Tag Archives: Raoul Moat

Judge bans use of Twitter in Raoul Moat accomplices case

A judge in the case of two men jailed for life this week for helping gunman Raoul Moat reportedly ruled that Twitter could not be used in court.

The Press Gazette and HoldtheFrontPage are reporting that journalists at ncjMedia Ltd, publishers of Newcastle dailies the Evening Chronicle and The Journal, asked to tweet live updates on the trial and verdicts but had their application rejected.

According to HoldtheFrontPage, the judge in the case, Mr Justice McCombe, refused the application because he believed that the interests of justice would be best served by the production of full, balanced reports.

In December, Britain’s most senior judge issued interim guidance stating journalists could use Twitter in court but that approval must be issued by a judge on a case-by-case basis.

The week before the the Lord Chief Justice issued the guidance, the district judge overseeing the second bail hearing of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange gave journalists and others explicit permission to tweet the proceedings.

The Lord Chief Justice is due to carry out a consultation on the use of Twitter in court reporting shortly.

The headline to this post originally read: Judge bans Twitter despite Lord Chief Justice’s guidance





Daily Star admits making ‘no attempt to check the accuracy’ of story

The Daily Star apologised this weekend after publishing an article on its website claiming a games company were planning to release a video game based on Raoul Moat, admitting they “made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story”.

Journalism.co.uk reported that the newspaper had removed the article last week, saying they would investigate the matter.

They have now issued a full apology to the games company in question, Rockstar Games.

We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member (…) We unreservedly apologise to Rockstar Games and we have undertaken not to repeat the claims again. We have also agreed to pay them a substantial amount in damages which they are donating to charity.

See the full article here…

Daily Star pulls Raoul Moat videogame article following complaints

The Daily Star has removed an article published on its website yesterday that claimed a videogame based on Raoul Moat was in development.

“[L]ast night gaming websites showed the cover of Grand Theft Auto Rothbury – a version of the XBox hit Grand Theft Auto,” the article, which is still available at time of writing as a Google Cache, said.

But several gaming news websites, including Escapist Magazine and Future’s Computer and Video Games, raised concerns about the article.

The Star told Journalism.co.uk that it had temporarily removed the article following complaints, which it was investigating.

Sun criticised for descriptions of Raoul Moat as a young boy

Writing on the BBC College of Journalism site, Simon Ford flags up the very questionable descriptions of Raoul Moat used by the Sun to caption images of him as a baby and young boy:

“Ginger top,” mused one underneath what looked like a school photograph, “but at five his eyes already have intense look.”

“Awkward,” concludes another under a photo of, “Moat aged 13 at mum Josephine’s wedding.”

And the most absurd of all: “Cute baby … but two-month-old Moat clenches his fists.”

Adding to the debate about the media’s influence in such events, Ford quotes some of the language used by the newspaper to describe Moat during the time he evaded the police:

On 8 July – day-six of the hunt – the Sun decided to throw everything it had at “THE PSYCHO COMMANDO”.

In five pages devoted to the story, the Sun portrayed Moat as a “self-pitying monster”, a “6ft 3in brute”, a “gun spree hulk” capable of living “wild for weeks”. His campsite, discovered by police on farmland, was described as a “lair”.

The newspaper was criticised in May for using the expression ‘tar baby’ – a term widely considered offensive to African-Americans – to caption an image of a very young boy smoking.

Full BBC post at this link…

Media faces stong criticism from within over Raoul Moat coverage

Media coverage of the police hunt for Raoul Moat may have come to an end, but the debate over how the press reported on events continues.

From live video coverage of Moat’s stand-off with police, to interactive maps, to timelines of events leading up to his attacks,  – the terrifying story gripped our news headlines.

But the volume and content of some coverage has led to criticisms of sensationalism and glamourising, from outside and within the industry – with some even warning reports could encourage future attacks.

The debate over the media’s responsibility when reporting such events has even prompted a Twitter debate from the BBC, who will hold a debrief tomorrow to discuss the lessons to learn from covering the actions of people like Raoul Moat.

Responding to the debate on Twitter, @julesthejourno illustrated the problem – while some of the real-time footage may have been difficult to watch, it was equally impossible to turn off, for a public with a desire to know the latest developments.

Friday’s live coverage was so raw (especially the phone calls) it felt wrong to watch but even more so to change channels.

This supports Barbara Ellen’s post at the Observer, which claimed that the media are simply “feeding the ‘public interest’ monster”.

It’s too pat to blame the news media. They are merely feeding the “public interest” monster – a ravenous, impatient, rubbernecking creature. In a way, that seems almost too tidy. It seems to be this very part of us that feeds the “death and glory” monster presumably lurking inside poor, deluded sods such as Moat, making all those fantasies about being the centre of attention, the big scary guy with the gun, come true.

But she warns that demand for such coverage could lead to a very dark road.

