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Safety in hostile environments #ipiwoco

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Session by Hannah Storm. Updating notes here.

Director if International News Safety Institute. Former foreign corr.

Focus entire priority on journalism safety for clients such as AlJazeera and Guardian.

Provide advice for journalists on the ground, training and research.

Seen an increase in attacks on journalists in recent months.

Before you go:
Who is responsible?
Always a have a plan.

Be as self-sufficient as possible.

- location
- language
- culture
- customs
- contacts eg. Networks and unions

Grab bag
A lot of kit!

‘You sleep next to it, you take it as hand luggage’

Crisis Management
- all newsrooms should have a plan in place
- worst-case scenario
- different teams to report and manage crisis
- contact details of org that can help.

Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

Written by sarahhartley

April 14th, 2014 at 7:44 am

Posted in Journalism

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Video: Data journalism camp 2013, Istanbul

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I grabbed a quick word with some of the participants at the end of the first data journalism camp we hosted in Istanbul. Here’s how the journalists found the experience.

Written by sarahhartley

February 6th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

London Neighbourhoods Online unconference 2010: Thoughts


Update19.35: There’s now links to three other blog posts from the unconference posted into the comments at the bottom of this post which are well worth checking out, plus;
* The Twitter hating grumpy view from Erith posted in the brilliantly named Arthur Pewty’s Maggot Sandwich and said: “found the whole experience to be excellent, informative, entertaining and it also enabled me to meet and network with some friendly and like – minded people” and proves to be a man after my own heart by dedicating a good chunk of his write up to the catering.
* Networked Neighbourhoods says “the message is that the momentum behind the neighbourhoods online movement is gathering pace”.

A few notes inspired by yesterday’s London Neighbourhoods Unconference. The nature of an unconference means several sessions were underway at any one time so a full view of the day needs a little piecing together.

I’ll add links to blog posts on the topic as I see them – please do let me know if you’ve written one or seen one anywhere by dropping the link via the comments below to share with other interested parties.

I should just add that these are my notes and thoughts and not a report of proceedings. Feel free to pitch in with your comments/recollections/thoughts.

  1. The session I offered on working with mainstream media was lively. I listened….. and what I heard was some understandable cynicism towards the attitude and motivation of big media. Following on from the previous post, we did discuss as many of those topics as we could in the time with the majority of the conversations prompted by; ‘lifted’ content, payment, linking and copyright. (We didn’t get time for ‘newspaper structure’ which some people were interested in and so I’ll maybe return to that in a future post). On the hot topic of lifting content ie. where newspapers had used text and/or pictures without any permission, attribution or payment. As I mentioned at the session, this is the exact same accusation I often hear levelled about bloggers and hyperlocal website operators from newspaper journalists(!), so maybe time for a bit of reflection in this matter. Time to play nice. Show some respect on both sides before the opportunities this new news ecosphere presents retreat into a sea of resentments.
  2. Next up I bobbed into the discussion about Local TV. This was led around a conversation about whether the right course of action is to send a letter to lobby culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to ensure that community television ventures are not sidelined. (To put this discussion into context, worth reading the recently released Ofcom Public service Broadcasting Annual Report ). The debate in this session raised the question about whether grant support i.e. tax payer’s money was a reasonable expectation for such ventures or whether projects needed to be commercially viable from self-generated revenue streams such as advertising. It struck me that this ‘future of local tv’ debate gets hung up on traditional delivery mechanisms in the way that the ‘future of journalism’ debates get hung up on print. And quickly to a deep niche (hyper) V mass audience (general) discussion. Sparked a thought about about scaleable hyper? It was interesting to see StvLocal represented at the event – maybe the StvLocal model is a disruptive model to shake telly things up?
  3. Big Society. What does it mean? I still don’t know how it relates. Answer on a postcard – or this pigeon might be more appropriate.

Other links I’ve seen on this event;

The hashtag for any other material published is #lno10. I’m looking forward to catching up with the other blog posts and pictures as the day progresses.

