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#jpod – Dying for the story: Citizen journalism and the Arab spring

March 2nd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Citizen journalism, Podcast

Much has been written about the tragic deaths of Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, French photographer Remi Ochlik and other reporters who have died since the Arab uprisings began.

But what about the citizen journalists who have been killed before and since Colvin and Ochlik?

How many people armed with a camera lens or mobile phone to bring the world images from Syria, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere have been killed?

In this podcast Journalism.co.uk technology correspondent Sarah Marshall speaks to Frank Smyth, executive director of private firm Global Journalist Security and part-time senior advisor for journalist security for the Committee to Protect Journalists, about the dangers and the risks being taken by citizen journalists.

The podcast also hears from Haret Alfasi, a Libyan raised in the UK who runs LibyaFeb17.com, a site he used to curate and translate citizen journalist reports from Libya; Khalil Ghorbal, co-founder of Le PaCTE Tunisien and one of the project leaders of Speak Out Tunisia, which offers training for citizen journalists in Tunisia; and Omar Hamilton, an activist and filmmaker and co-founder of Egyptian citizen journalist collective Mosireen.

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

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Video: Freelance foreign correspondent discusses reporting from Yemen and Libya

February 2nd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Freelance

GRN, an agency for foreign correspondents, has posted a video interview with freelancer Portia Walker.

In the first in a series of interviews from GRN, Walker talks about her year covering the Arab spring in Yemen and Libya.

A former TV current affairs producer with Al Jazeera English, Walker explains how she moved to Yemen just before the Arab spring began.

She speaks about the “baptism of fire” in reporting from Yemen for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Washington Post and the Economist as well as GRN’s TV and radio clients.

Expecting to spend time in Libya researching features, she found she was spending her time “daily news reporting” which “did not go down well at some times with the authorities” and led to her arrest a gun point.

You can find out more about GRN in this Q&A interview and read guide on how to become a roaming reporter.

The video interview is below.

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Journalisted Weekly: 9/11 anniversary, Libya and 50p tax rate

September 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

Journalisted is an independent, not-for-profit website built to make it easier for you, the public, to find out more about journalists and what they write about. It is run by the Media Standards Trust, a registered charity set up to foster high standards in news on behalf of the public, and funded by donations from charitable foundations. Each week Journalisted produces a summary of the most covered news stories, most active journalists and those topics falling off the news agenda, using its database of UK journalists and news sources.

9/11 anniversary, Libya and 50p tax rate

for the week ending Sunday 11 September

  • Coverage of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks dominated this week’s news
  • The aftermath of the Libyan conflict and the debate over scrapping the 50p tax rate were covered lots
  • Over 200 deaths from a sunken ferry near Tanzania, the UK’s joint nuclear fission project and the resignation of the European Central Bank chief were covered little

Covered lots

Covered little

Political ups and downs (top ten by number of articles)

Celebrity vs. serious

Arab spring (countries & current leaders)

Who wrote a lot about… the investigation of the Raoul Moat killings

Long form journalism

Journalists who have updated their profile

  • Tim Rich is the Director of Rich Media and works freelance for The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent and the London Evening Standard. He studied a BSc in Politics at Bristol University. He can be contacted at tim.rich@richmedialtd.co.uk.
  • Sean O’Driscoll is the US finance correspondent at the Sunday Times and also writes for Lifestyle features at the Associated Press. He has an MA in Journalism at Dublin City University, and can be contacted at seanpodriscoll@yahoo.com.

Read about our campaign for the full exposure of phone hacking and other illegal forms of intrusion at the Hacked Off website

Visit the Media Standards Trust’s Churnalism.com – a public service for distinguishing journalism from churnalism

The Media Standards Trust’s unofficial database of PCC complaints is available for browsing at www.complaints.pccwatch.co.uk

For the latest instalment of Tobias Grubbe, journalisted’s 18th century jobbing journalist, go to journalisted.com/tobias-grubbe

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Journalisted Weekly: Libya aftermath, football transfers and the eurozone

September 7th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers, Online Journalism

Journalisted is an independent, not-for-profit website built to make it easier for you, the public, to find out more about journalists and what they write about. It is run by the Media Standards Trust, a registered charity set up to foster high standards in news on behalf of the public, and funded by donations from charitable foundations. Each week Journalisted produces a summary of the most covered news stories, most active journalists and those topics falling off the news agenda, using its database of UK journalists and news sources.

