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Independent: Broomfield sets sights on Palin for upcoming documentary

June 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Politics

Nick Broomfield, the filmmaker who has profiled such easy-going and likable characters as Eugene Terre’Blanche and Aileen Wuornos, is in the closing stages of a new film about Sarah Palin, according to a report from the Independent today.

Broomfield has reportedly secured interviews with Palin’s parents and former aides.

Broomfield turned to the former Republican vice-presidential candidate after lack of access forced him to abandon a planned Amy Winehouse documentary. The Palin film has “been a struggle because she has been difficult”, Broomfield revealed. “Making her evangelism intelligible and interesting was difficult. All that you’re trying to do is tell a story as simply as possible, putting together a cohesive piece that will entertain.”

At the same time another portrayal of Palin is in the works, likely to be altogether more sympathetic that Broomfield’s. Tea party activist Stephen Bannon is preparing a film called The Undefeated for released, based largely on interviews with Palin supporters.

Palin is currently having 24,199 pages of her work emails being pored over by press and public after they were released last week under freedom of information legislation.

Read the full Independent piece at this link.

Image by david_shankbone on Flickr. Some rights reserved

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Release of printed Palin emails set to kick off race for stories

The world’s media (well, some of it at least) is eagerly anticipating the release of tens of thousands of emails sent by Sarah Palin while she was governor of Alaska.

The emails, which date from her inauguration as governor in 2006 through to her selection as John McCain’s running mate for the 2008 Republican presidential campaign, will be released at 6pm today.

The release looks set to spark a race between news organisations to dig out stories (or, let’s face it, plain old gossip).

In an affront to everything modern and digital, Palin’s office will release the 24,199 emails in printed form, in six boxes. That means, of course, that journalists will have to visit the courthouse in Juneau, Alaska to collect the documents and trawl through them on paper or scan them in.

The major US nationals will be on the courthouse steps at the appointed time of course. But it looks like there will be at least one UK newspaper represented – with the Guardian’s “crack correspondents” Ewen MacAskill and Ed Pilkington due to be “holed up in a Juneau hotel room combing through thousands of Palin emails as fast as they can read”.

The Guardian will then follow its MPs expenses app model by putting the trove of documents online and asking its readers to help analyse them.

The release comes just ahead of Palin’s visit to the UK and follows her recent bus tour of the east coast of the US. She is currently refusing to be drawn on whether she intends to run for president, and it remains to be seen whether the release of these emails will shed some light on a potential bid, derail it, or reveal no new interesting information at all.

Palin’s email was hacked back in 2008, with Anonymous, the group behind pro-WikiLeaks attacks on Mastercard and Amazon, thought to be responsible.

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OJB: UGC, the Giffords shooting and how ‘inaction can be newsworthy’

Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog has an interesting look at user-generated content and comment moderation, and the stories they can produce.

Bradshaw looks specifically at Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, which has been subject to strict moderation in the wake of the assassination attempt on Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. He points out that the decisions to remove certain comments and let others stand can be seen as representative of the page owner’s stance and could potentially give rise to a story.

Bradshaw also warns that trawling through comment threads on political pages is not the same as treading the streets. What you see there is not unadulterated content, it is closer to carefully edited campaign material.

Worth reading in full.

Full post on the Online Journalism Blog at this link.

Lost Remote has a post on another media issue to emerge from the Giffords shooting: the spreading of inaccurate claims on Twitter that Giffords had died, and subsequent removal of tweets by news organisations.

Full post on Lost Remote at this link.

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Overheard: Journalists assess Palin speech; prove they can be caught by a live mic too

June 28th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Politics

A handful of journalists covering Sarah palin’s speech in Turlock, California have fallen pray to an open mic. Hear the rather funny results below.

Source: Village Voice

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Todd Gitlin’s keynote JiC speech transcript: The four wolves who crept up to journalism’s door

Following our round-up of the Westminster students coverage of last week’s Journalism in Crisis conference, we’ll link to one final item:

Professor Todd Gitlin’s keynote speech, given via Skype, on the first day of the Westminster University / British Journalism Review Journalism in Crisis event (May 19):  ‘A Surfeit of Crises: Circulation, Revenue, Attention, Authority, and Deference’.

Gitlin, who is professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, talked about how four wolves have arrived at the door of journalism ‘simultaneously, while a fifth has already been lurking for some time’. These were the wolves no-one was expecting, because everyone’s been crying wolf for so long. Gitlin spoke mainly in regards to American journalism because ‘it is what I know best’.

