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Video: what the Journalists’ Charity does and how you can help

Video by the Press Association. Presenter Anna Botting (@annabotting)

This two year-old video shot by the Press Association helps explain the work of the Journalists’ Charity.

The charity usually raises money at high-profile dinners and speaker events, but now you have the chance to support your fellow journalists (and your future selves) in a much easier way.

Just a fiver (or more) will help speed me, Journalism.co.uk publisher and owner (@johncthompson) on my way on an epic 1400km solo and unsupported cycle from Brighton to Oslo, Norway on 8-19 June 2012 (see earlier blog post for full details).

My sponsorship page is here.

 

 

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Media release: PA signs UK video news deal for US with AP

April 15th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Training

The Press Association has signed “a landmark deal” with the Associated Press to distribute PA’s UK video news footage through the US wire’s archive.

Under the new agreement AP’s archive customers will be able to access more than 18,000 UK videos, with new content from PA added on a daily basis.

A release from both parties says the deal will help the PA extend the reach of its footage beyond the UK and “significantly bolster the UK news element of AP’s video offering”.

It added the stories supplied to AP have been “specifically designed as ‘archive-friendly’ compilations of the rushes from which the story was created”.

Fully shortlisted, the stories provide customers with longer sequences and greater depth than the tightly edited packages offered by other suppliers.

See the full release here…

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Death of Daily Mirror reporter in Afghanistan blast was ‘unpreventable’, inquest hears

April 1st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Nothing could have been done to prevent the death of Daily Mirror defence correspondent Rupert Hamer, who died in a blast in Afghanistan in January last year, the Press Association reports from an inquest into his death.

An inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire heard that he died despite wearing full standard issue body armour.

A US Marine was also killed and Sunday Mirror photographer Philip Coburn, who was sitting next to Mr Hamer, was seriously injured.

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, David Ridley, Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner, said: “No matter how much training was given, I don’t think it would have changed the outcome.

“This was not an act of war. It was a cold-blooded killing. The purpose of the device was to maim and kill American service personnel.

In the days after his death the Mirror paid tribute to Hamer, who had worked for the title for 12 years.

The UKPA story is at this link

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Community Newswire service to close due to funding cuts

March 30th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Media releases, PR

Community Newswire, a news service which works in partnership with the Press Association to assist community groups in getting stories in the media, will close tomorrow due to a cut in funding.

The Cabinet Office has withdrawn funding from the group following October’s government spending review.

The service, which is run by the Media Trust, encourages community groups to contact the organisation and stories are then written up by PA journalists and sent via a PA feed to newsrooms.

In a statement on its website, the Media Trust said it is seeking new funding and hopes to reinstate the service.

hatip: HoldtheFrontPage

 

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NAPA challenges PA’s public service scheme – but where’s the money coming from?

May 24th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Local media

Earlier this month at a Press Gazette and Kingtson University conference, Press Association training director Tony Johnston said funding for one of the agency’s pilots of its public service reporting scheme was close.

The public service reporting scheme, first mentioned in July last year, will aim to increase coverage of local public institutions and produce reports made available online for free to local news organisations. The first pilot partnership announced was with Trinity Mirror. As part of the initiative, the agency would recruit journalists and deploy them within a defined area and for a specified time period to cover local authorities and public bodies. The aims of the pilot would be to ascertain demand from local media for this type of news with a view to rolling out the scheme nationally – at an estimated cost of £15-18 million a year.

Johnston said the funding for the first pilot had come from an independent source, stressing the importance of this relationship for future funding of pilots and a long-term service:

The service would have to be completely editorially independent of the funding source. Content would have to be free to all and be generated in a way that delivers value for money.

Today the National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA), spurred into action by Johnston’s comments, said it would seek fresh talks with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to raise concerns about the PA’s plans to create a subsidised reporting network. The association is particularly concerned with suggestions made last year by PA managing director Tony Watson that funds from top-slicing the BBC Licence Fee could go towards such a public service reporting initiative as part of the Independently Funded News Consortia (though he didn’t explicitly mention the public service reporting pilot at this point).

Says NAPA spokesman Chris Johnson in a press release:

This would be the first step on a slippery slope to further demands for the BBC licence fee cash to be used to subsidise all kinds of reporting deemed “too expensive” for commercial companies.