Homicidal sprees as another form of spectator sport? Just another button on the remote control, perhaps labelled “Homi-tainment”, with a helpful skull and crossbones motif? The whole thing was reminiscent of iconic scenes from the US. “Homi-tainment” was definitely there when OJ went off on his car chase, Waco went under siege, even in those candlelit vigils outside prison executions. Didn’t Brits used to think we were rather above this kind of thing? Well, seemingly not any more.

But is the media to blame for how the news itself plays out?  Freelance journalist Martin Robbins has written a series of “serious questions” which he feels need to be answered by the media, who he claims created a “carnival atmosphere” with their coverage.

His comments have since exploded across Twitter and the blogosphere.

One such question is whether the media understand the nature and extent of their influence on Raoul Moat? Robbins says a quote from Moat proves that media coverage could have directly led to another person being killed:

For every piece of inaccurate information published I will select a member of the public and kill them.

In response, Robbins questions the morality of the press who he accuses of doing just that.

Can they explain why they printed inflammatory details that had no conceivable public interest justification? Can they go to bed tonight safe and sound in the certain knowledge that they did not contribute to his death?

Answering his question, the bloggers at Fleet Street Blues simply replied: “yes”.

Look, it’s not as if the Raoul Moat story was Fleet Street’s finest hour. It showed how the proliferation of online news has only heightened the demands of the 24-hour rolling news cycle, and no one’s saying the televised ending was particularly edifying for anyone concerned.

But the implication that journalists were too intrusive, too inquisitive and too obstructive to police is just inaccurate.

Channel 4’s Alex Thomson, whose real-time Tweeting also came under fire from Robbins as an illustration of the media chase, defended his work on Twitter:

“can’t speak for media but yes, v proud of c4n Moat coverage which I say was informative, factual and not sensational.

But psychologists remain concerned that even though the coverage of Raoul Moat’s run from the police may be over, it had the power to encourage another similar event in the near future.

Reporting for the Independent, Johann Hari asks if the media will now indirectly help others “pull the trigger”.

Suddenly, they are shown a path where their problems won’t be trivial and squalid and pointless. No: they’ll be the talk of the entire country. They’ll be stars.

The way we report these cases can make that man more likely to charge out of his house to kill, or less. The psychologists say that currently we are adopting the most dangerous tactics possible. We put the killer’s face everywhere. We depict him exactly as he wanted, broadcasting his videos and reading out his missives. We make his story famous. We present killing as its logical culmination. We soak him in glamour: look at the endless descriptions of Moat as “having a hulking physique” and being “a notorious hard man”.

We present the killer as larger than life, rather than the truth: that these people are smaller than life, leading pitiful, hate-filled existences.

Feel free to leave your own thoughts below.

Embarrassment as AOL breathlessly swallows spoof Raoul Moat report whole

Not a good morning on the AOL News Surge Desk, AOL’s breaking news channel, after a story on the police search for alleged gunman Raoul Moat cited a satirical news site as a source.

Quoting spoof news site The News Grind, which suggests local residents are enjoying the live drama of the manhunt, the Surge Desk ran with the headline:

Raoul Moat Manhunt: Britain Breathlessly Awaits Bloody Shoot-Out Between Raoul Moat, Police

The AOL piece included large chunks of The News Grind article:

As officers and dogs move in, citizens from around the isle are anticipating a swift and gruesome conclusion to the national drama. Some are even clamoring for it, calling it the best live entertainment they’ve seen in some time.

News Grind paints a vivid picture of the mood:

“I can scarcely wait for the climax,” confirmed Elsie White, 77, as she raced back to her house after picking up some toffees and copies of today’s paper from a local newsagent featuring the blood-soaked face of a police officer allegedly shot by Moat.

“We haven’t had a live event like this to enjoy for quite some time and there’s only old Doctors episodes on at this time of day.”

Families have been collecting children from schools and nurseries throughout the day so they could watch together, as expectations reached fever pitch that a violent firearms confrontation was imminent. Over 800 schools have closed across the country as a result.

The Angry Mob has a screenshot of how the original article appeared on AOL.

AOL News Surge Desk Contributor Carl Franzen has issued an apology this morning and amended the story. Hats off to him for explaining what’s happened, where the mistake was made and not just taking it down:

An earlier version of this story included information from a false report from another site. We’ve updated to correct the record and explain what happened.

While residents of Rothbury have been described as scared and worried as the police continue their search for the accused killer, the situation is far different than what we reported in an earlier version of this post, which relied on false information from what turned out to be a satirical news site.

(…) We bought the quote as authentic – hook, line and sinker. We deeply regret the error.

Unfortunately the page title and URL still allude to the title of the original article:

Robin Brown, who wrote the satirical piece for The News Grind, sums it up:

A mistake anyone could have made? Perhaps, in these days of rolling news and slapping on content and the rush to be first with a report – the news grind, if you will.

But even that old chestnut about Americans and irony doesn’t wash – the US is the home of The Onion, the finest satire site in the world, after all.

Maybe it’s just a sign that, in these information-saturated days, even the news is beyond satire?