Libya aftermath, football transfers and the eurozone

for the week ending Sunday 4 September

  • Libya remains the most covered story
  • Sporting events – US Open, football transfer window, World Athletics – feature prominently
  • Lib Dems’ choice for London mayor and Plaid Cymru leadership race covered little

Covered lots

  • Libya continues to dominate, 639 articles (including Gaddafi, 528 articles; Lockerbie, 119 articles; and Yvonne Fletcher, 84 articles)
  • The British football transfer window closed, 379 articles (including Gary Cahill, who didn’t move, 179 articles and Mikel Arteta, who did, 110 articles)
  • Continued worries about the health of the Eurozone economy, 248 articles
  • Abortion, as Nadine Dorries and Frank Field move an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, 107 articles
  • Mo Farah, gold medallist in the 5000m at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, 105 articles

Covered little

  • Brian Paddick, named as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the 2012 London mayoral election, 7 articles
  • Suicide bombers killed 9 in the Chechnyan capital, Grozny, 6 articles
  • Elin Jones announced her intention to stand for the leadership of Plaid Cymru, Party of Wales, 3 articles
  • Two journalists were murdered in Mexico City, 2 articles
  • Bolivia’s Supreme Court convicted five former military officers of killing over 60 people during 2003 protests, in an event described as a ‘genocide’, 1 article

Political ups and downs (top ten by number of articles)

Celebrity vs. serious

  • Madonna, previewing her film on Wallis Simpson, 79 articles vs former chancellor Alistair Darling, previewing his memoirs, 72 articles
  • The return of Simon Cowell to British TV with gameshow ‘Red or Black’, 59 articles vs a u-turn on the expensive Edinburgh tram network plans, 56 articles
  • Cheryl Cole, tweeting, appearing in a film with Cameron Diaz and possibly making up with Simon Cowell, 41 articles vs Nurse Rebecca Leighton, after charges relating to the deaths of patients at Stepping Hill hospital were dropped, 40 articles
  • Jonathan Ross, whose new chat show premiered on ITV1, 40 articles vs Murdo Fraser, planning to disband the Scottish Conservative Party should he be elected leader, 39 articles
  • Celebration as singer and actress Beyonce announces her pregnancy, 23 articles vs protests in South Africa around the discplinary hearing of Youth League leader Julius Malema, 23 articles

Arab Spring (countries & current leaders)

Who wrote a lot about… the US Open tennis

Long form journalism

Journalists who have updated their profile

  • Gillian Loney is a reporter on Glasgow Westend Extra and Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra, and a freelance reporter for Daily Record, The Herald, Evening Times, Motherwell Times, Cumbernauld News, Fest, and MyVillage. She received an MA (honours) in English and Scottish Literature from Glasgow University before studying for her MLitt in journalism at Strathclyde. You can follow Gillian on twitter @ExtraWestend.
  • Daniel Finnan is a Paris-based broadcast journalist working at Radio France Internationale, and a freelance for American Public Media, Radio Netherlands, and Deutsche Welle. You can follow Daniel on twitter @Daniel_Finnan, or visit his website.

Read about our campaign for the full exposure of phone hacking and other illegal forms of intrusion at the Hacked Off website

Visit the Media Standards Trust’s Churnalism.com – a public service for distinguishing journalism from churnalism

The Media Standards Trust’s unofficial database of PCC complaints is available for browsing at www.complaints.pccwatch.co.uk

For the latest instalment of Tobias Grubbe, journalisted’s 18th century jobbing journalist, go to journalisted.com/tobias-grubbe

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Q&A: Audioboo founder on the riots, Libya and ‘friendly competitor’ SoundCloud

Mark Rock, CEO of Audioboo. Photo by Kate Arkless Gray.

Since it launched in 2009, Audioboo has become widely used by journalists and so-called citizen reporters. You can add a picture and geolocate your Audioboos and simply engage with the community or use it as a audio player in a blog post.

Stephen Fry’s love of the audio recording and sharing platform, as well as the committed community of users have helped to cement it as a popular tool for journalists, and app on the reporter’s phone.

The Guardian listed the top 10 most-listened-to Audioboos back in June. We have been finding out about the latest developments by speaking to Mark Rock, CEO and founder, about Storify, the riots, Libya, its API and his thoughts on “friendly competitor” SoundCloud.

How has Audioboo developed, particularly now Audioboos can be added to Storify stories?

Part of the reason behind Audioboo is that the spoken word has been a really neglected area on the internet. All the innovation has been around music when it comes to audio, and the spoken word is a really evocative and emotional medium for reporting stories. If you just look at the Audioboo trending lists today probably several of the most listened to clips are from Libya.

What we set out to do was to make it as easy as possible for people to report or tell the stories or share an experience. Part of the deal with Storify is to be able to integrate that in a journalistic medium for not only reporting a story but also retaining it for future reference and use.

How was Audioboo used during the riots?

The riots were really interesting in that most of the journalistic output, so the Guardian, the Telegraph, Sky News, were using Audioboo to rebroadcast stuff they had already done.

I think where it really came into its own was people on the ground, with their mobile phones actually recording their experiences and some of the recordings are quite incredible in terms of what you can hear in the background: the riots, the sirens and fires blazing.