Many NAPA members find that with the retrenchment of local newspapers they are increasingly being called-upon to provide grass-roots content of all kinds.

We can see no justification for replacing staff who have been made redundant with an expanded network of PA staff subsidised with public money. It would tend towards creating a dangerous reporting monoculture – some kind of UK version of Pravda – and a phenomenon that is quite alien to the British news industry and a free press.

NAPA will raise its concerns with Jeremy Hunt and will encourage the DCMS to examine the potentially damaging and distorting effects this plan would have on an already a fragile market. We believe that it would distort the market and seriously discourage new entrants from setting-up in business. It would be anti-competitive, and should be resisted at all costs.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk, Johnson said he did not question the need for strong local journalism, reporting on public bodies and courts, but is concerned that the PA has not been more explicit about its plans for funding.

It seems to me that the PA keeps flying this kite in the hope that some one or other grabs onto the line (…) I don’t know why any kind of public funding should be used to subsidise newspapers who have engaged in wholesale decimation of their staff.

I’m not sure top-slicing was ever particularly high on the PA’s agenda as a source of funding for this specific scheme, but the agency has kept its cards in its search for backing very close. The stakeholders involved in the local media scene will await PA’s funding announcement with interest…

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Journalism.co.uk signs up Press Association as event partner

December 17th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in About us, Events

Press Association logoThe Press Association has signed up as a media partner for Journalism.co.uk’s digital journalism event news:rewired.

The Press Association joins the BBC’s College of Journalism and sponsor Audioboo as partners for the event on 14 January 2010 at City University London.

To meet a growing demand for digital and multimedia content from its clients, the agency launched its video news wire in April. In keeping with our news:rewired session on working in partnerships, the Press Association is also planning a public service reporting pilot in collaboration with local media groups.

You can follow the agency on Twitter on @pressassoc and find out all about news:rewired at this link.

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Roy Greenslade: British journalism is in crisis and time is running out

September 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick

A powerful plea from Roy Greenslade over at MediaGuardian today:

“Is anybody out there listening properly? Do enough people care? Are journalists themselves sticking their heads in the sand?

“We are not facing a momentous crisis in journalism. We are already in a crisis that is putting the central public service aspect of our role in jeopardy.”

In a follow-on from his column in the London Evening Standard in which he claimed there was possibility of charity funding to back public service reporting by the Press Association,  he emphasises the need for speedy rescue measures.

And he’s enthusiastic about non-commercial models:

“The reason I’m in favour of not-for-profit journalism, whether funded by charity or, at arm’s length, by state bodies, is that it breaks the link with commercialism.

“That’s a vital first step in the reinvention of journalism. What we need is a preservation of the old until the new emerges. We cannot afford to let the old die before the new is in place.”

Full post at this link…

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Opposition to BBC’s newspaper video-sharing plans grow (the links)

Journalism.co.uk feels like its gone back in time today – specifically to autumn last year when regional newspaper groups, unions and industry bodies were voicing unanimous opposition to the BBC’s plans to increase its local video news content.

Well, another year, another video plan – and more opposition.

Yesterday the corporation announced an agreement to share news video from four subject areas with the Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail and Independent websites. The clips will appear in a BBC-branded player and run alongside the papers’ own news coverage.

In the announcement, the corporation suggested it would extend the plans to other newspaper websites – and asked third parties to register their interest.

The reaction

Welcomed by its launch partners (The Telegraph described the deal as ‘a step in the right direction’) – the plans were quickly denounced by commercial rivals ITN:

“The BBC’s plans to offer free video content to newspaper websites risk undermining the demand for content from independent news providers, potentially undercutting a very important revenue stream,” said ITN CEO John Hardie in a release.

“The pressure on commercial news suppliers has never been greater which is why ITN has led the way in opening up valuable new lines of business, and the BBC’s latest move risks pulling the rug from under us.”

According to a MediaGuardian report, News International says the arrangement is far from a ‘free deal’ for the papers, but rather free marketing for the BBC, which will lead to less diffentiated content on newspaper websites in the UK.

