Leeds MA International Journalism Course, Lecture 2

Today was the second of the five lectures I’m giving to MA students on the International Journalism course at the University of Leeds. It was on the theme of how more information is now freely available than ever before, and looked at ways in which journalists use this information for news stories and other purposes.

You can take a look at the presentation here: http://prezi.com/ko03xsk9mfco/ma-lecture-2-university-of-leeds/

Inevitably, it was a bit of a canter through lots of different but related issues, including filming of public meetings, open data, data-driven journalism, various Freedom of Information laws, and online whistleblowing of the kind made famous by Wikileaks. I fell back a few times on stories I’d done for Saddleworth News using various pieces of data, I’m not sure whether the students from around the world were particularly fascinated to know about road crashes on the A62, but I hope I got the general points across.

0 responses to “Leeds MA International Journalism Course, Lecture 2

  1. Hi Richard – I’m enjoying your lectures, thanks for posting…making me wish I was a student again!
    I’ve never seen the apache helicopter footage before – really shocking and incredibly upsetting. Do you know what the result of the publication was?
    One thing I would be interested in, esp as I used to work in local govt – is how much it costs authorities to deal with Fois – perhaps that’s an Foi in itself. Many we used to get were timewasters or journos fishing. One national paper seemed to have a journo working non-stop on Fois. I’m a big believer in Foi but some individuals and organisations seem to be abusing the system…or should they be allowed to ask for anything they like as often as they like…discuss!
    John R

  2. I made this point to the students actually. Whenever I’ve done FOIs I’ve always tried to ask for something specific, information that I know will probably already have been compiled in an internal table or a report or something, that will be relatively easy to supply to me. If you’re going to write a news story along the lines of “look at how the government/council/whatever is wasting money” when getting the information to you has cost a significant amount of time and money in itself, is rather hypocritical to say the least. Not sure of an easy solution though, especially as any restrictions (only one request per person per month, say) would probably be simple enough to get round.

    As for the Baghdad airstrike, there had already been an internal military review which basically cleared everyone. There was a big media storm after Wikileaks put the footage out, but I don’t think the US military ever reopened the case. The release of the video plays a central role in the recent documentary about the New York Times, Page One, which I really recommend watching.

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