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Wired offers creative commons images in exchange for link

Director Tim Burton surrounded by dictaphones at Comic Con 2009, one of 50 images made available by Wired as part of its new creative commons plan. Image: Wired.com

Wired.com has made what looks like a canny move in deciding to license its own images under creative commons in return for a mention and a link.

The technology site doesn’t currently sell the images, so the commons licence will cost it nothing but will probably generate some useful publicity today, like this, plus traffic and SEO in the long run.

See 50 images made available immediately here.

Wired hasn’t stipulated where the link and mention have to go, so presumably it’s fine to put it either right next to the image or bury it at the bottom of your blog post.

The licence also allows users to edit images, as I have with the one above. Just a simple crop here, but mashups and other edits are also fine.

The move also raises a long-standing lack of clarity over the CC “non-commercial” licence. When we use CC images on Journalism.co.uk, we usually steer clear of images marked “not for commercial use” because we carry ads on the site and the site is a profitable entity.

But the distinction isn’t as clear cut as that according to some. Nieman Journalism Lab’s Joshua Benton has an in-depth post about the CC issue, read it here.

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TechCrunch: YouTube launches creative commons licence option

It is being widely reported that YouTube has now launched the ability for users to choose how they licence their content through its video editor platform.

The new Creative Commons option will give other people permission to use footage, including for commercial purposes, with attribution, according to TechCrunch.

It is also reported that initially YouTube is working with content partners including C-SPAN and Al Jazeera to offer a starting batch of 10,000 videos under the creative commons license. Al Jazeera already makes some of its content available under a creative commons licence, shown in this repository. TechCrunch reports that it will not take long for YouTube’s 10,000 video store to grow.

That library will rapidly increase as more people switch their content over to Creative Commons, and there’s even a tool that will let you swap the license for a bunch of videos at once.

A request for more information from YouTube has not yet been answered, but details of YouTube’s creative commons policy can be found here.

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Creative Commons releases new mark for public domain content

Creative Commons has released a new label for works that are free of known copyright restrictions. The Public Domain mark will make it easier for internet users to find copyright-free material and CC says it will increase the value of the public domain.

The Public Domain Mark is a further step on the path towards making the promise of a digital public domain a reality … Marking and tagging works with information about their copyright status is essential. Computers must be able to parse the public domain status of works to communicate its usefulness to the public. The metadata standard underpinning the Public Domain Mark and all of CC’s licensing and legal tools are what makes this possible.

Full post on Creative Commons at this link…

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The Jobless Journalist: Week four – Are subbing and reporting roles merging into one?

September 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs

This is the fourth post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.

Last week I blogged about whether you should apply for subbing jobs if you’re a reporter or a features writer.

This week I’ve spoken to two journalists – one print and one online – about the ‘concertina effect,’ i.e. whether subbing and reporting roles are merging into one, particularly in an online environment.

Peter Sands is a veteran newspaper sub and director of PA Training and insists that the standalone sub is far from dead.

Even with web publishing where content goes live before it is subbed (meaning the reporter has to ensure copy is clean first), Sands says the role of the sub-editor is still vital.

“I would definitely say that you have to have a second pair of eyeballs,” he says.

Sands was editor of the Northern Echo in the early 1990s and admits much has changed since then.

At that time there was real animosity between subs and reporters: “In Darlington there was the Red Lion pub for subs and the Britannia for reporters and never the two should meet,” he says.

While Sands believes the sub is alive and kicking, he acknowledges that their role is being redefined. “The divide [between reporters and subs] has really gone now,” he says.

Sub, web editor and corporate blogger Fiona Cullinan agrees: “Divide?  What divide? The divide is less about reporting versus subbing and more about are you engaged or not, are you digitally included or not?”

“By not engaging more in online environments, traditional journalists are not developing their digital writing or subbing skills, let alone all the other skills that go with publishing to the web, like picture research under Creative Commons licences, image manipulation, linking skills, SEO knowledge, how to upload and promote content, and the big one: the ability to deal with readers talking back to you.”