He used quotes and statistics from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism ‘Changing Newsroom’ 2008 report, and also his own anecdotal evidence and academic references, to illustrate the predicament – which he feels is fair to call a number of ‘crises’ – that journalism faces.

Here are a few choice extracts:

  • The four wolves at the door, and the fifth one lurking: “One is the precipitous decline in the circulation of newspapers.  The second is the decline in advertising revenue, which, combined with the first, has badly damaged the profitability of newspapers. The third, contributing to the first, is the diffusion of attention.  The fourth is the more elusive crisis of authority. The fifth, a perennial – so much so as to be perhaps a condition more than a crisis – is journalism’s inability or unwillingness to penetrate the veil of obfuscation behind which power conducts its risky business.”
  • Circulation of newspapers: “Overall, newspaper circulation has dropped 13.5 per cent for the dailies and 17.3 per cent for the Sunday editions since 2001; almost 5 per cent just in 2008.  In what some are calling the Great Recession, advertising revenue is down – 23 per cent over the last two years – even as paper costs are up.  Nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone.  Foreign bureaus have been shuttered – all those of the Boston Globe, for example, New England’s major paper.
  • “I have been speaking about newspapers’ recent decline, but to limit the discussion to the last decade or so both overstates the precipitous danger and understates the magnitude of a secular crisis—which is probably a protracted crisis in the way in which people know—or believe they know—the world.  In the US, newspaper circulation has been declining, per capita, at a constant rate since 1960. The young are not reading the papers.  While they say they ‘look’ at the papers online, it is not clear how much looking they do.”
  • “The newspaper was always a tool for simultaneity (you don’t so much read a paper as swim around in it, McLuhan was fond of saying) at least as much as a tool for cognitive sequence.  What if the sensibility that is now consolidating itself—with the Internet, mobile phones, GPS, Facebook and Twitter and so on – the media for the Daily Me, for point-to-point and many-to-many transmission—what if all this portends an irreversible sea-change in the very conditions of successful business?”
  • The Clamor for Attention: “Attention has been migrating from slower access to faster; from concentration to multitasking; from the textual to the visual and the auditory, and toward multi-media combinations.  Multitasking alters cognitive patterns.  Attention attenuates.  Advertisers have for decades talked about the need to ‘break through the clutter,’ the clutter consisting, amusingly, of everyone else’s attempts to break through the clutter.  Now, media and not just messages clutter.”
  • “Just under one-fifth of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 claim to look at a daily newspaper – which is not to say how much of it they read. The average American newspaper reader is 55 years old. Of course significant numbers of readers are accessing – which is not to say reading – newspapers online, but the amount of time they seem to spend there is bifurcated.  In roughly half of the top 30 newspaper sites, readership is steady or falling.  Still, ‘of the top 5 online newspapers –  ranked by unique users – [the] three [national papers] reported growth in the average time spent per person: NYTimes.com, USAToday.com, and the Wall Street Journal Online.’ One thing is clear:  Whatever the readership online, it is not profitable.”
  • “The question that remains, the question that makes serious journalists tremble in the U. S., is:  Who is going to pay for serious reporting?  For the sorts of investigations that went on last year, for example, into the background of the surprise Republican nominee for Vice President, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.”
  • Authority: “Journalism’s legitimacy crisis has two overlapping sources: ideological disaffection from right and left, and generalized distrust. Between them, they register something of a cultural sea change.  The authority of American journalism has, for a century or so, rested on its claim to objectivity and a popular belief that that claim is justified. These claims are weakening.”
  • Deference: “We have seen in recent years two devastating failures to report the world – devastating not simply in their abject professional failures but in that they made for frictionless glides into catastrophe.  The first was in the run-up to the Iraq war (…) More recently, we have the run-up to the financial crisis (…) Given these grave failures of journalism even when it was operating at greater strength not so long ago, one might say that rampant distrust is a reasonable and even a good thing.”
  • Resolutions: “The Project on Excellence’s conclusion is that ‘roughly half of the downturn in the last year was cyclical, that is, related to the economic downturn. But the cyclical problems are almost certain to worsen in 2009 and make managing the structural problems all the more difficult.’ Notice the reference to ‘managing the structural problems.’  They cannot be solved, they can only be managed.  The unavoidable likelihood, pending a bolt from the blue, is that the demand for journalism will continue to decline and that no business model can compensate for its declining marketability.  No meeting of newspaper people is complete these days without a call – some anguished, some confident – for a ‘new business model’ that would apply to the online ‘paper.’  The call has been issued over the course of years now.  It might be premature to say so, but one might suspect that it has not been found because there is none to be found.”
  • “What I do know is that journalism is too important to be left to those business interests. Leaving it to the myopic, inept, greedy, unlucky, and floundering managers of the nation’s newspapers to rescue journalism on their own would be like leaving it to the investment wizards at the American International Group (AIG), Citibank, and Goldman Sachs, to create a workable, just global credit system on the strength of their good will, their hard-earned knowledge, and their fidelity to the public good.”

