Tag Archives: journalism education

Accuracy, independence and impartiality – Kellie Riordan #jeraa2014 live blog

LIVE BLOG

By MARK PEARSON

Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Kellie Riordan reported to the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia’s conference in Sydney on her recent report on how legacy media and digital natives approach ethical standards in the digital age.

ABC's Kellie Riordan addressing the JERAA conference on her research into digital and legacy media ethics

ABC’s Kellie Riordan addressing the JERAA conference on her research into digital and legacy media ethics

She recently served as a fellow at the Oxford Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism where she looked at three traditional and three new media providers and their ethical standards and approaches.

Riordan noted a shift in the notion of accuracy.

“Now we are equally looking to journalists to tell us what is not true, and the best example is the BBC’s User Generated Content Hub,” she said.

It was set up to debunk myths, and originated with the myth that there was a power surge in the London Underground when in fact the London bombings had occurred.

She also identified corrections were now being issued that were much more open and honest and developed brand trust. These were done particularly well by digital media.

“Traditionally newsrooms have been closed organisations and we haven’t let the public in on how we came to decisions,” she said.

She showed an example from the digital outlet Grantland which gave an extensive debriefing on how they came to an editorial decision when they got something wrong.

Riordan profiled The Quartz qz.com site which does not subscribe to impartiality as a standard but boast about their transparency and honesty with their audience.

On the issue of independence, she gave several examples of advertorials in some outlets that were not necessarily flagged as paid content on search engines.

She cited Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith arguing that audiences were already quite literate about different types of sponsored content on the Internet, whereas others felt the journalism brand required the disclosure of advertising.

She found a range of views across new media on the issue of impartiality and that Quartz advocated an ‘evidence driven, facts based’ style of journalism.

User generated content, interaction with audiences and more extensive use of hyperlinks for attribution were important developments to improve accountability and transparency, she said.

Riordan concluded by calling for greater transparency, more open forms of journalism, and ‘a voice that is of the web driven by reporters rather than news brands’.

She suggested digital tools like hyperlinks, context for corrections, more voices and transparency would add to accountability.

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Journalism privileges and accountability in the digital age – Denis Muller #jeraa2014 live blog

LIVE BLOG

By MARK PEARSON

The digital age has increased both possibilities and risks for journalism, according to media ethicist Dr Denis Muller from the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne.

Denis Muller addresses the JERAA conference on the legitimacy of journalism

Denis Muller addresses the JERAA conference on the legitimacy of journalism

Muller was addressing the privileges, legitimacy and accountability of journalism at the annual conference of the Journalism Education and Research Association in Sydney.

He said the types of privilege offered to journalism were access to powerful people, places to observe events, and certain legal protections, however the digital revolution had made the privileges for those from big media inadequate for others like bloggers.

“This is a narrow and increasingly irrelevant basis for conferring legitimacy,” he said.

“Legitimacy of the journalistic function has more important bases than this.”

He said legitimacy of journalism as a function in a democracy is grounded in a combination of rights and socio-political necessity.

Journalism had a contrctual relationship with the community based on factual and constextual reliability, impartiality, separation of fact from comment and provision of a “bedrock of trustworthy information”.

The legitimacy of the journalistic function rests on the indispensability of its function, its capacity to animate free speech and the keeping of its promises,” Dr Muller said.

He highlighted privileges at law under the Commonwealth Privacy Act and State Shield laws – contingent on media organisations being signed up to an accountability mechanism.

Others not contingent on such accountability were the privileges under the Australian Consumer Law and the Commonwealth shield laws.

The latter protected anyone providing news to the public, seemingly including bloggers and others reporting news.

He reviewed the regulatory recommendations of the Finkelstein Review, the Convergence Review and the Leveson Inquiry and explained there was no accountability mechanism for journalists outside of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance sanctions for its members breaching its Code of Ethics.

He said he had worked with colleague Dr Judith Townend from City University London’s Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism comparing the suggested accountability mechanisms for the Australian news media.

