Tag Archives: driver

Is there life after a journalism course? The Coventry Class of 2009 – Jason Craig

At the end of the academic year John Mair, senior lecturer in broadcasting at Coventry University, asked just what would happen to his undergraduate journalism class of 2009. In the face of the biggest media recession for many a generation where do they go? Is there life after a journalism course? A few months on, we are re-visiting the students.

Jason Craig graduated with a first class honours in journalism and media from Coventry University last June. He now works as a writer on the Belfast based Pacenotes – a magazine for the many thousands of  rally enthusiasts in Ireland.

As I write this, 10,000 copies of the September issue of Pacenotes Rally Magazine will be returning from the printers in Antrim and winging their way to newsagents, subscribers and leading rally figures across the UK and Ireland.

The days leading up to print deadline, leaving the office just before midnight and rising the following morning at 6am was not uncommon, and after a while you become oblivious to the man-hours needed to compile a 72-page monthly read.

When you are passionate about a subject and you are getting paid to write about it, time really doesn’t become an issue – at least for me, anyway. My last report covered the Ulster International Rally, a mammoth two day operation that required the compiling of driver quotes and pictures on stage and in and around service.

I give up evenings and weekends to be involved in a sport I have followed and admired for so long. To have access to teams and drivers is a privilege, so it is my job to relay this ‘inside information’ to the reader as best possible.

For the same issue, with the help of Phil James (www.pro-rally.co.uk), I have just compiled a one-off, 11 page commemorative feature on the Mini as this year marks its 50th anniversary.

I’ve spoken to many people about this giant-killing rally machine, but none more eloquent than the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally winner, Paddy Hopkirk. This is what makes my new job so varied and exciting.

Recently, in the space of a week, I have been to Dublin to research  a feature on Couture Auto Ltd before jetting over to England the following day to pay the motorsport engine builder, Mountune a visit.

This visit to the Essex based company had added meaning as anyone who knows me will be wholly aware of my admiration for the Blue Oval and rallying in general. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen so many Ford GT supercars in the same place at the same time, including one worth a cool £1 million!

In October I travel to Cork to cover the final round of the TROA Irish Tarmac Championship where this year’s winner will be crowned, and in November – the weekend before my graduation ceremony, in fact – I travel to the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in the hope that Ulsterman, Kris Meeke will prevail as the champion.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had strong leadership and continued support from my lecturers during my final few days at Coventry University: automotive hack Andrew Noakes and media guru John Mair were of particular help. They deserve a special mention for reasons known only to them, with two copies of the current issue soon to land on their respective desks.

paidContent:UK: Getty Images VP on finding business models for cit-j photos

In this interview with Catherine Gluckstein, the VP of Getty Image’s iStock, which the photo agency bought back in 2006, discusses the difficulties of finding a business model for images from citizen journalists.

Getty’s own foray into the cit-j space saw it buy and later shutdown Scoopt.

“[A] lot of people who take the pictures are not necessarily trying to monetise them – it works best when they send them to the news organisations,” explains Gluckstein.

iStock, which is a pro-am microstock play, is finding success with timeless images, she says. Contributors receive up to 40 per cent commission with images sold to users from $0.95 each.

Gluckstein, who is also CFO of Life.com – the resurrected photo magazine, also comments on the role of social media as a significant driver of traffic to the site.

Full interview at this link…

WashingtonPost: Abducted French security advisers in Mogadishu posed as journalists

“Two French security advisers posing as journalists were abducted from their hotel in Mogadishu on Tuesday by Somali gunmen, according to the foreign ministry and reports from the chaotic Somali capital,” reports the Washington Post.  Full story at this link…

Related:

  • The AFP reports that, according to the Somali defence minister, the pair were ‘kidnapped for cash not politics’.

Background from the Frontline:

“The Telegraph’s Colin Freeman and photographer José Cendón were kidnapped and held for six weeks earlier this year. Meanwhile, freelance journalists Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan after still being held hostage after being kidnapped in Mogadishu in August, 2008. Their driver and fixer were released in January, 2009. This new kidnap comes at a time of ‘fresh fighting’ in the north of Mogadishu, although one could argue fighting never really gets the time to go stale in Mogadishu.”