Apart from the odd typo creeping in when you publish first and hone later, many reporters who write straight to the web can face serious libel issues.

Cullinan says checking factual inaccuracies and avoiding legal pitfalls is ‘perfect sub-editor territory‘.

“From what I’ve read, reporters in multimedia newsrooms are being asked to sub their own work; meanwhile subs are being made redundant,” she adds.

“How reporters are supposed to sub to old-school standards, perhaps with minimal experience or training, and 24-hour newsroom deadline pressures, should be interesting!”

Cullinan also points out that the comments section can act as a ‘rather more public second set of eyes, pointing out your typos and incorrect facts’.

The upshot? To keep up with the changing face of journalism a reporter needs to be savvy about subbing as well as having other web skills, but it is still the sub-editor who has the last word.

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Reporter’s guide to multimedia proficiency – now available for download in PDF

September 8th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Multimedia, Online Journalism, Training

Mindy McAdams’ comprehensive guide to multimedia proficiency is now available to download in PDF from her website.

The 42-page document is fully linked and usable online in most web browsers, Adobe Reader, or in Preview on the Mac OS, so there’s no need to waste trees in order to read it.

McAdams has licenced the entire document  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License so users are free to share, distribute, reuse and even remix it, in line with the CC conditions.

The booklet comes straight from a series of 15 blog posts, written as guidance to those who want to transform themselves into multimedia journalists. Her succinct guide includes tips on blogging, audio interviews, podcasts, photography, and video.

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Andy Piper: Chasing the Daily Mail for Flickr attribution

Maybe not an unlikely crime, but its one that could be increasingly common as more newspapers turn to Flickr for content.

Andy Piper writes on his blog:

“The Daily Mail posted a story on their website about my friend Andy Stanford-Clark, and used a crop from one of my photos to illustrate it. As it happens, I would have been perfectly happy for them to use it (and even to crop it) if they’d asked for permission. At the time I post this, they are not following the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence…”

“….it’s a national newspaper displaying what would appear to be significant ignorance about the morality of using user-created content.”

Full post at this link…

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Thoughts from Doha: a Q&A with Al Jazeera’s Tarek Esber

Tarek Esber is senior analyst for Al Jazeera Mobile & New Media and based in Doha. Intrigued by his recent online updates, Journalism.co.uk sent him over a few questions. Firstly, we asked him specifically about the Al Jazeera forum which took place last month, and then asked for more general observations about use of social and new media in the Arab world.

So, we noticed you tweeting from the fourth Al Jazeera forum last month – what was that all about? [TE] The Fourth Al Jazeera Forum was built on the success of past Al Jazeera Forums to debate, discuss, and extend the discourse on the critical dynamics of the Middle East in the context of a globalised world. The forum focused on key topics such as the new players in this emerging multi-polar world, the historical context of the power shifts, and the media’s role in this new political landscape. In addition, two case studies examined the war on Gaza and the instability in the Indian subcontinent. The forum was attended by an international mix of journalists, analysts, strategists, academics, and intellectuals to help bring these issues into focus, as well as leading thinkers and strategists were present to explore the evolving face of the region, its place in the global landscape, and the challenges in reporting it in depth. Speakers spoke in either Arabic or English, sometimes both, and live translation was available in English and Arabic.

What were personal highlights for you? This was my first forum so the whole event was a highlight for me. In particular though was the fact that the Creative Commons Team were there with Joi Ito, their CEO, chairing the first Workshop at the Forum – ‘Building Successful Media Projects in Open Networks’.

That particular workshop had a fascinating discussion about how media organisations can open up their content to their advantage. Our Creative Commons repository came up as an example of this as well as the new US government’s use of CC Licences.

