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Journalism IS Curation: Tips, Tools, Techniques October 5, 2013

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, Multimedia, News.
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Online Journalism Blog

Curation is a relatively new term in journalism, but the practice is as old as journalism itself. Every act of journalism is an act of curation: think of how a news report or feature selects and combines elements from a range of sources (first hand sources, background facts, first or second hand colour). Not only that: every act of publishing is, too: selecting and combining different types of content to ensure a news or content ‘mix’. 

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ in his talk to employees at the Washington Post said: “People will buy a package … they will not pay for a story.” Previously that package was limited to what your staff produced, and wire copy. But as more content becomes digitised, it is possible to combine more content from a wider variety of sources in a range of media – and on any one of a number of platforms.

Curation is nothing new…

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Singapore Stages News App Challenge 2013 February 18, 2013

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Social Media.
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Calling journalists, content creators, creative artists, developers and media entrepreneurs! Get ready to spark ideas that spur collaboration between technology and journalism.

Put your editorial, creative and storytelling prowess on display at the inaugural News App Challenge, part of a series of efforts by Newsplex Asia in Singapore, to support transformational ideas that promote quality journalism and drive media innovation.

The competition seeks to uncover tomorrow’s apps that will extend today’s journalism and reinvent ways of discovering, organising, editing, producing and sharing stories. More information here and on Facebook.

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Gaza War of Hashtags, #IDF vs #Hamas November 18, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends.
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 by Joanne KY Teoh
Is social media the new weapon of mass destruction? It sure looks that way as Israel and Hamas take their battle to the micro-blogging world in the most explicit example yet of how Twitterblogs, Facebook, FlickrPinterest and YouTube can be used as weapons of war. And we’re not talking about flame wars.

Waging its war on the streets and online, the Israeli Defense Force is bombing “terror targets” in Gaza and Webcasting details of its attack with hashtags, online taunts and multimedia claims of destruction. Here is that first tweet announcing the operation:

Bragging next about killing the head of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed Al-Jabari via its live-blog, Twitter  and Youtube,  the IDF then literally warned the enemy to run and hide via a tweet that has been retweeted 2000 times: “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.”

Then it gets surreal. In their usual florid prose, Al Qassam Brigades the military wing of Hamas tweeted about martyrdom and  fires of hell.: “Assassination of the great leader Ahmed al Jabari is the beginning of liberation war and ominous harbinger on sons of Zion”:

The IDF also created an official Tumblr, uploading graphics that highlight attacks on Israeli citizens by militant Palestinians. To be sure, war always has its propaganda machine. But this coordinated cacophony in the midst of battle opens a new front.

Never before has spin on military action been touted like this on social media, in real time. Even the hashtags created by both groups to document the violence are spun to milk public sympathy – the IDF tweeting with #PillarOfDefense and Hamas using #GazaUnderAttack.

War is not a game, but gaming features let visitors to the IDF war blog to earn “points” and win badges for sharing as the blog tracks the progress of the conflict. An ID Youtube clip  introduces game dynamics, remixing war footage with a music score that could have come from a video game. Other videos sport motion graphics, complete with gaming sound effects:

It’s not clear who’s running the Al Qassam Brigades twitter feed, but in Israel, the IDF social media operation is run by a 26-year-old immigrant from Belgium named Sacha Dratwa. Social networking sites have been used to energize political campaigns, raise awareness and galvanize the popular revolutions of the Arab Spring. This may be the first war declared via Twitter. It remains to be seen whether Twitter intervenes.

The use of Twitter to announce and comment on military operations is a significant departure for the social networking platform. It potentially brings the feuding groups into conflict with Twitter’s own rules, which state: “Violence and Threats: You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others.” That did not stop the IDF.

The IDF Twitter account invites followers to “read up” on Jabari to understand why the Israeli military killed him and is sending out links to video and articles about Hamas’s past attacks on Israel. It also uploaded the military intelligence it used for targeting to its blog, including photos of sites targeted and video allegedly showing Hamas hiding rockets at one of the sites.

There are merits to this level of transparency. The video (below) of the killing of Jabari shows Israeli forces took care to minimize casualties—and also  made it next to impossible for Hamas to deny his death:

Apparently, the IDF want to save Wikileaks the trouble of digging the footage up and ensure that the news will come straight from the government’s mouth, without the interference of the fourth estate. Time will tell if other nations will adopt similar approaches and boast of assasinations via Twitter, but Gaza is a conflict ideal for social media:

On both sides there’s significant knowledge of English, so this is something that can really be played out in front of the world’s media and on the world stage. … This is an issue that is very visible, an issue where there are significant supporters for both sides all over the world, and it can be explained to a world audience in a language they’ll understand so it’s probably quite likely to be taken up by lots of people via social media.

Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology

Israel also finds itself  in a singular position, geopolitically. Its most consistent ally in the region, the Mubarak regime in Cairo, was overthrown last year and replaced by an Islamist government. Relations with Jerusalem’s most important partner, the United States, were tested by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s all-but-open support of Barack Obama’s rival Mitt Romney in the recent American presidential elections. The need to shape international opinion and rally supporters internationally is acute.

Noah Shachtman at Wired

Unlike the usual war propaganda tactics of leaflets, state-sponsored radio, press conferences and spokesmen, social media campaigns embed themselves into the media that audiences are already consuming. Users are implicitly participating in the cross-fire by retweeting, liking and sharing the social media content.

Gaza is a modern conflict with significant supporters on both sides who are digital natives and who understand English. It is a war ripe for playing out on the global virtual stage with social media and the new ubiquitous online vernacular – video. Audiences are ready.

One week into this war of words, which side is winning the clash of tweets? As crass as it is to measure the unfolding violence in terms of hashtags, the IDF’s stream of ultra-shareable posts, with more multimedia and calls for retweets than a 2.0 best-practice class appears to be getting heard wider. But Gaza’s more muted plaintive cause appears to sound louder.

Related reads

#IDF vs# Hamas: the new Gaza war in 140 characters or less
Military strikes go viral: Israel is live-tweeting its own offensive into Gaza
Operation Pillar of Defense: The First Social Media War
The Kids Behind IDF’s Media

Advocacy, Viral Videos and Web Memes November 5, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, Online Video, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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by Joanne KY Teoh (first published in ThinkBrigade)
Memes aren’t just about extracting a laugh anymore – they make political points too and sway opinion. Once relegated to obscure online communities and subcultures, memes have penetrated the public psyche to become part of Web pop culture.

The US presidential election is fertile ground for spawning Web memes. The TV debates give voters not just a glimpse of the candidates, but fodder to turn political discourse into mimetic entertainment. After two TV debates, “Big Bird” along with “horses and bayonets” have stormed the internet.

“Binders Full of Women” has become an instant internet meme after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s telling remark during a debate with President Barack Obama to demonstrate his past attempts to fight for women’s equality.

Memes predate the internet. They take the form of ideas, images, styles, catchphrases and videos that people find compelling enough to copy and imitate within a culture. The term meme is derived from genetics, describing the evolution of ideas and cultural phenomena by natural selection.

One can even “songify” TV sound bites for the Web. The Gregory Brothers have turned the third presidential TV encounter into a musical meme, with Romney and Obama engaging in a mellifluous battle for votes. The video is part of The New York Times Op-Doc series.

Could a neo-activism driven by viral videos and Web memes save the environment? Would the “songification” and “meme-ification” of abstract policy debates on climate change, melting icecaps and species extinction generate virtual memes, inspire local action, focus global attention and trigger social change?

Environmental memes are in a class of their own. They inform our view of nature – think Gaia, Pachamama and Mother Earth. Today, environmentalists have added viral videos and social media to their arsenal of advocacy and protest tools.

The slick video (below) by Greenpeace that purportedly showed a Royal Dutch Shell event going horribly wrong sparked a media firestorm in June this year:

Another video on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch went viral long before ending plastic pollution in the world’s oceans became one of the top 10 priorities of the Rio+20 conference.

The simple narrative of this video (below) struck a chord, spurring eco-blogs and green groups to tap information from the clip to start campaigns to “Take the Plastic Water Bottle Challenge” and ban plastic bags:

The startling spread of the Kony meme raises interesting questions for the future of green neo-activism online. Kony 2012, the viral campaign against Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, is an infectious idea that transfixed a generation who use Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.

The 30-minute video made by the US-based campaigning group Invisible Children has been lambasted by media scholars for ideological bias and its simplistic portrayal of a complex issue. But this is the way to reach and rouse a generation of multi-screening multi-taskers, native of the visual language of LOL cats.

Complex and multi-faceted, green issues were once given short shrift in mainstream media. But mainstreaming these issues is not enough. We need more green memes that catch fire online and the imagination of youth on the ground.

So-called MemeGenerators are enabling the meme-fication of issues. Properly exploited, memes and viral videos can be passed along via Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter to ignite social change.

If the intentions are good, the simplification of complexity is a powerful narrative tactic to spur web natives to start viral conversations using 140 characters or less. The seminal paper by Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter on the power of “weak ties” in networks posits that links among people who are not closely bonded are critical for spreading ideas and helping groups coalesce for action.