It’s a technological experience that even five years ago was not possible. And the audio was uploaded in two, three, four, five minutes of the recording being made and traditionally that would be a day or two days later.

And Libya?

We’ve seen the same in Libya. There are stories there which would probably would not get into a traditional radio broadcast. Very powerful stories, a lot of them done by non-journalists.

There’s a fantastic blogger called Libya17 who phones people up from America, phones people up in Tripoli and throughout Libya, and gets them to recount their stories live and then puts them up to Audioboo [you can hear the Audioboos from feb17voices here]. It’s a fantastic social record, I think.

You’ve opened your API. What are you hoping will come of that?

Even though we have mobile apps and a website, we really see ourselves as a platform to be used and abused.

Part of the Storify use was them accessing our API and just making it very easy for people to drag Audioboos into a Storify story.

We have a public API which does everything that we do so you can pull down clips, search, record, playback. All of that is out there now.

What we have done recently is a couple of things on the mobile front. There is an iPhone plugin. We have taken all our code for recording and playback and put it into a library for iPhone, which if you are an iPhone developer takes you about 20 minutes to integrate into an existing app. That’s been used by about four or five news outfits in Germany and Absolute Radio in the UK has incorporated it into three of its apps. It’s essentially a new way of citizen reporting or radio phone-in but with metadata and photos with location and tags.

What we also did recently is we open-sourced the code for our Android app. Android is a really difficult platform to support when you are a small company because a HTC works differently than a Motorola etc. We’ve actually stuck the entire codebase at github.com so that other developers can continue working on it.

Where do you see Audioboo in relation to SoundCloud?

SoundCloud has actually been going a year longer than us and I know [founders] Alex [Ljung] and Eric [Wahlforss] really well so we are friendly competitors.

SoundCloud is a fantastic system, a lovely website, lovely embed tools but it is 99 per cent music. Alex is a sound guy, loves that, and that shows in the product.

Where Audioboo works is in the spoken word. We’ve always been primarily about that.

Hopefully they can coexist. I know SoundCloud is looking to push much more into other areas of audio. But I think  where we excel is on the stories that audio allows people to tell. Up until now that’s been news stories so we’ve been known as a news platform. We’re rapidly going to push out into other areas, whether its musicians talking about their music or sports people talking about their training, and we should see the result of that fairly soon.

Have you any plans to change the price and accounts structure?

We have a five-minute limit for free accounts. Hopefully soon we are launching a 30-minute account to appeal to podcasters. We think we can convert a good proportion of users to a paid service and that is going to be £50-a-year and with that you get additional stuff like a better iTunes listing and the  ability to post to Facebook pages.

And we have our professional service which is used by BBC London, Absolute and Oxfam, which is much more about the curation and moderation of other people’s content.

Audioboo and SoundCloud have some differences when it comes to the player. Are you planning any developments to yours in the near future?

The commenting on the [SoundCloud] audio player is nice and I think it works for music and I would question as to whether it works that well for news. If I had a bigger team I’d love to have it. SoundCloud is 60 people, we’re five. We have a list of stuff we can do.

Any plans to cope with the problems of iOS native apps (such as the Journalism.co.uk iPhone app) which does not display the Flash Audioboo player in blog posts and news stories?

We currently have a player which, if you have Flash installed, will play in Flash. If you’re on an iPhone or an iPad, it will plays back in HTML5. That’s all in place for the site but where we haven’t got that at the moment is in the embedable player, where you can take the code from the site and put it in your own blog. It’s on a list at the moment. Stay tuned, is all I can say.

Any other developments in the pipeline at Audioboo that we should know about?

We’re continuing to improve the paid product. One of the things we’re doing is bringing back Phone Boo, which allows you to telephone call into the Audioboo website. If you haven’t got a smartphone and you haven’t got access to the web you can just make a telephone call and we record that and put it up on the web. We have partnered with an HD voice telephone provider so if you have an HD enabled phone it will record in infinitely better quality than a telephone call and it also means it integrates quite nicely with Skype.

We launched Boo Mail a couple of weeks ago. That’s the ability to send in a file by email, a bit like Posterous.

And for our Pro users we’re launching pre and post rolls. That is the ability to specify a sting or an ad or whatever you want at the beginning or the end of an Audioboo and that automatically gets stitched on.

Audioboo CEO Mark rock on reporting the riots, Libya and their “friendly competitor” (mp3)

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Luke Harding: ‘We’re sort of used to the gunfire, but this was clearly directed towards us’

August 25th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Press freedom and ethics

Around 35 journalists were relieved yesterday to have been allowed to leave the Rixos Hotel in central Tripoli, where they had been trapped for five days amid heavy fighting between rebels and Gaddafi loyalists.

