Journalism Today

April 25, 2008

Marathon Madness – The Aftermath

Filed under: Uncategorized — toddnash @ 12:09 pm
Tags: , , ,

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.


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