Tapping/hacking/blagging – the terminology

Media reports refer to both ‘phone tapping’ and ‘phone hacking’ when discussing the Guardian’s investigation into the use of private investigators by News International journalists.

But what exactly were the PI activities alleged to have taken place at the request of journalists?

Phone hacking. This is the term the Guardian uses in its reports, which includes a number of alleged activities. It reported: “Hacking into messages on mobile phones is covered by the same law which now regulates phone tapping and other forms of covert information-gathering, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, known as RIPA.” There is no public interest defence for breaking this law. Activities alleged by the Guardian include:

  • Hacking into mobile phone voicemail accounts, the crime NOTW journalist Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were convicted for in 2007.
  • Illegal hacking ‘into the mobile phone messages of numerous public ­figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills’.

Guardian tech editor Charles Arthur describes how, in further detail at this link, voicemail hacking can be done very simply – via the four digit pin code.

  • However, new methods could now be in use by PIs (no specific allegations made). Arthur quotes a senior security analyst at McAfee: ‘a number of products [are] out there which claim that they will let you listen to someone’s mobile conversations, forward their SMSs and tell you the numbers they have dialled’.
  • In addition, Arthur reports, ‘it might be feasible to clone the connection between a Bluetooth headset and phone so an eavesdropper could connect to the phone while its owner was briefly out of earshot. A hacker could get numbers and contact information’.

Phone tapping. Assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, John Yates, in his statement yesterday, referred to the Mulcaire and Goodman case. He said:

  • “Our inquiries found that these two men had the ability to illegally intercept mobile phone voice mails, commonly known as phone tapping.”

However, the term ‘tapping’ can also indicate other kinds of interception of communications systems e.g wire tapping / obtaining post. In this BBC Q&A from 2006 it is stated that there are three ways a mobile phone can be tapped:

“This can be done either at the handset, or during the conversation – which is illegal and very expensive – or through the mobile phone company which connects the device.”

Blagging. The Guardian reports that this could include obtaining access to confidential databases, such as telephone accounts, bank records and information held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, which is covered by a different law, the 1998 Data Protection Act: “Section 55 makes it an offence to gain unauthorised access to such data, punishable by a fine. However, unlike RIPA, this offence carries a public interest defence.”

The Guardian reports on a series of ‘dark arts’ methods used by PIs, including:

  • Obtaining ex-directory landlines, tax records, social security files, bank statements, mobile numbers, people’s addresses or people’s phone bills and medical records.
  • Conning BT, the DVLA, mobile phone companies and other organisations into handing over private details.

Legacy problems for Olympics media centre?

News from Estates Gazette’s Paul Norman

that Tom Russell, London Development Agency group director of Olympic Legacy, has left his job after just over a year.

Not the usual Journalism.co.uk territory you might think. But it seems Russell was heavily involved in the ‘legacy’ plans for the Olympic media centre.

“Russell it seems has been fighting the corner for idea that the media centre ought to be built to a high enough standard to attract media occupiers to Hackney Wick post Games,” writes Norman.

When Journalism.co.uk attended an event about new media, Beijing and the London Olympics last year, some pretty impressive plans for the media centre were brought out. Among the journalism/media union representatives in the audience, however, the size and temporary nature of some parts of the building were challenged.

Indeed, it seems some aspects of the design may have been scaled back since this event in October – as Norman writes:

“Potential tenants looking at the space from the media world and Hackney council are all understood to be concerned that in its haste to get the building completed the ODA has jettisoned important design features and by implication the legacy impact of what after all was intended as the main jobs driver post-Games.”

The $10m lawsuit against the New Yorker – Papua New Guineans challenge Jared Diamond article

A curious case is fast-escalating in the US: it involves a $10 million defamation lawsuit, two Papua New Guineans who feel they have been inaccurately portrayed, the New Yorker magazine, the research site StinkyJournalism.org… and Jared Diamond, the well-known UCLA professor and author.

