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Independent: UTV could sell television business to focus on radio

March 21st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Journalism

UTV Media, which owns the Channel 3 television licence in Northern Ireland as well as national radio station TalkSport, could be interested in selling its television arm to focus on radio and online.

The Independent quotes UTV director Scott Taunton as saying: “If that was something they [a buyer, presumably ITV] were interested in, we’d have a conversation. Less than a quarter of profits come from TV now. We’re essentially a radio business.”

UTV’s end-of-year results, published yesterday, revealed the group makes 70 per cent of its profits from radio.

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Reporters Without Borders urges Iraq authorities to reopen radio station

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has urged authorities in Iraq to reconsider the closure of radio station Al-Sada, reportedly the only independent broadcaster in the Al-Qadisiya province.

At the weekend RSF reported that the station was closed down because of music “contrary to local morality”, but that the local branch of the Iraqi journalists’ union had warned that the decision “violated freedom of the press as guaranteed by the constitution”.

Its representative stressed that such a move was unprecedented in Iraqi justice and warned of the dangers that it might present for the media industry.

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Five tips from a radio journalist who reports solely from an iPhone and iPad

September 28th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology, Mobile

For the past 18 months Neal Augenstein, a reporter with Washington DC’s all news radio station WTOP, has carried out all his field reporting from his iPhone and iPad.

Like many radio reporters Augenstein is also shooting and editing video, taking photos and tweeting from the scene of news stories he covers. All the audio, video, audio, photos and scripts he produces are created and edited on his two devices.

A year and a half in, we spoke to him to find out how he is finding the experience. He said he finds the iPhone more valuable than the iPad and tends to produce his live and pre-recorded audio reports on his phone, but writes scripts on his tablet.

Asked how it has changed his job, Augenstein told Journalism.co.uk:

It’s certainly made things a lot easier for me in terms of being able to put my laptop away and all the heavy equipment such as the cables, microphones, recorders, all the cameras that I was using.

There are some challenges to that, for instance, how do you put an iPhone on a podium for a news conference?

Another hurdle he has had to overcome is how to cope with the iPhone being susceptible to wind noise.

So what are his tips on apps and techniques for this form of reporting?

1. 1st Video – Augenstein uses this video recording and editing app for both his video and audio work. It allows multitrack editing and sharing but those familiar with PC or Mac audio and video editing will need to learn a few new swipes and pinches. Here is Journalism.co.uk’s guide on how to shoot and edit video using this app.

2. Ustream – He uses Ustream for livestreaming video, often in breaking news situations. Other app options for free livestreaming include Bambuser and Qik.

3. Skype is used by Augenstein for live reporting, rather than a phone line. He says he finds Skype “a robust way to communicate for a live report”.

One of our goals is the elimination of cell phone-quality recordings from our broadcasts.

Another recommendation from Augenstein was to take the audio from a live video stream, although you cannot have a two-way interview, between the reporter and studio presenter (although you could perhaps do this if you had two phones, one to livestream from and one to listen to the presenter, or if you have a radio to hear the station output, providing there was no delay in transmission).

4. Camera Plus – The WTOP reporter uses this app, also available for Android and BlackBerry, to tweak and edit photos.

5. Spend wisely. Augenstein uses the iPhone’s built in microphone.

There are ways you can plug in other microphones but my goal is trying to minimise the amount of accessories that I need.

As for setting up shots, Augenstein has got a Gorilla iPhone tripod, but opts for handheld shooting for video.

As a radio station our video does tend to be rather rudimentary. Getting a steady shot is important but our web videos are generally not produced, voicetracked packages. What we’re trying to do is work on the synergy between the on air product and the website and the social. If the radio report has sound bites of a person speaking, the website and the video is supposed to complement rather than duplicate what is in the report.

He has looked into the services provided by two companies, Tieline and Comrex, which allow you to broadcast live from a phone. Both options require relatively expensive kit to allow the audio to input via a channel on the radio mixing desk.

I have found, unfortunately, to this point that getting a good connection is difficult. Wifi is always a better-sounding connection than 3G or 4G and in breaking news situations you often don’t have optimal situations.

Since he locked away his cables, cameras and microphones in February 2010, Augenstein has seen his report turn around time decrease.

What used to take 30 minutes to create a fully-produced report I can now do in 10 minutes.

The sound quality is probably is only 92 per cent as good as broadcast-quality equipment, that’s the number I’ve been estimating, but as it can be tweaked and goes through processing at the radio station, people really can’t tell the difference.

And the most beneficial part of his 18-month iPhone and iPad trial?

It’s a chance to re-think the newsgathering process, which to me is the most exciting part about it.

  • Sign up to attend Journalism.co.uk’s one-day training course in using a mobile for reporting, which is being held in London on 4 November 2011.
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BBC creates public Reith Lectures archive online

June 27th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting

The BBC is to make hundreds of hours of recordings of its Reith Lectures available in a new online archive.

The archive will include 240 recordings made over the past 60 years and a transcript of every lecture since 1948, when the series began. The lectures were named after Lord Reith, the BBC’s first director general, who created them as a “stimulus to thought and contribution to knowledge”.

Notable lecturers over the years have included philosopher Bertrand Russell, who gave the inaugural Reith Lecture in 1948, Dame Margery Perham, fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, who became the first female lecturer in 1961, and Robert Gardiner in 1965, executive secretary of the United Nation’s European Commission for Africa, who became the first black Reith Lecturer in 1965.

Other famous speakers include American atomic energy scientist and Manhattan project chief J Robert Oppenheimer, and Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim.