Journalists on Twitter: Is it all talk or are you listening?


The value of social networks, and specifically Twitter, in engaging with audiences is something all news organisations want to understand more about, so it was intriguing to hear Newsquest Digital MD Roger Green’s view on this at yesterday’s AOP Microlocal Forum.

Explaining how some of his group’s journalists, and notably Brighton’s Jo Wadsworth, have used Twitter to great effect, Green pointed to statistics around the ratio of followers to followees of individual journalists as a way of displaying their listening prowess.

Jo, unusually, has a higher number of followees (2,346) than followers (2,135) which, Green asserted, meant that she was always listening to the readers.

In a rather pointed criticism of the UK journalists with the large follower numbers (mainly, but not exclusively, at The Guardian), Green contrasted these as examples of people who ‘liked to talk rather than listen’.

Now I’m all for bosses bigging up their staff’s achievements (and in Jo’s case it’s certainly warranted as she does indeed use Twitter very effectively and is very responsive), however, I’m not sure that the follower/followee ratio does actually demonstrate the point Green was seeking to make.

Surely the best way to tell if someone is listening is to see if they reply (and in Jo’s case she does) therefore looking at the number of RTs and @ replies to people would seem to be a more effective measure – something it’s easy to see on the public timeline but I’ve not seen demonstrated in statistical form.

My personal experience is that, once my followee number passed the Dunbar’s number, it became more tricky to effectively monitor all tweets, although the @ and DMs are still, thankfully, manageable and #tags and lists were surely invented to help us all keep track and participate effectively.

I’d be interested to hear how other people measure their activity in this area? Do you compare follower/ee ratios? What is the best measure for engagement? And most importantly,  readers – how do we do?

Written by sarahhartley

December 10th, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Cabinet forum on local news: Lots of Qs looking for As


Some notes from this week’s discussion at the cabinet forum debate and dinner. It was an event with unusual format and, by way of explanation, the agreed rules around covering it are that all debates can be blogged, tweeted etc. without individual quotes being attributed to individual people.

In a variation of Chatham House rules, those present can also be identified and it was refreshing to see such a cross-section of voices represented at sessions hosted, by culture minister Sion Simon.

Newspaper reps including myself and The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger able to sit around the same table as bloggers such as Jeff Jarvis via skype, hyperlocal activists including co-chair William Perrin, industry analysts, civil servants, broadcasters, commentators, people with experience of the local news landscape both in the UK and US.

I make no apology that what I’ve noted here are things of specific interest to me, and are in no way an attempt to provide the definitive low-down of the event.

Others have broadened the experience further and there’s links here. These are my notes while on the train north with the addition of this excellent set of slides from industry analysts Enders.

• What do we call these people? I’ve blogged on this issue before and it keeps being raised at the sort of events I attend. Because someone wants to engage with a news investigation, write a blog or post about a community event doesn’t necessarily mean they want to be a ‘citizen journalist’. Some do of course, but many are simply using the wonderful tools at their disposal as a means to another end – better community, organise an event, change the world or whatever. Do they even need a specific pigeon-hole to fit into? Can they just be people? Engaged citizens? Is the publication part of their output really the most important element in what they do?

• How do large institutions, such as the government or a major broadcaster, ensure these hyperlocal voices are heard? At present there’s no association, guild, group, etc. to represent their widely differing interests. Should there be one, and if there was, how could it be constituted to be truly representative and inclusive? What a challenge that would be, but without it, some of the proposals in this area such as IFNCs risk becoming a non-inclusive consolidation of giants.

• Who should be treated as a journalist? Relates again to the first point but, for those people who do want to be treated as journalists, how do they get access to sources of information? This issue has already seen some plainly daft responses such as councils providing different tables in the same council chamber etc. I always go back to my first Penguin Book of Journalism here which carries wise words for the reporter starting out reminding them that they have all the rights and responsibilities of a citizen. No more, no less. Access is an area where any journalist with legal/public administration training could assist by helping challenge the petty bureaucracies in town halls. But that raises the point again – does training make a ‘proper’ journalist if so what’s the qualification? Or is it experience – if so which institutions count and how long does it have to be to qualify? Or is it an NUJ card?- so are we back to the closed shop? Does it require being employed by a publication registered as a newspaper? Well that’s plainly not sustainable. As journalists we’re not exactly being very transparent with this are we?