Another personal highlight was the case study about the reporting of the War on Gaza, especially having the opportunity to hear Robert Fisk talk about that conflict. The discussion was particularly interesting to me, given the role Social Media played in the PR battle between the two sides. It was also the first major conflict that we as a New Media team had been able to cover using a variety of New Media tools.

We picked up your comment via Twitter that quoted Al Jazeera English managing director Tony Burman: “Western interest in our [Gaza] content being distributed via New Media shows demand for our kind of message/method” 

What are your thoughts on that, as a member of the new media team? I should add that quote to my list of personal Highlights. Tony Burman was referring to the reaction our New Media initiatives received during the War on Gaza.

I think it’s great and as a New Media Team it’s exactly what we aim to do. A major part of our job is discovering new methods of communication – using the latest tools and services to reach out to and interact with new audiences. Inevitably most of the people using these new services tend to be based in the west.

There was also a huge amount of interest in the Twitter feed we set up just for news about the Gaza conflict. 5,000+ followers from all around the world and for a lot of them it was their first exposure to News from Al Jazeera. The feedback we got was fantastic.

Our Livestation stream, which allows anyone who has an internet connection to watch our English and Arabic channels live for free, also proved very popular. During the War on Gaza viewer figures shot up six-fold and the largest pool of viewers were in North America, a traditional dark zone for Al Jazeera. We’re working on that. Since the War on Gaza we’ve started to make a push to get Al Jazeera English broadcast in Canada and the USA: the IWantAJE.com site gives more information.

Our YouTube channels, in Arabic and English, were just as important. They have always been extremely popular but during the time of conflict we were one of the most viewed channels on there.

Did you find the Twitter activity surrounding the forum useful / something to learn from in future? We hadn’t planned to do anything on Twitter for the Forum this year. It was really a spur of the moment thing – I was at this Forum and a lot of very interesting things were being said. My natural urge was to tweet the most interesting parts especially as this was an invite-only event.

This was a personal reaction rather than a Al Jazeera New Media Team initiative. Some of the other members of the team were tweeting in Arabic as well and we set-up a Hastag (#AJForum09) for people to follow. It was all done using our personal accounts.

In the future, and we already have plans to do this for the AJ Film Festival this month, we might be better off setting up an official channel for the Forum so people can tune in specifically to hear what is going on rather than tweet from my personal account. It’s certainly clear that the interest is there. We’re also thinking about other things we can do for the next Forum such as taking questions via Twitter and trying to get some of the live streams online.

What are the most salient points about new media that came out of the forum? Well we’ve already talked about most of the larger points: The Creative Commons repository and the potential for Open Networks, our work during the War on Gaza and how New Media is helping Al Jazeera reach new audiences.

In the ‘Reporting from the Fragile World: Can the Global Media Reconcile with Changes in the Middle East’ session, New Media came up quite often, especially the online PR battle during the War on Gaza came up a few times. The extensive use of social media tools by both sides was unprecedented, especially the amount of preparation the Israeli government did before the conflict started.

In the same session some good points were made by Fahmi Howeidy, an Egyptian columnist and author, about political bloggers in Egypt. He mentioned that in Egypt, people under 30 don’t read papers, they read blogs as it is their method of escaping the government’s oppression of the media.

He also said that, while he didn’t feel political bloggers had much of an effect on government policy in Egypt, what they had done is made people aware of the governments attempts to control the media and dissenting voices.

He said that in the past, when journalists were arrested and imprisoned for speaking against the government, there wasn’t much national or international outcry but when bloggers were arrested, there was. This took away the impression that government officials were ‘Gods’ – it humanised them which means that they can be held accountable for their actions.

How does uptake/use of new media differ in the Arab and western world? Very interesting question, and it’s something I’ve been learning a lot about since moving to Al Jazeera in Doha from the UK. It’s hard to generalize about the Arab world as a whole as it’s really a diverse region in many ways.