A summary of major events, in brief:

  • In April 2008, Jared Diamond [linguist, molecular physiologist, bio-geographer] publishes an article in the New Yorker entitled ‘Vengeance Is Ours: What can tribal societies tell us about our need to get even?’
  • The article, about blood feuds in Papua New Guinea, featured the story of Daniel Wemp and an account of how he spent three years pursuing revenge for his uncle’s death. Allegedly, the feud resulted in six battles and the deaths of 300 pigs.
  • Diamond reports that Henep Isum Mandingo, the man Daniel Wemp was alleged to hold responsible for his uncle’s murder, was shot by a hired hitman in the back with an arrow, leaving him paralysed and in a wheelchair.
  • In 2008, the media ethics and research site, StinkyJournalism.org, begin an investigation in Papua New Guinea into the facts of Diamond’s article.
  • On April 21, 2009, The research team report that The New Yorker fact checkers ‘never contacted any of the indigenous Papua New Guinea people named in Jared Diamond’s article as unrepentant killers, rapists and thieves, before publication’.
  • The team also reports that Henep Isum Mandingo is not paralysed in a wheelchair with spinal injury, as Diamond claimed.

“He [Henep Isum Mandingo] and Daniel Wemp, Diamond’s World Wildlife Fund driver in 2001-2002, and only source for The New Yorker’s revenge story in Papua New Guinea, as well as dozens of tribal members, police officials, deny Diamond’s entire tale about the bloody Ombal and Handa war, calling it ‘untrue’.”

  • On April 20 2009, Daniel Wemp and Henep Isum file a summons and sue for $10 million in the Supreme Court of The State of New York. They charge Jared Diamond and Advance Publications (publishers of The New Yorker magazine and Times-Picayune newspaper) with defamation.

Now, news of the law suit is gathering pace:

Reported by the Associated Press here at this link, it has also been picked up by the New York Post and other publications.

The New York Post reports that New Yorker magazine is standing by its story, as does the Associated Press.

StinkyJournalism.org co-founder, Rhonda Roland Shearer believes that while Wemp may have shared his experiences with Diamond, that does not mean Diamond’s report is accurate, she told Journalism.co.uk.

Shearer reports this quote made by Wemp in an interview: ‘The facts are totally wrong in The New Yorker story. I have given all those stories to Diamond and those stories are very true and those names are not fake.’

“In other words, Wemp says he told the true stories to Diamond with real names but Diamond retold them wrongly by jumbling up information,” Shearer reports in her article, co-written with Michael Kigl, Kritoe Keleba and Jeffrey Elapa.

“I wish the circumstance wasn’t true. It’s so ugly,” Shearer told Journalism.co.uk.

A 40,000-word report (‘Real Tribes / Fake History: Errors, Failures of Method and the Consequences for Indigenous People in Papua New Guinea’) will be released by StinkyJournalism.org in coming weeks.

Shearer herself has received criticism in a comment from ‘Mi Tasol’ under the research for exaggerating the implications of the original article. “I don’t think I sensationalised the gravity of what Diamond has done. But you are entitled to your opinion,” Shearer responded. While applauding the report, and condemning Diamond’s piece, another commenter, ‘ples223,’ points out the difficulties of ‘getting stories straight’ in Papua New Guinea.

Journalism.co.uk will attempt to contact Jared Diamond and the New Yorker magazine for further comment.

BBC Trustees’ expenses: all online for your enjoyment (links and summary)

Now this is an interesting media release to get in your inbox of a morning: a summary report and the full expenses for the BBC trustees 1 April-30 September 2008.

“In line with its commitment to transparency and openness, the BBC Trust decided in April 2008 to publish Trustees’ individual expenses with effect from April 2007. These are published on a six monthly basis,” the release said.

So, here you go: the expenses, in text summary form for the period April 1 to September 30 2008 here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/about/expenses/summary_apr_sept_2008.txt

Or full report in text here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/about/expenses/full_report_apr_sept_2008.txt

Or visit here for the PDFs (much easier to read): http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/about/bbc_trust_members/expenses.html

The full report lets you details a bit more specifically. During April – September 2008 report for example, Sir Michael Lyons had meetings at the Cinnamon Club, the Dorchester and the Wolseley, for example. Personal details, e.g names of hotels stayed in, are removed.

