Tag Archives: commissioning editor

Social and mainstream media join forces to cover Afghanistan election

Rivals currently claim to both be on track for victory in the Afghan elections, in a race watched closely by the world’s media – mainstream, citizen and social.

The Guardian, for example, reports that ‘President Karzai’s staff said he has taken a majority of votes, making a second round run-off unnecessary,’ while Abdullah’s spokesman, Sayyid Agha Hussain Fazel Sancharaki, said the former foreign minister ‘was ahead with 62 per cent of the vote,’ even though preliminary results are not yet expected.

But publicity hasn’t always been courted by the government: critics the world over were shocked by the Afghan foreign ministry’s demand for a media blackout. On Wednesday, the government ordered all journalists not to report acts of violence during its elections, as a last minute attempt to boost voter turn out.

Both the foreign and domestic media said they intended to ignore the ban. Rahimullah Samander, head of the Independent Journalist Association of Afghanistan said that they would ‘not obey this order’. “We are going to continue with our normal reporting and broadcasting of news,” he told the Associated Press.

Both domestic and foreign reporters turned out in force to cover yesterday’s election.  Although the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that there have been reports of at least three foreign journalists and several local journalists detained and other acts of aggression towards the media, it is believed that no one was seriously injured.

As with the Iranian election protests, yesterday highlighted the pivotal role social media and citizen journalists now play within mainstream news. Here are a few examples:

  • Alive in Afghanistan introduced a new system during yesterday’s elections allowing citizens to ‘report disturbances, defamation and vote tampering, or incidents where everything ‘went well’ via text message. BBC report at this link.
  • Demotix, the citizen-journalism and photography agency which saw its profile rise during the Iranian election protests, was also instrumental in documenting the day’s events. Follow Afghanistan photographs and stories at this link. “We’ve had reports from Kabul, Helmand, Kandahar and most other provinces during yesterday’s election and the preceding weeks. As well as the political campaigns, our reporters covered the fierce violence including last week’s Taliban attack on a NATO convoy,” said commissioning editor Andy Heath.

Demotix photographer arrested in Iran will not face further inquiries

Last week we included news that a Demotix contributor had been arrested in Iran in a blog post about the cit-j agency’s content from Iran.

Now an update from Demotix commissioning editor, Andy Heath:

“In these difficult days, it’s good to have some positive news to report from Iran.

“We’ve just heard that the Demotix contributor who was arrested last week by the Iranian police will not face further inquiries and has had his camera returned to him by officials. You may that he was told he could be charged as a spy and potentially executed during his arrest, so this news comes as a great relief to him and – I’m sure – everyone involved with Demotix.

“It’s too early to tell if this is an example of a relaxation of press restrictions in Iran or if, as seems more likely, this particular photographer was fortunate.”

Cit-J agency photographs from Iran make front page of NYTimes… twice

Further to our round-up of Demotix activity from Iran, here are two front pages from the New York Times, both featuring images from the pro-am agency’s contributors.

Demotix images have also been published by the Telegraph, El Pais, Wall Street Journal, ABC.es, and syndicated by Reuters, AFP and EPA to other outlets around the world.

“The bravery of our Iranian reporters has been astonishing. They are defying their government and risking their safety to tell their stories to the world, and we are delighted to be able to help them make their voices hear more loudly,” said Demotix commissioning editor, Andy Heath. “Demotix exists for moments like this.”



How Demotix’s contributors have covered Iran election protests

A quick update on the work of pro-am photo agency and news site, Demotix, during this week’s election protests in Iran.

  • On Wednesday Demotix reported that one of its contributors had been arrested. Andy Heath, the site’s commissioning editor, told Journalism.co.uk it is believed the contributor will appear in front of a judge tomorrow [Saturday] and that Demotix is currently seeking more information.

Turi Munthe, its CEO and founder, has made numerous media appearances in which he talked about the use of citizen media during these protests, including the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, BBC News,  and the World Service. Reuters are also featuring Demotix content.