It is premature to assert that the era of network power has arrived. But with one in three people in the world now using the internet, online video could in time reach these folks and prove a game changer. And when mashups of funny online content inspire a flood of parodies, viral videos and internet memes might just save Mother Nature.

Web Journalists Should Learn Code October 29, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Education, Journalism, Multimedia, News, Trends.
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by Joanne KY Teoh
It’s more than digging up the dirt – journalists today need to get their hands dirty with a little code. How well are J-schools preparing their grads for the real world as digital journalism products move online?

From crafting a good lead for the front page, to building a story for a Web page, knowing how to code is an essential skill if prospective journalists want to become better and employable multimedia storytellers in the digital media age.

Traditional storytellers at heart, many journalist balk at the idea of coding. Textbooks of arcane code remind them why they chose to study the 5Ws and H of journalism instead of computer science or engineering.

But learning basic HTML, CSS, Javascript, or other front-end design codes helps journalists create their own online content and understand the parameters of technical journalism. Here’s what they do:

JavaScript: A scripting language to manipulate data between the server and the Web page. It can also alter the page based on user or server communication.

HTML: A markup language to outline the structure and content of the page.

CSS: A style language to tell the website how the layout, fonts and colors should look.

Learning how to build online interactive packages gives journalists a better understanding of how Web journalism is created and how they can enhance print or broadcast stories.

As with all multimedia skills, journalists are more likely to be invested in the technical process if they have an idea of what is possible.

Many journalism jobs now require someone who has both coding skills and writing experience, the latter of which many traditional computer programmers lack, giving the coding journalist an advantage.

Journalists with computer programming skills are in demand at media and technology companies. They analyze data for journalistic research, visualize data for news websites, implement content management systems, develop Web applications and oversee the creation of digital media products.

Several journalism fellowships and trainee programs are looking for journalists with programming knowledge. You can have the skills to apply for an opportunity to receive funding for your own cutting edge journalism projects.

The time is now for future journalists to learn about code. We need to innovate our curricula, really looking at what we are teaching our students. Learning, or mastering, specific software is not properly preparing our future journalists for successful, life-long careers. No one can learn digital storytelling in a semester.

Mastering Dreamweaver and Flash isn’t very future-friendly, and having a single mid-level “Online Journalism” course offered as an elective does more harm than good. We should be teaching code in all of our journalism courses — each semester, each year, until graduation.

Miranda Mulligan
Executive Director, Knight News Innovation Lab, Northwestern University

Newsrooms today need help to make cool news apps to complement and help build on their digital stories. PBS MediaShift Idea Lab talked to developers working in the news business to get their take on why they wanted to code in the newsroom.

Employers expect students coming out of J-schools to know the basics of video, audio and Web coding at a minimum, and be well-versed in mobile journalism and social media. J-schools need to integrate coding 101 as a core course so students grasp how Web pages and computers deal with their stories.

Journalists of the Youtube generation are already proficient in these skills. It’s the traditionalists and Luddites who are code-challenged. There has never been an easier time to learn coding. Check out these free or near free online coursework from Codecademy, the MIT/Harvard EdX program or Coursera and Google Code University

Related reads
Essential Tools of the Trade – CJR
In Defense of Journalism: 3 Essentials It Teaches – Poynter
Back to School:The Evolution of Journalism Education – Nieman

Infographic courtesy of OnlineCollege.orgProgramming Infographic

Convergent Lessons from Olympics 2012 October 29, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, Multimedia, Online Video, Reviews, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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From smartphones to social networks, today’s digital tools are helping audiences connect, create, and interact with each other on a global scale. This is changing the relationships content consumers have with each other, and with every business.

In the past, journalism relied on a broadcast model to influence audiences with mass media, projected out one-way, to as many consumers as possible. To succeed today, journalism need a network model, one that takes advantage of audiences’ ability to engage, interact and collaborate with news organizations and each other.

In the era of the hyper-connected user, it’s no longer about broadcasting a message. Digital media is fragmenting from mass markets and mass production, to a world of niche networks and communities that are interconnected, dynamic and powerful. All links among audiences and between audiences and news organizations, are a network, enabled by social media, the web, mobile devices.

Within this new network, how do content creators shape and interact with the message? The Summer Olympics 2012 offers best practices in crafting an integrated digital presence across media platforms. Watch the case study here: Slideshow

Where the Internet Lives October 18, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Online Video, Trends.
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Google server banks at its data center

Google has provided the most comprehensive look yet inside its mighty Internet infrastructure. The largest search engine in the world has released a portfolio of images offering a rare glimpse into the secret world of the vast data centers powering its online information empire.

