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Editorsweblog: AFP launches YouTube channel for election coverage

International news wire Agence France-Presse (AFP) has launched a YouTube channel which will be dedicated to covering next year’s French presidential elections, the Editorsweblog reports.

The new channel has been launched in conjunction with Twitter and the CFJ journalism school (Centre de Formation des Journalistes), the report adds.

The channel hosts videos posted by political parties and tracks candidate popularity, but its main feature is an interface in which viewers can submit questions to candidates. The questions are then posed in interviews held by journalism students from CFJ.

Read more here…

See the YouTube channel here…

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AFP launches paid-for iPhone app

January 12th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile

Agence France-Presse (AFP) has release a paid-for application for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Costing $1.99 to download, the app will offer multimedia news reports from AFP in English, Spanish, Portuguese and German.

Interestingly, the agency has also created a mobile opportunity for its clients with this launch. AFP customers can adapt the app with their branding and content – and French news org La Depeche du Midi as already done this with the launch of its iPhone app last week.

Related reading: The AFP’s not the only news organisation going for the iPhone market…

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‘Breaking News': a play by a company that’s not a company

May 14th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

“Breaking News might be documentary theatre. It might be more technically absorbing than (strictly speaking) poetically engaging or playful. It might, in truth be a very long way from Aeschylus. But Aeschylus was an inventor, a radical maker, two and a half thousand years ago, of a new thing called drama. In all their work, and most ambitiously to date in Breaking News, Rimini Protokoll have created live spectacles that are similarly new for the media-orientated 21st century.” (James Woodall, Breaking News programme, 2009)

A friend recently went on holiday and emailed another of our friends an update: she had redefined the trip as ‘educational visit’ and now was enjoying it much better.

I undertook a similar exercise at the theatre at the weekend: once I’d redefined ‘Breaking News’ as two hours (without an interval) of informative, rather than necessarily entertaining, activity, I was much more settled in my seat at the Theatre Royal in Brighton last Saturday.

Rimini Protokoll is the German company (‘the sort of outfit that probably could come only from Germany’), except they don’t call themselves a ‘company’, which produces Breaking News, their latest ‘documentary’ theatre endeavour – visiting Brighton for its UK premiere.

“[G]enerally, they use neither actors nor published texts; and because they do not really consider themselves a company. So what is left? What are they? What do they make?”

Good question from theatre critic, James Woodall, in his introductory notes in the programme. On this occasion, Rimini Protokoll have brought together eight international ‘news people’, all based in Germany, onto one stage, to live-interpret the news from their variously angled satellite dishes. The ninth contributor is an exception: Ray, from Ship Street in Brighton. Perhaps they found him in the Cricketers.

The company improvises in a ‘arrangement of stage spontaneity’ – and this is the first time it has been done in English – their reactions to, and interpretations of, the news on various international news channels that they consume at their individual televisions, or computer (in the Icelander’s case). Intermittently, they take turns to ascend a podium to read extracts from Aeschylus’ The Persions.

breakingnews

So, what did I learn from my educational excursion to the theatre? These are some of the nuggets gleaned:

  • Iceland likes a giggle during its news: The Icelanders take the end of the news bulletin ‘lollypop’ very seriously: for Saturday’s performance, we caught an item on the success of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra’s Maximus the Musical Mouse. It’s very important that ‘you don’t leave your news audience depressed’, explains Simon Birgisson, who was once an investigative journalist for the DV newspaper. I was also tickled by Iceland’s TV channel history: its first ever station, Sjónvarpið, translated directly as ‘television’. Its second was called 2.
  • Al Jazeera has its critics: Djengizkhan Hasso, a Kurdish interpreter, and president of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish National Congress, criticised the channel for its emotive use of language in some of its reports. He also added that it would be very difficult to perform a play like Breaking News in an Arab country. Hasso’s performance was particularly memorable for the role-play of the time he met George Bush. He told the other actors what they had to say, and they solemnly repeated it back, so the audience got each segment of the conversation twice.
  • What counts as a high ‘alarm’ story for press agencies is very subjective. Andreas Osterhaus, a news editor at Agence France Presse (AFP) in Berlin said he raised such an alarm on the day of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, but his colleagues thought he had acted a little hastily. Previous alerts included the Princess Diana car crash, the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, and the capture of Saddam Hussein.
  • We also learnt that Sushila Sharma-Haque, who watches various Indian and Pakistani, as well as German, news channels, goes to bed at 10pm promptly. She did just this on the night of the performance, making at an early exit from the stage at around 9.30pm. She did, however, pop back to take a bow.

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News agencies suspend Australian cricket coverage over online coverage terms

Reuters, Associated Press (AP) and Agence France Presse (AFP) will not cover matches, training sessions and events for cricket in Australia, because of ‘unacceptable accreditation terms’ set out by Cricket Australia, the sport’s governing body in the country.

According to a release from Reuters:

“No text stories, photos or video of any of the training sessions, matches, press conferences or events will be distributed by the international news agencies to media around the world for the first test against New Zealand later this month, and potentially for the South Africa test coming up in December.”

Reuters partner Getty Images will provide images and ‘fulfil their commercial obligations only’ e.g. not providing any editorial of the matches.

Rights organisation the News Media Coalition said the agencies had been in discussions with Cricket Australia for months before rejecting the terms, which featured several restrictions relating to online coverage including:

  • Rules on how newspaper websites can be updated
  • Veto power for Cricket Australia over which websites and non-sports magazines the agencies are allowed to syndicate content to
  • Restrictions affecting the distribution of content to mobile news services

“As in previous instances, this decision [the accreditation terms] compromises our ability to report independently and objectively, and comes at the expense of global fans and sponsors,” said Christoph Pleitgen, global head of News Agency for Thomson Reuters, in the release.

“We would like to resume our timely, premium coverage as quickly as possible, pending a solution to the current situation. However, freedom of the press and protecting the news interests and coverage rights of our global clients are at the core of both our business and Reuters editorial principles, and these must be upheld.”

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Spot the difference: AFP withdraws ‘digitally altered’ missile shot

July 10th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Photography

Agence France-Presse (AFP) has retracted a photo of Iranian missile tests published this morning, stating the image had been ‘apparently digitally altered’ by Iran’s state media, the New York Times’ Lede section reports.

It was too late for the print editions of the LA Times, Financial Times, Chicago Tribune and others, who ran the pic on the front page, and for the BBC, New York Times and Yahoo News websites.

Below – spot the difference between 1) the AFP’s image…

Digitally altered image of Iranian missile tests from Agence France-Presse

…and 2) an image later obtained by the Associated Press:

An Associated Press image of Iranian missile testing

According to the Lede’s report, the agency said the fourth missile may have been added to mask a grounded missile that failed to launch during the test.

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Wikileaks site restored by court ruling

March 5th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Citizen journalism

Wikileaksthe whistle-blowing website forced offline two weeks ago – has been restored by a US federal court judge, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.

Overuling the closure, Judge Jeffrey White said he was concerned about issues of freedom of speech and the ‘effectiveness of disabling the wikileaks.org domain name’.

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Citizen journalist ’sells’ video for €100,000

February 1st, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Citizen journalism

A video from French citizen journalism website Citizenside is expected to generate €100,000 (£75,285) of revenue after being sold to Paris Match, the Editors Weblog reports, with a commission rate of between 50 and 75 per cent going to the amateur creator.

The footage from Citizenside, which recently signed a partnership with Agence France-Presse, was of the newsworthy former Société Générale trader Jérôme Kerviel signing a statement at a police station, according to the report.

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