Archives for category: Additions

If you want to get media online there are a number of approaches, broadly split as follows:

  1. Uploading via email
  2. Uploading via a webpage on a specialist audio/image service
  3. Uploading within a blogpost, e.g. on WordPress

This post will explain briefly how to do each.

Uploading multimedia via email

If speed is an issue with getting your multimedia online, email may be the quickest way to do it – especially if the multimedia is on a mobile phone.

Posterous is the service I use most on that front. If you email your image or audio to post@posterous.com then Posterous will publish it on a blog (even if you’ve not set up an account with them). Audio will be embedded in a special player; video too. And if you’ve uploaded more than one image it will put them in a gallery. The subject line of your email will be used as the title.

You will then get an email back from Posterous telling you that your email was published, with a link to the page. Note: if you have more than one blog with Posterous the site will give you a different email to use for each one, e.g. birminghamcrimenews@posterous.com

Many other services allow you to upload via email too – including Tumblr, Flickr and Facebook (see this help page). You just have to find out what email address to use. Search for ‘uploading email’ and the name of the service (e.g. Flickr, etc.) to find a how-to.

Uploading via a webpage on a specialist audio/image service

If you prefer to have your audio/images hosted on a service specifically for audio or images, then create an account first (Flickr is good for photos; Soundcloud and Audioboo for audio – there’s a fuller list at http://delicious.com/paulb/tools+audio and http://delicious.com/paulb/tools+images).

Then go back, and log in with the username and password you chose.

There should be an ‘UPLOAD’ link where you can fill in various information about your media (e.g. description, title), find the file on your computer, and upload.

Once it’s uploaded the webpage should show you a link to the new content. You can now share a link to that page wherever you want.

Quite often there’s also a button marked ‘embed’ or ‘<>’ which will give you the code to put that content on another webpage, such as a blog post.

However, note that most embed code will not work in blogs on WordPress.com. Instead, see if the service has a ‘shortcode’ for embedding media on WordPress, by looking for it on this page: http://en.support.wordpress.com/shortcodes/ and following the relevant link to see instructions on how to use them.

Uploading within a blogpost, e.g. on WordPress

If you want to include your images in a blog post, then create a new post, and when you’re ready to add that media look for the ‘Add media’ button (in WordPress it’s just above the formatting buttons).

Click on this and you should have the option to upload media from your computer (in the same way as you would upload to a specialist service, above), or grab it from a URL.

If you’re doing the latter, make sure you use the image URL, not the URL of the page containing it. This, for example, is just a webpage URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/onlinejournalismblog/6078887277/in/photostream – to find out the URL of the image you’d have to right-click it and select ‘Copy image URL’ or – if you’re on Flickr – select the size you want to look at, and then on that page right-click the image and select ‘Copy image URL’.

An image URL should end in .jpg or .png or .gif

Note also that many Flickr images have ‘All rights reserved’ and you may not be able to embed those images. Contact the copyright holder to ask if you can have a copy to upload.

Once you’ve chosen the image to upload or embed, you’ll need to add descriptions such as a title and alternative description before clicking ‘Insert’ or similar to add it to your post.

If you’re uploading audio to a blog you need to make sure that your blog is set up to host audio. More information on that here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/audio/

In a nutshell, with audio in particular it’s generally easier to upload to a specialist service like SoundCloud or Audioboo first, and then use one of the shortcodes listed under ‘Audio’ here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/shortcodes/ – make sure to click through to the full instructions.

Video presents similar problems: make sure your blog can host it, and that the video itself is in the right format if you really want to upload it directly. In most cases, however, simply uploading to YouTube and adding a link in your post will automatically mean it is converted and embedded.

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Freedom of Information news site Wobbing Europe reports on proposed legislation regarding ‘personal data’ which could impact on both journalists and citizens, based on a 2003 case:

“Bodil Lindqvist, a Swedish maintenance worker, and part time webmaster learned this the hard way nine years ago.

“In 1998 she built a website to inform young confirmands about the people who worked for the local parish in Alseda, a small congregation in the Swedish Protestant Church.

“Five years later the EU-court found that Lindqvist had violated the data protection directive by ”processing sensitive personal data”. Bodil Lindqvist had mentioned – in a humoristic way, but still – that one of the persons had injured her foot, and health data are by definition sensitive”

“… The EU-commission regards the case as a platform for departure for the future.
This is shown in a classified, but leaked, document on the data protection package presented by the Commission in January this year.

