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Martin Moore: seven models for reform of self-regulation

Revelations about the extent of the phone-hacking scandal have fuelled discussion about the state of self-regulation and possible reform. Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust, has created a thought-provoking list of seven possible ways in which the system might be reformed, from scrapping regulation altogether to full statutory regulation. Moore has weighed up some of the pros and cons of each idea and intends for them to serve as a framework for discussion of the issue.

The list:

1. Abolish the PCC, without setting up a replacement
2. Reform the existing PCC
3. Create an independent regulator
4. Extend a watered down Ofcom to cover all major media organisations
5. Create a professional body for journalists
6. Withdraw all media regulation, but reform, extend, reduce and clarify existing media law
7. Create a new statutory regulator for all media

See Moore’s post on the MST website for his introduction and the full reasoning behind each idea.

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Media Standards Trust poses questions over Northern & Shell PCC exclusion

January 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Magazines

Following news that Richard Desmond’s publisher Northern & Shell had withdrawn all of its titles – including the Daily Mirror and OK! Magazine – from the PCC’s self regulatory system, the Media Standards Trust has posed the following open questions to Northern & Shell, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and the Press Board of Finance (PressBof). Republished here in full.

Northern & Shell

  • Will you guarantee to offer the same levels of protection to members of the public – such as families who have suffered a suicide – as you did when covered by the PCC code?
  • If a member of the public feels harassed by a journalist claiming to work for Northern & Shell, what should they do?
  • If you discover that a high profile public figure is pregnant before their 12 week scan, will you protect their privacy as other newspapers have agreed, or just publish the story?
  • Will your publications continue to write to the PCC Editorial Code, or is Northern & Shell opting out of all existing codes of self-regulation?
  • How should a reader go about making a complaint about something that is written in one of your titles?
  • When the Media Standards Trust wanted to make a complaint to the Daily Star, it found that the newspaper did not make public the name of its editor or a phone number for anything other than the newsdesk. Will the affected titles now make clear how to contact the editor and/or provide a clear internal complaints system?
  • What motivated your withdrawal and on what terms, if any, would you return to the system overseen by the PCC?

Press Complaints Commission

  • What impact will Northern & Shell’s withdrawal have on the PCC’s overall funding? Given that the amount contributed by national newspapers is kept secret, it is currently not possible for those outside the industry to work out what effect the exit will have.
  • Will the PCC be able to maintain the same level of service on a lower budget?
  • In its statement – and for the first time – the PCC revealed some of the publications not covered by the PCC (i.e. Northern & Shell publications). Will the PCC now publish a list of all those that do subscribe?
  • Was Northern & Shell clear as to what motivated its withdrawal? And, if so, is it clear under what terms it might return to the system?

PressBof

  • This is the second time in two months that the PCC budget has been hit (the first being the libel settlement and costs in November 2010). PressBof was not transparent about the cost of the first (and did not respond to the Media Standards Trust’s letter requesting further information); will it now be transparent about the cost of the Northern & Shell withdrawal?
  • PressBof has previously refused to provide any assurances on what this means for the PCC’s level of service. Will it now provide assurances that the level of service the PCC provides will be maintained?
  • Given the importance of national newspaper contributions to the sustainability of the PCC, will PressBof now lift the secrecy surrounding those contributions, and publish information on who pays for the PCC and how much each pays?

Martin Moore, the director of the Media Standards Trust, said: “The withdrawal of Northern & Shell raises fundamental questions about the sustainability of the current system of self-regulation. The PCC and PressBof need to reassure the public that they will continue to have adequate avenues of complaint. Northern & Shell needs to be clear as to how it will, in future, fulfil its obligations to its readers and to the broader public.

“The Press Complaints Commission argues consistently that it exists as a better alternative – and deterrent to – statutory regulation. It now needs to explain what impact Northern & Shell’s withdrawal will have on the general public, and what it plans to do to ensure the comprehensiveness and sustainability of press self-regulation.”

Update

The MST reports on its PCC Watch site that the PCC and PressBof have responded to their questions.

