WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Tue - 23.01.2018


April 2013

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Offering a groundbreaking platform for journalists silenced by the repressive regimes of their home countries, Lebedev’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 article published online yesterday, Lebedev, owner of the Independent and Evening Standard newspaper, explained his personal motivations behind the project – namely, the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who was working for his family’s Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, when she was assassinated as a result of her work on exposing Russian atrocities in Chechnya.

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Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-30 17:36

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In the age of social media, scoops can last just a matter of seconds. As New York Times interactive editor Aron Pilhofer 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.

It’s not just traditional news organizations who feel this way. Adam Baker, founder of citizen journalism site Blottr, said that his team can’t afford to get anything wrong, because they don’t have the reputation of an established brand.

Most normal people don’t even know who broke a story, said Anthony De Rosa, Reuters’ social media editor, in a session on citizen journalism. Eric Carvin, social media editor at the Associated Press, 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 Snowfall will always be unique to The Times.

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Author

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-04-29 18:26

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Labelled the "Secrecy Act" by its critics, the controversial Bill 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.

Right2Know campaigners, who before the vote, warned on their website that, "if passed the Bill would add to the generalised trend towards secrecy, fear and intimidation that is growing in South Africa today," held a silent vigil in parliament in Cape Town, alongside a picket outside the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, but to no avail.

The Bill was passed 189 votes to 74 with one abtension, meaning that the matter now lies in the hands of President Jacob Zuma, 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 Lindiwe Mazibuko, parliamentary leader of the Democratic Alliance party, the Bill nevertheless remains "flawed" and "does not pass constitutional muster."

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Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-29 16:20

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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.

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 Andrew Sullivan as an example of someone who is betting on this shift (although adding later that she thinks his chances of success are no more than 50:50).

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.

Nate Silver, the statistician wizard whose FiveThirtyEight blog is now part of The New York Times, doesn’t have the relationship of a conventional employee with the paper, Bell noted. He has more independence, and clearly has his own brand.

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Author

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-04-28 10:40

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1. Be more open

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.

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?”

The Guardian is doing this particularly well, he specified.

2. Give credit

“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.”

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.”

“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.

3. Be more human

Apologise when you make mistakes, Ingram recommended. Admitting mistakes can make readers trust you more, while ignoring mistakes will mean they will lose trust.

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Author

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-04-26 20:28

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The cross-party agreement, according to a statement published by the Newspaper Society, "has been condemned by a range of international press freedom organisations," and "has no support within the press" due to the fact that it "gives politicians an unacceptable degree of interference in the regulation of the press."

This latest move by the UK press has placed David Cameron in something of a quandary – the royal charter agreed upon by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties during a late-night meeting in March had been, as deputy Labour Leader, Harriet Harman said, "supported unanimously by the House of Commons and had the full backing of the House of Lords" and was due to go for approval by the Queen at the next meeting of the Privy Council on 15 May.

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Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-26 17:00

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The House of Lords voted on Tuesday 23 April by a majority of 78 in favour of passing the Bill, and consideration of the Lords amendments took place in the House of Commons yesterday, Wednesday 24 April. The Bill has hereby cleared its last Parliamentary obstacle, and now awaits the final stage of Royal Assent which will statutorily enact the Bill as an official Act of Parliament. According to the UK parliament's website, "the aim of the Bill is to reform the law of defamation to ensure that a fair balance is struck between the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation."

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Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-25 17:11

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Data journalism doesn’t necessarily sound “sexy,” said Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news at The New York Times, but as the South Florida Sun Sentinel made clear this month with its Speeding Cops story, it can be Pulitzer Prize-winning.

Pilhofer leads a team of 18 data and developer journalists. In contrast, Guido Romeo of Wired Italy explained that he himself is the data team. Pilhofer argued that it isn’t necessary to have a huge team to do great stories, pointing out that the Sun Sentinel’s public service Pulitzer-winning piece was done by a very small team, who acquired the data, analysed it and published it within a matter of weeks. It’s something that “normal people in normal newsrooms can do,” he believes.

Dan Sinker, director of Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, described some of the US election coverage projects he had been most impressed by. Election coverage really allows you to track progress of news organisations, he pointed out, as it’s every four years. On election night, his go-to app was created by NPR’s new news apps team, who decided not to use a map, as most new outlets do, but went for blocks representing real numbers.

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Author

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-04-25 16:22

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As is the case with many breaking news stories, this one first surfaced on Twitter – one tweet, then two, then hundreds, all bearing the same piece of news: there has been a horrific massacre in a Damascus suburb on Saturday 20 April... and the media are ignoring it. According to Twitter users, 450 people were killed by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, including women and children, in an effort to eliminate a large number of terrorists in the area. Not exactly an ignorable news item...

