Author Archives: richardjonesjournalist

Storify: BBC Sport Online v Newspaper Websites

I spotted an interesting discussion on Twitter, which has stretched over several days since last week. It’s about the scope of BBC Sport’s online activities, and its impact on newspaper websites. The debate is mostly between Matt Slater of BBC Sport and Matt Scott, former sports reporter with the Guardian and Daily Telegraph, with some others chipping in.

There were some interesting points made on both sides, so I thought I’d collect the tweets together in a Storify. It was slightly tricky because there were various threads to the debate going on at the same time, but I think I’ve more or less managed to get things into a coherent order.

Lecture: Privacy Law and Freedom of Information

Here’s my latest media law lecture, delivered to the first years at the University of Huddersfield today. It’s on privacy law, including the emerging case law from Max Mosley and others, breach of confidence and injunctions. There are also some extra bits on how to avoid unnecessary intrusion into people’s lives as well as Freedom of Information, one of my favourite topics.

The full presentation is here.

Lecture: Copyright Law

I delivered my latest media law lecture to the journalism and media first years at the University of Huddersfield this morning. It was on copyright law, with a particular focus on the law as it applies to social media.

It’s a bit of a challenge making copyright law interesting enough to sustain the attention of several dozen students in a large lecture hall for close to an hour. But I did my best, using clips and examples ranging from the IT Crowd, the recent plagiarism row involving Carly Fallon and the Press and Journal, the familiar story of Peter Pan and Great Ormond Street Hospital, as well as who exactly owns what on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Wikipedia, Flickr and all the rest.

The full presentation is here.

Lecture: Social Media And PR

I’m teaching some first year classes on public relations this semester, and as part of the course I gave a lecture last week on the role of social media in PR.

I decided to make the retail battle for Christmas the central theme of it, which naturally meant showing the John Lewis bear and hare advert. It’s up to ten million views on YouTube now, ten times what Marks and Spencer’s similarly big-budget offering has managed, and 100 times more than the effort by Debenhams.

Not that YouTube views necessarily translate into cash in the till. But in just a few years of these adverts, John Lewis has apparently managed to supplant Coca-Cola as the big brand that ‘says’ Christmas. That’s except for viewers in Scotland, who still seem to love Irn Bru’s version of the Snowman best of all.

Here’s the full Prezi presentation.

Lecture: Introduction To Journalism And The Internet

I had one hour today to introduce a lecture hall of nearly 200 first year students from various courses to how the internet has affected journalism. Admittedly, it was just an introduction, but even so it was pretty hard to condense it into a single lecture. I did my best.

At one stage I brought up the recent purchase of the Washington Post by Jeff Bezos for the relatively small sum of £160m, and pointed out that was roughly what Johnston Press paid for the rather less grand Scotsman just eight years ago. Showing a picture of Woodward and Bernstein, I started to say that they would probably be turning in their graves at the low valuation of their famous old paper, then realised they’re both still alive. Change really has come quickly to the news business.

Here’s the full presentation.

Using Buzzfeed In The Classroom

The BuzzFeed Community dashboard.

The BuzzFeed Community dashboard.

We’ve had a group of A-level students from Sheffield College at the University of Huddersfield today, having a Focus Day in the Journalism and Media department. They’ve each taken part in a series of hour-long workshops on different aspects of our teaching, and I led the sessions on social media.

Thinking about how best to tackle this in such a short time, I decided to get each group to contribute to a single Buzzfeed list. Partly because it avoids the hassle of having to get everyone set up on the same social network at the start of each workshop (almost everyone was on Twitter and Facebook, but one or two said they’d left for various reasons), and partly because I thought teaching the students about how to comb YouTube and Flickr Creative Commons for material might be a useful skill they’d take away with them. And besides, I reckoned they’d all have at least seen Buzzfeed, so would quite enjoy it.

There were four groups, and here are the four lists they made. I told them to promote their own on social media over the coming week, to see which ends up with the most views (access to these analytics being one of the advantages of Buzzfeed’s Community feature, another being its dead easy CMS).

8 Things We Hate About Sheffield

8 Signs You Grew Up In Sheffield

What Not To Do In Sheffield

8 Best Bands In Sheffield History

Here’s the Prezi I used to run the sessions. After a bit of a preamble about the changing media, I introduced them to Buzzfeed (most had seen the lists before through social media shares, often without realising the website itself was called Buzzfeed), got them to pick a topic and gave a brief overview of searching on YouTube and Flickr. Then after they’d found something each, I put the list together on the board with input from everyone. It seemed to go pretty well, and as an activity it fitted into an hour quite nicely.

“Is this what you actually do in lessons?” someone asked. Well, not all the time.

Media Law Lecture: Defamation

My third media law lecture to the first year students at the University of Huddersfield was today. It was all about defamation, with a special section reflecting on the various strands of the Lord McAlpine case. It also took in the new defences included in the 2013 Defamation Act.

You can get the full presentation here.

Al Jazeera Listening Post On Media Ombudsmen

Listening Post, the media programme on Al Jazeera English, did a report on the role of media ombudsmen and readers’ editors earlier this month. And I feature briefly giving my views on the topic towards the end. You can watch the story in full at the Al Jazeera Listening Post website.

Spoiler alert: in general, I think they’re a good idea.

I recorded my bit on my iPad mini, which meant I didn’t even have to leave my living room to do it, although viewers may have been slightly perplexed by the boxes of my daughter’s toys in the background.

The Facebook Beheading Videos Row

blog

The university’s View from the North blog.

As the controversy about beheading videos on Facebook restarted this week, I wrote a post about it on the University of Huddersfield’s View from the North blog, on which academics write about assorted current events. I’ve reproduced the post below.

WATCHING VIDEOS of people being beheaded is not a pleasant experience.  I remember once mistakenly seeing unedited footage of a beheading in Iraq, as it came into the newsroom of a TV channel I was working for.  The main lesson I took from it was to do what I could to avoid seeing another one.

But if I really wanted to, I could now satisfy my curiosity by visiting Facebook.  The social network has quietly reversed its previous ban on the posting of beheading videos.  Quietly that is, until today, when the change attracted the full attention of the media.  David Cameron even used Twitter, Facebook’s bitter rival, to condemn the decision as “irresponsible”.

It’s not especially controversial to say that beheading videos are bad in general, and that watching them is probably bad for us too.  But the dilemma facing Facebook is more complicated than that.  It comes down to this: is Facebook a publisher, or a platform?  Or put another way: is it more like ITV, or a simple transmitter?

If ITV broadcast the beheading video currently being shared on Facebook, it would be subject to potential sanctions from its regulator, Ofcom.  But in Facebook’s case, there is no regulator.  Nobody can fine it or take away its licence, even though members of the public have accessed the video using Facebook as surely as a theoretical TV viewer might access it using a particular channel.

The argument made by social networks that they are merely platforms for others to post content is fine up to a point.  But where Facebook in particular gets on to crumbly ground is when it refuses to censor beheading videos on one hand, but steps in to enforce its own ‘Community Standards’ on the other.

It rules all sorts of things out of bounds, from fake accounts to pictures of self-harming. You can understand the reasons why. But Facebook knows the more it intervenes, the more it edges away from the transmitter towards the publisher.  That could mean extra responsibilities for proactively policing material across its one billion users, which would be extremely costly in time and money.  Facebook would much rather leave it to us.

 

Media Law Lecture: Crime and Courts

I delivered my second media law lecture to the first years at the University of Huddersfield today. It was on crime and courts, including Contempt of Court and looking at issues including the naming of suspects and cameras in courts.

You can see the full presentation here on Prezi.