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Vince Cable versus Rupert Murdoch – the animation!

December 27th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia, Newspapers, Politics

Another classic animation from Next Media Animation .tv, this one illustrating the Daily Telegraph’s sting operation on Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable, who is currently the secretary of state for business innovation and skills in the UK’s Liberal Democrats/Conservatives coalition government.

Two undercover reporters from the Telegraph, posing as constituents, managed to record Cable stating in reference to Rupert Murdoch‘s attempted takeover of BSkyB: “I have declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we are going to win.”

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Peter Oborne will leave Daily Mail to join Daily Telegraph

May 19th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Jobs, Journalism, Newspapers

Peter Oborne is to leave the Daily Mail as chief political columnist to join the Daily Telegraph, where he will be a columnist and writer, Telegraph Media Group has announced today.

“Peter is a world renowned writer and commentator.  I am looking forward to him joining the Telegraph team,” said Tony Gallagher, editor of the Daily Telegraph, in a release.

“It has been a privilege to work for the Daily Mail. I am delighted to join the award-winning Telegraph as it continues to go from strength to strength,” said Oborne.

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#followjourn: Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker/business writer

March 22nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#followjourn: Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker

Who? Business, travel and sailing writer (Updated 6/7/2010) Business and finance writer.

What? Former deputy editor at Business Traveller and sub-editor at the Independent, who is now a freelance journalist and editor. Fitzgeorge-Parker has had various articles published in the Daily Telegraph, CNBC Business online, EuroWeek, Euromoney and Business Traveller.

Where? Click here to see more about Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker.

Contact? Follow @lucyfparker.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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BBC head of religion and ethics disputes Sunday Telegraph article

February 9th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Newspapers

Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC’s head of religion and ethics, has criticised the Sunday Telegraph for the way it presented his comments in an interview. In a BBC blog post yesterday, Ahmed writes that he had given an interview ahead of the Church Of England’s Synod debate and its motion on the issue of religious broadcasting on televisions:

The article appeared on Sunday under the headline “Church is ‘living in the past’ says BBC chief”. Great headline – but the truth lets the story down. The problem is: I am that BBC chief and I definitely didn’t say that. In fact there were a lot of things in the Sunday Telegraph article that surprised me when I read them.

(…)

The Sunday Telegraph article quotes me as saying that the BBC should not give Christianity preferential treatment. The question I was actually asked was whether minority faiths should be treated differently from other faiths – to which I replied that all faiths should be treated in the same way and that I don’t believe in treating any faith differently. It’s all a bit different when you put it in its proper context, isn’t it?

Full post at this link…

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#FollowJourn: @MarcusWa/online editor

September 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Marcus Warren

Who? Editor, Telegraph.co.uk

What? Former foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, now editor of Telegraph.co.uk, in charge of the day-to-day running of the site.

Where? @MarcusWa or Telegraph.co.uk

Contact? marcus.warren [at] telegraph.co.uk

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura [at] journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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INM signs £40m print deal in Northern Ireland

September 16th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Amid all the ominous news surrounding Independent News&Media a more positive story for the company has surfaced:

A £40m print deal will make Northern Ireland one of the biggest producers of daily newspapers in Europe, after INM signed contracts with the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror.

INM will now be printing all Mirror titles and the Telegraph titles, as well as the Sun, News of the World, the Daily Express and Sunday Express, the Daily Star and the London Independent.

The Belfast Telegraph reports:

“The first deal sees all sections of the Daily Telegraph printed in the company’s high-tech plant at Newry for the next 15 years. The second deal brings the Daily Mirror to the Belfast Telegraph print plant for a seven-year term.

“The deals represent two of the longest print agreements signed in the region and have been made possible by an IN&M investment strategy which has seen more than £50m spent on new presses in both centres.”

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Stephen Farrell’s kidnap raises the ‘media blackout’ question: it’s time for a debate in the UK

September 10th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Comment, Newspapers, Press freedom and ethics

This week’s operation in Afghanistan to rescue New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell, during which a British soldier, Farrell’s Afghan translator (Sultan Munadi) and two civilians were killed, has provoked national debate in the UK:

“One senior Army source told the Daily Telegraph “When you look at the number of warnings this person had it makes you really wonder whether he was worth rescuing, whether it was worth the cost of a soldier’s life.” (Telegraph.co.uk)

Many of the commenters on news stories feel very strongly that it was wrong for a journalist’s actions to lead to such tragic consequences, as Jon Slattery noted on his blog yesterday. Further still: “Members of the Armed Forces have expressed anger that he [Farrell] ignored warnings not to visit the site of an air strike on two hijacked fuel tankers that killed scores of Taliban and innocent villagers,” the Telegraph reported. Others defend the role of journalists in Afghanistan: for example, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists.