• Who will report from the council chambers and courts if local newspapers close or retract so much that staff are unable to fulfil this function? And there lies the BIG question. What will be the long-term impact on democracy? Will councils use that situation as justification for uncritical publications extolling the virtues of their services? People at the forum and generally, in my experience, seem to agree this sort of reporting is a Good Thing. But what’s it going to take to ensure that continues – just how Good a Thing is it? Subsidy? Tax-breaks? Platform agnostic service provision to all as outlined by PA at the Digital Editors’ Network later in the day? This is such a huge issue for the minister to wrestle with……any thoughts, contributions welcome.

Journalists? Bloggers? Citizens? Who are these people?


Talking about local

Talking about local

This weekend’s first unconference event for those running local community websites raised some fascinating issues – not least in areas of ethics and access.

Bringing together people from across the UK to share skills, knowledge and experience meant Talk About Local 09 quickly revealed some of the issues for these self-publishers, community activists, bloggers and journalists.

And how these people are considered lies at heart of these issues – what do we call someone who’s taken it on themselves to start a website for the local community and how should they be treated?

It was clear from listening to their experiences that there’s no consensus on this.  At the one extreme, local councils had denied access and even been accused of making late-night pressuring calls to remove material, while at the other end of the scale, some more enlightened council press officers treated the new news sources in the same way as the established local newspaper.

As I pointed out in The Guardian piece on this issue, the governing body the National Association for Local Authorities is reviewing its stance, but one thing’s for sure, the authorities are not moving quickly enough to properly reflect the reality of the changed local news landscape.

One of the participants in Saturday’s event thinks the issue is one of perception of who brings ‘the truth’, as a posting on the blog Culturing Stuff says;

“Just lately it seems as though every institution we hold dear, has some kind of skeletal defect waiting to be discovered if we decide to open the cupboard door. So with this in mind let’s revert back to the point… How come blogging is blogging and the news is THE NEWS (all official and truthful) and is Bloggin seen as a lesser being, just because the format has no established rules or code of conduct?”

All this appears to lead us back to one of the debates circulating last week about transparency and it is perhaps that, in the end, which will provide the measure of whether something is regarded as credible or truthful by the authorities currently keeping the gate of information sources.

Any journalists – or council press officers – want to comment?

* See more pictures at the Flickr pool for Tal09 and dip into the day’s debates with this Tweetdoc.

