Turkey and Israel: how the world sees them

The Middle East certainly dominates the news nowadays, so this article I read about Turkey and "fake news" and Israel and Palestine were intriguing to read, especially because I learned something. The first article appeared on the BBC and talks about how Turkey manipulates the news. Turkey is the world's largest jailer of journalists, ranking 157 o...
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New research on corporate communications

PR and corporate communications recruitment firm VMA Group published a new research report on 19 March (UK time) on "communicating in an integrated world".

To read the full The View report go to: http://www.vmagroup.com/the-view/. But here are some of the key findings.

 New research on corporate communications in an integrated world

by Stuart Bruce

Digital and social media

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What is micro-learning?

Evidently, we've been doing it for years -  micro-learning that is. Flashcards is an example of micro-learning; they're analogue but of course it is now digital. Micro-learning is all about learning when we get the chance, maybe in 10 or 15 minute bursts. This article explains more about the concept.

What is Microlearning: The Education Tactic Stopping Student Burnout Syndrome

Short learning modules can help engage students and fight burnout.

by Meghan Bogardus Cortez Twitter

Meghan is an associate editor with EdTech: Focus on Higher Education. She enjoys coffee, cats and science fiction TV.

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Media ethics under the spotlight

This article talks about the findings of a survey carried out by the Centre for International Media Ethics (CIME), of which I am a member. It it is an enlightening read.Happy New Year!!!

