Tag Archives: news

“Trial by social media worry in case of Jill’s Meagher’s death” – Social media and the law

Jill Meagher’s recent disappearance and death has touched many people. How do we know? Because social media has been a platform for the sharing of news and emotional comments from an enormous number of people. Not only family and friends shared Jill’s photo on Facebook, it seems the shock of Jill’s disappearance and fear for her life has touched many others, and they have been publicly expressing their reactions. The Facebook page set up to find Jill currently has over 83,000 likes.

There’s no denying that social media – in particular, Facebook and Twitter – have been harnessed by people who believe that dissemination of information through these media will reach the widest audience – and hopefully make a difference to the life of Jill Meagher. Sadly, although this journalism from the ground has allegedly aided the search for Jill, and led to the arrest of Adrian Ernest Bayley, the outcome has been tragic, and people have continued to use social media for their outpouring of sadness and condolences to Jill’s family and friends. Now the Facebook and Twitter updates point to the possibility of interference with the legal proceedings if people continue to use social media as a platform for anger and accusation.

“Overnight, the sentiment was very much of grief and sadness and now this morning, anger is starting creep into what is being shared and re-shared.”

With that anger comes responsibility to social media users, who become content publishers when they post. That may require a knowledge of media law.

Thomas Meagher, Jill’s husband, today urged people to consider what they posted on Twitter and Facebook.

“While I appreciate all the support, I would just like to mention that negative comments on social media may hurt legal proceedings so please be mindful of that.”

This message has been tweeted by the Victorian Police and others today. Julie Posetti is one of these people.

Julie is a prominent journalist and journalism academic, and is currently writing a PhD dissertation on The Twitterisation of Journalism, examining social media’s transformation of professional journalism. In today’s article in The Age she explains the issues associated with public commentary about the case and the accused.

“In this particular case, it would be awful to think about the potential consequences including an incapacity to prosecute somebody because of trial by social media, for example,” said Ms Posetti, who is writing a PhD on Twitter’s role in journalism.

“We all are very familiar with the term trial by media and it’s a real problem, but we also now need to be aware of the potential implications of trial by social media.

“Practically, [and speaking] generically, as soon as a person is arrested, we need to stop talking about what we think we know about that individual because there is a risk that his or her defence lawyers could argue that there’s no possibility for a fair trial in this country for the person who’s accused, because so much information has been published.

I’m ignorant about social media laws – do we have clear and current laws in Australia relating to social media? A quick Google search led to audio and transcript of an ABC Radio National “Law Report” episode with guests Mark Pearson, Professor of Journalism at Bond University, and Julie Posetti.

Photo by Jeffery Turner on Flickr

The transcript of this episode can be read here. We should read this to our students as we discuss the whole new area of legal implications associated with the issue of personal and public blending through social media. We need to inform ourselves about these issues, and schools should be focusing more urgently on these matters as social media becomes the way the world works, not just kids on Facebook – although that needs to be dealt with too – but the way news is shared, the way businesses are run, the way projects are created and managed, the way people collaborate globally with today’s technical possibilities. Why would we put aside important curriculum to discuss social media in our classrooms? Well, as Mark Pearson says in the ABC interview,

And only last year we had a British gentleman who posted a witty tweet, or what he thought was a witty tweet, about blowing up an airport, and he was just expressing it as satire, he said, because he was frustrated that snow had stopped flights from this particular airport, but unfortunately national security and police agencies don’t always have a sense of humour, and they certainly didn’t in that case, and his house was raided, he was arrested, he was charged with national security offence and he finished up being released, of course, but he suffered a whole lot through the process and spent some time in the big house, at least temporarily, as a result of it. Something none of us need in our lives.

The implications of social media are vast and serious, but the access to the new form of ‘journalism’ is there for anyone with a phone or internet access. If teachers are uncomfortable in this new and always changing arena, then all the more reason to learn together. It’s not a fad, it’s not going to go away.

Mark Pearson explains social media law:

The basic laws are pretty much the same as they applied to journalists and media organisations in the past. So, your fundamental law of defamation, contempt, confidentiality, all of these areas, you know, the core law is still the same, it’s just that some circumstances have changed with new media and social media.

