Liveblogged notes from the “Fake News” event at City University, co-organised by The Media Society and the Student Publication Association. Prone to error, inaccuracy, horrible typos and screaming crimes against grammar and syntax. Post will be improved over the next 48 hours.
Jonathan Hewett, our chair, isn’t keen on the phrase “fake news”. What are we actually talking about? Intentionally produced misinformation, that’s designed to be propagated.
Alastair Reid, ex-First Draft News, now independent digital journalist
First Draft was initially set up to deal with user generated content from breaking news events – and the verification of it. But over the last 18 months the rapid growth of misinformation and disinformation has shifted that focus.
Megan Lucero, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism
That phrase is not one she’ll be using. It’s being to delegitimise the press, and so we shouldn’t use it. Yes, a small sliver of it is bad journalism, but there’s far more misinformation, propaganda and so on. There’s a glut of information – we need more journalists to sift through it.
James Ball, special correspondent, Buzzfeed
He’s writing a book on bullshit and “fake news”. The web is full of hoax sites full of deceptive news. It’s the pantomime villain behind this era of bullshit. You can make a distinction between fake news and hyperpartisan news, or accurate stories spun out of all proportion. Lots of people on the centre left are sharing stories about “Trump’s secret plan”, the same sort of conspiracy theory thinking that we criticise the far right for. But this isn’t going to be solved by Google withdrawing ads, or Facebook tagging content.
How did we get here?
AR: Social media has a huge role in that. Anyone can publish anything they want to. The barriers to reaching thousands or millions of people have collapsed. Five years ago everyone was hailing the Arab Spring as a wonderful example of social media use. But that freedom has now been weaponised by those with an agenda. 15 years ago blogging was being talked about in the same way.
ML: It’s exploited a very beautiful part of humanity: trust and integrity. People trust what they read. Your world view was the paper you subscribed to. We have to change that. We need to critically assess what we read online. (more…)
I’m spending today liveblogging Brilliant Noise’s Dots conference, as curated by the lovely Neil Perkin. The posts will be going up on the Dots conference site, not here.
I’ll add links to the posts here, as and when I get the chance.
Some time ago I was interviewed by Karin O’Mahony about liveblogging and its use in a journalistic context. The report was published a little over a month ago, and I’ve finally had the chance to dive in.
First of all – a caveat. It focuses exclusively on the journalistic rolling liveblogs that are commonly used by media organisations, rather than other forms of liveblogging, some of which pre-dated the media use. This irks me a little – these forms do not develop in isolation within journalism, but are informed by both the tools and practices that emerge on the web, none of which is really acknowledged within the research. But I’m slowly reconciling myself to this – the long-running time-stamped format has become the primary journalist use of the concept, and that largely emerged within journalism.
That said, I think the report does an excellent job in capturing the core elements and challenges in creating a viable live blog, with a creditable amount of time give to the practicalities. There’s a useful 10 point guide, partially derived from my own contributions:
Liveblogging in 10 steps
- Write quickly
- Be human, not opinionated, in your tone of voice.
- Be extra aware of sensitive information, conflicting information and unverified information.
- Be social: take in readers’ comments and contributions and use social media for sourcing – but be aware that social skills are built up over a longer period of time and treat these sources as any other sources. Get to know your audience.
- Be transparent about when you cannot verify – but also when you are sure: link to sources and interesting material. Open up the journalistic process to your readers.
- Do not lose the overall perspective on the bigger story – summarise from time to time.
- Do not be mentally locked into the first narrative that emerges – be able to construct an emerging narrative from the emerging facts over time.
- Make sure you are totally familiar with the technical tools so that you can focus entirely on the writing and research
- If possible (for scheduled events), be prepared and read up on the subject.
- Be creative with ways to fill the gaps when no information is coming through.
There’s some interesting discussion about restructuring sites around livblogging for news-centric organisations, and well as the challenges around verification, with the emerge of determined hoaxers as a significant problem.
It’s a useful piece of work, and a good contribution to the on-going discussion about new forms of journalism. Grab yourself a copy – it’s free – and dig in.
Download As It Happens: How live blogs work and their future
Saturday morning… and I’m in Southampton. I’m at the Ordnance Survey’s rather impressive new offices here, working with my good friend and colleague Matt Buck to do live capture of an event:
Blue Light Camp is an unconference for people working in or with the emergency services. I’ll be livecapturing the proceedings with Matt over on the Blue Light Camp blog. It’s been a while since I did this at an unconference – I’m looking forwards to the challenge.
This is a really interesting development: Reddit is working to facilitate journalistic liveblogging activity on the site.
[Reddit has…] become a place where new forms of journalism occur, such as the reporting on breaking news events like a shooting or the war in Syria. To help make that even easier, Reddit has launched a “live blogging”-style feature that will eventually allow anyone to function as a kind of Reddit-based news reporter.
Reddit is quietly becoming a powerhouse for in-the-moment journalism. Not bad for the site that everyone wrote off as “the one that lost to Digg” seven years ago…
Ah, synchronicity. Today, I’m working with the newspaper and interactive MA students at City University on liveblogging. And there’s a tube strike.
So, of course, some of them are liveblogging the tube strike…
Nice to see that someone else has found my lightweight mobile blogging kit suggestsions useful. Billy Abbot will be live beer blogging with a very similar setup – and what could be more satisfying than that?
Monday’s Hacks/Hackers Brighton was my opportunity to test-drive a lightweight liveblogging kit. I’m used to lugging around a MacBook Pro and a Canon DSLR with a few lenses for liveblogging – two bodies, if it’s a paid gig. It’s overkill for some situations, so I’ve been assembling the components for a leightweight kit. At the heart of it is an iPad. On top of that:
How did it go?
Great. Once again, I found that the iPad screen size is pretty much perfect for writing. It allows you to be focused, without being over-whelming – and without the distractions that a computer brings. I think twice before switching to a different app on the iPad while liveblogging, while I’m more likely to tab into Twitter, say, if I’m on the MacBook Pro. It was a pleasant writing experience, which lead to longer posts than normal.
I need to work a little on the photographic element of it. The camera was fine. Pulling the photos onto the iPad was fine. Getting the colour balance right wasn’t – as you can see in this photo:
I need to experiment with the different photo editing options on the iPad to resolve that – and then practice with them until I know how to use the app quickly and efficiently.
- The iPad is potentially a great liveblogging device
- It can certainly function as a “back up” to the laptop in case of failure or power loss
- It may, with some practice, do as my main device in many situations
- I need to invest some time in invesigating photo editing apps
Day two of LeWeb London is kicking off today. Freed of the nursery run, I’m here for the whole day. Liveblogging ahead…
Gosh, Le Web time already? Yup – it’s now held twice a year. Summer’s Le Web is held in the UK. While it’s smaller than the main Parisian event, it still brings together an inetresting mix of European and intercontinental digerati for two days of discussion and netwoking. And, once again, I’m an official blogger at the event.
in three weeks’ time I’ll be in London for Le Web’s UK edition, liveblogging as I normally do. (You can actually see me at work in the front row if you look carefully at the image above from last year…)
This year’s theme is The Sharing Economy.
If you fancy coming along – the event is held in Westminster – I have a discount code for you: OBDISCOUNT will save you £200 on the cost of a ticket for Le Web.