The hashtag #rememberthe450 began trending on the micro-blogging site. Twitter users sensed it was their moral obligation to make this human tragedy known to the world, and simultaneously to denounce the silence of the traditional media who were failing to keep up with breaking news of such a shocking nature.

This isn't entirely true, though. Delesalle points out that the media did not ignore events in Syria, they simply chose to limit what they reported in order to avoid misinforming the public. CNN, France 24, BBC and The New York Times all reported on the violence at Jdeidet al-Fadel on their websites, but all reinforced the fact that they did not have sufficient information on the attack, and therefore, were reluctant to report on specifics as important as the number of fatalities.

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Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-24 17:27

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Around 1 p.m. EST yesterday, panic spread after the Associated Press (AP) Twitter account announced that US President Barack Obama had been wounded from a series of explosions at the White House. Minutes later, the AP revealed that their account had been hacked.

With 1.9 million followers, the concession of retweets spread like wildfire, reaching the stock market where the Dow lost 130 points within a few minutes before returning to it original level.

The fake tweet read: “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”

The AP quickly announced that their account had been hacked and was suspended yesterday. Following the incident, an FBI investigation is under way. An AP staffer said on his Twitter account that the attack came shortly after a number of AP employees had received a phishing email.

Hacking can have strong implications for a venerable publication like the AP.

“A media publisher conceivably could be sued for negligence if things are published under their name that is not true and if they didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent the erroneous publication of information,” said Nick Economidis to Bloomberg.

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Author

Briana Seftel

Date

2013-04-24 16:36

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According to French journalist Laure Nouraout on meta-media.fr, the summit panelists made reference to the Boston bombing regularly throughout the day to provide a solid basis for their discussions. As David Hayward, Director of the BBC College of Journalism's events programme wrote on his blog: "Last week was quite extraordinary for breaking news stories. I was in New York for most of it, preparing for the BBC College of Journalism and New York Times Social Media Summit #smsnyc. As many people pointed out, the event could not have come at a better time for the issues that were to emerge."

The summit took a critical glance at the way in which breaking news is treated and consumed by the masses. The general consensus seems to be that events in Boston have acted as a real game-changer for the relationship between journalism and social media. Developments during the Boston bombing scandal were reported and discussed on Twitter on an unprecedented scale and hereby revealed the extent to which traditional methods of news reporting such as TV and radio are growing largely outdated.

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Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-23 17:49

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Excellent news for "smaller" blogging sites with a turnover of less than £2 million per annum and/or fewer than 10 employees, then, as it has been announced that such businesses will not be subject to the harsh financial damages due to be introduced under the new royal charter (see previous Editors Weblog article on reactions to the royal charter). Small companies who do not consider publishing news as the main part of their business will also be exempt.

Many of the small blogging sites in question will be heaving a huge sigh of relief in the wake of this government concession. Concerns had already been raised over the issue; outrage was widespread over the fact that small-scale bloggers would be subject to the harsh press regulation rules that were intended for the large news organisations responsible for the misconduct which lead to the Leveson inquiry in the first place. This exemption has been made in the form of a legislative amendment to the royal charter agreed upon by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties. The amendment is due to go before the House of Commons for debate later today, 22April.

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Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-22 16:22

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Koch Industries is reported to be exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant. There is also a possibility of buying Hoy, the second-largest Spanish-language daily newspaper in the United States.

The Tribune Company emerged from bankruptcy on 31 Dec. and its newspapers are valued at roughly $623 million. The interest in newspapers is part of a three-pronged plan to persuade Americans that a small government is best, according to The New York Times.

Charles and David Koch both run Koch Industries, one of the largest privately owned companies in the U.S. The energy and manufacturing conglomerate based in Wichita, Kansas, has an annual revenue of about $115 billion. The brothers, known as being politically libertarian, have advocated for decreasing the size of the government and loosening restrictions on taxes and regulation.

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Author

Briana Seftel

Date

2013-04-22 14:38

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So what exactly will a "data editorial" role in Twitter’s media team entail? Back in September 2012, a job ad described the ideal candidate as being able to "create "clear and insightful data-driven case studies" using Twitter’s data for the press, partners, and its own internal communications." Twitter is remaining quiet on the matter of Rogers' appointment, but it can be assumed that his new job will consist in utilising his expertise in the field of data journalism to interpret the dizzying number of tweets that inundate the Twitter network – all this in a format that makes sense to a data-shy public. The most that Rogers revealed in his blog announcement yesterday was that "Twitter has become such an important element in the way we work as journalists. It's impossible to ignore, and increasingly at the heart of every major event, from politics to sport and entertainment. As data editor, I'll be helping to explain how this phenomenon works."