Munthe said: “In terms of sales, we have also hit a milestone. Reuters is syndicating our content all over the world. Yesterday [Wednesday] we were the lead image on the front page of the Wall Street Journal’s website (see below).”

“Iran is experiencing events not seen since the 1979 Revolution. Demotix was set up precisely to cover and report this kind of event, and we have been at the very centre of the storm.”


Live ‘Twinterview’ with Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy (kicks off 3pm)

It’s coming up to 3pm, @krishgm will soon be ready and waiting – it’s time to put some questions to him via Twitter through our live coverage account @journalism_live. Feel free to throw in your own too, just Tweet @krishgm with the tag ‘#ch4’.

A bit of background: Krishnan Guru-Murthy is one of Channel 4 News’s presenters, based in the UK. You can find his full biography here on the Channel 4 site. Here’s an interview with commissioning editor Vicky Taylor on the channel’s web strategies. He has been Twittering since early February this year (first Tweet here). Channel 4 News has had a presence on Twitter for longer.

We live-tracked it here but we’re now reproducing the questions and answers from the Twinterview with @krishgm here. Mainly questions from us with a few from the crowd (order of Tweets altered or split slightly to make it clear). Enjoy!

journalism_live: @krishgm hello there! all set? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live #ch4 yep – here and ready

journalism_live: @krishgm great! here comes your first Q then… #ch4 journalism_live: @krishgm Were you reluctant to start Twittering? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i wasn’t reluctant at all – just a bit bemused. but people on twitter really help you – it is a very warm experience #ch4

journalism_live:@krishgm Was it your idea? #ch4
krishgm:@journalism_live yes i just wanted to see what the fuss was about so gave it a go, and within a week or so i really got it. #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm How has your use of it changed now you’ve been going at it since early feb? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live I also use it for random personal stuff about me and my life – i find myself opening up a bit! #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live but i can see myself and the programme using it more and more to contact people about stories #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i think the most exciting thing is the way networks overlap – so people you are not following end up talking to you

journalism_live: @krishgm who does the Twittering for @channel4news – is that you as well? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live no not me – i do actually have a job too. identity is a state secret. like the banker on ‘deal or no deal’ #ch4

journalism_live:4 @krishgm ooo… mystery. Are you thinking as ‘presenter of channel 4 news’ when you submit a Tweet via @krishgm? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live sometimes i tweet purely with work in mind…but there’s a fair amount of personal stuff too. I wonder if it jars…? #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm #ch4 is Twitter beating Channel 4 to breaking news stories and is this something @krishgm is more aware of now? (@lauraoliver)
krishgm: @journalism_live i think it offers something totally different and not competing. we don’t do 24 hr news. we want to be best not first #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i must clarify ‘best not first’ comment. we do also like to be first where we can (i.e. scoops) but we not 24 hr news #ch4

Britt_W: @krishgm #ch4 Does Twitter in any way ‘slow down’ people at work do you think? Or is it inspiring and makes them more productive instead?
krishgm: @Britt_W yes! it does slow us down when we twittering rubbish! #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm and are there drawbacks of journalists sourcing via Twitter? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live you have to verify all information – so the same rules apply. i think there are potential man-traps – such as liars. #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm Yes, you recently Tweeted it’s ‘just a new medium’ for finding people – Or could you ever call people’s Tweets ‘journalism’?#ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live You can tell an accurate story in 140 characters so yes in theory it can be journalism. But mostly, no! #ch4

programx: @krishgm You and @channel4news have asked for user ideas/opinion on prog content. How does mgt see this? Infringing on their domain? #ch4
krishgm: @ProgramX well we have three meetings a day between C4 News and News at Noon where mgt are there and we discuss it all #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm #ch4 is quite conversational via its use of @channel4news – was that a deliberate strategy?
krishgm: @journalism_live @channel4news is a sort of window on the newsroom and all the bonkers stuff said in here so yes #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live we think its a mistake to tweet lots of ‘breaking news’ updates that are really just driving traffic to websites. #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm 140chs must be a constraint for conversation: any plans to develop a fuller blog for yourself? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live not right now. I think i’m better suited to twitter! a blog is hard work – and i write a daily email when on #ch4