Full transcript at this link…

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So was it the ‘Blogs Wot Won It’ for Barack?

November 5th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism, Mobile, Multimedia, Online Journalism

So it doesn’t need saying that US Election 2008 took place in a very different media climate from the one experienced in 2004: just take a look at CNN à la 2004, and CNN right now.

It’s hard to actually think back and remember that four years ago the focus for many of this year’s online followers was still on the TV screen.

Last night we followed live-streams. We Twittered. We traced maps. We enjoyed striking homepage designs as the results came in.

This was the year for multimedia to really come into its own. The public outside the electoral college had a chance to participate from afar. Many bloggers might not have had a vote, but they could be influential: by spreading round a Sarah Palin debate flow-chart, casting a vote on a remote voting map, or putting a supporting button onto their sites (the online version of the rosette).

MercuryNews.com gave these, as the ninth and tenth reasons for McCain’s defeat:

9. “The Internet. Obama broke an earlier pledge and opted out of public financing, allowing him to raise at least $200 million in September and October, in millions of donations averaging $86. He raised more than twice as much money as McCain, and was able to pay for staff and ads in states and in numbers that McCain could only dream about. His 30-minute infomercial six days before the election drew more than 34 million viewers — more people than watched the finale of ‘American Idol’ last year or the final game of the World Series.”

10. “Better ground game. Obama mobilized young people and used technology, from text messages to internet meet-ups, in ways that built the first truly 21st century campaign. It might have brought guffaws at the GOP Convention, but it turns out that being a ‘community organizer’ is a good skill to have when running a presidential campaign.”

Obama’s campaign page thanks the various efforts of his internet supporters, links to his mobile content, and shows where you can find ‘Obama everywhere':

Facebook Black Planet
MySpace Faithbase
YouTube Eons
Flickr Glee
Digg MiGente
Twitter MyBatanga
Eventful Asian Ave
LinkedIn DNC PartyBuilder

And what about the negative effect for McCain? You may have your reservations about this story, but Fox News reported in July how McCain supporters could have been hijacked through spam reports to Google Blogger, prompting a Republican blogger move over to WordPress.

Renee Feltz, over at the Columbia Journalism Review, looks in detail at whether McCain was ‘blogged down in the past’ with ‘top-down internet tactics’, which left him unable to keep up with Obama’s social networking strategy.

This diagram shows the online blog cluster:

(screenshot, courtesy of Morningside Analytics via CJR)

Feltz describes how the map “shows a ‘halo’ of about 500 relatively new blogs in two isolated clusters. One cluster includes several hundred anti-Obama blogs (orange) and the other contains several hundred pro-McCain and pro-Palin blogs (green).”

Their isolation shows that they are not well-connected to political blogs with the longer histories, a point which John Kelly, Morningside’s chief scientist and an affiliate of the Berkman Center, explains on the CJR post.

Please do add your own Obama bloggin’ thoughts here. Was is the blogs, and which ones, which gave Obama strength? And what should we expect on the multimedia horizon for 2012?

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AP: The man charged with hacking Sarah Palin’s email account could face five years in prison

October 9th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

On Wednesday, 20-year-old David Kernell pleaded not guilty to hacking the e-mail account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

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AP: News agency did not comply with Secret Service request for hacked Palin emails

September 18th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

After hackers broke into Sarah Palin’s personal email account, the US Secret Service contacted Associated Press and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the internet. The news agency did not comply.

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CNET: Tracking Sarah Palin on the web

September 5th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Hundreds of online commentators, entrepreneurs, and Palin imitators are trying to fill in the gaps in the online information available on Sarah Palin.

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Washingtonpost.com: Bloggers break news of Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter

September 2nd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Reports on the Daily Kos that John McCain’s deputy Sarah Palin was actually the grandmother and not the mother of her young son eventually exposed the fact that Palin’s daughter was pregnant.

But should such news be made public in this way? And are political parties having to react to too many ‘reports’ from the blogs?

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