futurejournalismproject:

Glenn Greenwald v The BBC: How Journalism Works Edition

The BBC’s Newsnight interviewed The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald about the Edward Snowden NSA leaks last week.

Many of the questions are strange. On a scale of did-she-really-ask-that to facepalm, most fall somewhere in the middle. Take, in a paraphrased instance, “How do you know that your reporting isn’t helping terrorists?”

Because, terrorism.

Greenwald’s been in this seat many times before (think: Meet the Press’ David Gregory asking him why he shouldn’t be arrested along with Snowden for the leaks) and goes through his laundry list of what journalism is, how it works and why just because the government says it’s true doesn’t necessarily make it true.

NYU’s Jay Rosen has a good rundown on the exchange. In particular, the journalist’s strawman tick of beginning questions with something along the lines of, “Some people say… .”

Via Rosen:

I’ve been talking about this interview on Twitter today because to me this is a weak form of journalism. It takes common criticisms made of the subject and simply thrusts them at him one after the other to see how he handles it. The basic format is: “People say this about you. What is your response?” Questions 1-7, 9 and 13 are all of that type.

Defenders of this style always say the same thing: Hey, that was a tough interview! People in the public eye should be made to answer their doubters. You may not like it, especially if you’re a fan of the person in question, but that’s our job as journalists: to be tough but fair.

No, your job as a journalist is to decide which of the common criticisms have merit, and ask about those, leaving the meritless to chatrooms. It is also to synthesize new criticisms, and ask about those. It is to advance the conversation, not just replay it. People say these bad things about you– what is your response? is outsourcing the work to other interested parties. It doesn’t make for a tough interview; it makes for a predictable one, easier for the subject to handle. It’s also the cheapest and simplest way to manufacture an “adversarial” atmosphere

Video runtime: ~14 worthwhile minutes.

joshrushing:

nickturse:

How do you pack your bag for a seven-year, 22,000-mile international reporting assignment? 
Talk about an ambitious effort!  Next month, Paul Salopek — a two-time Pulitzer winner who has covered wars from the Balkans and Somalia to Afghanistan and Iraq — will “begin a seven-year reporting assignment that will take him 22,000 miles (give or take) on foot, from Africa across Asia and the United States, ultimately ending up in Patagonia at the southern tip of South America,” according to Nieman Journalism Lab.
“The route Salopek is following is the one anthropologists believe was the first path humans took out of Africa to populate the rest of the world. He’s calling it the Out of Eden, a narrative trek that will examine the current state of the cultures Salopek visits, while also writing about their history and connection to the greater world.”

I don’t usually reblog, but I had to share this.

joshrushing:

nickturse:

How do you pack your bag for a seven-year, 22,000-mile international reporting assignment?

Talk about an ambitious effort!  Next month, Paul Salopek — a two-time Pulitzer winner who has covered wars from the Balkans and Somalia to Afghanistan and Iraq — will “begin a seven-year reporting assignment that will take him 22,000 miles (give or take) on foot, from Africa across Asia and the United States, ultimately ending up in Patagonia at the southern tip of South America,” according to Nieman Journalism Lab.

“The route Salopek is following is the one anthropologists believe was the first path humans took out of Africa to populate the rest of the world. He’s calling it the Out of Eden, a narrative trek that will examine the current state of the cultures Salopek visits, while also writing about their history and connection to the greater world.”

I don’t usually reblog, but I had to share this.

"There is something grotesque and disturbing about two parties with a long history of conflict live-narrating the launching of bombs that kill civilians and destroy communities."

The Israeli military and Hamas are livetweeting their war, including images of killed and wounded children. This certainly raises some questions, including for the companies whose platforms they’re using.

(The linked articles notes that the Israeli army’s Twitter account was briefly suspended. However, this is based on a report in the Daily Dot that does not cite sources for its claim, so I would treat it with caution.)

The Washington Post has more, including on a Youtube video from the Israeli military that was briefly taken down but has been reinstated.

(via curiousontheroad)

FJP: Agreeing with the next sentence: “There is no empowerment or revolution here: just a dark, sinking feeling as we watch the bloodshed unfold in real time.”