TGRWorzel:@krishgm I think it is a good way for audience to suggest questions, if we know who you are going to interview
krishgm: @TGRWorzel i really love all the suggested questions for interviews. please send more #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm someone asked earlier if Ch4’s ‘freer’ tone was because didn’t have constraints of BBC licence fee? (@buffsrawlinson) #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live wouldn’t overstate it but yes i think that is a factor. plus we smaller, less bureaucratic, fewer bosses, etc #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm yes were surprised how small! http://is.gd/l6F5
@journalism_live that article obviously didn’t mention the 100 odd people making C4 News on the telly #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm of course! to clarify that’s just the website #ch4

journalism_live: You just mentioned that you now incorporate viewer suggestions into interviews?#ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live I don’t promise to incorporate (I don’t quote) – but they inform me when I’m deciding what to ask and what is ‘big’ #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm but again with being aware that people might have an agenda? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live yes of course – you wouldn’t just use a tweet as uncorroborated source. there’s all sort of bonkers types out here! #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm do you think inc. more informal tone and method will influence TV prog. content? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i think tv tone naturally changes with the times and often becomes more informal and more direct. it is one influence #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i think there’s still so much confusion about what twitter is, and what its for in general population #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live you keep hearing ‘we’re on twitter’ on tv/radio without it always being an interesting use of twitter that adds value #ch4

Britt_W: @krishgm #ch4 Another question: Are you divided in your views regarding using Twitter or are you all for it? Does it cause a problem?
krishgm @Britt_W nobody is against it, but lots just don’t understand yet why anyone would botherbeing on twitter. they will #ch4
Britt_W: @krishgm #ch4 Sorry, didn’t express myself properly. Meant: Is C4 STAFF (not just you) divided in their views ie some for – some against?

programx: @krishgm You’ve tweeted while on air, something @declancurry also does. Is there scope 4 making C4News even more interactive this way? #ch4
krishgm @ProgramX ssshhhhh! the boss wouldnt approve! I’m supposed to be concentrating solely on the show! but its fun. #ch4
krishgm @ProgramX as before – really like getting feedback/suggestions live on air #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm and has there been any mention of Ofcom? Of course it’s a very grey area what they do and don’t police #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live never heard anything about ofcom – but our reputation is at stake on all media so we have to be careful. #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live and twitter is not overseen by an editor – so there are potential problems. blogs are checked before publication #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live god, i’ve just thrown up a massive issue there about overseeing output…#ch4
journalism_live @krishgm Vicky Taylor said journs are ‘prof journalists – they’re aware of what they can and can’t write’ so it’s not a ‘major prob’ #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live well that’s good and a great and supportive position from the Channel – until somebody screws up! #ch4

journalism_live @krishgm will pursue that one with more than 140 chs… Q from @gemmanewby – will twitter threaten journo/researcher/photographer jobs?#ch4
krishgm @journalism_live i can’t see why it threatens anything at all. it enhances. #ch4

krishgm @journalism_live last q….am going to have to go do some work soon! #ch4
journalism_live @krishgm yes, us too. a silly Q from @thespyglass Does Krishnan ever consciously compete with Jon on the tie front?! #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live well i love ties too and have about 300 on a wall at home, so maybe a bit. we have v diff styles. me flowers/insects #ch4
journalism_live @krishgm great – a v impt Q and insight to end on. Cheers Krishnan. Apologies to his fllwrs for hogging the chat. #ch4

krishgm @journalism_live a pleasure – lets do it again sometime. #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm see you around. Bye for now! #ch4