They argued for

  • access to incentives in the form of privileges,
  • contingent on signing up to accountability mechanism,
  • and that this mechanism be open to all who practise journalism.

The first step was the creation of a consensual set of ethical standards – professional norms and standards, they argued.

“News organisations should take a ‘get in’ rather than a ‘get you’ approach,” he said.

 

 

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On the Crisis in Journalism – Barbie Zelizer #jeraa2014 live blog

LIVE BLOG

By MARK PEARSON

Raymond Williams Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania Dr Barbie Zelizer took issue with the framing of a ‘crisis of journalism’ for her keynote address to the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia conference in Sydney today (November 25).

zelizer

Professor Barbie Zelizer addresses the 2014 JERAA conference

 

She said notion of a crisis in journalism was a culturally determined phenomenon anchored in the Enlightenment.

She drew on definitions of crisis as disruption, suddenness, loss, urgency and helplessness.

The label of ‘crisis’ could change murky developments into a manageable phenomenon.

“Crisis is a temporarily defined moment,” she said. “Crisis is identifiable, finite, something that can be grasped, treated and controlled. It gives us a sense of closure.

“By offering us closure, concreteness and coherency, crisis offers us certainty and control.”

“As an institution journalism has always had an affinity with a certain kind of modernity,” she said.

“It was born of a particular time and place.”

She argued the discipline of journalism studies developed because it needed to challenge traditional narratives of journalism.

There was a reliance on a modern Anglo-American mindset and crisis offered a way out of murky, out of control challenges.

The gravitation to ‘crisis’ followed a pattern of how journalism had traditionally talked about itself.

“Across the board we hear that journalism is over. What’s different about today is that durability is no longer assured.”

She asked whether journalism’s mass audience ever as mass as assumed and whether there had ever had been agreement about what journalism is or is for.

Earlier points in time such as the development of radio, the wire photo and television presented challenges and disagreements.

“There is value in both rupture and in continuity,” she said.

These narratives see crisis as resolvable or apocalyptic.

“All of this is a long way of saying today’s journalistic environments are contingent and diverse,” she said.

“Uncertainty rules in institutional settings, generally without us being aware of it.”

She concluded by suggesting:

1. We assume the centrality of crisis but rarely find data to support it;

2. We identify various nodes supporting the technological determination of the crisis frame; and

3. We assume an overturning of value – what was once seen as central (the newspaper, objectivity) is now seen as toxic.

“Uncertainty is ours to live with not to control or eradicate,” she said.

“The question remains whether uncertainty can ever end in a landscape that is institutionally driven.”

She concluded with a quote from T.S. Eliot: “If you aren’t in over your head how do you know how tall you are?”

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Presenting the best of @Griffith_Uni student news blogs

By MARK PEARSON

THE greatest reward for a teacher at any level of education is in celebrating your students’ successes. Colleague Mic Smith and I did this today as we announced the winners of various awards to our students in the course Online News Production, where students were assigned to create multimedia news content and post them to their own news blogs.

I hope you agree as you browse the winners’ work that there are some outstanding examples of multimedia journalism and social media engagement here across a host of topics.

Congratulations students on aiming for excellence … and achieving it!

Cheers,

Mark (@journlaw)

NathanWinners2014

Brisbane students of Griffith University celebrate their Online News Production Golden Mouse Awards for excellence in news blogs. Photo: Jimmy Wall

GCwinners2014-2

Gold Coast Griffith University students proudly display their Golden Mouse awards for excellence in news blogging. Photo: Kirsty Schmitt

Golden Mouse Awards 2014 – Brisbane 

Golden Mouse Award for Best Overall Blog

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.37.11 PMErin Maclean

Lady Game Bug

http://ladygamebug.wordpress.com/

 

Golden Mouse Award for Best Multimedia News Story

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.38.37 PMNatasha Hoppner

‘Police say vested interests will prevent power abuse’

