President Obama yesterday signed legislation requiring the US State Department to increase scrutiny of news media restrictions and intimidation as part of its annual review of human rights in each country. The legislation, entitled the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, is named after Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was killed while working in Pakistan shortly after the 11 September attacks.
The new law “puts us clearly on the side of journalistic freedom,” Mr. Obama said, praising Mr. Pearl’s family for being “outspoken and so courageous” in pursuing the cause. With the law, the president added, “his legacy lives on.”
Mr. Obama was joined in the Oval Office by Mr. Pearl’s widow, Mariane, and the son he never met, Adam, who was born several months after his father’s death and will turn eight this month.
Tomorrow (19 May) Current TV will broadcast a special episode in its Vanguard series featuring an interview with Laura Ling, the Current journalist who was arrested and held in North Korea last year with producer Euna Lee while working on a human trafficking program.
When Newsweek reporter Andrew Romano was dispatched by the magazine to profile ultraconservative Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann it was not, as he would have liked, with a pen, paper and pretend fedora. Instead they suggested he do it live on Twitter as he followed her around. She doesn’t seem to have taken to the idea. Romano’s article about the experience makes for a good read.
I hadn’t spent enough time with her to decide if she was unserious, or crazy, or whatever. Instead, I was simply doing what Twitter demanded: being pithy and provocative. Straightforward narration would go unnoticed. Quotes from Bachmann’s old friends would seem un-newsy. Nuance would cost too many characters. So I became a color commentator, casting off the reporter’s traditional cloak of detachment and publicly weighing in on the proceedings at regular intervals. And because observation and publication were now compressed into a single act, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to phrase my tweets that I otherwise would’ve spent absorbing a scene or speaking to locals. I don’t remember much about the crowd in Monticello, the businessmen in Blaine, or Bachmann’s larger themes. I do remember what I wound up tweeting, and that’s about it.
To spread the word even further about our forthcoming digital journalism event news:rewired – the nouveau niche, we are offering you the chance to win a Livescribe Pulse smartpen worth £150.
Imagine a pen that can record audio as you write and link that recording to the exact notes you taken down, before transforming your written notes into notes on your computer screen to be saved and searched.
Using a camera, microphone and speaker, the Livescribe Pulse smartpen does just that. As a journalist, this means its easy to find audio clips from interviews and speeches quickly by simply tapping the relevant notes in your pad or by searching your handwritten notes on a computer. Furthermore, you can share your notes through pencasts: online interactive Flash videos of handwritten notes and audio.
Come to #newsrw digital #journalism event 25:06:10. Follow @newsrewired & RT for chance to #win smartpen http://is.gd/c7f2a
In the run up to the first news:rewired event earlier this year Guardian community moderator Todd Nash won an HD Flip Camera after taking part in our retweet competition.
The competition will close on Friday 4 June 2010 at 1pm (GMT) and the winner will be selected at random and announced shortly after. The terms and conditions of the competition are listed below.
Not convinced? Watch the pen in action:
news:rewired – the nouveau niche is a one-day event hosted by Journalism.co.uk aimed at specialist journalists looking for digital ideas, tips, and inspiration from the industry’s best. It’s hosted in partnership with the BBC College of Journalism and MSN UK and sponsored by Kyte.
We’ll be offering practical sessions on crowdsourcing, data visualisations, community management; emerging news technology; and paid-for content. Keynotes include MSN UK executive producer Peter Bale, and Marc Reeves, editor of TheBusinessDesk.com West Midlands and former regional newspaper editor.
Tickets cost £80 (+VAT) until 11 June when they return to the full price of £100 (+VAT). They can be booked here – our last event sold out so please buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
If you’re interested in sponsoring the event or have any other queries, you can contact the Journalism.co.uk team. Contact us on laura [at] journalism.co.uk for more details.
Competition entry terms and conditions
1. Competition entry is subject to the acceptance of these conditions.
2. How to enter: the competition requires entrants to both follow the @newsrewired twitter feed and retweet the following phrase ‘Come to #newsrw digital #journalism event 25:06:10. Follow @newsrewired & RT for chance to #win smartpen http://is.gd/c7f2a’. The retweet must keep the entirety of the phrase intact to be valid for entry.
3. Competition will run from 11am (GMT) Friday 14 May 2010 until 1pm (GMT) Friday 4 June.
4. Any entries received after 1pm (GMT) on Friday 4 June 2010 will be void.
5. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received.
6. The judges’ decision will be final.
7. Although every effort will be made to ensure the prize is with the winner before 25 June this cannot be guaranteed and Mousetrap Media Ltd accepts no responsibility for late prize delivery.
