Archive for the ‘Frontline Club’ tag

Launching the Orwell Prize 2008

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Heading off shortly to help launch the Orwell Prize 2008.

As of this evening the Media Standards Trust is partnering with the Orwell Trust and Political Quarterly to run the Orwell Prize for political writing and journalism.
It’s an honour to be associated both with such a prestigious prize and, via the prize, to the memory of Orwell himself. We’ve been beavering away getting a website ready (it hasn’t had one to date) at www.theorwellprize.co.uk, which will go live at 7pm tonight.
To mark the opening of this year’s prize we’ve also helped organise a panel debate on ‘Orwell, ID Cards, the Citizen and the State’ – with David Goodhart (editor, Prospect), Jenni Russell (Guardian), Heather Brooke (author, ‘Right to Know’) and Nick Cohen (Observer), chaired by Jean Seaton (University of Westminster).
What would Orwell have made of ID cards? Are his warnings about Big Brother still relevant in our contemporary information society? What would a modern day George Orwell write about?
The event is at the Frontline Club from 7-9pm. If you’d like to come along you’re welcome to email me at martin.moore@mediastandardstrust.org.

Written by Martin Moore

November 30th, 2007 at 2:33 pm

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Why blog?

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Back to the business of blogging. The Frontline Club is hosting a debate tonight to mark World Press Freedom Day, asking if blogging is about self-exposure or self-expression.
Ignoring for a moment the implication that blogging may be analagous to flashing I’ve got to take issue with question.
‘Blogging’ is the ability to self-publish. As such it’s a technical term not an editorial one. What I mean by that is that it’s about how not what. Lumping all blogging together isn’t helpful. One blogger may be a diarist, another a commentator, another a journalist. Hence why a code for all bloggers is misguided. Hence why saying things like ‘Very few of them [bloggers] bother with such niceties as fact-checking’ – as it does in the introduction to tonight’s debate – is misleading.
Where the discussion this evening is timely is in it’s coordination with World Press Freedom day. The ability to self-publish has enabled people in countries with repressive, authoritarian governments to say things they could not otherwise say, and to enable free speech. Many have taken this opportunity and been punished for it. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists 1 in 3 journalists jailed worldwide is now publishing on the net (49 of 134 – info on WAN’s site). And PEN says that it recorded ‘over 80 attacks against writers and journalists in sixteen countries who had used the internet to get around censorship’ in 2004. The figure is likely to be much higher now with increased access.
More difficult to assess is the impact of political blogging within established democracies – an issue Kevin Marsh, one of tonight’s panelists, takes up in his blog. Marsh questions how blogging will help increase trust in politicians or political reporting (A: he thinks it won’t).
I’m looking forward to what should be an interesting discussion.

Written by Martin Moore

May 3rd, 2007 at 7:25 am

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The Frontline Club – foreign news reporting & the Cho video

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At the Frontline Club last night to hear Harriet Sherwood, foreign editor at the Guardian, and Leonard Doyle, foreign editor at the Independent, talking about foreign news reporting. John Owen, chairing the discussion, opened with questions about the coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre – and the decision to screen the killer’s film.
It was a shame there was no broadcast editor on the panel since neither newspaper ‘broadcast’ the Cho video, but the Guardian did feature the link prominently on its website. Both news editors felt showing the video was a no-brainer and that it would have been ‘barmy’ not to.
But there was a voice of dissent from the audience. Paul Wood, the BBC’s defence correspondent, remembered that there were a spate of beheadings in Iraq three years ago – many of which were covered (and some screened) on western media, including the BBC. Until, that is, they discovered the beheadings were being carried out for the very reason that they guaranteed the killers worldwide media coverage. The coverage was the catalyst.
One must assume, given Cho’s imitation of the film Oldboy, and his pre-planned Fedex to NBC, that he too desperately wanted worldwide coverage and infamy. Now he has it. And we have a powerful and dangerous model for the next alienated loner with access to guns.
Would it not be better to make a distinction between the editorial decision to broadcast such a video on a news programme you know will be watched by millions vs. making a link available on a website – with corresponding context – and therefore clearly devolving the decision to watch to the user?
[Since my post yesterday Peter Horrocks, head of the BBC's TV news, has posted an explanation of his decision on the editors blog. The majority of the comments beneath take issue with his decision].

Written by Martin Moore

April 20th, 2007 at 8:38 am

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