This year’s Reith Lecturers will be Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former director-general of MI5 Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller.

While trying to assemble the archive, the BBC discovered that some of the audio recordings from the first 30 years of the lectures are missing, and the broadcaster has appealed to members of the public to send in any recordings they have.

Andrew Caspari, BBC head of Speech Radio and Classical Music Interactive, said: “This is a unique collection of stunning intellectual significance. Making our great programmes of the past available permanently is a vital role for Radio 4’s digital offer.”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s lectures will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 9am on June 28 and July 5. Eliza Manningham-Buller’s Reith Lectures will be broadcast at 9am on September 6, 13, and 20.

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Media release: RAJAR introducing new digital technology

June 6th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick

RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) today announced it is to introduce new digital technology to its audience measurement tools, including a new online radio listening diary and a digital personal interviewing aid.

According to a release this new digital collection of data is to be rolled out from July, “in response to the wider availability and everyday use of online”.

The move will enable RAJAR to offer improved demographic representation, with the complementary benefit of the online diary adding wider appeal to people who may be less responsive to the existing format. It will also enhance the capture of listening data across all platforms be it analogue, internet, DTV or DAB. The online survey will mirror the paper survey in content, allowing all data to be integrated for reporting.

See the full release here.

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BBC announces special swansong for Russian-language broadcasts

March 24th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick

As the BBC puts an end to its 65 years of traditional radio broadcasting in Russian, it is hosting a series of special programmes this week looking back at its journalism over the years.

This will include speaking to key members of the Russian media to share their views on the broadcaster, including the owner of the Independent, Alexander Lebedev and leading Russian journalists and writers.

The final programme will take place on Saturday (26 March) with the BBC Russian live weekend programme, Pyatiy Etazh (Fifth Floor).

The BBC started regular Russian-language broadcasts to the Soviet Union on 24 March 1946. Throughout the years, the BBC radio brought independent news and analysis to Russian-speaking audiences. In its special programming, BBC Russian looks again at the key stories it has covered – reporting the cold war and the perestroika, the attempted putsch of August 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the two Chechen wars and Beslan, the Russia-Georgia conflict and everything else that has mattered to its audiences in the region.

The BBC’s Russian output will continue on bbcrussian.com, where two radio programmes will be broadcast every Monday to Friday and one will be broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays.

Russian is one of seven radio programming languages which were proposed for closure as part of cuts to the World Service, along with Azeri, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish for Cuba, Turkish, Vietnamese and Ukrainian, and Russian.

Read more about the BBC’s special Russian programming here…

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James Cridland: TalkSport web traffic soars

UTV Media’s TalkSport has claimed a seven-fold increase in traffic to its website following a relaunch last August – with 1.7 million unique users and 9 million page impressions in January, according to unaudited figures seen by radio futurologist James Cridland.

Cridland says the site, which used to be “derided within the industry”, is now beating its closest broadcast rival BBC Radio FiveLive, which had an average of 191,000 weekly unique users in September 2010 (the last available figures), even though FiveLive has double TalkSport’s broadcast audience.

The site has been buoyed by closer editorial collaboration with Sport magazine and two big stories at the end of last month: football transfer deadline day and an exclusive interview with Richard Keys, the Sky Sports presenter who resigned in a controversy over sexist remarks.

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Nieman: A year later, lessons for the media from the Haiti earthquake response

On the anniversary of last year’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, Nieman Journalism Lab’s Michael Morisy takes a look at the media response to the crisis and some of the tools at its centre, including radio, Ushahidi’s mapping platform and crowdsourcing.

Critical to parsing through all the data were centers far outside of Haiti, like one group in Boston that helped geolocate emergency texts, information that was then passed along to relief workers on location. Groups of Haitian expatriates helped translate the flood of data from Creole, French, and Spanish into English, passing it along to the most appropriate aid organizations as well as the U.S. Marines, who often served as the basis for search-and-rescue missions.

In Haiti, the report found the use crowdsourced emergency information had hit a turning point, helping inform real-time decision-making.

Full post on Nieman at this link.

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Ofcom to allow product placement on UK TV

December 20th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Broadcasting, Business, Editors' pick

Broadcast industry regulator Ofcom has announced that product placement will be allowed in UK TV programmes from 28 February 2011. The rules for paid-for references on radio broadcasts have also been revised.

Full news release on Ofcom’s website…

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Broadcast journalist Michael Goldfarb on life after redundancy

September 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Job losses, Jobs

PoynterOnline.org has an interesting but unfortunately all-too-familiar story of a journalist – Michael Goldfarb – who lost his job during company cut backs five years ago. In an interview he shares his experiences of finding his feet as a freelancer and at times the realisisation of how little his years of experience would help him in his job search.

It was 5 July 2005, the day of the London bombings which Goldfarb had spent hours in the studio covering. When he got a call from his boss, he expected it would be to congratulate him on his work, but instead it was to break the news that his job was being cut.

Goldfarb soon returned to his post-WBUR life as a freelance journalist following failed attempts to find teaching work  – his 20 years of experience seemingly not enough to replace a lacking MA – but while financially he remains at a loss, Goldfarb’s talents as a journalist don’t seem to have gone unnoticed, with current projects including a monthly BBC TV news discussion, work with Globalpost.com and a new book in the pipeline.

But he remains concerned about an industry which he feels has given up on serving its audience.

I feel like a cavalry officer who has had two horses shot out from under him in the same battle. Serious reporting, serious writing: where is the audience for it in America anymore? I know It’s there, but the people who manage the news and book business have given up trying to serve it.

See the full interview here…

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