Thursday 13 March 2014, 12:28
The Euromaidan protests have delivered a huge lesson for Ukrainian society: citizens have learned to take responsibility for their lives, politicians have learned that they mean nothing without people’s support, and the government has learned that people’s patience is not unlimited. The country’s media have learned their lessons too, and we keep learning.
During Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency the Ukrainian media experienced constant pressure. All major TV channels are owned by oligarchs who were friendly to the Yanukovych regime, so they were censored by their management. It wasn’t classic censorship where the state controls all media and checks output before it is printed or broadcast. This censorship was in the hands of executive editors and producers whose decisions were controlled by the owners they served.
The situation for rare independent media was deteriorating with every year - with legal moves to silence certain journalists or media companies blocking legitimate journalism and access to information. And when the regime could not silence a newspaper or broadcaster forcefully it would just buy it.
Ukrainian Media Holding - including serious analytical magazines...
Wednesday 12 March 2014, 09:14
While many people use Internet Explorer to surf the net, users of Firefox and Chrome enjoy a wider range of options when it comes to add-ons.
Add-ons are little apps that run inside the browser and allow you some extra functionality. They are usually free and are launched by either clicking on a button or choosing from a right-click menu.
Installing them is easy. Just follow the self-explanatory instructions on the ‘install’ page for whichever add-on you choose. Let’s see what’s available to help investigative journalists.
Screen capture add-ons
Windows users normally capture their monitor’s display area by pressing the ‘print screen’ key. This method will not capture the lower parts of a web page, so you need to keep scrolling and capturing - a real nuisance. A screen-capture browser add-on will usually allow you to capture the entire web page or even a small selected area of a screen.
Awesome Screenshot by Diigo will also let you add annotations to your capture before saving it on to your computer.
Tuesday 11 March 2014, 11:28
The third blog in our series on alternative ways into journalism is about the inspirational experience of Jamal Osman - a former asylum seeker and now award-winning Channel 4 reporter and film-maker:
The latest assignment Jamal Osman has undertaken for Channel 4 News involved tracking the fate of African migrants from Ethiopia, through Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique and into South Africa. It was a journey he’d made before.
“Many of these migrants don’t make it - some end up in jail or back where they started. In a way I was retracing my own story,” says the Somali journalist who sought asylum in the UK in 1999.
“I’d left my home in southern central Somalia several times during the 1990s, getting as far as Djibouti, Kenya, even South Africa, but always came back - all the time hoping that the civil war and the unimaginable violence that had been raging in the region since 1991 would settle down. Eventually I decided that it wasn’t going to work out. It was still very difficult to leave for good.”
As the fourth of seven children, and with his older siblings having already fled the conflict, Jamal left school aged 10 or 11 and cleaned cars, polished shoes and washed dishes...
Friday 7 March 2014, 14:21
Mobile reporting pioneer Nick Garnett recently revealed that he now does 90% of his broadcasting on his iPhone. The first rule of the game, he says, is staying connected:
I’ve been using Luci Live software for smartphone broadcasting on BBC Radio 5 live since September 2010. At first it was seen as the answer to all our problems: cheap, safe and easy to use.
Cheap: a satellite can cost around £3 a minute to broadcast on - or 4p per minute if you’re using 3G. Think about the number of hours of live broadcasting the BBC does and you’ll understand just one of the compelling arguments...
Tuesday 4 March 2014, 15:46
Continuing our series about people who have taken different routes into journalism, former paediatrician Smitha Mundasad admits that friends sometimes think she’s mad to have made the transition from medicine to broadcasting. So far she has no regrets:
As far back as I can remember my head was buried in a book, gobbling up tales of new worlds without pause - or I was watching the news wide-eyed as Huw Edwards introduced lives and places that were new to me. I always knew I wanted to be a journalist.
But, coming from a tribe of doctors, another universe tugged at me steadily. Mealtimes and...
Tuesday 4 March 2014, 14:44
BBC journalists are again invited to apply for two prestigious fellowships designed to enable experienced people to step out of their day job, develop new insights and bring something fresh back to the organisation.
The University of Michigan Fellowship and the Reuters Fellowship at Oxford University - both supported by the BBC - are open to all senior journalists across BBC journalism:
The Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan
The Knight-Wallace Fellowship offers a four-month placement for BBC staff at the largest research university in the world. Applicants will attend for...
Monday 3 March 2014, 10:14
As you leave the Falklands Radio building and follow a path between a house and children’s nursery, you come out on to Ross Road, near the police-station-cum-prison, and within half a minute you’re in the town hall. Which is also the court room. And the Legislative Assembly building. And houses the Post Office. Oh, and upstairs there’s the function room, which is home to concerts, balls and the first round of the islands’ annual darts league. Islanders take their darts-playing nearly as seriously as their pub-going, in a place where the duty paid on alcohol is significantly less than...
Friday 28 February 2014, 13:38
It’s not often you get a lift home in a police car, especially when the officer simply wants to “save you the walk”.
And yet that’s what happened to me on the Falkland Islands. It was 2009 and on my first morning there I woke up with a sore back. Two steps across the bedroom at the B&B it went into spasm and I could barely move. I called for help and within a few minutes I had been strapped to a stretcher, given gas and air and was on the way to the hospital with what turned out to be a slipped disc. In the next week I was admitted twice more, and for the rest of my stay I struggled...
Wednesday 26 February 2014, 11:35
What is ‘interaction’? It’s the word journalists have been chucking around for years while in pursuit of a) a digital strategy and b) a desire to show they are ‘listening’ to viewers/readers/listeners. But strip away the emperor’s new Instagram filter and you can often translate a) to ‘oh, just stick a hashtag on that’ and b) ‘just make it look like we’re listening, we’ve already written the script’.
Interactive is a stupidly vague term. But many of us (including me) are guilty of overusing it, often in place of more functional words like ‘clickable’. Apply it to...
Tuesday 25 February 2014, 12:17
Lately, following the news agenda in Turkey has become a full-time occupation in itself, with the country's political scene in flux and a new scandal or crisis breaking on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. Last weekend’s renewed protests in Istanbul in which thousands clashed with riot police over controversial new internet controls was just the latest upheaval.
One night last week I sat down to catch up with news and analysis of the day only to notice that the Turkish newspapers had been quick to take down “objectionable” content. This is in line with new amendments to the Internet...