These centers handle well over 50 thousand servers that power the services we use every day – 20 billion web pages indexed, 3 billion searches, and 425 million Gmail users daily. To kick this tour off permanently, Google has launched a Website called Where the Internet Lives.

The site shows images from all of Google’s 12 data centers and let you meet the staff who run them. Check out one of their data center via Street View technology:

For a more thorough look inside Google’s cloud factories, the search giant has granted a CBS News crew unprecedented access to its Lenoir, North Carolina data center for a tour of facilities the tech giant once refused to acknowledge even existed. Take a walk through the Lenoir data center here.

For years, Google refused to acknowledge these data centers even existed and all visitors have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Every person entering and leaving is tracked and if more than one person enters the doors at once, alarms sound.

Great Journalism Thrives on the Web April 20, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Trends.
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by Joanne KY Teoh
Movies have Oscars, cultural and scientific advances have Nobel Prizes. As far as awards go in media, nothing carries more cred than a Pulitzer.

Self-declared “Internet newspaper” Huffington Post, one of the most controversial players in online media, has been breaking out the bubbly after taking a step into respectability by winning a Pulitzer Prize, the traditional standard of journalistic excellence. (Yes, it earned the cred, not just link to one.)

This first Pulitzer for the seven-year-old Huffington Post is a milestone for the popular AOL-owned news site, often derided as an aggregator that built its audience by recycling the journalism of other outlets and sourcing free content from bloggers.

Huff Post’s senior military correspondent David Wood won a Pulitzer for national reporting for his 10-part series on the struggles of wounded American soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, “Beyond the Battlefield.”

Wood, 66 is not any Millennial Gen geek remixing multimedia assets or trawling Google News for trendy stories to repurpose for search engine optimisation. He was previously a Pulitzer finalist and has covered conflicts in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Central America.

Wood’s piece was not aggregated from other sources around the Web. While his Pulitzer legitimises the aggressive Web-native editorial approach of Huff Post, it is important to remember the team of editors, proof-readers and reporters behind the high-calibre journalism of the series that typifies traditional print media.

We are delighted and deeply honored by the award, which recognizes both David’s exemplary piece of purposeful journalism and HuffPost’s commitment to original reporting that affects both the national conversation and the lives of real people…

…One of the core pillars of HuffPost’s editorial philosophy has been to use narrative and storytelling to put flesh and blood on data and statistics, and to help bear witness to the struggles faced by millions of Americans.

Arianna Huffington
President and editor-in-chief
Huffington Post Media Group.

Huffington says the site will continue doing multi-part series on big issues. It currently has 26 reporters working on a series on poverty in America.

Huff Post has differentiated itself from being only an aggregator to a site that has attracted eminent journalists and added them on top of its formula of sourced content. As Websites go, this editorial model makes smart business sense and is being emulated by newer sites, like Business Insider.

The real differentiator between old media and new is how we relate to and interact with our audience. We see it as setting the table for an ongoing discussion that we plan to stay on for a long time.

Timothy O’Brien
Executive editor of the Huff Post.

This year’s Pulitzers broke with tradition by honouring two primarily online publications, Politico and Huffington Post. The prizes were restricted to print newspapers until 2008 and now include text-based “online news sites,” as opposed to “online news magazines” or websites for TV or radio stations.

As the business of producing and consuming information offline shifts to online, no other industry is as vulnerable to disruption as journalism. This Pulitzer is an acknowledgment by the industry of the seismic shifts in digital journalism.

The easy narrative is that online news and blog sites have finally made it on the Internet, once a source for memes and cat videos. With the global jury still out on whether non-traditional news sites have finally arrived, a Pulitzer is surely a great nod to the great journalism thriving on the Web.

Reads
Some Suggestions for New Pulitzer Prizes
David Wood talks to Lean Back 2.0

Old Media Is Embracing Web Video April 2, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Trends, Web Video.
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Leading publishers, broadcasters, and advertisers are embracing Web video as the online visual news explosion impacts their business models.

At the recent Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, Richard Tanner, senior producer of video at The New York Times, spoke on how the paper of record is adapting to new media by changing a corporate culture entrenched in print.

To learn how the NYT Web Video Unit started creating online original content in 2006, watch the full video below.

This session discusses how converging media technologies are redefining traditional distribution methods, how interactive and on-demand services are changing, and how entertainment and news video are being consumed on new platforms.

