we realize is not,” said Bell. “The empirical evidence so far is that integration doesn’t allow for the right degree of purely digital thinking and speed to keep up with where the market is going.”</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/28/emily-bell-on-newsroom-organisation-in-a-post-industrial-journalistic-age#comments Sun, 28 Apr 2013 08:40:12 +0000 Emma Goodman 13460 at http://www.editorsweblog.org Mathew Ingram's five lessons old media can learn from new http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/26/mathew-ingrams-five-lessons-old-media-can-learn-from-new <div class="teaser"> <div class="blog-entry-image"> <div class="field field-type-image field-field-blog-entry-image"> <div class="img-col img-col-2"><img src="http://www.editorsweblog.org/sites/editorsweblog.org/files/imagecache/default_col_2/field_blog_entry_image/IMAG2772.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-default_col_2" width="140" height="79" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-teaser"> <p>In a session titled “Teaching the fish how to walk” at the International Journalism Festival in Pergugia, <a href="http://www.gigaom.com" target="_blank"><em>GigaOm</em></a> senior writer <a href="https://twitter.com/mathewi" target="_blank"><strong>Mathew Ingram</strong></a> gave his top five ways that old media can learn from new.</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-entry-content"> <p><strong>1. Be more open</strong></p> <p>Traditional media used to be like a fortress, Ingram said, with people behind the walls doing things that the rest of the world couldn’t see. Now, there are so many ways now for publishers to interact with their audiences, and as Clay Shirky said, publishing is no longer an industry, it’s a button on a site.</p> <p>You can do better journalism by embracing rather than ignoring these facts, Ingram said. He recommended that publishers should be thinking, “How do we help them [the audience] tell us the things that they know about the stories we are writing?”</p> <p><em>The Guardian</em> is doing this particularly well, he specified.</p> <p><strong>2. Give credit</strong></p> <p>“I think the most fundamental aspect of publishing online is the hyperlink,” said Ingram. Linking allows you to both give credit and support an argument at the same time, he pointed out. For him, an online article that has no links in it is “a lower form of journalism.”</p> <p>Linking to other sources that you use is essential, he said. “We can’t pretend that all the things we generate inside the fortress are the only things that have value.”</p> <p>“I’m often critcised for putting too many links in my blog posts,” he commented, but he continues to use as many as possible, just in case people might want them.</p> <p><strong>3. Be more human</strong></p> <p>Apologise when you make mistakes, Ingram recommended. Admitting mistakes can make readers trust you more, while ignoring mistakes will mean they will lose trust.</p> <p>You can’t get the benefits of social networks without being human, he said. Social makes journalists into individuals.</p> <p>“I believe that there is a value in having the human part of a journalist be part of what they do,” he added. “I’m not sure that I would go as far as transparency is the new objectivity but I believe that transparency is very important.”</p> <p><strong>4. See journalism and the news as a process</strong></p> <p>News stories used to be assembled into a finished product and then sent out to readers. It was a very industrial process, Ingram said.</p> <p>Now, however, an individual story has no defined beginning nor end: it’s a constant, ongoing ebb and flow. The industrial process didn't show you that.</p> <p><strong>5. How to focus</strong></p> <p>It’s important to focus on specific things that you understand, or do very well, or have a connection with readers around, Ingram said. The traditional newspaper was a way of aggregating everything, it was never a specialized product. But people don’t have to go to a newspaper to find out about what interests them any more.</p> <p>“Everywhere, people are searching for info that matters to them,” Ingram said. “If we help them find that then we can build a valuable relationship with them that can lead to monetization.”</p> </div> </div><!-- /teaser --> http://www.editorsweblog.org/2013/04/26/mathew-ingrams-five-lessons-old-media-can-learn-from-new#comments business models International Journalism Festival open journalism Fri, 26 Apr 2013 18:28:41 +0000 Emma Goodman 13459 at http://www.editorsweblog.org