It’s so easy to post that short, quick post without thinking, and without education our young people are more likely to get into trouble. When are schools going to integrate digital citizenship into the curriculum, along with other literacies? How are we going to prepare for this as teachers?

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Earthquake in Melbourne: Twitter beats breaking news

Sitting on the couch earlier this evening, I felt a strange sensation of moving with the couch, as the bookshelf behind me creaked. Melbourne had experienced a light earthquake. Did it happen or did I imagine it? After a while I tweeted it in the form of a question, hoping to ascertain whether it really happened or not. Sure enough, Twitter exploded with tweets registering similar experiences.

Meanwhile, the TV was on, but no news about an earthquake. Look at ABC news online – nothing. Channel 7 Breaking News remained unbroken – just a repeat of the stories that had been broadcast several times already this evening.

Gradually, traditional news providers came on board. Channel 7 finally acknowledged the quake at 10.27 pm. Very slow, considering John Connell had already completed a post about the Melbourne quake from Scotland.

Here it is, and he has an image of the first 18 twitterers – I’m there on the right. I would have been quicker but my laptop was doing its usual slow-loading.

 

As Craig has pointed out in a comment below, Breaking Tweets (World News Twitter style)  reported 800 tweets before media jumped in.

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Filed under media, networking, news, Web 2.0

ABC Articulate now on Twitter

ABC’s Articulate is now on Twitter. Follow it here.

articulateontwitter3

 

People have been asking questions about Twitter lately – wondering what the point of it was, and whether it was unnecessary when you could just use your Facebook status.

In this case the news update aspect of Twitter is something to consider. I’m following Articulate on Twitter so that I can quickly view  the ABC’s daily take on arts news and events in Australia and throughout the world. It’s quicker and cleaner than going through Google Reader. Interested? Just click on the link.

What did I discover today?

A New York Times article aroused my curiosity about the release of a previously unpublished Tolkien book

There will be much celebrating around the Party Tree in Hobbiton: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an e-mail message that it planned to release a previously unpublished book by J. R. R. Tolkien that predates his novel “The Hobbit” and his fantasy epic “The Lord of the Rings.” The book, “The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun,” was written during the 1920s and ’30s, while Tolkien held the Rawlinson and Bosworth professorship of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. It is his English-language narrative of the Norse hero Sigurd the Volsung, whose medieval adventures were — of course — populated by magic horses, dwarfs, dragons and gods with mischievous motives. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said that it would publish the book, with commentary from Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien, on May 5.

I clicked the link for this tweet

“Stephen Fry Twitters for NZ Internet Freedom” http://tinyurl.com/d7o9g7 #blackout

and read the opening paragraph to an article which explained the tweet:

British actor Stephen Fry has given a global highlight to a protest against a contentious New Zealand internet law due to come into effect next week.

This tweet interested me also

Cinema adaptation of Life of Pi may have found a director in Ang Lee. Good choice? http://twurl.nl/2lc8nu

Having skimmed The Life of Pi, I’m curious as to how it would translate into a film.

This one caught my eye, since I’ve posted about the YouTube Symphony Orchestra earlier

Youtube wants you to vote for its symphony orchestra; 3 Aussies are in contention. http://twurl.nl/oteltl

Reading these and other tweets didn’t take long at all. Quite satisfactory.

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The world is talking; are you listening?

globalvoices

Global Voices aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore

At the moment the special coverage reports on Gaza strip bombings, Thailand protests 2008, Google street view arriving in Japan, and more.

I’m always looking to expand the often selective media coverage on mainstream news services.

A map at the top right of the screen changes its focus on different countries; you can click on the country to reveal how many news articles and links are available for the current day. Today in Kazakhstan there are 3 articles and 11 links available.

There are offshoots of this website including Rising Voices which

aims to extend the benefits and reach of citizen media by connecting online media activists around the world and supporting their best ideas.

This section includes project updates, Delicious links, videos and flickr photos;

Global Voices: Advocacy – Defending free speech online;

Voices without votes –

Voices without Votes opens a window on what non-Americans are saying in blogs and citizen media about US foreign policy and the 2008 presidential elections

 This site is easy to navigate with a search option or browsing option within countries, topics and authors.