Moderator: Troy Dreier, Senior Associate Editor, StreamingMedia.com
Speaker: Richard Tanner, Senior Producer, Video, The New York Times
Speaker: Jeff Freund, VP, GM, Web Content Management Group, Limelight Networks
Speaker: Marco Parente, Sr. Product Manager, Video, The Nielsen Company
Speaker: Darren Feher, CEO, Conviva

Webcast: Be Better at Social Media March 7, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, Social Media.
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Join Columbia Journalism School and BlogTalkRadio in their timely webcasts about the changing media landscape.

Following a major New York Times article about the importance of learning social media, join writer Jennifer Preston (@NYT_JenPreston; she was the paper’s first social media editor) and Prof. Sree Sreenivasan (@sree; he’s a social-media blogger for CNET News) for a conversation about the importance of learning how to use social and digital media in smarter ways.

Be Better at Social Media 03/02 by ColumbiaJournalism | Blog Talk Radio.

How Youth Consume Digital Media: February 22, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends.
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The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University has a new report from the Youth and Media project: “Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality” by Urs Gasser, Sandra Cortesi, Momin Malik, & Ashley Lee.

It lays the foundation for further explorations and encourages a public policy discussion on youth, digital media, and information quality issues. Key findings:

This paper seeks to map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities.

A review of selected literature highlights the importance of contextual and demographic factors both for search and evaluation. The review covers the intersection of digital media, youth, and information quality—primarily works from library and information science, sociology, education, and selected ethnographic studies—reveals patterns in youth’s information-seeking behavior.

Access the full report and additional material here.

Blogger Launches E-Book Venture February 8, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Trends.
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Indie e-bookstores may be the next big thing. Lifehacker editor Jason Chen has left Gawker Media to launch an e-bookstore of his own, StoryBundle. He joins former Gawker editor Emily Gould and GigaOm’s Michael Wolf who launched their own e-book ventures in recent months.

Chen believes “making things easy to buy, easy to get and easy to consume will be the key to StoryBundle’s success. He will sell bundles of DRM-free e-books under a pay-what-you-want plan, with the average price of a bundle around $5 in most cases.

Chen is modeling StoryBundle after “Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Rdio, Steam and indie game bundles” — particularly Humble Bundle for games—that “deliver content without having a bunch of physical stores get in the way.” He is “publishing in all genres” and plans “themed bundles of different genres down the line.”

StoryBundle is most unorthodox in the way it charges for content and the way it pays authors. First of all, readers pay what they want for a bundle of e-books. Not only do they decide how much they want to pay, they decide which percentage of that payment they want to go actually go to the authors.

That payment is split among all the authors in the bundle. They designate the remaining percentage of their payment “to charity and to keep the site running.” Readers can choose to give 100 percent of their payment to the authors.

What Facebook IPO Means February 2, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media.
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Get ready for the sharing economy with a new form of media – social networking. Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has finally taken his company public, filing papers for an initial public offering – through which anyone will be able to buy shares of the social networking company on an open stock exchange.

Facebook seeks to raise US$5 billion in the IPO that looks likely to be the largest by a Web company since Google in 2004 and could place the value of the social network as high as US$75 billion to US$100 billion.

We knew Facebook was big – you don’t get to 800 million users making over 100 billion connections with each other without making a few bucks. But until today, we didn’t know just how big. The filing revealed Zuckerberg earned a base salary of US$500,000 last year, more than triple the salary of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin when Google filed for its IPO.

Zuckerberg, now 27, famously started Facebook when he was a student at Harvard University in 2004. For those who have seen the movie “The Social Network,” the Zuckerberg juggernaut is continuing unabated. Just as Apple challenged Microsoft for software supremacy, Facebook now challenges Google for Web supremacy.

The two Web giants are at war over what Jeff Jarvis calls “signal generation” – the ability to get us to generate data about ourselves – who we are, where we are, what we like, whom we like, what we buy, what we want, what we know, what we want to know – so they can serve us more relevant and valuable content, services, and advertising.

While the default in society is still privacy and anonymity, Zuckerberg hopes to strengthen how people relate to each other and sees a future where things and value should be tied to our identity. Beyond Google and other net services, which “crawl the web” with algorithms to seek information, his master plan is a social networking platform that connects humans to generate data, information and knowledge in a sharing economy.

This new form of media will not only redefine the Web, change human relationships, create a new marketing landscape, and challenge Google, but it will now rescue and alter the economy itself. It will infiltrate markets, creating new opportunities for a peer-to-peer “social” economy to take root. So if you buy this, buy Facebook shares.

There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future.

The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

This is the full text of the letter Zuckerberg included to investors in his IPO filing.