Meanwhile the Press Association said it had spoken with the BBC Trust about the plans before they were announced and was hoping for a market impact assessment – a process it says cannot now be completed because of yesterday’s launch. In a statement given to both Press Gazette and MediaGuardian, a spokeswoman for the PA said there were other ways for the BBC to work with commercial rivals, such as by sharing facilities.

The PA launched its own video newswire for newspapers earlier this year and has said the BBC’s plans undermine investment in video by commercial players.

The questions

Arguably, providing a pool of news video for diary events/supplementary content could free up the titles’ staff to cover original content and produce more multimedia of their own. A similar argument to the PA’s recent announcement of a ‘public service reporting’ trial.

One question that should be asked – hinted at in Alick Mighall’s blog post on the matter – how will the commercial details be hammered out? Will the BBC add pre-roll ads for BBC programming to the clips; and what if a pay wall is erected in front of the video players?

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Alan Rusbridger’s digital crystal ball: what next for ‘public information’ journalism?

July 23rd, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

One of the more influential figures in British journalism – Alan Rusbridger the editor-in-chief of the Guardian and the Observer discussed his ‘why journalism matters’ at a star studded Media Standards Trust event at the British Academy last night. His audience included Lord Puttnam, Robert Peston, Roger Graef, Bill Hagerty, Felicity Green and Nick Cohen.

In his tour d’horizon Rusbridger chose to refer back to the past and, most importantly, forward to the future. He traced the origins of the recent seminal reporting on the G20 protests by Paul Lewis – which lead to a furore over the death of an innocent bystander Ian Tomlinson, after a phone video came to light. It was reportage taking the Guardian back to its foundations, Rusbridger said, drawing comparisons with its reporting of the Peterloo riots in Manchester in 1819.

That and Lewis’ work was based on simple journalistic principles of observing, digging for the truth and not giving up. “It was a piece of conventional reporting and tapping into the resources of a crowd,” he said. “There are thousands of reporters in any crowd nowadays. There was nothing to stop people from publishing those pictures but it needed the apparatus of a mainstream news organisation for that to cut through and have impact.”

Likewise on investigations. The money and time the Guardian had invested in the major series on tax avoidance earlier this year was, initially, simply the traditional way investigations were done. That story had been transformed by documents which came from readers of the series and were put first on the net before being injuncted by Barclays Bank. His audience had a sneak glimpse of them up on the screen.

But the days of journalists behind castle walls sending out articles ‘like mortars-some hit, some missed’ to readers were now gone. The process was thanks to the internet firmly a two-way one.

He quoted Jemina Kiss, the Guardian technology reporter, who has over 13,000 personal followers on Twitter and uses them to help research, shape and comment on her stories. Rusbridger admitted to being an initial Twitter sceptic, before his conversion: ‘I didn’t get it’.  “Sometimes you are too old to keep up with all these things  and Twitter just seemed silly and I didn’t have time to add it to all of these other things – but that was completely wrong.”

The Guardian editor looked back – all of 30 years – to the days of long and dull parliamentary reports in the broadsheet British press and compared them to the likes of EveryBlock on the internet, the US-based site which aggregates information in micro-areas to help plan journeys to work, and to avoid crime and other hazards. He’s not sure if it’s journalism, but ‘does it matter?’

Local struggles

But it was on the death of local news – on TV and in newspapers – that he was at his most challenging. ITV had all but retreated from the provision of it, with a final surrender due next year; local papers were feeling the economic heat severely and cutting back on the essential reporting of council, council committees and the courts – to the dismay of some judges. He called it the ‘collapse of the structure of political reporting’.

This ‘public information journalism’ should not be allowed to disappear, he said. It needed public subsidy. Rusbridger posited that it could be, but would not be, done by the BBC. More hopeful were the trials currently being run by the Press Association where they would act as a print and video agency / aggregrator for the country and syndicate those services to local papers/websites.

“This bit of journalism is going to have to be done by somebody,” Rusbridger said. “It makes me worry about all of those public authorities and courts which will in future operate without any kind of systematic public scrutiny. I don’t think our legislators have begun to wake up to this imminent problem as we face the collapse of the infrastructure of local news in the press and broadcasting.”

Rusbridger said local public service journalism was a ‘kind of utility’ which was just as important as gas and water. “We must face up to the fact that if there is no public subsidy, then some of this [public service] reporting will come to pass in this country,” he said. “The need is there [for subsidy]. It is going to be needed pretty quickly.”