I think this would be a valuable teaching resource. Worth noting is the Creative  Commons Attribution 2.5 License with ‘some rights reserved’ at the bottom of the page.

Please let me know what you think, and how you can envisage using this resource in the classroom.

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, media, news

Newsmap – attractive news

newsmap

What is Newsmap?

Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap’s objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.
Newsmap does not pretend to replace the googlenews aggregator. Its objective is to simply demonstrate visually the relationships between data and the unseen patterns in news media. It is not thought to display an unbiased view of the news; on the contrary, it is thought to ironically accentuate the bias of it.

So, in a way, Newsmap is an interpretation of the news, allowing patterns and biases to be visualised.

I think this needs to be viewed over time to get a feel for it. Meanwhile, it stands out as being a very attractive way to get world news.

Has anyone explored Newsmap? What are your thoughts?

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Educational resources in The New York Times

The New York Times has a ‘Teacher Connections’ section which is updated daily. Just browsing here today and saw some great stuff, so I thought I’d share.
There’s a Daily Lesson Plan and a Daily Lesson Plan archive, which has amongst its categories Civics, Global History, American History (of course), Fine Arts, Geography, Language Arts, Mathematics, Media Studies, and more.

I’ve copied one of the Fine Arts lessons into my art wiki: Art happens: investigating the modern art of Robert Rauschenberg. The overview states:

Students investigate the work of American Modernist Robert Rauschenberg by responding to his art and reading about his life and ideas. They then individually create a work of their own that pays homage to a Rauschenberg to demonstrate an understanding of his aesthetic sensibility.

The lesson is well planned, and includes objectives, resources/materials, background, activities/procedures, including homework, further questions for discussion, evaluation/assessment, vocabulary, extension activities, interdisciplinary connections, references and other information on the web. There is a feedback option at the end of the lesson.

The News Snapshot is an excellent idea for students to interact with the latest news:

Every Monday through Friday, News Snapshot features a newsworthy and provocative photo from The New York Times, along with the basic set of questions answered by journalists when relaying the news– who, what, where, when, why and how.

This section includes student handout, teacher’s page, suggested activities, and the questions.

Issues in depth is subtitled ‘Teaching with the times’ and includes curricular materials, news specials, and issues in depth. Each page provides a wealth of resources: lesson plans, Times articles, multimedia, archival materials, quizzes, crosswords, related Web sites and more. This section is designed to help students make connections between course material and issues and events in the news. There’s are wide variety of topics here, including the election, Iraq; and also material on literature, including specific books, poetry, Shakespeare, journalism, and more.

‘Science and Health’ includes topics, such as teen health, global warming, hurricanes, and more.

There’s more here – eg. crossword puzzles for the different curricular areas, ‘on this day in history’,etc., and I won’t go into detail for all of it; you’ll just have to look for yourselves. Actually, I do want to mention ‘Campus weblines’ where you can learn about how to produce a quality online newspaper from the student editors themselves. This is informative and detailed.

I recommend you give this section of The New York Times a squiz, and then dart over to Student Connections which ‘Science questions and answers’ and letters to the editor amongst other things.

But wait, there’s more! Parent Connections includes things like ‘coversation starters’ (they have thought of everything!) and a family movie guide.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the educational section of The New York Times from now on.

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Filed under Education, media, Teacher librarians, Web 2.0

Addictomatic – need a search engine? But wait, you also get…

Smashing apps put me onto the search engine, Addictomatic: inhale the web. Ignore the fact that it sounds like a subliminal cigarette or gadget commercial, the results are actually quite impressive in breadth. Addictomatic searches the following:

Topix ‘is the leading news community on the Web, connecting people to the information and discussions that matter to them in every U.S. town and city’. My result had ‘Melbourne, Australia’ as the locality.
Live.com news
Google Blog Search : find blogs on your favourite topics
Twitter search (search Twitter in real time; see what the world is doing now)
YouTube
Digg
New, images, video ; Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users. Continue reading

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