Reads
The Death of the Cyberflâneur – NYT

Web Responds to Japan Quake March 11, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Social Media, Web Video.
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by Joanne KY Teoh
The unfolding disaster in Japan – with elements of Hiroshima, Kobe and the Asian Tsunami – is riveting the Web. Within minutes of a 9.0 magnitude quake which unleashed a deadly tsunami, millions of people around the world Twittered the news, shared footage captured in home-made videos and donated to help victims.

In the immediate aftermath, Japan’s mobile phones were largely silenced because of a spike in demand. For many, Facebook and Twitter became the best link to worried family members.

Google launched a Person Finder App for people looking for quake victims, or for those trying to let their loved ones know they’re okay. Google used this tool to help people locate loved ones and aggregate information during the Christchurch earthquake and the Egypt protests.

The Google Online Crisis Center provides information on missing persons and aggregates important resources, maps, news and lists link to warning centers, disaster bulletin boards, and train and blackout information. The Center shows up on top of searches for “Japan earthquake” and similar phrases.

Tokyo Reporter is covering events from there on Twitter.

Thousands of videos are being shared on YouTube
as people used their cameras to capture and share the scenes around them with the world. Early videos show the horrifying scale of the disaster, with unstoppable waves destroying everything in their path:

The main areas affected are the prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, Tochigi and Ibaraki.

Aid organizations have rushed to leverage social media to collect funds for victims. The International Red Cross has set up a Website. People in Japan and abroad looking for family members can register on the site or consult the list, while those in Japan can inform family and friends that they are safe and provide their contact details.

Resources to follow the quake on the Web:

NEWS RESOURCES
BBC Liveblog
CNN Video
Associated Press summary
Wikipedia page for Sendai quake
Live streaming translation of Japanese news reports
Google Crisis Response
Google’s Japan People Finder
RTDNA’s “Newsroom Planning for Crisis Coverage” Page
50 Questions to Ask During Crisis Coverage PDF

GENERAL RESOURCES
CrisisWiki.org
U.S. Geological Survey quake updates
Humanitarian Early Warning Service
Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

VIDEOS and PHOTOS
YouTube CitizenTube videos
CNN’s iReport videos
Buzzfeed collection
BoingBoing collection
Montage of TV news clips

SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE
Poynter social-media resources
Storyful
Avoo social profile live tweets, news, links, wall, images, videos

TWITTER HASHTAGS
#prayforjapan
#tsunami

Selected Video Reports
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12813630

Egypt: Web Videos Spur Facebook Revolt February 12, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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Amid euphoric scenes on the streets of Egypt, it is clear that the Web is a potent catalyst of political change. As befits a revolution galvanized by social networking, the feeling on the streets is one of individual and collective empowerment as citizen videos show the historic moment, when Mubarak’s resignation as President of Egypt was announced at the hour of evening prayer.

This video shared by YouTube’s Citizen Tube through Twitter shows people at prayer in Tahrir Square holding off the celebration until it is finished before breaking into cheers.

Even though Mubarak has stepped down, the story of Egypt is not over, and neither is the work of cyber-activists. With the military now running the country, it is uncertain what level of digital freedom or online surveillance lies ahead.

Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26-year old Egyptian woman who began online political activism in 2008, is now credited for launching the video call that sparked the revolution. Mahfouz recorded the video below on January 18th, uploaded it to YouTube, and shared it on her Facebook. Within days, the video went viral:

Young people forwarded it on mobile phones – a communications tool that some 65 million Egyptians use. Soon after, the government blocked all mobile phone networks. This was not the first time a young activist used the Internet to mobilize, but it departed from the convenient anonymity of online activism.

Mahfouz is one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement, a group of young, Internet-savvy activists. Time will judge whether it is accurate to credit this one video and young woman with catalyzing the Egypt revolt. At the very least, her video advocacy captures the zeigeist of an important moment in history:

If Asmaa Mahfouz’s Web video captures the spirit of the political times, Egypt’s anti-Mubarak street movement found a hero to rally around in Wael Ghonim. The 30-year old Google marketing executive created an anonymous Facebook page, “We Are All Khaled Said” named in honor of a blogger beaten to death by police last summer.

The page, launched over six months ago, became a rallying point for demonstrations. What started as a campaign against police brutality grew into an online hub for young Egyptians to share their frustrations over the abuses of the Mubarak regime. Ghonim was detained for 10 days after starting the Facebook page.

The online organizing through Facebook, e-mail list serves and Google Docs that sprung out of it catalyzed cyber activists to collaborate on a kind of movement wiki that is being continually re-edited and improved upon by an expanding Web of contributors.

This is the revolution of the youth of the internet, which became the revolution of the youth of Egypt, then the revolution of Egypt itself.