Written by sarahhartley

October 5th, 2009 at 8:08 am

Salford students hear of BBC online plans

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Bigger, faster and more personalised – that’s the direction the BBC news website is travelling in according to head of editorial development and multimedia journalism Pete Clifton.
Addressing students and academics at Salford University this afternoon, Mr Clifton gave a presentation to demonstrate what’s in store for online users – and for media jobseekers in the region.
He said that journalists being recruited in the future would all need to have online skills as well one other specialism, but he thought that would not seem unexpected for graduates from courses such as Salford’s journalism course.
And he said the move north would undoubtedly open new job opportunities for journalists in the region.
“The MediaCity expectation is that we will be able to work across more platforms. Online skills will be the other skill that everybody has to have,” he said.
Users of the website can expect more of social media feel to the site in the coming months. A project called Identity will open up the possibility of a passport-type registration which allows users to travel into different services and another called Spaces, which will give users their own pages.
But he assured the audience that the BBC would not become another Facebook. He said: “We want to make the site feel more social, make the activity of others obvious. We won’t be turning ourselves into a social media site, but giving more of a feel as to what others are doing on the site.”
And the site will continue to be underpinned by an improved breaking news service.
He said: “A lot of audience testing came out with the updating of stories being an issue.
“A fundamental of a successful news site is how we deal with breaking news. It has to be at the very forefront of that. They have to rely on you to do breaking news really well. Yes there’s all the polishing after that, contextualising and analysis but you have to put up the stories quickly.”
The site redesign will make it more obvious to users which stories have been updated and when, even if the running order of the pages has remained constant for an hour or so.
Some of the other developments coming up in the next year for the BBC sites include;
* Bigger video players and more profile on the front pages.
* Larger pictures and galleries which are navigated by thumbnail pictures to encourage users to stick around on the site.
* A new look for the local site which is currently being tried out in Norwich and aims to hold the news elements and local sites together better.
* Moving the management of the mobile sites into main news CMS to make uploading quicker.
* After the success of bloggers such as Robert Peston and Nick Robinson, the blogs are being redesigned, they are wider templates and we’ve learned a lot about how effective they can be about telling stories and letting people know what’s going on.
* Taking inspiration from the work carried out by the meta data team at the New York Times, BBC journalists will be expected to start putting more meta data tags around our stories. “When you start to do that you can start to do many more things automatically than we can at the moment,” said Mr Clifton.
It sounds like an ambitious lists of developments and one which has an ethos running under it which will encourage consumption of content in places other than the website – expect widgets, sharing options and embeddable video.

Written by sarahhartley

March 25th, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Some cheer to end the journalistic year


Nobody working in the media could judge 2008 as anything other than a grim year but it’s been interesting to see that December has brought with it some optimistic voices.

Are these the green shoots of journalistic resurgence? Maybe the never ending diet of job loss, closure and “death of” stories has run it’s course (for now).

Here’s some cheer to end the year;

The Carnival of Journalism has picked out some positive messages for 2009.
A raft of contributions include Andy Dickinson’s prediction the the new year will be the year of the journalist and Jack Lail asserting that the talented will succeed (even if he does decorate his blog with a picture for the Great Depression!).

The Guardian Media Group’s Simon Waldman argues that this is the time for the Great British Media Brand.
Strong brands, with engaged audiences make the best advertising environment. None of us can claim exclusive access to an audience any more – there are too many alternatives. As a result, we have to compete not just on the scale of our audience, but the depth of our relationship with them – ideally on as many different levels as possible.

“And, on a broader scale – the economy needs us. We hardly manufacture anything any more. And now that the financial services sector are either on their knees or   owned by the state – the creative industries are frankly the best hope any government has of a good news story”.

And it’s not all about the big boys, interesting to see that quite a few people thinking along the same lines as myself in the predictions for 2009 in pinpointing hyperlocal as a growth area for next year.

Vincent Maher, portfolio manager for social media at Vodacom and formerly of South Africa’s Mail&Guardian (@vincent_maher):
Twitter update from Vincent MaherTom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich (@tom_watson):
Twitter update from Tom WatsonSo, here’s to 2009 folks!

Written by sarahhartley

December 21st, 2008 at 3:44 pm

UK journalists using Twitter


buzbyI was interested to see PR Blogger’s post identifying which British journos are using Twitter (as individuals rather than a company news feed).

It’s great to have this as a sort of directory so people can track down a particular individual’s activity so I hope it continues to grow.

A couple of things struck me about the list;

* There seems to be a bit of a north-south divide. Just a few of us as far north as Liverpool, Manchester and Lancashire but what about the rest of England and the Scots?

* Among the nationals, is tweeting a broadsheet only activity? Are there any red-top colleagues using Twitter?

If the micro-blogging platform continues to grow in popularity as fast as it has been to date, then they’ll soon need a whole database to cope with a directory.

Perhaps twitter names will be as commonplace as a phone number one day and there will be a 118 number to call to get people’s Twitter names with the original networked bird Buzby as its mascot.

(btw, the image on this page was borrowed from who used it alongside a posting on how phone technology has changed. S/he quite rightly also pointed out that no-one under 25 would understand what this yellow bird was all about so, if you fall into that age-group, apologies.)

Written by sarahhartley

November 8th, 2008 at 5:07 pm