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News organisations should get ready for data, says Martin Moore

While the individual newspapers involved in WikiLeak’s latest military document release may be considering lessons for next time, Martin Moore from the Media Standards Trust says all news organisations should be preparing for future waves of data from such sources.

Writing on the PBS Mediashift Idea Lab he says the ‘data dump’ process is likely to to become an increasingly common method of information release as reporters and sources become more experienced in handling such material.

Soon every news organization will have its own “bunker” — a darkened room where a hand-picked group of reporters hole up with a disk/memory stick/laptop of freshly opened data, some stale pizza and lots of coffee.

He proposes five questions for news outlets to consider in preparation for processing leaked material in the best way for the reader, including how to use public intelligence to generate the most stories from material, how to personalise data for their own specific audiences and how to ensure transparency and trust in the publication of documents.

The expenses files, the Afghan logs, the COINs database (a massive database of U.K. government spending released last month) are all original documents that can be tagged, referenced and linked to. They enable journalists not only to refer back to the original source material, but to show an unbroken narrative flow from original source to final article. This cements the credibility of the journalism and gives the reader the opportunity to explore the context within the original source material. Plus, if published in linked data, the published article can be directly linked to the original data reference.

He adds that preparation will be key to securing future scoops, as “organizations that become known for handling big data sets will have more whistleblowers coming to them”.

See his full post here…

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Are you on the j-list? The leading innovators in journalism and media in 2010

July 22nd, 2010 | 14 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

Updated 05/08/2010

Recent industry lists ranking the great and good in journalism and the media fell a bit short of the mark for Journalism.co.uk. Where were the online innovators? Where were the journalists on the ground outside of the executives’ offices?

So we’ve compiled our own rundown listing those people we think are helping to build the future of journalism and the news media.

Some important points to note:

  • There are no rankings to this list – those included are from such varied areas of work it seemed pointless;
  • We will have missed some people out – let us know in the comments below or with the hashtag #jlist who you are working with that should be included;
  • We’ve listed groups as well as individuals – with individuals we hope you’ll see them as representing a wider team of people, who have worked together on something great;
  • And it’s not limited to 50 or 100 – we’ll see where it takes us…

So here’s the first batch. There’s a Twitter list of those included so far at this link and more will be added in the coming weeks.

Click on the ‘more’ link after these five to to see the full list.

Tomáš Bella

Tomáš Bella was editor-in-chief and deputy director of Sme.sk, the Slovak republic’s most popular news site. He was author of the first European newspaper-owned blogportal (blog.sme.sk, 2004) and the first digg-like service (vybrali.sme.sk, 2006). In April 2010 he co-founded Prague-based new media consultancy NextBig.cz and is working on a payment system to allow the access to all the premium content of major newspapers and TV stations with one payment.

Paul Steiger

While ProPublica’s not-for-profit, foundation-funded model may be something commercial news organisations can never share, its investment in and triumphing of investigative and data journalism cannot be overlooked. The way in which it involves a network of readers in its research and actively encourages other sites to “steal” its stories shows a new way of thinking about journalism’s watchdog role. Image courtesy of the Knight Foundation on Flickr.

Chris Taggart

Paul Bradshaw’s description of his fellow j-lister: “Chris has been working so hard on open data in 2010 I expect steam to pour from the soles of his shoes every time I see him. His ambition to free up local government data is laudable and, until recently, unfashionable. And he deserves all the support and recognition he gets.”

Ian Hislop/Private Eye

Not much to look at on the web perhaps, but the Eye’s successful mixture of satire, humour and heavyweight investigations has seen its circulation rise. It blaized a trail during the Carter-Ruck and Trafigura gagging ordeal and has even lent it’s support to j-list fellow the Hackney Citizen to protect press freedom from international to hyperlocal levels. Image courtesy of Nikki Montefiore on Flickr.

Brian Boyer

Amidst the talk of what journalists can learn from programmers and what coding skills, if any, journalists need, Brian Boyer was making the move the other way from programming to a programmer-journalist. His university and personal projects in this field have been innovative and have got him noticed by many a news organisation – not least the Chicago Tribune, where he now works as a news applications editor. He blogs at Hacker Journalist.