Wael Ghonim

The Facebook page that Ghonim ran sounded the call for the initial protest on Jan. 25. As the page’s following approached 400,000 people, and word of the event spread, it hosted a constant stream of news, photos, and videos, downloadable fliers, and emotional entreaties for all Egyptians to join the push.

The active early participants in the “We Are All Khaled Said” community were young activists and dissident bloggers, many of whom knew one another and had been organizing against Mubarak’s policies for years. Emboldened by their cyber-purpose, activists took their collective confidence to the streets, giving each other the sense that they just might bend history on the ground.

Web Users Counter Egypt Net Blackout January 30, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
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In an action unprecedented in Web history, the Egyptian government on 27 Jan ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet after blocking access to Facebook and Twitter earlier in the week. Some countries routinely block access to specific Websites, but this is the first time a country has voluntarily cut its own Web connection.

Internet intelligence authority Renesys confirmed the blackout soon after the outages occurred. The Egyptian authorities’ efforts to limit communications within the country has triggered a wave of activism from a group of free speech activists on the Web called Telecomix.

Organizing using chat rooms, wikis, and collaborative writing tools, this largely anonymous group is working to inform Egyptians about their communications options while receiving incoming messages from them. Egypt has been identified as a “top priority” for Telecomix on one of its network sites, We Re-Build. It has a wiki set up as a one-stop shop with the latest chat rooms and resources.

Telecomix has worked on free speech efforts in Tunisia, Iran, China and other countries which have tried to censor or block parts of the Web. Chat administrator Christopher Kullenberg from Sweden, likens Telecomix to “an ever growing bunch of friends that do things together.”

Graph visualizing sudden halt of Web traffic in Egypt, based on data from 80 global carriers:

Timeline of recent events for Telecomix:

When Web and mobile services were cut off in Egypt on 27 Jan, though landlines were operational, members immediately got to work to send information to Egyptian fax numbers. Searching for a common string of characters found in Egyptian fax machines numbers on Google, they discovered a large amount of numbers.

At first, they sent out Wikileaks cables to these numbers, but then they determined the Egyptians didn’t need additional motivation. Instead, they were interested in information on how to communicate with each other and the outside world. The activists thus began providing instructions for using dial-up modems and amateur radios, known as Ham radios, which the Egyptian people could use to communicate.

The group says it’s also worked on receiving and decoding amateur radio messages, sent on frequencies recommended by the group of activists. While these groups have only been able to receive a small amount of messages of a short length with an unknown source, the Egyptian people’s use of amateur radio to transmit messages represents an interesting utilization of old-fashioned technology to circumvent government restrictions.

Source: Huffington Post

Besides Telecomix, other Web groups have assisted, including “Anonymous,” which has helped by sending out large amounts of faxes into Egypt. “Anonymous” was also involved in denial of service operations against organizations who took actions against Wikileaks.

Egyptian ISP Noor stayed online largely because it connects the country’s Stock Exchange and many Western companies to the outside world. Many people and businesses who are signed up to Noor have removed the passwords from their wi-fi routers so others can piggy-back on their connection.

Some users could get at websites such as Google, Twitter and Facebook by using the numeric addresses for the sites rather than the English language name. A crowd-sourced document, 20 Ways to Circumvent the Egyptians Governments’ Internet Block has compiled the best ways for Egyptians to keep communicating.

Related reads
Egypt Internet Blackout Teaches Important Lesson
WikiLeaks: A Case Study in Web Survivability
Support for the Disconnected of Egypt

Wikileaks Iraq War Logs October 24, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Web Video.
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Whistle blowing Website WikiLeaks has released nearly 400,000 pages of classified military logs chronicling the Iraq War, despite attempts by the Pentagon to stop the document dump. In the largest leak of its kind in US military history, the logs offer an incomplete, yet graphic portrait of one of the most contentious issues in the Iraq war — how many Iraqi civilians have been killed and by whom.

The documents themselves are known at the Pentagon as ‘SIGACTs,’ raw field reports chronicling “Significant Action” in the conflict as seen by U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq. The archive is the second cache obtained by Wikileaks and made available to news organizations.

Shedding new light on the war, the secret logs allegedly show the US ignored systemic abuse, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers, according to news reports. Der Spiegel, Al-Jazeera News, The Guardian and Le Monde have been collaborating with WikiLeaks on the latest leak.

To search the Iraq documents, click here.
To view documents in an interactive map click here.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is ‘a hacker fighting for the freedom of information.’ At 39, the former journalist has built his life around an uncompromising quest for information. He has no home and travels the world with one bag containing his clothes, and another holding his computer. The Iraq papers is the latest stage in a life of action against vested interest.

