Journalism Today

April 25, 2008

Marathon Madness – The Aftermath

Filed under: Uncategorized — toddnash @ 12:09 pm
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So it would appear that the original Marathon Madness post caused a slight ripple amongst media bloggers, reaching as far as France, Florida andMontreal. Feedback has ranged from those finding the situation amusing to the serious discussion of user generated content and its usage.

The post quickly caught the attention of the Online Journalism Blog, which catapulted it and the Journalism Today blog into the public eye. From here it was picked up by Press Gazette, who directed more traffic. Around the same time, it was picked up by the football forum that executed the prank, bringing huge numbers to the blog and a few spam comments! One such viewer commented that it was not the first time this has happened, so keep your eyes peeled for further tomfoolery.

Ironically, I later discovered that 365 Media Group is actually owned by Sky.

Murray Dick got in touch and commented on the editorial policy of those involved with publishing photographs. Apparently the BBC is a little more scrutinous with their UGC. He also shared some of the best photoshop hoaxs.

Cyber Journalist, South Florida TV and Media Spy all linked. Mark Hamilton, of Notes from a Teacher asked what would happen if a news website set up a place for its users to just play. Although a novel idea, I’m not sure it would work as I think half the fun of pranks like these came from “getting one over” Sky News. With nothing to rebel against, I don’t think users would.

Finally Le Buzz criticized the ethics of this blog in taking the prank out of context. A friend studying French has loosely translated their blog post:

one of the first rules of journalism is to present information in an objective manner, in its context. for example, we all know that quoting remarks out of context can certainly be catchy/tenacious, but it’s also fundamentally dishonest.

13 march, the blog….is an example, about the fact that sky new would have published photos, sent by its readers, modified by photoshop. see how the author creates a context, however to believe that a news service has commited a blunder.

in reading this text one deduces that it’s in the context of information, the coverage of the London marathon – that sky news was caught circulating fake photos. the images on the sky new website presented to endorse the subject does nothing to make us think otherwise. but , if one does more than read the note of Todd Nash, or even … and you go to the source, on Sky news, one has to admit that it’s not about a page of information, but a section of photo galleries on a multitude of subjects, for pictures ofyour cat and your dog, to images of springtime.

look at the information window below, at least to prove a lot of bad will or bad faith, i really do not presume that this is a page of information!

like i have mentioned on the site poynter, ” the your photo’s section is not a new section” it’s a gallery of users photos, where you can find “your dogs” ,”your cats” and more, to say that it is about photo’s news which haven’t been filtered, or to insinuate it – is at the same time deceptive and lacks ethics. it can bring clicks (?) to authors, but that’s about all”

I disagree with quite a lot of this. Firstly, the Your Photos is part of Sky News and asks for “your photos” of certain events. User Generated content is not, and never will be, the hardest form of news but it is news none the less. Just because it is an image does not make it non-news, after all a picture tells a thousand words.

As for creating a context, it is a natural reaction. Pick up any newspaper any day and you will find plenty of examples. Le Buzz themselves have created a context in their post, implying that my post was somehow dishonest or unethical. Although I appreciate the discussion of the issue I created, I do not appreciate the questioning of my character.

In short, the reaction to the original post has been nothing short of astonishing. I would just like to thank everyone involves, whether mentioned or not.

April 15, 2008

Are you a reporter or a ‘churnalist’?

Filed under: Uncategorized — toddnash @ 12:06 pm
Tags: ,

That is the question irreverent news site The Churner Prize asks. Well, actually it doesn’t but it does flag up some great examples of ‘churnalism’, that is stories that are churned out without proper checking of the facts or sources. For example, the fantastic story of a saarf London girl who tried to ring for a taxi but ended up with a display cabinet instead. Surely only a cynic would doubt the credentials of this tale…

With all these great examples of ‘churnalism’ to highlight, The Churner Prize created, well, The Churner Prize. Only the most deserving pieces of ‘churnalism’ can claim this coveted award.

Furthermore, they highlight some of the worst jobs in journalism. These include a sub-editing position for which applicants are asked to supply five story ideas, despite this not being the role of a sub-editor, before even the interview stage.

So, are you a reporter or a ‘churnalist’? Either way, you should probably check out the site.

April 14, 2008

Twittering for Journalists

Filed under: Uncategorized — toddnash @ 4:22 pm
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Having recently added the latest social networking phenomenon that is Twitter, I have been thinking about the ways in which journalists can use it to their advantage. I’m by no means the first to discuss this, the Online Journalism Blog has been twittering on about it for longer than I can remember and is the chief reason I jumped on the bandwagon.

One thing that strikes me about it is the potential to get publish stories as they happen, using Twitter as a research tool as well as a promotional one. Azeem_A says:

It’s a quick way of getting information out to your network, or post ideas that you intend to write up later.

This is a useful feature because, by posting unfinished ideas, there is the potential for improvement of them by taking into account the feedback of others in the same network. Personally, I find that, rather than using it as a tool to get information out to the network, it is used as a promotional tool. By this I mean, promoting ones own work or blog posting. Not that there is anything wrong with this of course, I find it one of the most useful aspects of Twitter, as it takes me to places I would not have found if it were not for Twitter.

Such as the invention of Snowballing, which has to be seen to be believed. I only stumbled upon this because of a twitterfeed from Cowbite.

The Online Journalism Blog recently asked its readers what they used Twitter for in their newsrooms and came up with some interesting responses. Most concerned the breaking of news early on, almost as it happens and the advantages that come with this. However, while there was a lot of praise for the tool, there seemed to be some uncertainty to its potential.

Personally, I am only beginning to see the benefits of Twitter myself. I will be spending the back-end of this week twittering the headlines from Birmingham Crown Court as they happen from my mobile phone – outside the court room clearly. It would appear that this could be a good way to get the news out as quickly as possible, from remote locations and without the constraints of mainstream media.

How do you use Twitter?

April 13, 2008

Marathon Madness on Sky News

Filed under: Uncategorized — toddnash @ 8:08 pm
Tags: , , , ,

The Internet can be a dangerous place for news organisations, particularly those who use the interactive potential of the medium to reach out to their audience and request contributions. Sky News will find this out to their cost, I expect, once they find out that they are the latest victim of an online prank – this time for their London marathon coverage.

The best pranks are the ones where the victim has absolutely no idea what is happening and this is true here. Some photoshop happy forummers on the Football365 Forum began adapting marathon photos from Flickr, Google Images and anywhere else they could get their hands on them.

They then sent them in to the unsuspecting Sky News team with spectacular results:

 Tron on the Marathon

How they didn’t see Tron amazes me.

Grim Reaper

A cruel sense of humour from Daniel Carr as the Grim Reaper makes an appearance (and not as a runner)


A rather naughty one here…I’m fairly sure the bridge doesn’t have that sign!

There are plenty more under the London Marathon session, can you spot them?

All in all, it goes to show that, although interacting with your audience is an admirable thing, trusting them is slightly different. Also, use some common sense and look at the photos before you post them!

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