“In the proposed regulation […] anything uploaded to the net, and thus accessible to the public, shall be regulated by the proposed data protection rules. And as a general rule the following will be a no go-zone:

”The processing of personal data, revealing race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, and the processing of genetic data or data concerning health or sex life or criminal convictions and offences or related security measures shall be prohibited.” (Article 9.1)

“Hence the proposal clashes head on with all kind of net publishing, as well as with the fundamental right of freedom of expression.

“Should media ask for permission to publish a person’s political opinions or ethical background? Can we blog about Barroso’s political past, without his consent?

“To avoid such a conflict the Commission suggests a way out. Some will get at free ride:

“Member states shall provide for exemptions for data processing ”solely for journalistic purposes or the purpose of artistic or literary expression” (article 80).”

In addition to the hate speech laws covered on page 166 of the Online Journalism Handbook, publishing journalists should also be aware of three other laws that are increasingly coming into play with relation to comments posted by website users.

The law on incitement – now “encouraging or assisting a crime” under the Serious Crime Act 2007 covers acts where individuals incite others to commit illegal acts. It was used in a number of cases surrounding the UK riots where defendants were accused of encouraging disorder using social networks such as Facebook, with two men in particular receiving a sentence of 4 years in prison as a result.

Student Liam Stacey was charged under a second act – the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 – which covers incitement to ethnic or racial hatred, after making racist remarks on Twitter in the aftermath of the collapse of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba. He was sentenced to 56 days in prison.

The Communications Act 2003, specifically Section 127 – covers “grossly offensive” messages, a term broad enough to include a worrying range of behaviour for publishers.

A number of Twitter users have been prosecuted under the act for offensive messages sent to footballers.

It was also used to prosecute Azhar Ahmed for the following statement, also on Facebook:

“People gassin about the deaths of soldiers! What about the innocent familys who have been brutally killed.. The women who have been raped.. The children who have been sliced up..! Your enemy’s were the Taliban not innocent harmless familys. All soldiers should DIE & go to HELL! THE LOWLIFE F*****N SCUM! gotta problem go cry at your soliders grave & wish him hell because that where he is going..”

The contentious issue here is who decides what is offensive. As Fahad Ansari explains:

“The test for “grossly offensive” is whether or not the message would cause gross offence to those to whom it relates, who need not be the recipients.”

Normally these laws are used to charge individuals, but publishers and journalists should also be aware of the potential for them to be used to request users’ details – including sources. If they have been warned about such content and have not removed it, there may also be legal consequences. These are as yet largely unexplored, although the case of News Ltd in Australia – found to have breached racial discrimination laws in publishing moderated comments – is illustrative.

The lawyer Charles Russell deconstructs a series of cases relating to that act here, including the ‘Twitter Joke Trial’ where a user was successfully prosecuted after he joked that he would blow up Robin Hood airport.

Matthew Ericson writes about when to map – and when not to map:

“[S]ometimes the reflexive impulse to map the data can make you forget that showing the data in another form might answer other — and sometimes more important — questions.

“So, when should you use a form other than than a map?

“1. When the interesting patterns aren’t geographic patterns

“2. When the geographic data is more effective for analysis”

Tom Steinberg of MySociety writes simply about visualisation:

“There are only two kinds of data visualization in the modern world. They are Story Visualizations and Answer Visualizations.

“Story Visualizations are those produced by one set of people with the goal of telling a story to an audience. Think of a newspaper graph showing deaths during a war, or a map showing where within the country unemployment is highest.

“The second kind of visualisations are Answer Visualisations. Answer Visualizations are produced to supply an answer to a single question posed by a particular person.”

Worth bearing in mind when you begin to visualise your data: are you doing it to tell a story, or to answer a question of your own?

From feverbee on planning communities:

“They should apply Ramit’s two-qualifier rule . A community for shoelovers {qualifier 1} who who … {qualifier 2}

“This ‘qualifier 2’ should be either a demographic qualifier (young shoelovers, old shoelovers, shoelovers in San Francisco, budget-shoeshoppers etc…), a habit qualifier (who who love to go clubbing, who are shopaholics) or a psychographic qualifier (who believe in recyled materials, who hate shopping malls, are
introverts etc…).”

