Tuesday 15 April 2014, 16:23When BBC News recently held its first Reddit AMA (ask me anything) we invited our chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet to answer the questions. Lyse had just returned from a trip to Tehran - the first time she had been back since a visa ban imposed following the 2009 elections.
The wide-ranging AMA thread touched on impartiality, ‘BBC bias’, the place of women in Iranian society, Iran’s view of Israel, Lyse’s distinctive Canadian accent, her scariest moments (being pursued by helicopter gunships in Afghanistan was certainly one), bad Farsi jokes and how to get into journalism.
So here’s a quick rundown of how we made the AMA happen, how it went on the day and what we learned:
1. We made contact with Reddit director of communications Victoria Taylor (email address) in the US the week before, to ensure that our AMA was scheduled in its Google calendar. The listing is important to ensure there is no clash with other prospective AMAs and to publicise the event to ‘redditors’ in advance. The calendar just lists the name and title of the person doing the AMA, the time of the AMA and links to a Wikipedia listing on the person.
2. As no other publicity...
Tuesday 15 April 2014, 10:58
In the second of our posts on high-impact investigative reporting by BBC regional news teams, Steve Holloway describes how technical innovation eased the editorial process on a difficult and sensitive story:
A compact camera only usually used for documentary filming proved a game-changer in our BBC South East Today investigation into migrants attempting to enter Dover illegally from Calais. Some of those we filmed were prepared to risk their lives by clinging to the axles of lorries.
Together with a set of cheap DIY security cameras, the large-format Canon C300, which is new to BBC News, allowed me to capture the pictures and sound that really told the story. Our night time footage showed desperate migrants, most from Africa and the Middle East, clambering under trucks and chasing lorries along pitch black streets around the French port. Two migrants recently died attempting to reach Dover in this way.
With BBC South East special correspondent Colin Campbell and TV investigations producer Audrey Green Oakes, I was in Calais to investigate reports of a recent surge in migrants trying to enter the UK, thought to be fleeing conflicts in countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq,...
Monday 14 April 2014, 16:29
On 16 April the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) will publish its latest global impunity index, naming, shaming and ranking the countries where the murder of journalists is most likely to go unpunished. It will not make edifying reading.
New figures from Unesco show that more than 540 journalists have been killed for doing their job since 2007, with less than one in 10 cases of targeted attacks ever resolved. Against the background of these and plenty of other chilling statistics, last week’s London symposium Making the Protection of Journalists a Reality: Time to End Impunity set itself the task of producing strategies to combat impunity.
You can watch sessions from the symposium on YouTube.
What the media itself could do better was a central theme already touched on in this blog by ProPublica’s Paul Steiger and Joel Simons of CPJ. Opening the London conference, BBC Global News director Peter Horrocks was candid: “If I look at the BBC’s record of coverage and influencing in this, I think we focus less on threats to the media than we might do - as is true of many media organisations.”
In his keynote address to the dozens of international editors, front-line reporters...
Friday 11 April 2014, 16:18
For the past couple of years my main role at the College of Journalism has been to train hundreds of journalists and others in how to get the best out of their smartphones. Used properly, what they carry in their pocket can be a very efficient tool for gathering material in the field - be it a photo, some video or an audio recording.
Dozens of apps can help a journalist to work more efficiently on their smartphone. For ‘smartphone’, though, read ‘the iPhone’, as the training has almost entirely been on Apple’s iOS devices.
Back in 2011 when I was developing the course with my fellow...
Thursday 10 April 2014, 10:46
In the first of two insights into investigative reporting by BBC regional news teams, Guy Lynn tells the story behind an award-winning undercover operation that lifted the lid on racism in the London housing market. The joint story by Inside Out London and BBC London News will receive the top investigative journalism prize at the European Circom awards next month, having already been named best exclusive investigation of the year at last month’s Ruby Awards, which celebrate the best of BBC television in the nations and regions:
Little in your work as a TV reporter - doing ‘lives’ in...
Wednesday 9 April 2014, 13:11
The dramatic expansion and proliferation of media in Afghanistan in recent years played a pivotal role in the weekend’s presidential elections, by mobilising millions of Afghans in all parts of the country to take part in the democratic process despite widespread security threats by the Taliban.
Although Afghanistan is one of youngest democracies in the world, with its economy almost totally dependent on foreign aid, the presidential election campaign somehow resembled what might be seen in any modern democratic country. As the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet observed...
Tuesday 8 April 2014, 11:23
Joel Simon was one of dozens of international journalists, editors, representatives of NGOs, diplomatic and legal figures who took part in this week’s London symposium Making the Protection of Journalists a Reality: Time to End Impunity.
A collaboration between BBC Global News, the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) and the College of Journalism, the conference sought to produce actions and strategies to combat impunity for violence against the media. It took place on the 100th day of detention for the al-Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt. The CPJ executive’s proposals were some of...
Friday 4 April 2014, 12:02
This post by Ricardo Gonzalez Bernal continues our series of articles setting the scene for a major London conference on the protection of journalists. His exhortation to make journalist deaths “unthinkable” is given added urgency by the fatal shooting, confirmed today, of AP photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus and the attack on her colleague Kathy Gannon in Afghanistan.
The one-day symposium Making the Protection of Journalists a Reality: Time to End Impunity will be held in London’s BBC Broadcasting House on 7 April. It is a collaboration between BBC Global News, the Centre for Freedom of...
Friday 4 April 2014, 09:55
In January I wrote on the BBC’s Editor’s Blog that I would be spending some time looking at the potential editorial applications of ‘chat apps’ - the instant messaging platforms that have seen an explosion in user numbers over the past year.
Since then Viber, with an estimated user base of nearly 300 million, was bought by Rakuten for £540m, and then WhatsApp was bought out by Facebook in a high-profile deal worth £11.4bn. It wouldn’t be a surprise if other deals involving instant messaging apps were in the pipeline.
It seems clear that there is a lot of interest in these apps...
Thursday 3 April 2014, 11:33
In the third of our series of articles in the run up to a major London conference on the protection of journalists, Paul Steiger calls on organisations outside mainstream news to give their backing to the groups fighting hardest for journalist safety.
The one-day symposium Making the Protection of Journalists a Reality: Time to End Impunity will be held in London’s BBC Broadcasting House on 7 April. It is a collaboration between BBC Global News, the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) and the College of Journalism:
In my time as a reporter and editor, journalists have gone from being a...