Ushahidi

Originally built to map reports from citizens of post-election violence in Kenya, Ushahidi’s development of interactive, collaborative and open source mapping technology has been adopted by aid agencies and news organisations alike. It’s a new means of storytelling and a project that’s likely to develop more tools for journalists in the future.

More »

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Future of news innovation in the US is coming from outside of journalism

Martin Moore is director of the Media Standards Trust. This post first appeared on his blog.

Last week’s Future of News and Civic Media conference organised by the Knight Foundation in Boston (#fncm) was that rare thing – a #futureofnews conference where I came away feeling quite inspired and with a renewed optimism about the future of news (though not as we’ve known it).

In particular, I learnt that there are growing numbers of people in the States who have moved beyond the increasingly circular debates about how to sustain the incumbent news industry. Instead, they are working on lots of projects that use the internet and mobile to provide the public with timely information, in an accessible way. In other words, deliver what journalism did – or was meant to – deliver, without calling it journalism.

Take, for example, this year’s Knight News Challenge Winners (of which Paul Bradshaw tweeted “Very impressed… easily the strongest year yet”). Only one of the twelve winners is directly focused on addressing the travails of the existing news industry – and even this in a very non-traditional way. PRX StoryMarket will provide a way for the public to pitch and pay for news stories on US public radio. It is based on the ‘spot.us‘ model (a Knight winner in 2008), but focused on radio.

Nine others (making up over 80 per cent of the prize in terms of funding) are about enabling and enhancing information flows within communities and hardly mention the word ‘journalism’.

Citytracking will “make municipal data easy to understand with software that allows the users to transform web data into maps and graphics” (by the renowned Stamen Design – see this map for example).

The Cartoonist will create a free tool that allows people to produce cartoon-like current event games

Local wiki will “help people learn and share community news and knowledge through the creation of local wikis”. The two young guys who won the award started a local wiki in Davis, California six years ago which has grown to be the biggest media source in the town.

GoMap Riga will “inspire residents to become engaged in their community by creating an online map where people can browse and post their own local news and information”. Again, this is about people – the community – putting up and reading content about their neighbourhood (run by a tremendous Latvian duo – Kristofs Blaus and Marcis Rubenis).

Front Porch Forum will help residents connect with “their community by creating open-source software for neighbourhood news”. Essentially micro local private sites based around a handful of blocks.

Stroome allows people to edit video online, for free, within their browser.

CitySeed will ‘develop mobile applications that enable people to geotag ideas for improving neighbourhoods’. The example they give is of someone geotagging a location for a community garden.

Tilemapping will enable residents to ‘learn about local issues by creating a set of easy-to-use tools for crafting hyperlocal maps’.

WindyCitizen’s real time ads will ‘help online start-ups generate revenue and become sustainable by creating enhanced software that produce real-time ads’. This may well help journalists and the news industry, but notice there’s no mention of news outlets, just ‘online start-ups’.

Of the final two, one enhances traditional reporting (Order in the Court 2.0), and the other will use social media to report on a US battalion in Afghanistan (One-Eight).

And it wasn’t just the Knight News Challenge winners that eschewed traditional ideas of journalism. Most of the conference was spent talking about new media tools that served a public purpose – or “civic media” as its termed in the US. News is a part of this, but only in the sense that there is a public value to news.

We saw a demo by SourceMap – a site that helps you map where things come from and what they are made of; and of boy.co.tt – a site that makes consumer boycotts much more targeted. We were introduced to streetblogs – a ‘daily news source, online community and political mobilizer for the Livable Streets movement’; seeclickfix – like MySociety’s fixmystreet; transparencydata.com from the Sunlight Foundation; groundcrew.us – that uses GPS and mobile communication to coordinate volunteering, events, political canvassing etc.; and many other sites and services that enhance communication, focus citizen activism, bring people closer to public authorities, and fulfil those perennial twin goals of greater transparency and accountability.