Wikileaks’ operators and volunteers – five full-timers, and another 1,000 on call – are almost all anonymous. The intentions are laudable – to “allow whistleblowers and journalists who have been censored to get material out to the public.” Who will watch the watchdogs? The Web has its own wisdom, and the crowds will provide the needed context, analysis and background.

Wikileaks’ most high-profile previous success came with the release of a helicopter cockpit video that showed civilians shot in Baghdad. The publicity from video added US$1m to the group’s coffers and prompted more people to come forward with leaks of their own. Read more.

Related reads:
Iraq war logs: WikiLeaks v Washington
Wanted by the CIA: Julian Assange – Wikileaks founder
Wikileaks: How website shines light on world’s darkest secrets
Wikileaks: Web Censorship Won’t Work

Hockney iPad Doodles Debut in Paris October 23, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Trends.
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One of the most influential artists of the 20th century is helping to herald a new movement: digital art. British artist David Hockney opened an exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris – harnessing mobile technology to draw the most traditional of artist’s subjects, the still life.

The computer-generated botanicals in Fleurs Fraiches (Fresh Flowers) feature iPhones, iPads and iPod touches bearing images of flowers created by Hockney using the Brushes app in his home in East Yorkshire in the UK.


David Hockney with iPhone on an easel in his London studio


Three of Hockney’s iPad drawings

The flowers are indeed fresh – Hockney will email new images of the blooms for the duration of the exhibition to help ensure the exhibit is always fresh with new images. Dozens of the apparatuses are bolted onto the walls, their flat screens aglow with art. So if you fancy braving strikers in Paris, the exhibition runs until 30 Jan 2011.

Hockney gained renown in the 1960s as a member of the Pop Art movement. He discovered Brushes 18 months ago after getting an iPhone and then iPad, and started doodling with his thumb to build images of flowers on the screen. He would email the images to his friends.

Among friends who got the emails was curator and cultural historian Charlie Scheips, who immediately saw the potential for an exhibit. An innovative exhibit are six animations showing Hockney’s creative process in fast motion. Days before his show, Hockney was filmed painting the Eiffel Tower on his iPad at the Hotel Lutetia. That mini-documentary has been added to the show’s lineup


Fleurs Fraiches opening cocktail at the Tokyo Art Club in Paris

With the iPad, I use my fingers to zoom in for details, then zoom back out. There’s magic in an iPad. It’s the same magic that’s in pencil or pen or brushes. With this show, one of the great difficulties was, how will people see the paintings? When I sent them personally, on an iPhone, I knew people would be holding the iPhone in their hand, and that my hand made the paintings in that size.

When you put an iPhone on a wall, it’s a bit too small. Twenty iPads look good together on a wall, but 100 together are a little too bright. We tried that in England. The way it’s done here, on a mixture of screens, some measuring up to four-and-a-half meters, they really glow marvelously. You don’t see any pixels.

David Hockney, Artist

Brushes has become something of a Web phenomenon with its own blog, Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as a dedicated Flickr group where Brushes artists can share their work. Portuguese illustrator, photographer and graphic designer Jorge Colombo has even used the app to paint a number of covers for The New Yorker magazine.

Related reads
I Pad, I write, I paint, I am
David Hockney’s iPad art

Open Video Under Threat October 23, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
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Ex-Obama advisor Susan Crawford points to the threats to the Web from increasing monopolization of broadband supply in the US.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hYhSgoDRMgI%2Em4v%5D

Building Solutions for Human Rights Video October 8, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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Webs@Work participated in a “ hack day ” at the 2010 Open Video Conference in New York City. We gathered t at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) on Sunday Oct 3 for an all-day open space gathering of innovators, HTML5 developers and transmedia storytelling experts. Some of the stuff we did:

– Make interactive HTML5 video with WebMadeMovies tech like popcorn.js
– Map a transmedia strategy for content
– Build a custom HTML5 player for Websites
– Create robust video sites with Kaltura CE 2.0 self-hosted software stack.

The hack lab was a follow up from the previous day’s workshop where we came up with three areas to cover: 1) Safety and Security 2) Distribution (including low/no bandwidth) 3) Data Driven Storytelling. Taking the ideas from the brainstorming, we sought to build prototyped mobile video solutions in response.

Nathan Freitas of the Guardian Project led the really geeky part, using the built in facial recognition libraries in the Android platform to build a prototype of a mobile video tool for advocacy activists.

http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/ricoloco/videos/em-in-ny-geeking-out-with-nathan/embed_view

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