A recent talk by Newsgames author Bobby Schweizer has stimulated some more discussion on both the role of games in journalism, and best practice.

The need to avoid ‘tabloidisation’ is discussed in this post on OJB.

A roundup of Schweizer’s points can be found here, including “eight different uses of newsgames. They can be used to:

  1. Editorialize;
  2. Raise awareness about specific events and what happened;
  3. Simulate dynamics;
  4. Model issues;
  5. Recreate events;
  6. Teach;
  7. Portray experiences;
  8. Turn stories into systems.

And 10 examples of games used to tell news stories can be found here.

Pages 145-146 of the Online Journalism Handbook talk about the differences between online and offline audiences, and the need to remain aware that contributors to social media platforms, while providing valuable extra voices, do not represent all possible voices.

Dr David Brake’s presentation on “UGC and Digital Divides” provides further illustration of this point, particularly when it comes to accessing information posted in countries with low internet penetration (note: those statistics will continue to change as internet penetration and social media use develops in all countries). See also my comments at the bottom of the presentation.

Why I’m resisting the Dale Farm Production Order

Here’s a legal issue which is not covered in the Online Journalism Handbook but which looks likely to become an increasing issue for online journalists filming video of events such as riots, protests and evictions: the Production Order.

Jason Parkinson writes on the NUJ’s London Photographers’ Branch blog about his fight to oppose a production order application to seize all his video footage of the Dale Farm eviction:

“The production order, calling for all footage shot on 19 and 20 October, is also being served upon other news outlets.

“I am resisting the order with the full support on the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and legal support from Bindmans Solicitors. The handing over of material, either published or unpublished goes against the NUJ Code of Conduct.

“I strongly believe a journalist should protect her/his confidential sources and material gathered in the course of her/his work. If I am forced to comply with the production order I am being forced into breaching my own union’s ethical code, but also to be forced into being an unwilling agent of the state, handing over material that will surely be used as intelligence.”

Foot Anstey provide a useful guide to production orders as they apply to the media, exploring rules set out in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). These include a distinction between “excluded material” and “special procedure material”. Emphases are mine:

“Police seeking access … must make an application to a circuit judge, giving prior notice to the relevant journalist or media organisation.

“”Excluded material” is defined to include journalistic material which consists of “documents” or other “records” acquired or created for the purposes of journalism and which a person holds in confidence – for example, subject to the obligation under clause 14 of the PCC’s Code to protect confidential sources of information.

“… “Special procedure material” means material which has been acquired or created for the purposes of journalism and which does not fall within the definition of “excluded material”.”

In other words, the difference seems to lie in the confidentiality of the material.

These definitions then shape the case that the police must make. For “excluded material” they need to effectively make the same case as they would for a search warrant, and that such a warrant “could lawfully have been authorised under another statute (e.g. under the Theft Act)”. More on search warrants here.

This sort of case can also be made for “special procedure material”, but that category also allows the police to make other arguments, which I’ve split into bullet points with emphasis added:

  • “That there are reasonable grounds for believing an indictable offence has been committed;
  • “That there is special procedure material on specified premises;
  • “That the material is likely to be of substantial value to the relevant police investigation;
  • “That it is likely to be relevant evidence;
  • “That other methods of obtaining it have been tried without success, or have not been tried because it appeared they were bound to fail;
  • “and that it is in the public interest, having regard to the benefit likely to accrue to the investigation and to the circumstances in which the person holds the material, that the material should be produced or that access be given to it.”

Failure to comply with a production order “may be dealt with as a contempt of the Crown Court.” Contempt is an offence punishable by imprisonment.

It’s notable that the legal language specifies material “acquired or created for the purposes of journalism” – so the focus is not on the person’s occupational role (i.e. journalist) but rather the purposes of the material, which would suggest that bloggers, for example, would still come under the same process.

Despite that language, what’s not clear is if a person filming an event for their own personal blog or an independent niche or hyperlocal blog would be issued with a production order, or if police would resort to other procedures.

If you are, or know of, a blogger who has been the subject of a police request for material, it would be very useful to know how that request was made – and how you dealt with it.

A post on the Help Me Investigate blog expanding on the option described on page 64