There is lots of development already being done in the US with public data. In Boston, the release of real time transport data by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in November 2009 generated a slew of creative hacking (see this Wall Street Journal piece). The same is now happening in New York. There is also an open wiki for helping collaboration and gathering best practice at http://wiki.openmuni.org/.

Much of the new development is emerging from US universities, such as MIT. At the MIT Media Lab’s Center for the Future of Civic Media, for example. It defines civic media as “any form of communication that strengthens the social bonds within a community or creates a strong sense of civic engagement among its residents. Civic media goes beyond news gathering and reporting”.

We in the UK are now expecting ‘a tsunami of data’ to flow from government thanks to the Big Society declaration (including a new ‘right to data’). Some people have begun using the data for development – such as the live train map for the London underground. But it is well worth casting our eyes across the Atlantic – we can learn alot from current developments in the US.

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Martin Moore: #futureofnews is ‘not so bleak, but not so rosy either’

June 7th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick

Great post from Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust, on paywalls, business models and collaboration in journalism. The post is worth reading in full, but some of the important points Moore makes include:

  • The future of advertising as part of a newsroom’s business model:

The paywall is not the only way to sustain the digital newsroom. Advertising – much maligned by many – could yet make online non-paywall newspaper content viable within 5 years.

  • The problems with paywalls:

Even if paywalls provide a secure financial future for news organisations – which right now seems unlikely – they will reduce the pool of shared information, and cut those news organisations’ content off from the openness, sharing and linking that characterises the web.

But perhaps most interesting in the post is Moore’s own suggested model for news and revenue – the ‘carrier pigeon model’:

In this model you let people share, link to, recommend, search, aggregate, and even reuse your content – you just make sure it’s properly marked up and credited first, so you can keep track of it, and develop revenue models off the back of it. You do this with – excuse the geek terminology – “metadata” (…) I call it the “carrier pigeon” model because the news doesn’t just go out, it comes back.

Full post at this link…

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Cartoon journalist recognised on Journalisted.com

April 14th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

Journalisted.com, sporting a new and refreshed look, has added a pseudonymous 18th century journalist to its byline directory.

As Media Standards Trust director Martin Moore describes on his blog, Journalisted is to support Matt Buck and Michael Cross’ cartoon creation ‘Tobias Grubbe’, an 18th century journalist. Grubbe’s work is also to be published on the Guardian website during the general election.

“Grubbe will be expressing his opinions about the election on the Guardian website from Monday 12 April to the election (and a bit after). He has also become an honorary member of journalisted.com, joining over 18,000 of his colleagues,” says Moore.

Grubbe can also be found on Twitter: @tobiasgrubbe.

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MediaShift: Why news organisations should use ‘linked data’

March 17th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Director of the Media Standards Trust Martin Moore gives 10 reasons why news organisations should use “linked data” – “a way of publishing information so that it can easily – and automatically -be linked to other, similar data on the web”.

[Moore’s recommendations follow the News Linked Data Summit and you can read more about the event at this link.]

It’s worth reading the list in full, but some of the top reasons include:

  • Linked data can boost search engine optimisation;
  • It helps you and other people build services around your content;
  • It helps journalists with their work:

As a news organisation publishes more of its news content in linked data, it can start providing its journalists with more helpful information to inform the articles they’re writing. Existing linked data can also provide suggestions as to what else to link to.

Full post at this link…

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Martin Moore: ‘What are the universal principles that guide journalism?’

The UK’s Media Standards Trust is trying to define the principles of journalism, as part of its Value Added News transparency project.

The hNews microformatting system, recently adopted by 200 new sites, requires its users to sign up to journalism principles. “One of the key elements of hNews (…) is rel-principles,” explains MST director Martin Moore. “This is a line of code that embeds a link within each article to the news principles to which it adheres. It doesn’t specify what those principles should be, just that the article should link to some.”

