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  1. Video clues aid verification amid confusion in Ukraine

    Wednesday 23 April 2014, 11:55

    Vitaliy Shevchenko Vitaliy Shevchenko

    YouTube videos of a tank convoy in Kramatorsk, Ukraine all showed similar surroundings There is no shortage of videos on YouTube purporting to show the latest dramatic developments in Ukraine. Verifying them is not always easy amid the intense propaganda offensive surrounding the crisis in the country. There are few hard-and-fast rules, but here are a few tricks I've been using to check the veracity of such videos:


    There are sometimes clues in the vocabulary, accents and pronunciation used by those filmed and recorded. It has to be said that Russian dialects in eastern Ukraine and neighbouring regions of Russia are very similar, and it's all but impossible to tell them apart. However, the further away you travel from Ukraine the more different Russian sounds.

    For example, in this video from Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine a masked armed man tells onlookers to get back behind a pavement's kerb. He uses the word ‘porebrik’ which is common in St Petersburg but not the rest of Russia or Ukraine, where the word ‘bordyur’ is used instead.

    There are also phonetic differences between Russian dialects in Ukraine and the language spoken in Russia. For example, ‘g’ and ‘v’ before vowels are often soft, so that ‘god’ (year) sounds like ‘hod’ in...

    Read more about Video clues aid verification amid confusion in Ukraine

  2. Cardiff Uni’s Mooc plus Nesta guide a shot in the arm for hyperlocal

    Tuesday 22 April 2014, 09:55

    Damian Radcliffe Damian Radcliffe is a journalist and researcher. Twitter: @damianradcliffe

    Richard Sambrook For followers of the UK’s emerging hyperlocal and community media scene the past couple of weeks have seen a couple of interesting developments.

    The first was the launch of a free online course in community journalism by Cardiff University (disclaimer: I was part of the team which produced it). Part of the wider move by many educational establishments to create online modules (often referred to as Mooc’s or ‘massive open online courses’) which transcend geographic boundaries and limits to student numbers, the course is a global first, and something of an experiment for the university.

    Over a five-week period students will cover essential skills for digital journalism - such as accuracy and verification, media law and ethics - as well as questions of sustainability and how to manage online communities.

    Arguably this range of content means that even established journalists can potentially learn something new from it, benefitting from insights provided by both Cardiff’s tutors and other participants.

    “We’ve been blown away by the response,” Richard Sambrook (above), professor of journalism and director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University, told me.


    Read more about Cardiff Uni’s Mooc plus Nesta guide a shot in the arm for hyperlocal

  3. If you want your first Reddit AMA to make a splash, ask @bbclysedoucet

    Tuesday 15 April 2014, 16:23

    Mark Frankel Mark Frankel is assistant editor, social news at the BBC

    Lyse Doucet reporting from Tehran for the first time since 2009 When 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:

    The set-up

    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...

    Read more about If you want your first Reddit AMA to make a splash, ask @bbclysedoucet

  4. Infra-red cameras expose hidden world of migrants at risk

    Tuesday 15 April 2014, 10:58

    Steve Holloway Steve Holloway is a senior camera operator for BBC South East

    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 migrant is filmed trying to board a truck under cover of darkness in Calais 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...

    Read more about Infra-red cameras expose hidden world of migrants at risk

  5. Journalists in danger: Symposium steps up pressure on safety

    Monday 14 April 2014, 16:29

    Cathy Loughran Cathy Loughran is currently editing the College of Journalism blog

    The funeral of murdered AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was held in Germany on 12 April 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...

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  6. Android closes gap - so why is iPhone still dominant in news?

    Friday 11 April 2014, 16:18

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

    Samsung Galaxy S5 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...

    Read more about Android closes gap - so why is iPhone still dominant in news?

  7. Undercover investigation goes out on a limb to expose racist letting agents

    Thursday 10 April 2014, 10:46

    Guy Lynn Guy Lynn oversees high-impact TV news investigations at BBC London. Twitter: @guy_lynn

    Jumeee Bulaji believes he was discriminated against by London lettings agents. 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...

    Read more about Undercover investigation goes out on a limb to expose racist letting agents

  8. Expanded Afghan media is already the winner in presidential elections

    Wednesday 9 April 2014, 13:11

    Amanullah Ghilzai Amanullah Ghilzai is a journalist and analyst specialising in Afghanistan and Pakistan

    Voters at the polls in Afghanistan 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...

    Read more about Expanded Afghan media is already the winner in presidential elections

  9. Journalists in danger: A roadmap for fighting impunity

    Tuesday 8 April 2014, 11:23

    Joel Simon Joel Simon is executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Twitter: @Joelcpj

    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...

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  10. Journalists in danger: Action not outrage will end reporter death toll

    Friday 4 April 2014, 12:02

    Ricardo Gonzalez Bernal Ricardo Gonzalez Bernal is co-ordinator at the global protection programme Article 19

    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...

    Read more about Journalists in danger: Action not outrage will end reporter death toll

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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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Recent posts from this blog


Google Glass by Charles Miller

iOS 7 for journalists by Marc Settle

Responsive web design by Helene Sears

Viral videos by Charles Miller


Use of violent footage by Charles Miller

Reporting transgender issues by Stuart Hughes

Pitfalls of data journalism by Martin Rosenbaum

Is Twitter sexist? by Anna Holligan


What President Putin never says by Stephen Ennis

BBC emboldens Pakistan media by Sajid Iqbal

Twitter in the Arab world by Damian Radcliffe

Media freedom in Turkey by William Horsley


Newsnight enlists social media by Anna Holligan

Coverage of high tech burger by Rebecca Wells

Healthy hyperlocal media by Damian Radcliffe

Media access to Google by Charles Miller

Waiting for the royal baby by Suzanne Lord


Place name pronunciation by Marieke Martin

Researching science topics by Alex Freeman

Americanisms and the BBC by Ian Jolly

Researching Northern Ireland by Tim Shields

Also from the College

Polly Evans on presenting regional news for BBC South East Today

Polly Evans


How the BBC provides impartial coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


Alan Green on the job of a football commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live

Alan Green


The BBC College of Journalism and New York Times social media conference in New York

The College of Journalism's New York conference


Other great places to follow debates about journalism and media:

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The Media Blog: lively and often funny topical detail about UK media output

Memex 1.1: John Naughton’s online diary: comment on media output and technology from the journalist and academic

Arab Media & Society: Arab media and trends summarised by the American University in Cairo

British Journalism Review: selected pieces from the authoritative quarterly journal

MediaShift: PBS monitoring of the changing media world from a US perspective

Arts & Letters Daily: more interesting ideas and good writing than you will ever have time to read

FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver of the New York Times writes data-based US politics blog (there are 538 electors in the US electoral college)

Alltop Journalism: links to the most recent posts on many journalism blogs

About the BBC: varied BBC blog about all things BBC-ish

Columbia Journalism Review: US academic perspectives

Facebook + Journalists: Facebook's own guide to its use by journalists

Andy Dickinson: teacher of digital and online journalism at the University of Central Lancashire

Jon Slattery: UK media news from the former deputy editor of Press Gazette

Meeja Law: Judith Townend's guide to media and legal issues 

European Journalism Centre: global news from the Netherlands

Roy Greenslade: Guardian blog by the former Mirror editor now journalism prof

Wannabee Hacks: information and experiences from aspiring journalists.