Category: MMX14

#MMX14 Recap: Digital disruption, some instagrams

From Anthea Garman, associate professor of journalism at Rhodes University, comes this reflection on the “changes and challenges of this media moment,” as experienced at MMX14.

““Digital disruption” doesn’t fallen into the neat pessimism or optimism so emblematic of our times but does say forcefully that we are all on uncertain ground and need to reconfigure our ways of doing and being in media making, media managing and in education.”

#MMX14 Recap: Challenges faced by the media industry

Our friends at At That Point PR have put together this nice infographic summing up what they learned at the conference in July. As they point out, the pressures — and opportunities — for South Africa’s media industry have never been greater.

Credit: At That Point media

Credit: At That Point media

#MMX14 Recap: Churnalism, originality and the legal implications of a tweet

Ever wonder how much news copy is original? So do the people at Media Monitoring Africa.

Speaking at the Menell Media Conference, Media Monitoring’s William Bird announced that the organisation will be keeping a close eye on the use of wire copy and blatant word theft  by news websites.

The online space is rife with repetition – with many news organizations subscribing to wire copy services such as Reuters, AFP and the South African Press Association (SAPA).

Bird said his organisation had built an online tool to track so-called “churnalism” and is in the process of testing it.

Media Monitoring is also planning to reward original journalism through a “badges” tool which would work in conjunction with news sites.

The tools could be a real boon for online readers – helping them to distinguish between those who provide original content and those who churn and turn copy.

Bird also spoke about – a tool that news organisations can use to provide additional data in reporting.

Links from the website can be embedded into news sites. It includes census data providing information down to the ward level.

Media law expert Dario Milo followed Bird’s presentation with some insightful detail on the pitfalls of news-making in the digital age.

The key take-away point is that tweets carry as much weight as published news copy. Therefore, it is important for journalists to treat tweets as they would a news story – by ensuring they are well sourced, checked and then checked again.

Another key point Milo made related to retweets. Like original content, legally you can be held liable for whatever you tweet. Therefore those Twitter disclaimers (“retweets aren’t endorsements”) aren’t worth the profiles they’re written on.

Milo also warned against what he called “stage directions” in news tweets. Those cheeky words following an asterisk and hashtags can land journalists in hot water. That would be #awkward – not to mention expensive.

-Dianne Hawker, Senior Multimedia Reporter, eNCA Online

#MMX14 Recap: Gus Silber on the art of thinking and reporting visually

With the rapidly changing forms of reporting in the age of social media, journalists have had to become open to more types of media than ever before. This was what I took away from journalist and technology guru Gus Silber’s MMX workshop, “The art of thinking and reporting visually”.

After briefly taking the audience on a journey through what journalism used to be, Gus gave us a glimpse of what he believes the next 20 years will bring and what we will need to equip ourselves. With the recent use of drones and robo-journalism as a form of data capturing, for instance, Gus advised people in the media to expand on their knowledge base and not just do one thing.

Independent journalist, author, and social media maverick Gus Silber talks to MMX participants about the art of thinking visually.

Independent journalist, author, and social media maverick Gus Silber talks to MMX participants about the art of thinking visually.

“There are more ways to tell a story now and mobile phones have helped in a variety of ways,” he said.

Gus said with the rise of smart phones the public is now producing media – not just receiving it. “Now any citizen can be a journalist,” he said. The eyewitness can easily become the reporter by capturing information and sharing it on social media. According to Gus, there are several things professional journalists must do in order to stay in the game.

“Journalists now need to become twitterzens and play the game too by following lots of people, finding possible sources on social media and generally being the best citizen journalists they can be.”

“Make sense of your mobile,” he continued. “Have sight — and by that I mean insight, foresight and hindsight … All journalists need to embrace technology, be their own newsroom, share, be nimble, think and work across media, be social, and still carry a pen and notebook.”

-Sisanda Ntshinga, Founder and Editor: Zazi Media

MMX Statement on the Imprisonment of Swazi Journalist Bheki Makhubu

The organisers, speakers and attendees of the Menell Media Exchange conference in Johannesburg on Saturday expressed shock and dismay at the news of the imprisonment of the Swaziland editor Bheki Makhubu and attorney Thulani Maseko by a Swaziland High Court.

The #MMX2014 is attended by editors, academics and journalists from all South Africa’s major media houses and journalism schools.

Hosted by Duke University’s Media Fellows Program, director Laurie Bley said the spirit of the conference was dampened by the news of Bheki’s sentencing.

“To hear such news at a time when we are discussing the future of the media is extremely disheartening. Our thoughts are with Bheki and Thulani and we stand in solidarity with them in opposing this violent clampdown on media freedom.”

On Friday Judge Mpendulo Simelane sentenced Makhubu and Maseko after finding them guilty of “scandalising the judiciary”.

The case relates to an article published by The Nation about the abuse of a government vehicle by a judge’s driver.

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