Monday, February 22, 2010

How to Report the News- Charlie Brooker's tips

This straight-faced comic's tips run on the BBC and are better than J-school for the rising hack. Check it out and laugh. And cry.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reporter sacked for Belief in Objectivity

Georgia on my (objective) mind...

Added to the list of reasons why journalists now lose their jobs: a belief in "objective reality." Slate notes today that Atlanta Progressive News senior reporter Jonathan Springston was let go last week after he failed to live up to the paper's standards, namely, by reporting on events based on facts. In a statement issued to the Fresh Loaf blog, the APN explained that "[Springston] held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News." The statement added that Springston would be better suited for other media outlets, like Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It also gave readers something else to look forward to: "we have already begun drafting a more programmatic statement on our editorial position regarding objectivity, inter-subjectivity, and news." According to Springston's Twitter feed (he goes by the moniker LegendOutlaw) he's currently looking for work.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

US Forces release freelance Photographer in Iraq

Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed had been held for 17 months without charge despite protests from media rights groups. This shooter from Reuter is free at last.Chris Tryhorn, from the Guardian, reports:

A Reuters photographer in Iraq has been freed by the US military after 17 months' detention without charge.

Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, an Iraqi who contributed to Reuters on a freelance basis, was released earlier today.

He was detained in a raid by US and Iraqi forces on his home in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in September 2008 and continued to be held without charge despite widespread protest from media rights groups.

"How can I describe my feelings? This is like being born again," Jassam told Reuters by telephone.

"I am very pleased his long incarceration without charge is finally over," said Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger.

"I wish the process to release a man who had no specific accusations against him had been swifter."

Jassam's case was the latest example of Iraqi journalists working for foreign news organisations being detained by the US military without charge.

A month before his arrest, US forces detained Reuters cameraman Ali Mashhadani for the third time, holding him for three weeks without charge.

The US military said Jassam was a "security threat" but the evidence was classified and no full explanation of his detention was given other than that it related to "activities with insurgents".

The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled last year that there was no case against Jassam.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Controversy erupts after NY Times reporter's son joins Israeli army

The Grey Lady holds the line. New York's premier newspaper is resisting pressure to reassign Ethan Bronner, the Jerusalem correspondent who is in his third posting to the Holy Land, after his son, 20, volunteered to serve in the Israeli army. More than 400 complaints about a possible conflict of interest ensued. (Hat tip to Editor & Publisher in exile's blog for this post.

Clark Hoyt, the New York Times' public editor, in his Sunday column calls on the paper to re-assign its Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, after word emerged that his son is serving in the Israeli military.

NYT executive editor has already responded, uh, no. His statement here, with link to Hoyt.


Alex Jones, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy and a former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Times, took a different view. “The appearance of a conflict of interest is often as important or more important than a real conflict of interest,” he said. “I would reassign him.” Jones said such a step would be an injustice to Bronner, “but the newspaper has to come first.”

There are so many considerations swirling around this case: Bronner is a superb reporter. Nobody at The Times wants to give in to what they see as relentlessly unfair criticism of the paper’s Middle East coverage by people hostile to objective reporting. It doesn’t seem fair to hold a father accountable for the decision of an adult son.

But, stepping back, this is what I see: The Times sent a reporter overseas to provide disinterested coverage of one of the world’s most intense and potentially explosive conflicts, and now his son has taken up arms for one side. Even the most sympathetic reader could reasonably wonder how that would affect the father, especially if shooting broke out.

I have enormous respect for Bronner and his work, and he has done nothing wrong. But this is not about punishment; it is simply a difficult reality. I would find a plum assignment for him somewhere else, at least for the duration of his son’s service in the I.D.F.


You and everyone you interviewed for your column concurs that Ethan Bronner is fully capable of continuing to cover his beat fairly. Your concern is that readers will not be capable of seeing it that way. That is probably true for some readers. The question is whether those readers should be allowed to deny the rest of our audience the highest quality of reporting.
Readers, like reporters, bring their own lives to the newspaper. Sometimes, when these readers are unshakeably convinced of something, they bring blinding prejudice and a tendency to see what they want to see....My point is not that Ethan’s family connections to Israel are irrelevant. They are significant, and both he and his editors should be alert for the possibility that they would compromise his work.
crossposted from Israelity Bites