Download at this link

The interesting parts in digestable form:

  • Lots of BBC prom boxes for ‘external opinion formers’ = £3836.35
  • Wimbledon Tennis Championship – Sir Michael Lyons and Diane Coyle hosted an event for opinion formers = £9,803.99
  • The Trustee expenses amounts below include Trustee business entertainment (external and internal) / Subsistence / Mileage / Accommodation / Travel (other) / Travel –
    Driver/ Flights / Cars / Rail / Other (see links above for notes on categories).
  • Chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, £35,126.82*
  • Vice Chair, Chitra Bharucha, £8,754.01
  • Trust Member for Northern Ireland, Rotha Johnston, £7,154.62
  • Trust Member for Scotland, Jeremy Peat, £15,050.74
  • Trust Member for England, Alison Hastings, £8,341.96
  • Trust Member for Wales, Janet Lewis-Jones, £9,872.85
  • Trust Member, Patricia Hodgson, £1,546.88
  • Trust member, David Liddiment, £856.02
  • Trust Member, Mehmuda Mian, £448.62
  • Trust Member, Dermot Gleeson, £2,860.78
  • Trust Member, Richard Tait, £1,941.07
  • Trust Member, Diane Coyle, £1550.59
  • TOTAL = £93,504.96
  • * “Sir Michael Lyons’ expenses total includes half of the annual £25,000 cost for his access to a BBC car and driver. These costs are already reported in the BBC Annual Report and Statement of Accounts and is included here for completeness,” the report says.

Innovations in Journalism – Orato.com

Each week we give technology developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are are working on. This week it’s citizen journalism site Orato.

Image of Orato website

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?

I’m Paul Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Orato.

Orato is a citizen journalism site that features stories from 3525 (last count) citizen correspondents from around the world.

Anyone can post text, audio, video story or photo slide show and comment on the site after registering.

We encourage first-person accounts, partly for practical reasons – people are comfortable speaking in their own voice about what they encounter, what’s going on in their lives, and what they think and feel – but also because it communicates on a more intimate level.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?

Orato is useful to journalists as a source of fascinating stories that don’t stem from the usual sources or locales.

On the home page, as I write, there’s a piece by a guy who kills baby seals for a living on the ice of Newfoundland, who is unapologetically carrying on a family tradition; there’s a story from the jackman (he jacks up the wheels) for the Nascar Red Bull team…he watches the cars go by at 198 miles an hours, then has to be ready in a split second to change the tires on his driver’s car; there’s a story about a family in Turkey who walks on all fours – their standard means of locomotion, a piece from a guy who spent more than a decade high up in Scientology’s secret army, and a piece from an astronaut on what it’s like to walk in space.

Some of these pieces we’ve solicited; others have come unbidden.

Orato is a treasure chest for journos looking for stories. It is also a place where journalists can and do post pieces that are viewed as too controversial or unpublishable at their own workplace.

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

We’re already formulating Orato 3.0 (2.0 introduced video and interactive features such as the activity tracker).

In 3.0 we’re going to focus even more on the social media dimensions of the site…allow correspondents to instant message each other, allow them to customize their own MyOrato home page to display the subjects they’re interested in, etc.

We’re constantly thinking about new ways to expand citizen journalism – live video, versions in other languages, syndication of our best pieces using widgets, etc.

4) Why are you doing this?

For these reasons:

  • Because it’s important. This site has become a platform for people who otherwise may have no public voice – the sex trade workers who covered the serial killer trial in Vancouver, the Scientology refugees who have come to the site to bear witness against an oppressive cult, people who have been abused by authority and people who just love to tell stories and are looking for a safe, reputable and credible place to do it. It’s a democratic phenomenon, one we’re proud to be a part of.
  • Because people want it: now that the bandwidth and interactive technology exist, people are eager to participate and we give them at least one outlet.
  • Because it’s exciting. It’s the marketplace for a magnificent variety of voices and experiences; it’s the court of public opinion.
  • The wonder of it all: Strange and exotic stories appear out of nowhere. One day, the former chief executioner for Kenya decides to tell his story.
  • It’s great fun.

5) What does it cost to use it?

Nothing. It’s all free.

6) How will you make it pay?

We’re in the process of negotiating with online ad agencies to feature ads on the site. As traffic increases so will our CPM rate and our revenue. We have a number of other ideas in the development phase, but they’re not quite ready for prime time.