Many of them moved from the Rixos to the Corinthia Hotel, further away from the fighting around Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound. But a report this afternoon from Guardian correspondent Luke Harding suggests that, despite Gaddafi having been ousted, they are still in some danger from loyalists. Talking to his colleague Mathew Weaver over Skype from the Corinthia, Harding said the hotel was “sprayed” with heavy ammunition fire for five to 10 minutes.

I was just downstairs in the lobby having lunch … and I went up to the second floor and there was a surge of journalists in from the terrace and there was gunfire. This was where we’d all been setting up our satellite dishes and people had been doing live braodcasts. There’s been a fantastic amount of gunfire over the last few days so we’re sort of used to it but this was clearly directed towards us which was why everyone came charging in.

It’s hard to know who, but it seems there were loyalists in the high rise blocks to our left that opened fire on the hotel.

There isn’t much security here, there are a couple of guards in the hotel who panicked and fired inside, which sent everyone scarpering. I just took the lift up to the 13th floor and locked myself in the room. The firing went on for about five to 10 minutes.

I just went to see my neighbour Kim Sengupta from the Independent. He is two [floors] down from me, and he has four bullet holes in the wall and one on the ceiling. This is not Kalashnikov fire – this is a very well-built, modern hotel – this is clearly something much heavier and someone has just sprayed the hotel with it. As far as I know, nobody has been hurt.

This is indicative of just how insecure Tripoli is.

See more on the Guardian’s Middle East liveblog at this link.

Follow Luke Harding on Twitter: @lukeharding1968

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BBC CoJo: New opposition newspaper launched in Libya

A post on the BBC College of Journalism site reports on a new opposition newspaper in Libya.

Middle East media analyst at BBC Monitoring Muhammad Shukri says Mayadin, a pro-opposition newspaper distributed in Benghazi but printed in Cairo is just one of dozens of new media outlets that have appeared inside and outside Libya since February.

Mayadin is temporarily published on a weekly basis in a tabloid format, with plans to publish daily in the future. “This is the first newspaper, in the full sense of the word, to be published in the wake of the 17 February revolution,” the London-based title, Al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted Ahmad al-Fayturi, the editor-in-chief, of the new newspaper as saying.

Al-Fayturi said the newspaper’s primary concern is to “document the 17 February revolution in Libya at all political, economic, social, cultural and legal levels”.

He explained that the name Mayadin, which means ‘squares’ in English, “sums up the spring of Arab revolutions”, as all of the revolutions broke out from public squares in Arab cities and capitals.

The post goes on to explain the challenges of printing in one country and distributing in another.

Al-Fayturi said: “We knew in advance that we are running a risk surrounded with problems and hardships. But perhaps what mitigates this situation is the fact that we have enthusiastic Egyptian friends who help us with the work.”

The full BBC CoJo post is at this link.

Related content:

AFT and Getty journalists released in Libya

Press Association photographer shot during Belfast riots

Living in limbo: Almost 70 journalists exciled in past year says CPJ

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CPJ: Call for freedom for detained journalists after releases from Libya and Iran

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the latest release of foreign journalists being detained in Iran and Libya “is a very positive development”, but repeated its call for the release of others.

Yesterday it was confirmed that Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz was released after being detained in Syria and then deported to Iran, while four journalists detained in Libya last month, including a British freelancer, were also released this week. Details of the whereabouts of a fifth journalist reported to have been detained in Libya at the same time, UK-based photographer Anton Hammerl, remain unknown.

“We are relieved that these journalists are free. It is now time for the Iranian and Libyan authorities to review the cases of dozens of journalists who remain imprisoned mainly for attempting to report on historic developments in the Middle East and North Africa,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon.

According to the CPJ Iran, together with China, is the world’s top jailer of journalists with at least 34 in prison.

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#jpod: The top news stories from Journalism.co.uk, 21 April 2011

April 21st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Podcast

Listen below for this week’s news round-up from Journalism.co.uk’s senior reporter Rachel McAthy and sign up to our iTunes podcast feed for future audio.

This week’s jpod reports on the death of a British journalist in Libya, the response from striking Tindle reporters to potential redundancy threat and we have the latest figures on the New York Times’ new online subscription model.

There is also more information on Journalism.co.uk’s fourth news:rewired event, noise to signal, which takes place on 27 May at Thomson Reuters, Canary Wharf.

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Reuters: Journalists in more than 500 attacks during uprisings, claims CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists claims reporters have been suppressed in uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa in more than 500 attacks, some of them deadly, Reuters reports.

Mohamed Abdel Dayem, program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists in the Middle East and North Africa, said the number of attacks on the media in the region since the start of the year was “unprecedented”.

Dayem adds that 14 journalists are known to have been killed worldwide this year so far and 10 of these deaths were in the Middle East and North Africa.

Yesterday it emerged that two Western photojournalists had been killed while reporting on the conflict in Libya, British-born journalist Tim Hetherington and Getty Images staff photographer Chris Hondros.

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