B4G20 blog

http://b4g20.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/84/

 

Golden Mouse Awards – Gold Coast

Golden Mouse Award for Best Overall Blog

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.42.41 PMPaul Eyers, James Laidler and Tom Mann

Waterways News Gold Coast

http://waterwaysnewsgoldcoast.wordpress.com/about/

 

Golden Mouse Award for Best Multimedia News Story

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.44.21 PMDanielle Laing

‘Food safety, fraud and what it means for organic farming in China’

Organic in China blog

http://organicinchina.tumblr.com/post/98375795557/food-safety-fraud-and-what-it-means-for-organic

 

Other category finalists and winners (Brisbane)

Best education or arts blog finalists

A Reel Film Focus http://areelfilmfocus.wordpress.com/

Jordan Towning, Jane Orme, Joshua Wells, Riley Jackson

Best education or arts blog winner

 Art Student Q : artstudentq.wordpress.com

Tara Ingham

Best human rights / international blog

Tamara Sydenham and Gabrielle Smith

Brisbane Universities Amnesty International Clubs

http://brisuniamnesty.wordpress.com/

Best community blog

Emma McCluney

Ambush the Airwaves

http://communityradiocompanion.wordpress.com/

Most mindful blog on social issues finalist

Jimmy Wall

Fork: Privacy and Cryptography News http://fork.dokterw.me/

 Most mindful blog on social issues winner

Christopher Da Silva and Tim Noyes (NA)

Hard Core Truth Australia

http://hardcoretruthaustralia.wordpress.com/

 Best multicultural or indigenous issues blog

Audrey Courty

Indigenous Pulse
http://
indigenouspulse.wordpress.com

Best mental health blog finalist

Daniel Conaghan: A Different Perspective

http://dcmentalhealth.wordpress.com/

Best mental health blog winner

Talkin‘ About Mental Health 

http://talkinaboutmentalhealth.wordpress.com/

Krystal Gordon and Rachel Harding

Best sports blog

Nickolas Feldon and Jonathan Najarro

Round 13

www.13thround.wordpress.com

Best nature, science or environment blog finalist

Amy Mitchell-Whittington: Fishes for Thought

fishesforthought.wordpress.com

Best nature, science or environment blog winner

Simon Graham: Returning Cuckoo

http://returningcuckoo.wordpress.com/

 

Finalists and winners (Gold Coast)

Best education or arts blog finalists

Lydia Collins Donlon – Chasing Swell – http://chasingswell.wordpress.com/

Phil Kimmins Ubud Letters – ubudletters.com

 Kirsty Schmitt - Educating Alice- http://educatingalice.wordpress.com

 Best education or arts blog winner

 Janis Hanley

Digital storytelling for learning

https://digitalstorytellingforlearning.wordpress.com

Best human rights / international blog finalists

Gold Coast Refugee Australia

 http://goldcoastrefugee.wordpress.com

Pratsiri Setthapong

Best human rights / international blog winner

Africa: The Real Picture

Ruth Goodwin, Uduakobong Etukudo, Ohimai Longe

http://africatherealpicture.wordpress.com/

Best community blog finalist

Sophie Wood 

Do Good Brisbane

dogoodbrisbane.wordpress.com

Best community blog winners

Gabrielle Quinn and Jayde Austin

The Hidden Wonders

thehiddenwonders.squarespace.com/home

Most mindful blog on social issues finalists

Maleika Halpin: appleadayblog.com

Courtney Kelly  and Daphne Maresca: http://boundbyculture.wordpress.com/

Most mindful blog on social issues winner

Samuel Turner:

What are the Odds: Gambling in Australia

http://gamblinginaustralia.wordpress.com/

Best multicultural or indigenous issues finalists

Courtney Kelly – Bound By Culture –  http://boundbyculture.wordpress.com/

Best multicultural or indigenous issues blog winner

Kaylene Lawson

Street Culture

www.stculture.com

Best health, nutrition and fitness blog

Jessica O’Donnell

Healthy Mind and Body

http://healthymindandbodyblog.com/

Best mental health blog finalists

Sarra Davis – Sincerely Sarra - http://www.sincerelysarra.wix.com/sincerelysarra  

Crystal-Rose Fleming- Youthful Health - http://youthfulhealth.wordpress.com/

Best mental health blog winners

Jo-Anne Wormald and Emma Lasker (GC)

Golden Oldies News

www.goldenoldienews.wordpress.com

Best sports blog finalists

Brooke Dalton and Alexandra Purser

SEQ Sports Report

http://seqsportsreport.wordpress.com 

Best sports blog winner

Mathilda Andersson

The Sunny Side of Hockey

http://www.thesunnysideofhockey.wordpress.com

Best nature, science or environment blog finalists

Bjorg Hildrum Saltveit and Tone Skredderbakken

UniUniverse

http://uniuniverse.wordpress.com 

Best nature, science or environment blog winner

Kelly Campbell

Plastic For Fence Sitters
http://kellyanncampbellwp.wordpress.com/

Best fashion or lifestyle finalist

Gabriella Ruiz

Brisbane Fashion Bloom

http://brisbanefashionbloom.wordpress.com/

Best fashion or lifestyle winner

Casey Brown

The Fashion Connection 2014

http://thefashionconnection2014.wordpress.com/

———–

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014

1 Comment

Filed under blogging, citizen journalism, journalism, journalism education, media ethics, social media, Uncategorized

Blended learning and instructional scaffolding in a Media Law course

By MARK PEARSON

I’m thoroughly enjoying a revitalised enthusiasm for my media law teaching thanks to the Blended Learning team at Griffith University.

I’ve recently been a student in an Online Course Development course run by expert faculty in my Arts, Education and Law group and have been keenly trying to build the various blended learning strategies into the Blackboard interface for both the on-campus and Open Universities Australia versions of my Media Law course.

The Media Law course’s pedagogy and assessment tasks are built around both problem-based learning and instructional scaffolding.

It is module-based, with each module’s integrated learning tools and materials contained in the Course Content area (see screen capture).

The Course Content part of the Learning@Griffith site for the Media Law course

The Course Content part of the Learning@Griffith site for the Media Law course

The modules are designed so that students progressively learn the material and work towards their assessment as the semester unfolds, whether they are studying on-campus or online, or via a combination of the two (‘blended learning’).

They are aware that their learning tasks each week feed directly into their end of semester examination, which is essentially requires them to demonstrate summatively their skills and understandings they have already been workshopping in a formative sense throughout the semester.

Each week’s problem is centred upon the module’s readings (including a textbook chapter) and other learning activities, including lectures, short video introductions to each module, tutorials, video interviews of 10-15 mins with an expert ‘guest of the week’, and  discussion board and social media engagement. [Some of these techniques I have also refined through my recent  enrolment in ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ offered by Coursera and Canvas.]

The instructional scaffolding approach to assessment links attendance and online participation with assessment items that relate directly to those activities.

For example, students complete Weekly Learning Reflections about the media law problem of the week (submitted and assessed twice in the semester as collated portfolios). These then form the basis of questions in students’ end of semester examination and their written preparation for their weekly learning problem rubrics become their actual study notes for their open-book final exam. This leads to a purposive approach to student weekly readings and other learning tasks, aimed to enrich their learning through its focus on a problem and an ultimate assessment reward.

Similarly, students complete a short multiple choice online quiz at the end of each learning module – which is at that stage non-assessable (formative) and is only available for a two week period after that module has ended. They know their final end of semester summative multiple choice quiz will later be drawn from the pool of these very questions, rewarding students who have completed their reading and undertaken the formative assessment along the way.

Do you have other techniques you have been using effectively in teaching media law? Please let me know via the Comments section here or via Twitter at @journlaw.

