Archive for category Reporting

News and social media: Osama bin Laden’s death delivered via Twitter

Image courtesy bbc.co.uk/news

The news of Osama bin Laden’s death will dominate the headlines for a little while longer, yet what interested me most about yesterday’s breaking story was a short clip shown on BBC which featured Americans at a baseball game (I think!) getting the news of Osama’s death on their phones hours before President Obama made his official announcement. Sitting in front of the TV drinking my morning coffee, I was also in the middle of finalising an essay about whether news can survive new media, so this BBC clip really caught my attention.

I’m of the firm belief that news and media institutions aren’t ‘done for’. News organisations need to continue to adapt to a changing society, which they have done – from the printing press, to the radio, to television, to the Internet, to satellite channels and now to web-based news feeds, social media sites and alternative (non-mainstream) news platforms which are all now accessible through a continually-advancing array of mobile media devices.

So this morning when I logged into WordPress, I found this post “The 7 stages of News in a Twitter and Facebook Era”  which seemed particularly relevant to what I was writing about yesterday and provided an interesting commentary on how news develops through alternative platforms i.e. not your established news sources. The article, which features on Gigaom (by Stacey Higginbotham) also provided a concluding thought that I’m totally in agreeeance with:

As journalists, we often get scoops or hear of news and have to make a similar set of judgments before reporting it, but on Twitter, what often starts out as gossip now has the weight of news. As recipients, we have no way to judge at first glance though if it’s real or wishful thinking. Perhaps it’s time we gave ourselves a better set of tools?

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Mobile devices for reporting

Journalists shouldn't scoff at using recording devices on mobile phones to get that all important interview. (Image courtesy of http://www.niemanlab.org)

A brilliant article on using mobile devices for recording published on the Neiman Journalism Lab website: Your handiest reporting tool may be the smartphone in your pocket. Andrew Phelps writes that journalists should not forget the simple technology we have at our disposal:

Public radio people can be pretty snobby about audio quality — I can say that, having worked in public radio for five years — but, given the alternatives proliferating in the market, it’s getting harder to justify the expense and bulk of pro kits for field work. Judge the audio quality of Toness’ piece for yourself. And remember, as you close your eyes and turn up the volume in your noise-canceling headphones, that most listeners hear radio stories over a cheap FM set while making breakfast, getting the kids dressed, or driving to work. News producers may be snobby about sound quality, but consumers, generally, are anything but.

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Accuracy in reporting

Accuracy in reporting is an important (and obvious!) element of journalism – but how do we measure this and how can we quickly and efficiently correct errors?

Worth reading this post by Jonathan Stray.

Idea Lab’s Scott Rosenburg writes ‘There’s No Problem!’ Newsrooms in Denial About Rampant Errors’. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

Climbing The Ladder of Transparency

ladder to the sun.jpg

In the field of corrections as anywhere else, “openness” isn’t binary — it has gradations and nuances. I like to imagine these as a sort of ladder of transparency that news organizations need to climb.

On the first rung of this ladder, journalists readily fix mistakes they learn about and conscientiously disclose and record the details of each fix. (Most newsrooms declare allegiance to this ideal but, sadly, our MediaBugs research shows, the majority still fail to live up to it.)

One rung up, news outlets effectively solicit error reports from their audiences, making it clear that they welcome the feedback and will respond. The Report an Error Alliance is trying to push more news organizations to climb up here.

On the next rung up, newsrooms also willingly expose their own internal deliberations over particular controversies, explaining why they did or didn’t correct some issue readers raised and leaving some sort of public trail of the decision. At some publications, the ombudsman or public editor takes care of some of this.

On the final, topmost rung, the news organization will assure accountability by turning to a neutral third party to maintain a fair record of issues raised by the public. This shows external critics that the newsroom isn’t hiding anything or trying to shove problems under the rug. This is a key part of our model for MediaBugs.

I like the idea of an accuracy search engine – the Report and Error Alliance is pretty good but more organisations, bloggers and journalists need to adopt this kind of thinking – particularly online! The internet allows for readers to communicate with journalists like never before…such abilities should be embraced to enhance journalistic standards and methods.

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Videogames valuable for journalism

I would never think to put videogames and journalism in the same article, let alone the same sentence, but it seems journalists could learn a thing or two from the way video games are put together.

In a post on Design Lab today, Designing a Newsgame Is an Act of Journalism, Bobby Schweizer interestingly muses that journalism is so focused on the who,what, where, and when that sometimes the how and why are put to the side or ignored all together – especially in 24-hour rolling news as viewers can easily identify with what’s happened or who is involved. It’s reporting that merely makes viewers/readers aware rather than totally informed.

Schweizer says videogames can’t work like this – the how and why are incredibly important. Games ‘are nothing’ , he says, without these elements. “Videogames are valuable for journalism because they don’t just describe — they demonstrate.”

I admit, this has nothing to do with the post.

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