And in the things they didn’t teach you in school department, to delete the content or suspend the accounts “is not a decision a couple of hundred engineers in North California want to be making.”

Jessica Roy, BetaBeat. Social Media Companies Have Absolutely No Idea How to Handle the Gaza Conflict.

(via futurejournalismproject)

(via futurejournalismproject)

NPR News App Team released best practices as GitHub repo

futurejournalismproject:

NPR Apps best practices for READMEs, HTML & CSS, Javascript, GIT, and more.

Not only useful for wannabe journo-coders, but also helps you get a sense of NPR tackling traditional journalism issues like style consistency beyond the written copy in the modern technology. And props to them for making it available on GitHub.

pulitzerfieldnotes:


From Pulitzer Center grantee Sean Gallagher: The Mekong River flows through mountainous valleys, high on the Tibetan Plateau. One of Asia’s mightiest rivers, it originates in the mountains of Qinghai Province in China, eventually reaching millions of people downstream throughout South East Asia. How China manages this important resource, with a changing climate on the plateau, will have large implications for it’s relationships with neighboring countries in the future. 3rd Sept, 2012. (Taken with Instagram)

pulitzerfieldnotes:

From Pulitzer Center grantee Sean Gallagher: The Mekong River flows through mountainous valleys, high on the Tibetan Plateau. One of Asia’s mightiest rivers, it originates in the mountains of Qinghai Province in China, eventually reaching millions of people downstream throughout South East Asia. How China manages this important resource, with a changing climate on the plateau, will have large implications for it’s relationships with neighboring countries in the future. 3rd Sept, 2012. (Taken with Instagram)

(via pulitzercenter)

futurejournalismproject:

A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study. — BBC

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.
The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.
Tax expert and UK government adviser John Whiting said he was sceptical that the amount hidden was so large.
Mr Whiting, tax policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: “There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?”
Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn…
…Mr Henry used data from the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments.
His study deals only with financial wealth deposited in bank and investment accounts, and not other assets such as property and yachts.
The report comes amid growing public and political concern about tax avoidance and evasion. Some authorities, including in Germany, have even paid for information on alleged tax evaders stolen from banks.
The group that commissioned the report, Tax Justice Network, campaigns against tax havens.

FJP: Impossibly large, no? If not, simply staggering.

futurejournalismproject:

A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study. — BBC

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.

The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.

Tax expert and UK government adviser John Whiting said he was sceptical that the amount hidden was so large.

Mr Whiting, tax policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: “There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?”

Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn…

…Mr Henry used data from the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments.

His study deals only with financial wealth deposited in bank and investment accounts, and not other assets such as property and yachts.

The report comes amid growing public and political concern about tax avoidance and evasion. Some authorities, including in Germany, have even paid for information on alleged tax evaders stolen from banks.

The group that commissioned the report, Tax Justice Network, campaigns against tax havens.

FJP: Impossibly large, no? If not, simply staggering.

Facts Get In The Way of Everything

futurejournalismproject:

Slate has two recent articles that illustrate a growing fear of facts. The first looks at the Republican party generally and Mitt Romney specifically.

It’s tough times for facts in America. First Mitt Romney—interviewing for the position of president—declined to release his tax returns because, as he explained, the Obama team’s opposition research will “pick over it” and “distort and lie about them.” He isn’t actually claiming that his opponents will lie. He’s claiming he’s entitled to hide the truth because it could be used against him. As Jon Stewart put it, “You can’t release your returns, because if you do, the Democrats will be mean to you.” These are tax returns. Factual documents. No different than, say, a birth certificate. But the GOP’s argument that inconvenient facts can be withheld from public scrutiny simply because they can be used for mean purposes is a radical idea in a democracy. It has something of a legal pedigree as well.