We at CIME are pleased to share with you the results from the Media Ethics in the Post-Truth Era survey. The aim of the survey was to learn from our colleagues and associates about the state of media ethics in relation to the growing concerns and challenges that fake news presents in your respective countries. Overall, we hope that the results of the survey offer us all, as journalists and media practitioners, an opportunity to reflect on 2017, and think more collectively about the work that we do going forward into 2018.Survey Results   Before we begin, we would like to point out that while we got responses from across Africa, the Americas, Central and South Asia, Europe and Oceania, we did not get any responses from South-East Asia (ASEAN) or China. At CIME we aim to reach as many respondents as possible, but given people's commitments this is not always possible. Nevertheless, globally it was clear that there has been a staggering increase in sensationalist and fake news. In fact, 90% of you had witnessed this in your work, as seen in the first graph below. While we are aware that this is not new, nor unique to 2017 only, as seen by the continuous discussions and debates over Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 'fake news' has a significant potential for manipulating and influencing public opinions.   Q2. Have you witnessed an increase in sensationalist and fake news in local/national media in the country you live/work in?  When asked about whether your government is protecting media ethics against these emerging trends in fake news and media manipulation, not one said excellent, and a total of 51% said between poor and very poor. Q8. How would you rank the country in which you live/work in regards to the government protecting media ethics?  To emphasis these numbers, many of you shared some of the 'fake news' stories in your home countries, which ranged from the death of Robert Mugabe, matters pertaining to Catalan's Independence Process, the North Korean missile program to Muslims seemingly killing Hindus in India. All of which can flare unnecessary and unwanted conflicts as well as matters of fear mongering and invoking hatred. Such stories often create an image or argument that favours a particular interests without taking into consideration the basic principles of ethical journalism and news reporting which is endangering this profession.   Some of you also mentioned how these stories which are shared via new sources of information such as Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, "purport to be news [without] sourcing, research and diligence done by traditional media." While there are many social media platforms, which publish information unprofessionally, many traditional media outlets and national broadcasters also operate unethically. As was mentioned in one comment, in countries like Brazil, the dissemination of misinformation through traditional media sources "has been always sensationalist". Therefore, this is not a matter of "new" verses "traditional", but complete media ecosystem matter.   A follow up concern to this, was whether or not there has been an increase in media outlets and/or journalists following the agenda of political and corporate elites.   Q3. Have you witnessed an increase in the media outlets and/or journalists following the agenda of political and corporate elites in the country you live/work in?   Again, a large majority (82.9%) agreed that there has been an increase. While many media outlets and broadcasters can openly criticize their presidents and corporate elites (those who have a large stake in a particular country), many of you continue to have a strong state media presence, which supports the state's agenda.   What was more interesting, were comments made about how some governments who want to be seen as having a free and fair media are using alternative methods to indirectly propagate their messages and information through trolls. For example, it was raised in one of the comments that a number of private and/or online media outlets "who write under false names" are paid by politicians, ruling parties and corporate elites to write stories to champion their character and public reputation. This question also flared another issue, the relationship between political parties and corporate elites. Two great examples of this that were shared were the on-going controversy over the Gupta family and Jacob Zuma in South Africa which has been labelled as 'Guptagate' and the power held by Globo Media in Brazil. Noam Chomsky's observations about propaganda and corporate media are useful reminders about what Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini (2004) defined as 'political parallelism' in both these cases.   Q4. Have any efforts been made by media outlets in the country you currently live/work in to invest in quality information and to combat hatred, racism and intolerance? Nevertheless, 62.7% of you stated that efforts have been made by media outlets to invest in quality information to combat hatred, racism and intolerance; either through "firing particular journalists" who are not maintaining their professionalism, establishing "alternative quality news sources", "editorial-opinion pieces [that] demand responses from government and political leaders", state broadcasters working "in collaboration with organisations such as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)" and national newspapers "investing in fact checking teams whose role is to debunk fake news". Such examples should not go unnoticed and should be recognized for upholding media ethics and combating matters of unprofessionalism, unethical reporting and matters relating to political parallelism.   Following on from these responses, the three principles which you suggested require the most attention in your country were - The publics right to accurate and fair information (82.9%), The journalist's professional integrity (44.6%) and joint third The journalist's social responsibility and Respect for universal values and diversity of cultures (34%). Nevertheless, it was clear from the results that all areas require attention, which emphasises that more work needs to be done.   Q5. In your opinion, which three principles from the list below require the most attention in the country you currently live/work in? As for what were some of the main issues or current violations of ethical reporting that you as a journalist or media practitioner face in order to carry out your work; Fake news (58.3%), low pay (50%), Pressure to provide news that attracts the largest audience and Political or corporate spin (47.9%) were the top three. Clearly fake news threw the media into overdrive amidst continued financial challenges last year. Thus, who is responsibility for ensuring that fake or misleading information is not available to the public delivered a mixed response. However, the three answers that came up the most were, the Government, Journalists/Editors and Facebook. Nevertheless, some of you stated that it was everyone's responsibility.   "Everybody. Consumers need to learn to be more informed, social media platforms need to point out misleading claims, journalists need to be even more careful when covering news to be aware of pitfalls from those trying to make them look bad" This last quote tallies with question 9 which asked whether there are many media literacy resources available to help people identify fake news, and whether the general public fact-check news sources? And the answer was 87.5% no.   Q9. There are many media literacy resources available to help people identify fake news, but do you think the general public in the country you live/work in fact-check news sources?  Many of you suggested that "citizen engagement and media literacy [should] be carried out by civil society organizations" and/or "in schools" to educate young people and the general public more broadly. Other ideas included "awareness raising campaigns" as well as having "accountable regulatory bodies". And as fake news continues to expand, and professional journalism is threatened, the need for people to be able to question, analyse, evaluate and ethically create media messages will become a necessary basic need.   Lastly, and very importantly, we asked you, how many of you are affiliated with other media ethics organisations. Your responses revealed that 36.3% are affiliated with your National Union of Journalists as well as international bodies such as International Federation of Journalists (33.3%) and the International Center for Journalists (24.2%). The reason for asking this question, was based on the success of these networks in recent times to help protect media ethics and journalistic professionalism in the Post-Truth Era. For example, take the network of nearly 400 journalists who worked together to expose the financial practices of the global elite, which we all now know as the Paradise Papers. Speaking truth to power, confronting and challenging information amidst political and economic intimidation, fake news, and changing public opinions, makes the role of professional and ethical journalism all the more important. And while there maybe a long road ahead for us as journalists and media professionals to continue upholding media ethics and the role we play in society, it is evident from the Watergate and Guptagate' that we must continue to work both independently and collectively to build a strong and robust media ecosystem.   Therefore, we would like to again thank all of you who kindly participated in the survey. We cannot stress how important it is to learn from each other about the current status of media ethics in your respective countries. So please continue to carry out the good work that you do, and we from the CIME Team wish you a very happy and ethical 2018!!

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Jared Kushner comes under the spotlight

There are two magazines, the November issue of Vanity Fair and the Fall issue of Columbia Journalism Review, which have articles about Jared Kushner, the US President's Trump favourite son-in-law. Actually, the title of the latter publication is entitled "The Trump Issue, Takeover, The Year that changed journalism" and contains a series of enlightening articles about how journalism has changed in the Trump era.

In one article, written by a former editor of the New York Observer, Kyle Pope, he talks about how his relationship with Kushner unravelled and how the Observer ended up a shadow of its former self, with an on-line edition only. He maintains that Kushner knew nothing about world affairs, and had never read the Observer before he bought it for $10 million in 2006. He writes: "..his interest in turning the business side of the Observer around seemed rooted more in bragging rights than in any commitment to the paper itself. He also made it clear that, compared to this day job of buying and selling real estate in New York City, this journalism stuff wasn't exactly heavy lifting; he treated it as sort of a hobby."

He also writes: "Other former editors of the paper have weighed in with their own stories about Kushner's attempts to use the paper to settle scores or reward cronies.." https://www.cjr.org/

Jared Kushner's life is explored further in the November issue of Vanity Fair (https://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/november2017) in an article that talks about his powerful father going to prison and that, as a consequence, he was given the keys to the family real-estate kingdom, at the age of 24. The fact that Charlie Kushner had disgraced the family and lost status meant that Jared was trying to acquire it. The purchase of the Observer was one way of doing this; the other way was the purchase of a 41-story office tower on Fifth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets in Manhattan. The building was purchased in January 2007 for the huge sum of $1.2 billion, the plan being that the rents would cover the mortgage payments. They didn't. The tower is still 30% vacant.

As the author, Rich Cohen, writes: "Jared Kushner's life can be seen as a lark, an inheritance, a goof. Or it can be seen more grandly as an attempt to get back what was lost..."

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Digital story telling: AR, VR and

Technology in the media is moving so fast. It's all about ensuring that people have a good media experience and this article by Carolyn Morgan tells how.

This article is in a series exploring key themes in technology from the Web Summit in Lisbon and how they may impact on media brands.

Video already drives engagement on mobile and social: media brands need to adapt to this form of story telling and engaging audiences. But the gaming and entertainment industry, in search of more immersive experiences, are already developing augmented reality (AR), volumetric video and virtual reality (VR). As mobile devices evolve to be capable of handling these forms of content, consumers will become used to the visual experiences, and media owners will need to develop new ways to present content.

Video drives traffic on mobile and social

60% of time spent online by US consumers is watching video, and mobile makes up 23% of total online video viewing, growing at an annual rate of 30%. Currently video only accounts for 5% adspend, but this is growing at 58% pa. Social platforms dominate video viewing – 47% of referrals traffic to video content come from social, overwhelmingly from Facebook.

Volumetric video portrays people most realistically

Cartoon avatars can’t express genuine emotions, and CGI is prohibitively expensive, so there’s growing interest in volumetric video, filmed using an array of cameras, creating a file small enough to be shared to a phone, and an image that can be viewed from all sides. Applications could include museum hosts, virtual retail assistants or personal trainers.

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How to know if news is fake or not?

AI can do many things and one of them is the writing of fake news. How do you know what is fake news and what is not? The answer simply is that you don’t which is what this article that appeared in Business Insider Australia  explains

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Self-publishing- does it work?

Like many people. I've thought of self publishing. Somehow, it didn't appeal. Maybe it was because Penguin, which was part of Pearson, was in the same building in London. I think I'm now converted; I'm sure self-publishing is the way to go. Here are the reasons why.

Not so long ago, there weren’t many resources available that would enable an author to self-publish their writing. As the technology emerged, so did a stigma. It was thought that you only self-published if your book wasn’t good enough to be picked up by a publishing house.

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What does Trump mean for journalism?

I find everything about President Donald Trump fascinating. The fact that he has yellow hair and is in government and is so bad at it; the fact that he is so good at demonising the media- "fake news versus real news" is a case in point- and that he lies so well. The closest I've got to that is when someone (in Dubai) refused to be taped (I presume because it's easier to contradict what the other person has said when the interview is not recorded). So I was fascinated when I read this article about why Trump supporters are not as 'simple" as we like to think; they are often sophisticated. Take a look at the article below and see what you think. Maybe you can write something similar for your country.

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When there is so much going on, do you know what to write?

For the last few days I’ve been thinking about what I want to write next since there’s been so much happening in the world. From the terrorism acts in Manchester and London Bridge, the senseless killings in Iran, the Grenfell tower fire in West London, to the recent van running over a group of Muslims in North London- exactly where I used to visit a friend regularly, as it happens - the virtual lockdown of Qatar by the UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, Egypt, Mauratania and the Maldives and the forest fire in Portugal.

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Why great leaders are great communicators

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Fake news vs real news: what to do about it

“Trust is more important than truth.”

 According to those who took part in a discussion “Fake News versus Real News at Amec’s Global Summit in Bangkok, this is typically the case in a “fake news” world.

 So what can journalists do about it? We can stop using the term “fake news”; we can ignore surveys which can be biased or tweaked towards certain results; we must always strive to retain balance in a story; we must be careful on social media because much fake news is a result of social media; and we should attribute to a comment to social media, such as“according to” a Twitter account rather than to a particular person”.

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Two visions for the future of media

This article made me think about the future of journalism, especially since it mentioned the Financial Times Group, a former employer in the Middle East and owner of the newswire service, Mergermarket, which I headed up in MENA. Journalism cannot survive on charity; a loyal customer base is necessary and the most profitable way for an owner is for the publication (digital or hard copy) to be subscription based. What will be the media's future?

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