This tragic incident also raised another issue, that of media silence. Today a special report by Joe Strupp on Editor&Publisher questions whether media blackouts are appropriate when reporters are kidnapped in war zones. It’s an excellent overview of recent events, that looks back at the case of another New York Times journalist, David Rohde – the paper managed to keep news of his kidnap off Wikipedia until his escape seven months later.

The question of media blackout is one Journalism.co.uk has raised in the past. In January, we reported on the silence surrounding the kidnap of the Telegraph’s Colin Freeman and José Cendon in Somalia. We had been asked not to report on the case by the Telegraph and the UK Foreign Office when the pair went missing at the end of 2008. The ban was lifted when they were released.

However, as we reported, some information was published before the blackout request was made clear: the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released information relating to the journalists’ kidnap on November 26 2008 and Roy Greenslade subsequently blogged about it at Guardian.co.uk – the post was removed but it was still captured in the RSS feed.

It’s a complex issue that Strupp raises in his E&P article:

“With Rohde’s escape, a major debate ignited in and out of the journalism community about how responsible the coordinated secret had been. Was this a breach of journalistic ethics, sitting on a story for so long mainly because a colleague was involved?”

Strupp quotes Edward Wasserman, a journalism professor at Washington & Lee University in Virginia, who echoed claims of other critics, that the Times and similar news outlets would not do the same for a non-journalist: “Some people are in a position to implore the press for restraint better than others”.

It is a debate we need to have in the UK too: the London-based Frontline Club would be an ideal venue in which to hold a discussion with representatives from the UK foreign office, press freedom and safety organisations and news organisations raising the reasons for and against media blackouts. The practicalities of enforcement also need to be discussed. We understand that such an idea is in the pipeline, so we’ll keep you posted.

Please do share links to existing debate online.

In the meantime, here is a link to an item on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme, featuring Frontline Club founder and cameraman (and former soldier) Vaughan Smith and the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen discussing the Stephen Farrell case.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8247000/8247681.stm

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Jon Bernstein: A telling tale of the twittercrat who wasn’t

September 4th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Online Journalism

So the government is not seeking another Twittercrat after all, ‘someone (…) paid to teach the [it] how to use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Bebo’.

On one level this is a shame. Take this from the very web 2.0 Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Using the microblogging site Twitter, it announced earlier this week:

“@foreignoffice: Opium cultivation, production and prices are down according to @UNODC report http://bit.ly/qjGVm #afghanistan

As Guido politely asks on his blog:

“Why, if you are trying to eradicate supply in Afghanistan, proudly boast that opium supplies are cheaper?”

Perhaps Whitehall really could do with a deputy to help the Twittercrat-in-chief (aka the director of digital engagement, aka Andrew Stott) to knock the troops into shape.

But that’s not going to happen. In fact, what’s more interesting is to follow the story – how it got out there and how the Cabinet Office went online – with mixed results – to rebut those original claims.

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the Daily Telegraph (‘Whitehall expands “Twittercrat” empire‘); Daily Mail (‘Ministers seek £120000-a-year ‘Twittercrat’ to help them communicate on the internet’); Daily Express (‘The Twittercrat on £118,000 a year – and you’re paying’); and a trade journal called Public Journal (‘Now they want a deputy Twittercrat‘); all carried very similar stories about the government’s supposed appointment of a director of digital engagment.

The only problem was that many of the points of fact in all four weren’t true. In its rebuttal statement, the Cabinet Office met each claim head on:

1. The job title is wrong
2. The details of the job description are wrong
3. Claims that the vacancy is for a ‘spin doctor’ are wrong
4. Details of reporting lines are wrong
5. Claims that digital engagement is all about pushing government messages on Facebook are wrong

Got that? It’s all wrong, although the circa £120,000 remuneration (including pension and bonuses) is not challenged.

To be fair to the papers, the job ad on which they were basing their copy lacked clarity. With its calls to ‘embrace’, ‘re-engineer’, ‘extend’ and ‘engage’, the technocratic language is certainly open to some interpretation.

Nevertheless, there were some obvious inaccuracies, not least the job title, worthy of correction. As yet, scanning the print and online versions of these publications, no corrections have been made.

Meanwhile out on the web, the Cabinet Office was doing its bit to get its message across. It floated it out on social networks and the blogosphere. Meanwhile, former cabinet office minister Tom Watson (a Twitter veteran) put this out:

“@tom_watson Old media have problem with the word ‘digital’ when added (or not) to ‘engagement’. Cabinet Office fightback: http://bit.ly/12pI0S

It carried a link to the Cabinet Office statement and was retweeted half a dozen or more times to be seen be many thousands of followers. Thanks to the network effect that underpins social tools like Twitter, word was getting out.