In a blog post for the MediaShift Idea Lab, Moore outlines some of the problems associated with drawing up such a code. He describes the themes identified so far. “These themes are by no means comprehensive – nor are they intended to be,” he says. “They are a starting point for those, be they news organizations or bloggers, who are drawing up their own principles and need a place to start. We’d really like some feedback on whether these are right, if ten is too many, if there are any big themes missing, and which ones have most relevance to the web.”

  1. Public interest Example: “… to serve the general welfare by informing the people and enabling them to make judgments on the issues of the time” (American Society of Newspaper Editors)
  2. Truth and accuracy Example: “[The journalist] strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair” (National Union of Journalists, UK)
  3. Verification Example: “Seeking out multiple witnesses, disclosing as much as possible about sources, or asking various sides for comment… [The] discipline of verification is what separates journalism from other modes of communication, such as propaganda, fiction or entertainment” (Principles of Journalism, from Project for Excellence in Journalism)
  4. Fairness Example: “… our goal is to cover the news impartially and to treat readers, news sources, advertisers and all parts of our society fairly and openly, and to be seen as doing so” (New York Times Company Policy on Ethics in Journalism)
  5. Distinguishing fact and comment Example: “… whilst free to be partisan, [the press] must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact” (Editors Code of Practice, PCC, U.K.)
  6. Accountability Example: “The journalist shall do the utmost to rectify any published information which is found to be harmfully inaccurate” (International Federation of Journalists, Principles on the Conduct of Journalists)
  7. Independence Example: “Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know… [and] Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived” (Society of Professional Journalists)
  8. Transparency (regarding sources) Example: “Aim to attribute all information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative, attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances” (Australian Journalists Code)
  9. Restraint (around harassment and intrusion) Example: “The public has a right to know about its institutions and the people who are elected or hired to serve its interests. People also have a right to privacy and those accused of crimes have a right to a fair trial. There are inevitable conflicts between the right to privacy, the public good and the public’s right to be informed. Each situation should be judged in the light of common sense, humanity and the public’s rights to know” (Canadian Association of Journalists)
  10. Originality (i.e. not plagiarising) Example: “An AP staffer who reports and writes a story must use original content, language and phrasing. We do not plagiarise, meaning that we do not take the work of others and pass it off as our own” (Associated Press Statement of news values and principles)

Full post (and themes) at this link…

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Top five UK journalism blogs and Tweeters in 2009 (and who to watch in 2010)

With the proviso that journalism blogs and bloggers come and go, we have selected our own personal favourite journalism bloggers and tweeters. These are our absolute must-reads. We realise this is a somewhat subjective exercise, so please add your own in the comments below, or via Twitter to @journalismnews.

Top five UK journalism blogs and Tweeters of 2009

As chosen by John Thompson, founder, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@GordonMacmillan, @malcolmcoles, @adamwestbrook, @paulbradshaw, @mikebutcher, @marcreeves

Best blogs:
Malcolm ColesJon Slattery, Adam Tinworth, OJB, Adam Westbrook (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by Laura Oliver, editor, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@georgehopkin, @nigelbarlow, @MrRickWaghorn, @gordonmacmillan, @psmith

Best blogs:
Sarah Hartley, Alison Gow, Adam Tinworth, Martin Belam, Jon Slattery (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by Judith Townend, senior reporter, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@gingerelvis, @samshepherd, @badjournalism, @jowadsworth, @digidickinson

Best blogs:
Jon Slattery, Martin Moore, Charlie Beckett, The Media Blog, Sarah Hartley (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by the Journalism.co.uk team:

Five blogs to watch in 2010

  • Marc Reeves: former Birmingham Post editor, with new projects on the go.

Five Tweeters to watch in 2010

  • @timesjoanna, for her excellent social media and online journalism links.
  • @michaelhaddon, former City student with an interest in political online media; now working at Dow Jones.
  • @joshhalliday, at the centre of the UK student journalist blogging conversation; lots to look at on his own blog.
  • @coneee, the NUJ’s first full-time blogger member, currently completing an MA at City University.
  • @marcreeves, for the latest on what the former regional editor is up to.
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