Social media, in particular, seems to have really been embraced in the Arab world. There are more and more interesting Arab voices in the blogosphere everyday opening up their cities, their lives and their countries policies to the whole world. There are also a good number of Arab Social Media Services and more are being created every month. There is WatWet, the Arab Twitter and Ikbis which is usually referred to as the Arab YouTube. There are also Arab blogging platforms such as Maktoob.

But I digress from the question: How does it differ to the west? When I think about new media in the Arab world the first thing that comes to mind is constraints. There are technological constrains in some parts of the Arab world – good internet connectivity can be very expensive and might not be widely available. Hosting can also be an issue. Local hosting companies are rare in some parts and are usually expensive. Western hosting can be bought but the cost is still high.

Then there is censorship. In some Arab countries you can’t access services like Blogger or YouTube. In others you might be able to get started but soon find that if your content isn’t acceptable then your site might be blocked.

The biggest difference for me though is the reason people use the services. I feel that in some parts of the Arab world the services are mainly used as a way to escape restrictions in daily life. As with the example above about Egypt, it gives young people the chance to talk about their lives and their governments in a way they can’t do in public. That’s not to say people in the west don’t do the same, I just get the impression that it’s more widespread in the Arab world.

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DNA09: Aggregators – friend or foe? Unfair competition, says Copiepresse

March 4th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Newspapers, Online Journalism

Google’s decision to introduce advertising to the US version of Google News invalidates the companies arguments that their aggregation is fair use – the thoughts of Margaret Boribon from Copiepresse, speaking at today’s Digital News Affairs (DNA) conference.

Copiepresse won its case against the search engine giant for publishing and storing the newspaper group’s content without permission or offering payment. Google also removed the group’s content from its index – though the damages filed for (£39million) haven’t been finalised.

Boribon stands by the group’s original argument – Google News is an information portal, a filter between readers and news to the detriment of the newspapers’ own websites.

Plus – the opt-out system of Google News crawling sites is in contradiction with opt-in system of European legislation, adds Boribon.

Is she against aggregation? No – but aggregators must learn to respect content producers and their rights.

Speaker Nigel Baker from the Associated Press (AP) said the agency wants to see its content reused, but there must be control and a commercial model in place for this reuse.

“There are some aggregators out there who are helping themselves to content. It gets to a stage when they are more valuable and they have to negotiate proper deals with content providers or suffer the consequences,” said Baker.

But the age-old question rears its head:

Can news organisations afford to live without Google? What alternatives are they proposing?

Newspapers need to educate people that information has a value and producing it is a costly exercise – it can’t be given away for free, says Boribon.

But it is – and news content in particular has to be monetised quickly before, as Livestation’s Matteo Berlucchi said, ‘it dies on the vine’.

Perhaps a Creative Commons attribution/revenue share deal for news organisations content would work, adds Berlucchi, but you have to realise that the value of news is fleeting.

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Flickr and geotagging: Part of the newsgathering model?

February 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Citizen journalism, Multimedia

After speaking with Matthieu Stefani from cit-j platform Citizenside about how the site mobilises its users to cover local news events, a Flickr development came to mind as a useful tool for tracking/aggregating content around breaking news.

Using Flickr’s map function, you can search by keyword and location. A quick search for bushfire and Australia, for example, brings up a host of images from Flickr users:

Screenshot of Flickr's geotagged images map

A great resource for news organisations looking for new images and on-the-ground witnesses and contributors (just remember to respect Creative Commons licencing and attribution principles).

Flickr announced last week that it has passed the 100 million mark for geotagged images and the site has also introduced a feature, as part of the geotagging process, called ‘nearby’, which allows users to search for other geotagged images located with a 1km radius of their photo.

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Digital Britain: this time you can comment

February 4th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology, Journalism

Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report last month was debated, discussed and pondered far and wide in media land. Now (HT @tom_watson) there’s an open version of the document with a commenting feature built in.

Writetoreply.org has the report in sections and any comments left are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence.

The authors of the report are encouraged to subscribe to the comments RSS…

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