The end result?
A tight(ish) circle of digitally savvy Westminster, Whitehall and media folk and their associates got the message. But beyond that? Probably not quite far enough.

One of the great promises of the internet even in its pre-web 2.0 days was disintermediation, the notion that you can cut out the middle man.

It is an attractive proposition for everyone, from those seeking cheaper car insurance to celebrities keen to protect or repair their reputation to government departments wanting to go over the head of the fourth estate.

As we’ve seen in the recent past, for example in the case of singer Chris Brown, things don’t always turn out how you hope.

As so it is with the Cabinet Office’s attempts to right some wrongs. You and I know there’s more to the Twittercrat story than first thought, but most readers of the Telegraph, Mail and Express probably do not.

A story about outlandish salaries and civil service dilettantism is grist to the mill for those three papers – it plays to their agenda.

But as yet the average reader of all three is still expecting a £120k Twittercrat to head to a Facebook page near them soon.

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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#FollowJourn: @benjaminbland/Freelance journalist

August 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Newspapers, Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Ben Bland

Who? Freelance journalist based in Singapore and covering Southeast Asia.

What? Writes news and features for The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Monocle, British Medical Journal and Gambling Compliance, among others.

Where? @benjaminbland

Contact? Through blog http://theasiafile.blogspot.com or email theasiafile@gmail.com

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Jon Bernstein: What MPs’ expenses tells us about the clash between new and old media

June 26th, 2009 | 5 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

The narrative is familiar to anyone who has followed the broader technology industry for any length of time – new triumphs over old.

The reality, inevitably, is more complex, more layered, more textured.

Certainly change is disruptive, but old technology rarely disappears completely. Rather it coexists with the new.

Just look around your office if you want proof of that.

You may not use the fax machine but someone does, and you’ve certainly sent a letter or made a call on the land line. Communication is not all mobiles, email and instant messaging.

As it is with technology, so it is with media.

And nothing demonstrates the laziness of the ‘winners and losers’ legend more than the domestic news story of the year – MPs’ expenses. Here we have seen the best of old and new media, one feeding off the other.

Let’s retrace our steps:

What was meant to be a public domain story, put there by a hard-fought freedom of information request, turned into an old-fashioned scoop.

The Daily Telegraph acquired the data and did a first class job poring over the numbers and putting in place an editorial diary for the drip-drip of expenses-related stories.

The first fruits of this were splashed across the front of the paper on Friday May 8 and, by my count, the story set – and led – the news agenda for the next 23 days.

To this point it was only a new media story in the sense that the Telegraph was enjoying an uplift in traffic – one in every 756 expenses-related searches led to the site.

But what the paper was offering was fairly conventional fare. It took others to do some really interesting things with it.

A fine example was work done by Lib Dem activist Mark Thompson who spotted a correlation between the safeness of an MP’s seat and the likelihood that they are involved in an expenses scandal.

Elsewhere, there were mash-ups, heat maps and the rest.

And then the deluge. Parliament released its data – albeit in redacted form – and for the first time the Daily Telegraph was in danger of losing ownership of the story to another newspaper.

True to type the Guardian offered the most interactive experience inviting readers to: “Investigate Your MPs expenses.”

Wired journalist Jeff Howe, the man credited with coining the phrase crowdsourcing, will nod approvingly at this development.

According to one definition Howe uses, crowdsourcing is ‘the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open cal’l.

In this instance the Guardian was taking a task traditionally performed by its journalists (designated agents) and outsourcing it to its readers.

Where the Telegraph did its own number-crunching, the Guardian farmed much of it to a third party, us.

So has the Guardian’s crowdsourcing experiment been a success?

On Sunday the paper boasted that almost 20,000 people had taken part, helping it to scour nearly 160,000 documents. So far so great. But by Wednesday, the number of documents examined by the army of volunteers was still 160,000.

With some 700,000+ receipts and other assorted papers to classify could it be that the Guardian’s efforts were running out of steam?

If they were, this didn’t stop its rival from following the lead.

One Telegraph correspondent may have dismissed those engaged in this kind of ‘collaborative investigative journalism’ as ‘Kool-Aid slurping Wikipedians’, but his paper seemed to take a different view.

By the middle of the week, the Telegraph was offering its far-less redacted expenses documents in PDF form and all its data in a Google spreadsheet, while simultaneously asking readers directly: “What have you spotted?”

Both papers – and the wider media come to that – have enriched our understanding of a complex and sprawling story. What started as a proprietorial scoop is now in the hands of the crowd.

Old media and new coexisting.

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

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