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  1. Immigration and the economy: An academic critique of media coverage

    Friday 22 August 2014, 10:56

    Charles Miller Charles Miller edits the College of Journalism blog and produces documentaries for BBC History and Business. Twitter: @chblm

    Last June we invited Stephen Kahn, editor of a new UK website called The Conversation, to explain how he was planning to “create journalism from academia” by persuading academics to contribute to a news feature service, bringing expertise and opinion to the daily news agenda.

    Somewhat more than a year on, The Conversation is still going strong. Stephen reports that three million people a month are reading the output “on a variety of platforms, from the Washington Post to the Guardian, to Scientific American”.

    While The Conversation has its own website, most readers find the content on other websites that have republished it. The enterprise is funded by the education sector, including 33 universities, as well as some donations; so it can offer its material for free to other publications.  

    Here’s one of this week’s pieces, by an Oxford academic, taking the news media to task with a forensic examination of the claims and political interpretations of two contrasting reports on UK immigration:

    Hard Evidence: are migrants good for the economy?

    Passport control at Gatwick airport

    By Carlos Vargas-Silva, University of Oxford

    Two studies about the impact of migration on the UK economy have been published...

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  2. Referendum debate: Seven key stats about Scotland

    Tuesday 19 August 2014, 11:00

    Amy Sippitt Amy Sippitt is a writer and researcher at Full Fact, an independent UK fact-checking organisation

    Glasgow skyline Glasgow skyline Some of the figures and claims around the Scottish independence referendum are difficult to decipher - and sometimes flat-out contradictory. Would individuals be £1,400 worse off or £1,000 better off in the event of a ‘yes’ vote? According to the BBC, those are the respective views of the Treasury and the Scottish Government.

    So what other numbers are relevant to the debate? We’ve pulled together our top seven key figures in the run up to the vote on 18 September.

    • 8%

    The size of Scotland’s population in relation to the whole of the UK. That’s 5.3 million people. But it covers nearly a third of the total area of the UK, with an area of 78,000 sq km.

    • One year, three months and 15 days

    The number of extra days that a 65-year-old woman can expect to live for on average in the UK compared to a woman in Scotland. For a man it’s one year, two months and five days.

    This means the value of a pension is lower in Scotland too. The lifetime value of a pension in Scotland for a 65-year-old female entitled to £160 a week is £162,000, on average. For a male it’s £142,000. The equivalent in the UK is £152,000 for a male and £173,000 for a female. (£160 a...

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  3. Reporting China: My life as an intercontinental producer

    Monday 18 August 2014, 09:31

    Hannah Green Hannah Green is BBC China producer

    Passport and watch At first glance I look like any other field producer: comfortable shoes, pens in every pocket, laptop at the ready. But take a second look and you might spot a few oddities.

    Firstly my watch has two faces - one set to London time, one to Beijing. (And, yes, it definitely makes me feel like some kind of secret agent!)

    Secondly - and a more obvious difference - is that the editor who I've been producing for in the past few months, Carrie Gracie, isn't sat next to me. She's currently 8,000km away in China.

    We won’t always be separated as I’m now heading out there for a few weeks - my first time in this role.

    It’s a big role because Carrie is the BBC's China editor, meaning we have to provide material to all - TV, radio, online, on-demand, social media - often all at the same time. This gets particularly tricky when you are working on breaking news or a developing story. Managing all of the different output certainly keeps me on my toes.

    The time difference is sometimes an issue too. For instance, if we are editing or, worse, doing a live for the News at Ten, it’s five or six in the morning in Asia with the sun already rising on a new day!

    Yet being in two different time zones...

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  4. Souvenir from Fiji: How to report from a new parliament

    Friday 15 August 2014, 14:33

    Tim Fenton Tim Fenton is a journalist, journalism educator and news media consultant

    Former BBC correspondent Tim Fenton has been training parliamentary reporters in Fiji ahead of the country’s elections in September. As well making as making some new friends in not a bad location, he says the experience has left him with a clearer idea of how journalism can help promote the conditions for stable democracy.            

    Fiji election banners Fiji election banners There are plenty of turquoise-trimmed, palm-fringed, white sand beaches in Fiji. And if you can afford to get there I can’t imagine a much better place for a beach holiday. The snorkelling, I’m told, is amazing.

    Around the...