8. Mousetrap Media Ltd reserves the right to discontinue the competition at any stage without reason.
9. The prize is both non-refundable and non-returnable. Mousetrap media Ltd accepts no responsibility for any harm, expense, liability or injury that may be sustained relating to or arising from participation in this competition or acceptance or use of the prize.
10. Employees of Mousetrap Media Ltd, those involved directly with the news:rewired event and their immediate families are not eligible to win.
11. The winner in accepting the prize authorises Mousetrap Media to publicise, in any media, his or her name, job title and Twitter handle unless prohibited by law.
12. You can retweet as many times as you like, but it will only count as one entry.
In it, journalism professor Clay Shirky says this:
“If I was going to set up a news business tomorrow, it would be a business designed to create not one bit of content.”
Problem with the internet these days is that it’s too big. There’s too much stuff, thanks to all those pesky bloggers, flickr users, tweeters and facebookers. How do we find what we want among all the noise?
Cue a potentially profitable window for the Next Generation Journalist – aggregating, filtering, sorting, editing content for a particular group of people within a particular niche.
Some of the most popular news websites on the net do this very well already: sites like Mashable and TechCrunch (and of course Journalism.co.uk!) aggregate hundreds of articles every week, as well as adding their own, and make money in the process.
These three sites have something else in common, they all serve very particular niches, niches with new content flooding the internet everyday. There is a demand among the people within each niche for a collection of the best, the newest and the most interesting.
So here’s the business idea: you identify a profitable niche, with a well defined target audience, where the airwaves are constantly being filled with news, comment and analysis. You set up a site to aggregate this content, a process you can do yourself at first and eventually automate with software like Yahoo Pipes. You build a mailing list of subscribers, to whom you send a daily or weekly newsletter summing up the big stories, perhaps adding some editorial content too. Of course, your newsletter is sponsored, bringing in more cash.
From there, events, products, and a whole host of other tricks, all covered in Next Generation Journalist.
Aggregating the news….
solves a big problem within a defined target market – organising relevant information
if done well, can turn your website into the go-to place for news on a particular subject or issue
can eventually become a mostly automated service, freeing up time to pursue other projects, while still generating revenue
Poynter has created a great interactive graphic of 200 moments that transformed journalism between 2000 and 2009, as selected by library director David Shedden. Those selected include: the Twitter picture of the plane landing in the Hudson River in 2009; the launch of Amazon’s Kindle in 2007; and the BBC’s crowdsourcing of material from Iraq in 2003. The site is also asking readers to challenge its selection and suggest their own moments.
In the US, the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) is publishing a series of opinion pieces aimed at “reinforcing the vitally important role of newspapers and professional journalism in the digital age”. The pieces will be available for reproduction by ASNE members and news outlets and will address the following “myths”, says the Society:
Newspapers are washed up;
Newspapers are no longer relevant;
News media are biased;
Newspapers are not connected to community;
The web and digital technologies are killing news organizations.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called off planned strike action by members at Johnston Press titles scheduled for tomorrow after the publisher sought help from the High Court by claiming that it doesn’t employ any journalists, reports the NUJ.
Johnston Press spent enormous time and effort putting together a 600-page submission to prove that – despite the JP stamp on the pay slips of staff working on their titles; the JP company handbook issued to all staff; the Johnston Press plc intranet that publishes company-wide procedures including policies on grievance, disciplinary procedure and health and safety; despite the group’s claims in the annual report, in company bulletins and external publications that it employs 1,900 journalists and more than 7,000 employees – that JP “employs no journalists”.
Johnston Press management’s claim that it employs no journalists would be laughable, did it not have such serious implications for industrial relations in the UK. It’s clearly part of an emerging trend amongst employers to derail democratically agreed industrial action by skilfully exploiting the anti-trade union laws. In this case, by creating a web of subsidiary companies set up as multiple employers, JP management has been able to argue at the High Court that our dispute around group-wide pay and the introduction of a new content management system across the titles is, in fact, a series of identical disputes with JP’s multiple subsidiaries.
Extracts from a memo sent by Denver Post editor Greg Moore to staff:
A series of meetings with staff should be underway to get your take on how we can do more compelling journalism.
Please speak up in these sessions but try not to whine. These are demanding times for everyone and we all work very hard.
But if you think there is boring stuff in the paper, call it out. Do we need a new approach to our beats? Do we need fewer beats? New areas of coverage? Are you ready for a change?
The commenters on this post certainly aren’t afraid to “call out” what they think…
As this post on Westword Blogs explains the Post is reorganising its news operation and Moore is concerned that the Post’s current 200 journalists are spreading themselves and subject matters too thinly by trying to achieve the same breadth as the paper’s formerly 300-strong newsroom.