Category Archives: Lectures

Lecture: Mistakes, Hoaxes And What Journalists Can Learn

Nearly.

Mmm. Nearly.

It was April Fools’ Day on Tuesday, and I gave a lecture to all the first years doing journalism courses at the University of Huddersfield. Appropriately enough it was about hoaxes, or at least some of the more infamous mistakes and errors in media history, and what today’s young journalists can learn from them.

I split it into two parts: the first was on memorable errors from the past, ranging from the newspapers which reported that no lives had been lost on the Titanic to The Times and its infamous Dream Football League story of 2013. The second looked at the challenges posed to journalists by social media, including unsubstantiated rumours and user-generated content of uncertain quality.

Bringing it right up to date, I did a bit on last Sunday’s false rumours circulated widely on Twitter, that Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood had punched a player in the dressing room following the defeat to Liverpool. Those rumours were only scotched when Aaron Lennon tweeted that they were “bollocks” – arguably the first convincing bit of end product the winger has come up with in quite a while.

The presentation is here.

Lecture: Law Refresher And Recent Cases

I gave another media law lecture to the first year journalism students at the University of Huddersfield this week. After giving a series of five last term, this was billed as a refresher. But instead of going over all the same ground, I picked out a few recent legal issues and examined how the laws I’d previously taught them played out in those cases, including the Dave Lee Travis trial.

I also included a bit on election law (well, it is the season), including a reflection on Ofcom’s decision to categorise UKIP as a major party for the first time, at the forthcoming European election. I still think it’s unlikely they will be treated as a major party at next year’s general election, even if they top the poll next month, but real votes in real elections will make them harder to ignore when it comes to the big set-piece TV debates.

The presentation is here.

Using Instagram Video In The Classroom

The new Instafax service from BBC News.

The new Instafax service from BBC News.

I was in Leeds yesterday, leading a practical session for some BTEC media and journalism students at the City College. I thought I’d give them an insight into something new they could expect to learn more about during any future university course they might do, so put together a one-hour workshop on smartphone video, using Instagram Video.

Launched last summer, Instagram’s video function allows users to stop-and-start their way to little 15 second clips that be easily shared. Its rival, Twitter’s Vine, lets you make six second videos which loop. This last point seems to give Vine the edge for creativity, but BBC News recently began experimenting with Instagram Video for a service it calls Instafax. They’re little mini-bulletins featuring some still images, a bit of text and background music, currently sent out about three or four times a day.

It’s too early to say whether others will seek to copy Instafax, but with 130 million active monthly users, Instagram appears to be too popular for media companies to ignore.

In yesterday’s session, after rattling through some of these points and explaining why smartphone video is another important piece of kit in the toolbox of the modern journalist, I gave the students ten minutes to make their own short clips on anything topical they liked.

I’d hoped to send them outside, but I turned out to be giving the session on the 11th floor, so I just got them to see what they could find in the corridors. One made one on the lift which wasn’t working, which seemed like a newsworthy enough story to me having walked up 11 flights of stairs! Getting the students to save the clips on a particular hashtag meant I could use one of the many Instagram desktop viewers to take the group through some of their work and give a bit of feedback.

The presentation I gave is here.

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.

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.

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.

Lecture: Introduction To Media Law

As part of my teaching commitments in my new job at the University of Huddersfield, I’m giving the media law lectures during the first year Journalism Principles and Practice module.

The first one was today, and it was a general introduction to the law and the English legal system plus a canter through the PCC and Ofcom regulations. In an attempt to make it more engaging to an audience of mostly teenagers, it included a gratuitous mention of Harry Styles from One Direction.

Here’s the full presentation on Prezi.