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  5. A ‘likes’ milestone for BBC News on Facebook

    Wednesday 13 August 2014, 12:47

    Mark Frankel Mark Frankel is assistant editor, social news at the BBC. Twitter: @markfrankel29

    BBC News on Facebook I recently read this excellent piece by Mat Honan on the perils of Facebook ‘likes’. Mat set out to play Facebook at its own game - to see what would change if he “constantly rewarded” the algorithm robot and liked everything he found. Suffice to say the experience was pretty soul-destroying.

    “There were no human beings in my feed anymore.” Instead, Mat found he’d encouraged Facebook to bombard him with brands and commercial messages.

    The BBC News Facebook page has just had its big ‘moment in the sun’. Ten million lifetime ‘likes’ (or page fans) is a huge figure. More...

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  6. ‘Opportunity is manufactured’ - and other entrepreneurial tips from a Twitter co-founder

    Monday 11 August 2014, 17:01

    Charles Miller Charles Miller edits the College of Journalism blog and produces documentaries for BBC History and Business. Twitter: @chblm

    Biz Stone Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder While journalists are being encouraged to think like entrepreneurs, one of the co-founders of Twitter has been explaining what he thinks that means. Since Twitter is arguably the business that’s had the most dramatic impact on how news is collected and distributed, Biz Stone’s new book Things a Little Bird Told Me is a useful tip sheet for success in the new ecosystem.

    Unlike Facebook, Google or Amazon, which are strongly associated with their founders (Zuckerberg, Page and Brin and Bezos), Twitter was spawned by a changing cast of founders and semi-founders...

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  7. Questions asked about media freedom in India

    Thursday 7 August 2014, 13:55

    Vikas Pandey Vikas Pandey is a senior journalist at BBC Monitoring

    IBN website IBN website Is the Indian media really free? This is a question posed by many after a series of high-profile resignations from prominent media houses in the past few months.

    The case of the Network 18 group is particularly intriguing. It runs several regional and national news channels along with a host of news and entertainment websites. The network's English-language news channel CNN-IBN has become a popular name in the past few years under the leadership of editor Rajdeep Sardesai.

    But Mr Sardesai quit his post last month after spending several years building the channel from scratch...

    Read more about Questions asked about media freedom in India

  8. How the BBC collected content from the public during an alert on a plane flying to Manchester Airport

    Wednesday 6 August 2014, 12:22

    Charles Miller Charles Miller edits the College of Journalism blog and produces documentaries for BBC History and Business. Twitter: @chblm

    Yesterday, a passenger plane was escorted to Manchester airport by an RAF jet after a security alert.

    Today, Douglas Marshall, social media lead for BBC English Regions, put together the following account of how the BBC used content created by members of the public to help tell the story as it developed.  

    Stuart Hughes on social media newsgathering

  9. BBC launches first social media-only news service - for Thailand

    Wednesday 6 August 2014, 10:24

    David Cuen David Cuen is social media editor of the BBC World Service. Twitter: @davidcuen

    BBC Thai service on Facebook BBC Thai service on Facebook On 22 May, the Royal Thai Armed Forces staged a military coup and soon after international channels including BBC World News TV were taken off air temporarily.

    It was clear then that, to fill the international news void, people in Thailand were turning to social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share news, discuss the events unfolding in their country and connect with people around the world.

    One of the missions of the BBC World Service is to provide impartial, accurate news to audiences around the world, particularly in countries where there is...

    Read more about BBC launches first social media-only news service - for Thailand

  10. How a smartphone turned a day at the seaside into a reporting assignment

    Tuesday 5 August 2014, 11:25

    Marc Settle Marc Settle specialises in smartphone reporting for the BBC College of Journalism. Twitter: @MarcSettle

    Phil Harrison and his son Noah at Eastbourne on the day of the fire Phil Harrison and his son Noah at Eastbourne on the day of the fire When I first started in journalism I was told I should always carry a disposable camera in the glove compartment of my car. The theory was that I’d be able to use it to take photos if the story merited it. Fast forward (quite) a number of years and that advice is now redundant thanks to the near-ubiquitous smartphone.

    The old maxim ‘the best stills camera is the one you have with you’ has been transformed into ‘you will always have a pretty decent stills camera with you’. And video camera. And audio recorder. And...

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A blog for the College of Journalism at the BBC Academy, discussing current technical, ethical, production and craft issues in journalism.

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