Tag Archives: Baghdad

The First Post: ‘The BBC is not impartial’

The First Post has published an article from ‘Newspeak in the 21st Century’ by David Edwards and David Cromwell (editors of the UK-based website Media Lens). The BBC is not impartial, independent, nor even particularly truthful, they argue. An extract from the extract:

“[B]y what right does the BBC airbrush from reality the swath of informed public opinion that sees the invasion as a crime, rather than as a mistake? By what right does it declare this framing of the topic ‘impartial’, ‘balanced’, ‘objective’ reporting?

“While working as the BBC’s political editor, Andrew Marr, declared: “When I joined the BBC, my Organs of Opinion were formally removed.”

“And yet, as Baghdad fell to American tanks, Marr, reporting on the News at Ten on April 9, 2003, said of Tony Blair: “He said that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right. And it would be entirely ungracious, even for his critics, not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result.””

Full article at this link…

Related: Journalism in Crisis 09: ‘Recognising one’s subjectivity allows one to be fair’ Ivor Gaber tells conference (19/05/09)

MediaShift Idea Lab: Interview with Alive in Baghdad’s Brian Conley

Ryan Sholin talks with Brian Conley, founder of Alive in Baghdad, which he initially set up as a video project to document the experiences of Iraqis living through the conflict.

Conley discusses the subsequent development of Alive in Gaza and Alive in Tehran, as well as how citizens are using Facebook, Twitter and voicemail to contribute reports to the sites.

Fascinating stuff – and a great insight into a digital/social media toolkit for pro-am journalism.

Full transcript at this link…

SkyNews: Muntazer al-Zaidi jailed for three years for shoe-throwing

Breaking news from Sky News:

“A court in Baghdad sentenced Muntazer Al-Zaidi this morning.

“Al-Zaidi worked for Al-Baghdadiya television, which announced the verdict, along with the jailed man’s defence lawyer.”

Full story at this link…

More details here, at Guardian.co.uk.

Adam Westbrook: Shooting multimedia in Iraq – lessons learned

Managing the kit was one big probleim foor Adam Westbrook when he went to cover the First Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment in Baghdad for his radio station. “But juggling equipment isn’t the only problem for a multimedia shooter, I learned. The big challenge is juggling content,” Westbrook comments. His observations and tips for multimedia journalists in the field.

Full post at this link…

The letter in full: journalists calling for the release of Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi

[Note: spellings of Muntazer al-Zaidi vary; we have gone with this spelling, as widely used by the UK press and agencies.]


Robert Holmes Tuttle
US Ambassador to the Court of St James’s
24 Grosvenor Square

Dear Sir,

We as journalists believe that our colleague Muntadar al-Zaidi, who protested at President George W. Bush in Baghdad on Sunday is guilty of nothing but expressing Iraqis’ legitimate and overwhelming opposition to the US-led occupation of their country.

We call on you to guarantee his safety and effect his immediate release from custody.

Media Workers Against the War

Innovations in Journalism – CoveritLive ‘Humbly, we are forging a new form of journalism’

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. Today it’s live blogging with difference, with an interactive community, through CoveritLive.

image of cover it live website

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
I’m Keith McSpurren, president of CoveritLive, which is what we call ‘live blogging 2.0’.  It evolves live blogging from an interesting recap into an engaging event.

We have added interactivity features to live blogging, like polling questions and reader Q&A to involve the audience more.

We also made it simple for journalists to pull in rich multimedia (video, pictures, audio and even advertising) to create an event worth sticking around for.

Humbly, we think we are forging a new form of journalism.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
People look to journalists for information and perspective. We believe there are many instances where getting that as events unfold is better than after the event is over.

Instead of reading an article about The Oscars or a Q&A session in Parliament for a few minutes the next day, why not get running commentary in real time from your favourite writers?

Why not have the chance for readers to ask questions or add to the conversation or answer polling questions as well as draw upon the multimedia readily available on the web during the event?

These are all good ideas but the real benefit of CoveritLive to the journalist is that we believe we have made it possible to do all of this without the need for the IT department or any technical training.

The ease of implementation and use is really what gets writers excited when they first try it out.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?

CoveritLive is the first piece of software in the world to focus on live blogging. This is an evolving form of journalism and we listen very carefully to our users to develop better features all the time.

For example, next week we will launch a feature we call ‘Panel Discussion’ which will allow writers to have up to ten other writers all in the same live blog. Great for Q&A sessions, particularly with people who are spread out around the world.

Imagine the foreign correspondent in Baghdad online with the political reporter and two guests…without needing anyone to ‘set it up’ for them.

Cobbling together other expensive technology can do this kind of thing but by making it easy to do, we expect these kinds of features to grow the field of live blog reporting.

In the same way cheap, easy to use blogging software created a new form of reporting, we hope to do this where ‘live and in-depth’ is important.

4) Why are you doing this?
CiL is a commercial venture so we most definitely have a profit motive. That said the idea came around because I felt (after watching far too much television and yelling at it) that “there is more to be said”.

We think, with the right software, journalists can make their coverage better or add to what I’m watching on television. Politics, sports, financial news, conferences and even education are all areas where easy to use, low cost software can help the people who cover it.

5) What does it cost to use it?
The software is free to use.  This sometimes has an unintended impact where larger news organisations think, “It’s free.  It must not be very good or be able to handle someone big like us.”

That could not be farther from the truth.  It’s free because we are trying to lead the way with our users towards a new form of reporting. Putting price as a barrier to trial is not a good idea.

6) How will you make it pay?
We think our software creates significant opportunities for our users in terms of engaging their readers for long periods of time during a live blog.

Some recent data from an NFL football blog using CoveritLive demonstrates my point:

  • Unique viewers: 2750
  • Average duration on the live blog:  62 minutes
  • Percentage of readers 30 minutes or more: 51% (or over 1300 readers)
  • Number of Instant Replays clicked to view after the live blog:  4700

These kind of numbers create huge advertising opportunities for users interested in that type of thing.

We expect that value is worth paying for at some point once we have proven to be the software of choice in this new category.

Additionally, advertising supported software is a proven business model that will be more appropriate for micro-niche bloggers/writers who get the benefit of enterprise class software at no cost.

All this said, we are focused solely on being responsive to our users and growing usage.  Revenue will follow good ideas.

NYTimes.com launches Baghdad bureau blog

Image of Baghdad Blog on NYTimes website

NYTimes.com has launched Baghdad Bureau, a blog looking at stories about daily life in Baghdad outside the Green Zone.

The new blog is a collaboration between reporters, photographers and western and Iraqi staff that live in the Iraqi capital outside the Green Zone and will focus on the daily challenges, like travel and checkpoints, which confront the city’s inhabitants.

It will attempt to tell these stories using text, slideshows and videos from the staff, as well as posts and videos submitted by Iraqi readers.

The blog will also invite Iraqis to write about their personal journeys, such as their decisions to stay or leave the country and the feeling of running into the aftermath of a car bomb explosion.

It will also feature a forum to answer questions on issues about Iraq.

Investigative journalism online

A posting on SplashCast.com reviews some bastions of investigative journalism on the web. Most are from the US, but London-based indie documentary distributor Journeyman Pictures gains an honourable mention.

Daily news show Democracy Now! comes highly recommended, as does the on-the-ground footage from Alive in Baghdad, which takes footage from Iraqi correspondants.