The appointment of a data editor may well be considered the next logical step in Twitter's ever-increasing domination of the news industry. Over the past few years, the real-time communications platform has been dictating the news agenda with growing power and influence, consistently pipping newspapers and websites to the post when it comes to breaking the latest current affairs stories.

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Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-19 16:56

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From all we’ve been hearing from the American newspaper industry, this might come as a surprise. When it comes to paid content, it was nice to see an evolution in the discussion and sophistication in the approach. No longer is the question, “should I do it?” but rather “how should I go about it?”

There is a lot of experimentation going on, with some newspapers approaching or reaching parity in the price of their digital and print subscriptions.

More than 600 newspapers now have paid content systems, according to analyst Ken Doctor, who moderated a MediaXchange session on “the strength and future of digital subscriptions.”

Gordon Crovitz, Co-Founder of Press+, an e-commerce platform now helping 400 newspapers implement flexible subscription models, says those who follow the company’s best practices see a revenue increase of 15 to 20 per cent in the first 18 months.

The key to successful paid content is nothing less than rethinking the subscription model and moving away from asking consumers to pay for platforms. “It’s not about the platform, but the content is what you’re paying for,” said Laura Hollingsworth, President and Publisher of the Des Moines Register.

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Larry Kilman

Date

2013-04-19 15:48

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A final, decisive vote on the bill – which would also legalize adoption by gay couples – is expected to take place on Tuesday. The French government is calling it the biggest social reform since the abolition of the death penalty in 1981.

On Wednesday, the AFP reported two journalists from its partner channel LCP-Assemblée Nationale were attacked and their equipment was destroyed while they covered a massive protest in Paris. The broadcaster added that LCP would be filing a complaint.

Several other incidents involving attacks on journalists have been reported within the past six months.

In November, Caroline Fourest was beaten along with feminist group FEMEN. Fourest, a well-known feminist journalist, reported evidence of “anti-journalist” slogans at the protest. Around that time, Les Sociétés de Journalists (SDJ) denounced the treatment of journalists, saying:

"The reporters--all media combined--present on site were able to see the poisonous atmosphere that prevailed among the protesters against journalists. Insults, spitting, obstructing, sometimes even physical abuse. It is not an isolated element but a general atmosphere hostile to journalists. This climate is reminiscent of what many journalists had found and denounced at the last presidential campaign. "

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Briana Seftel

Date

2013-04-19 15:18

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In the aftermath of the double bombing of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and injured more than 170 others, false information has clouded the reports of the Boston Marathon bombing. With the 24-hour news cycle and social media disseminating information faster than journalists can analyze it, the urge to report quickly has in some cases overtaken the need to report correctly.

Hours earlier, trusted news sources such as the AP, Reuters, CNN, Fox News and the Boston Globe had reported that the FBI had identified a sole suspect. The outlets said that the suspect was in custody, only having to retract their statements after the Boston Police department set the record straight.

“BREAKING: Law enforcement official: Arrest imminent in Boston Marathon bombing, suspect to be brought to court,” tweeted the AP.

CNN’s John King told viewers that a suspect had been identified and had been arrested; the network later released a statement, Politico reported, saying “CNN had three credible sources on both local and federal levels. Based on this information we reported our findings. As soon as our sources came to us with new information we adjusted our reporting.”

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Allison DeAngelis

Date

2013-04-18 18:07

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Woo Hee Chang believes she has the solution to a troubling paradox at the heart of the online news industry. As journalist Tyler Falk discusses in an article (in French) for business and technology website, smartplanet.fr, media businesses want their content to go viral and, of course, they want to monetise it, but more and more have made their content largely inaccessible by putting up paywalls. Some choose to keep a minority of their articles freely accessible, whilst others choose to provide a title and short summary for every article.

But blocking content to non-paying customers, seen now as a financial necessity for many newspapers such as the New York Times, can lead to the "stagnation" of a newspaper's readership. When a paper starts charging for content, many potential new readers steer clear, especially in the case of a brand new publication which has no established reputation or faithful readership willing to pay for continued access to trusted content. This paywall strategy constitutes a "wall" in the very literal sense of the word – it erects a barrier between the newspaper and its potential audience.

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Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-18 17:37


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