Monthly Archives: May 2017

Brave new world? 5 things your newsroom can do now to protect your journalism against the Snooper’s Charter

The Investigatory Powers Act has now been law for almost six months. For journalists and publishers this means having to remember that the webpages that you and your sources visit, who you call on your phone, and where you take it, are all being collected and potentially accessed by a range of authorities*.

It also gives the state the power to hack into devices and to require companies to help them compromise the security of users of their websites and apps.

But most importantly, it means understanding that unlike previous legal regimes it is likely that you will not be aware if any of this is happening, nor will you have an opportunity to mount a legal defence to argue against it.

If this makes you feel powerless to protect your sources, here are some things you can do to feel better:

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How do you run a liveblog when you’re shut in a room and not allowed to film or take pictures?

theresa may liveblogCornwall Live‘s coverage of Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to the area has attracted a lot of attention for the way in which local reporters were denied opportunities to film, take pictures, or ask more than two questions.

“Having covered several high-profile politicians’ and royal visits over the years,” the liveblog reported, “the level of media control here is far and above anything I’ve seen before.”

But it also demonstrates some of the things to consider when planning a liveblog — and how journalists can still manage to make a success of the coverage regardless of PR control-freakery. Continue reading

Why a council is threatening journalists’ access — and what it says about local news

ban symbol by Vince

Ban symbol – photo by Vince

A council is warning it will reduce access to journalists if they aren’t regulated or don’t offer a right of reply. Andrew Brightwell asks if this marks a turning point for journalism’s relationship with local councils.

Two weeks ago, Thurrock Council approved its communications strategy, setting out how it will talk to residents and media.

Communications strategies are approved every day by councils without controversy, but Thurrock’s has provoked accusations that the authority wants to play ‘judge and jury’ to its coverage in the media, as YourThurrock first reported.

What does Thurrock Council’s strategy say?

Most of the document — which you can read here (PDF) — is innocuous, but a section on media liaison says it will only consider journalists’ organisations as ‘media’ if they are signed up to a press or broadcast regulator. Continue reading

How to: find local sources for an election in another country using Facebook Graph

people born in france who live in Birmingham

Last week one of the students on my MA in Online Journalism was looking to find French people based in the city for a local angle on the presidential elections taking place in France. “Ah!” I thought. “That’s a job for a Facebook Graph search”. It’s the sort of situation that arises regularly in the newsroom — so here’s how to do it:

What is Facebook Graph search — and why is it useful for journalists?

Facebook Graph Search in 2013

Facebook Graph Search in 2013

Facebook Graph was launched in 2013 as a specific tool for finding people based on their interests. The ‘graph’ part refers to its ability to find people based on intersecting qualities: combinations of their likes, places of work, friends, and where they live and come from.

The tool itself was dropped in 2014, but the ability to search based on intersecting qualities remained, as part of the general Facebook search. You just have to know how to use it… Continue reading