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media regulation, Uncategorized

Seeking PhD and research Masters candidates in journalism and social media law

By MARK PEARSON (@journlaw)

Followers of this blog will be aware that I joined Griffith University earlier this year as Professor of Journalism and Social Media.

I am now fielding expressions of interest from students internationally who might want to pursue a PhD or a Masters degree by research in my field of journalism and social media law, ethics and regulation.

While I am happy to correspond with you via email at my work address m.pearson@griffith.edu.au, the best course of action would be for you to go through the application process via the Griffith website at http://www.griffith.edu.au/higher-degrees-research/how-to-apply. Details on scholarships and their application processes are also available at that link.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing your applications as they work their way through the system.

Be sure to mark them for my supervision and attention: Mark Pearson LLM, PhD, Professor of Journalism and Social Media.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Attack by The Australian supports case against ‘enforced self-regulation’ #Finkelstein

By MARK PEARSON

The Australian’s associate editor Cameron Stewart has argued that the immediate endorsement of the proposal for a statutory media regulator by some media academics was indicative of the irrelevance, ineptitude and Leftist bias of journalism educators generally.

Like any piece of attack journalism, it used carefully selected truths and sources to develop a positional and very political assault on the journalism education sector and the former (and current) journalists who teach, research and publish there. It is an old and flawed argument.

While I disagree with this kind of journalism and its use by a leading masthead, I think it presents a unique lesson on why Finkelstein’s core proposal for a News Media Council with statutory powers to order corrections and apologies is so wrong.

Journalism educators have quite rightly taken umbrage at the article in the Weekend Australian and, as I blog, are composing a unified response to the attack.

This is the right course of action – to first seek redress and a right of reply from the publisher of the offending article.

If the identified individuals felt strongly enough about the imputations it contained about them – and if they had the resources available to them – they might take legal advice and perhaps sue for defamation.

For reasons I have outlined previously in Crikey, most principled journalists and editors do not resort to this measure because they value the free exchange of ideas too highly and do not wish to set such an example for others.

If the aggrieved journalism educators are dissatisfied with The Australian’s response, under the current regime they might instead make a complaint to the Australian Press Council over any unfairness, bias or inaccuracies in Stewart’s article they feel breaches that body’s Statement of Principles.

If the Council is unable to mediate a resolution, this would then be adjudicated by its complaints panel of (mainly) non-affiliated citizens and journalists, chaired by legal academic Julian Disney (or its vice-chair).

If the Council found The Australian had indeed been unfair, biased or inaccurate, or had unfairly refused to run a right of reply, the Council might decide to uphold the complaint and demand The Australian run its adjudication in full. As that newspaper’s parent company, News Limited, is an abiding member of the Council, it is likely that adjudication would be published. If not, it would at least appear on the Council’s website and among its regular releases on adjudications.

As outlined in several submissions to the Finkelstein inquiry, and noted at length in its final report, these processes could do with considerable improvement.

But consider the course of events under the proposed statutory body detailed in the report.

The early steps in the process would be fairly similar to the Council’s system, although the proposal would have the whole matter conducted ‘on the papers’, without legal representation, within a few days.

The ‘independent’ panel would be chaired by a retired judge or eminent lawyer appointed by the government of the day, and would have a different constituency with fewer media members.

However, rather than being told to publish the decision, The Australian might well be ordered under statutory powers to publish a correction, apology, retraction or right of reply.

The Australian might feel so strongly about its claims that it refuses to do so. After all, to ‘correct’, ‘apologise’ or ‘retract’ something over which you hold the heartfelt belief is true, however misguided, is itself an affront to those who hold such beliefs so strongly. Indeed, to be forced to apologise when you do not mean it is to be compelled to state a falsity.

The Australian’s refusal would be the disobedience of a statutory body and, under the Finkelstein proposals, would trigger a charge of contempt to be adjudicated by a court of law, with the usual penalties for contempt available to a judge – a fine or a jail term. (The report flags some opportunity to appeal the Council’s decision within that process – with all the accompanying legal costs for both sides.)