Whilst modern journalism was evolving and being transformed by the new media, it still firmly mattered as did journalists, he said. “There are many things that mainstream media do, which in collaboration with others is still really important. The ability to take a large audience and amplify things and to give more weight to what would [otherwise] be fragments. Somebody has to have the job of pulling it all together.” All was not gloomy in Rusbridger’s digital crystal ball.

More to follow from Journalism.co.uk. The event was tweeted live via @journalism_live.

John Mair is a senior lecturer in broadcasting at Coventry University. He is currently editing a special issue of the journal ‘Ethical Space’ on the reporting of the Great Crash of ’08. He will run a world-wide video conference, supported by Journalism.co.uk, on ‘Is World Journalism in Crisis?’ in Coventry on October 28.

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Jon Bernstein: Five lessons from a week in online video

July 22nd, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Multimedia

It’s now four years – give or take a few weeks – since broadband Britain reached its tipping point.

Halfway through 2005 there were finally more homes connected to the internet via high speed broadband than via achingly slow dial-up. Video on the web suddenly made a lot more sense.

And given that we’re still in the early stages of this particular media evolution, it’s not surprising that we are are still learning.

Here are five such moments from the last seven days:

1. If you build it they will come…
…provided you build something elegant and easy to use. And then market it like crazy.

This was the week that we learned how the hugely successful BBC iPlayer has overtaken MySpace to become the 20th most visited website in the UK . The iPlayer is now comfortably the second most popular video site even if its 13 per cent share is still dwarfed by YouTube’s 65 per cent.

If you want more evidence of success just look at the BBC’s terrestrial rivals. ITV, Five and even Channel 4 – which had a year’s head start over the BBC – are now aping the look, feel and functionality of the corporation’s efforts. No hefty applets to download – just click and play.

Of course, this model – a different player for each network – will look anachronistic within a few years. Maybe less. Hulu arrives on these shores soon.

2. Don’t do video unless you’re adding value
If you are going to put moving pictures on your newspaper website it’s a good idea to ask why? And the answer should be that it adds something to your storytelling.

Last week the Independent completed a deal that sees the Press Association providing more than 100 90-second clips a week, each focusing on a single news item.

Nothing wrong with the quality or content of the video that the Indy is getting, but where’s the added value? Unless the video has some killer footage or a must-see interview, why would a reader of a 500-word news article click play? I’m not sure they would.

As someone eloquently put it on my blog:

If it’s visual, it needs pictures and maybe video. If it’s verbal, sound will do. For everything else, words are cheaper for the producer and quicker for the consumer.

3. You can’t control the message
Singer Chris Brown chose YouTube as the medium to deliver his first public pronouncements following February’s assault on his now ex-girlfriend Rihanna.

He plumped for the video-sharing site rather than a TV or newspaper interview presumably so he could control the message – no out-of-context editing of his words and no awkward follow-up questions.

To some extent he got his wish. Within 24 hours of posting his 120-second, unmediated mea culpa, it had been viewed nearly half-a-million times.

More significantly, however, the video had received over 12,000 comments and most were hostile.

4. Brands love YouTube
In an oddly defensive post on its YouTube Biz Blog, the people behind Google’s file-sharing site set about busting what it claims are five popular myths.

Putting ‘Myth 4′ to rest – namely that ‘Advertisers are afraid of YouTube’ – the post asserted:

Over 70 per cent of Ad Age Top 100 marketers ran campaigns on YouTube in 2008. They’re buying our homepage, Promoted Videos, overlays, and in-stream ads. Many are organizing contests that encourage the uploading of user videos to their brand channels, or running advertising exclusively on popular user partner content.

We wait, breathlessly, for a follow-up post so we can discover how many of these elite brands made a return on their YouTube investment.

5. Death becomes you
Nearly a month after his passing, Michael Jackson’s life is still being celebrated online. Eight out of this week’s viral video top 20 are either Jackson originals or owe their inspiration to the singer.

A case of the long tail occupying the head. For a few weeks at least.

Jon Bernstein is former multimedia editor of Channel 4 News. This is part of a series of regular columns for Journalism.co.uk. You can read his personal blog at this link.

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