Probably not coincidentally, last week Senate Republicans filibustered the DISCLOSE Act—a piece of legislation many of them once supported—again on the grounds that Democrats might someday use ugly facts against conservatives. The principal objection to the law is that nasty Democrats would like to know who big secret donors are in order to harass, boycott, and intimidate them. The law requires that unions, corporations, and nonprofit organizations report campaign-related spending over $10,000 within 24 hours, and to name donors who give more than $10,000 for political purposes. Even though eight of the nine justices considering McCain-Feingold in Citizens United believed that disclosure is integral to a functioning democracy, the idea that facts about donors are dangerous things is about the only argument Senate Republicans can muster. Last week even Justice Antonin Scalia told CNN’s Piers Morgan that “Thomas Jefferson would have said the more speech, the better. That’s what the First Amendment is all about. So long as the people know where the speech is coming from.”

That’s a ringing defense of the need for disclosure, which Scalia has always supported.

Not to be outdone, the State Department just won a case about the secrecy behind the diplomatic cables Wikileaks released in 2010 and 2011.

The government, it appears, would like to pretend that never happened even though anyone who cared has taken a look, and their contents have been reported around the world. If you want to double check that they’re out in the public, you can do so here.

Back to Slate:

It sounds like something from Catch-22. A U.S. district court judge on Monday ruled that diplomatic cables published worldwide by WikiLeaks, the New York Times, the Guardian, et al., are actually still secret. Why? Because the government says they are secret…

…The government’s logic, and the judge’s, is—and I do not think I am exaggerating or distorting their arguments here—that just because something is public doesn’t mean it isn’t also secret. In this case, the cables are secret because they contain information that could be harmful if released. Never mind that they’ve already been released by WikiLeaks. They still could be harmful if released by the government.

The ruling seems to uphold a broader U.S. government philosophy that even when everyone knows the government is doing something—conducting drone strikes in Yemen, waterboarding prisoners in Guantanamo—the government can continue to pretend that it is not doing it, and the courts will back it up.

Related: See Glenn Greenwald’s article in today’s Salon about Dianne Fienstein, California Democrat and Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and her continued calls to prosecute those disclosing sensitive government information (eg. drone wars). In it he writes about how government is defining what is a permissible leak and who permissible leakers are (spoiler alert: themselves).

“In sum,” Greenwald writes, “leaks of classified information are a heinous crime when done to embarrass or undermine those in power, but are noble and necessary when done to bolster them.”

govtoversight:

The White House Loves Aggressive Journalism, As Long As It Isn’t About Them

The White House has been talking up the impressive, and daring, journalism coming out of Syria, but doesn’t see the connection to Obama’s unprecedented use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers. Check out the exchange between ABC News reporter Jake Tapper and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

For background and analysis of the exchange, head over to the Government Accountability Project.

(Source: abcnews.go.com)

motherjones:


(via)


pretty much this, yeah.

motherjones:

(via)

pretty much this, yeah.

(via futurejournalismproject)

futurejournalismproject:

Here’s and excerpt of Clay Shirky’s take on Brisbane’s question via The Guardian’s Comment is Free.

This is what was so extraordinary about his original question: he is evidently so steeped in newsroom culture that he does not understand – literally, does not understand, as we know from his subsequent clarifications – that this is not a hard question at all, considered from the readers’ perspective. Readers do not care about the epistemological differences between lies and weasel words; we want newspapers to limit the ability of politicians to make dubious assertions without penalty. Judging from the reactions to his post, most of us never understood that this wasn’t the newspapers’ self-conceived mission in the first place.

Continue reading on the Guardian.

THIS. (bold above added by myself)

futurejournalismproject:

Here’s and excerpt of Clay Shirky’s take on Brisbane’s question via The Guardian’s Comment is Free.

This is what was so extraordinary about his original question: he is evidently so steeped in newsroom culture that he does not understand – literally, does not understand, as we know from his subsequent clarifications – that this is not a hard question at all, considered from the readers’ perspective. Readers do not care about the epistemological differences between lies and weasel words; we want newspapers to limit the ability of politicians to make dubious assertions without penalty. Judging from the reactions to his post, most of us never understood that this wasn’t the newspapers’ self-conceived mission in the first place.

Continue reading on the Guardian.

THIS. (bold above added by myself)

(via futurejournalismproject)