Some of my journalism education colleagues might be feeling so angry about the article that they might want Stewart or his editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell fined or jailed over this story. I suspect, however, that most would share my disdain for the possibility of such an outcome in a free democratic society which has no protection for free expression in its Constitution or Bill of Rights.

However, no matter how misleading and misplaced we may feel Cameron Stewart’s piece may be, there is no disputing the fact that some journalism academics immediately supported the proposal for a statutory regulator with such powers and potential consequences.

The ground seems to be shifting somewhat on that front. One of those attacked, Johan Lidberg from Monash University, initially (cautiously) supported the core recommendation but now states “A statutory based media regulator is highly problematic” (email to journalism educators, 10.3.12).

UTS Professor Wendy Bacon, and Swinburne’s Margaret Simons, have each written strong and well documented endorsements of Finkelstein’s criticisms of the mainstream media’s ineffective self-regulation, but have stopped short of endorsing the statutory enforcement option.

And so they should.

Wind the clock back to late 2010, and we had this very editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, threatening to sue journalism educator Julie Posetti for defamation over her tweets covering comments made by a former staffer from The Australian at a Journalism Education Association conference – the now infamous #twitdef episode.

Allow me a little licence with the scenario because the Finkelstein reforms might not cover tweets and the actual case was contentious partly because of its twitter brevity.

But let’s say a UTS student had reported the comments in that university’s student newspaper, and Mitchell had not sued, but had instead complained to the proposed ‘independent’ News Media Council about the article, on the same grounds of unfairness, inaccuracy and bias.

And what if, like Posetti, the student newspaper had stood by its article and refused to publish a retraction, correction or apology?

Well – assuming the newspaper met the definitional criteria of the new body as ‘news media’ which are far from clear – then we might well be facing the prospect of a journalism student or editor being jailed for what would otherwise may have been a defamation damages payment, and for which a defamation defence might well have applied.

Hypotheticals I know, but you need them to flesh out the potential implications of a new media regulator that would instantly convert ethical codes into punishable laws.

Only by using examples close to home can we understand the intransigence of both complainants and publishers. An analysis of both APC and ACMA complaints over recent years will reveal complaints over political views – a disproportionate number related to the Israel-Palestine dispute – where opinions are held so strongly that some proponents would face jail rather than retract or apologise.

One of the academics informing the Finkelstein inquiry, Denis Muller, has written a defence of the proposal on smh.com.au. It is worth quoting his final two paragraphs in full:

“It is proposed that the new council would have power to order corrections, apologies and rights of reply, and say where they should be published. The question of fairness arises here: if wrongful harm was done in a page one story, why shouldn’t at least the first two or three paragraphs of the remedial material also appear on page one? If a sanction was ignored or refused, the council would have the right to apply to a court for an order of compliance. The media company concerned could argue its case. Only if it lost and still refused to comply would it become legally liable — not to the council but to the court for contempt.

“Ideally, the media would do all this themselves: make a legally binding arrangement to set up an accountability body, properly funded, with transparent processes, credible sanctions and agreement to comply. History tells us it is unlikely, but maybe this report will act like a cattle prod on their collective hide.”

I might be wrong, but I read that final sentence as a hint that the whole statutory regulator proposal might be a trumped up threat to the mainstream media to get their regulatory house in order – not unlike David Calcutt’s 1990 warning to the British tabloids that they were ‘drinking at the last chance saloon’.

That may well be the case, and if so it seems to be already having an effect, with publishers meeting last week to discuss a revamp of the Press Council.

But if it is true, what a shame that Finkelstein should send such a message of endorsement of statutory media regulation to the regimes throughout the world who have already adopted it.

 

Mark Pearson is professor of journalism at Bond University and Australian correspondent for Reporters Without Borders. His views here do not purport to represent those of either of those organisations.

© Mark Pearson 2012

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized