Accessing the right information in crisis situations can be crucial

This article appeared in the last newsletter distributed by the Canterbury Refugee and Resettlement and Resource Centre (CRRC)- formerly the Canterbury Refugee Council. In this article Lucia Dore and Melisande Middleton, founder of the Center for Internet & Media Ethics (CIME), discuss how information flows matter in crisis situations, even in small, far away countries like New Zealand.

During the civil war in Afghanistan (1989-92) Iran opened its borders to refugees but not many people knew about this, cites an Afghan familiar with the situation. “Many people fled to there and sought safe haven and temporary education for their kids. Many didn’t hear about it and stayed and I know many people who lost their loved ones because they didn’t know that Iran had finally opened the border.”

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The FT drives traffic using What’sApp

Social media is deemed to be the driver behind business growth these days, and this is perhaps more true of publishing companies than most.

 What is seldom spoken about is the use of What’sApp as a social media tool to drive traffic.   However, it seems to be particularly successful for the Financial Times (FT) anyway.

 I was part of this organisation for a few years while I lived in the Middle East so I wonder if the FT will use, or is using, WhatsApp to drive traffic in its publishing business which comprises magazines such as The Banker and Fdi?

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Jacob Zuma and Dubai

The UAE, Dubai in particular, is frequently in the news and it’s not always for good things. If we read the UK’s “Daily Mail” there are often stories about people who are imprisoned because they are caught kissing in public for example. While all the stories are undoubtedly true, it shows how knowing the rules matter; when you live in a city-state like Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah, you soon learn that the rules are much stricter than they appear for a tourist passing through.

 Foreign dignitaries frequently touch down in the country. President Trump has given his name to a building and a golf course in Dubai developed by the emirate’s DAMAC but he is unlikely to stay for very long.

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"Write what you know" is not good writing advice

Reading this article by author, Kate Southwood, was a revelation. So often we are told that it's critical that any budding author ought to write about what he/she knows. In this article, this myth is dispelled. It’s important to use what you know, and manipulate it when necessary, she says. I think it’s a good piece of advice, especially if we don’t want to write an autobiography.

You’ve heard it before: Write what you know. I wonder what you think of that, because, frankly, I don’t think much. I’ve been known to pooh-pooh it as well-meaning but ultimately second-rate advice. It’s reassuring to hear, and probably reassuring to say, but I believe it misdirects beginning writers and costs them time. It cost me time. If I could tap myself on the shoulder—my younger self, setting out across seven states to start my MFA—I’d say, “Be careful with that one; it’s not what you think.”

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The Manchester attack: social media versus mass media

Even though I live nowhere near Manchester, we can still get infinite coverage of the terrorist attack in that city. (I live in Queenstown, New Zealand actually). It is inarguable that this was a horrific act, carried out by contemptible people. Nonetheless, we know this happens every day in places such as Syria and Yemen. And the way in which  the Western media covers such an attack probably plays into the hands of the terrorists. According to the author of the article below, social media is way ahead of the mass media and has covered this attack more discreetly.

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Iran's Rouhani denounces US' Middle East Ignorance

It’s with considerable interest that I watch President Trump’s tour of the Middle East, predominantly Saudi Arabia and Israel, the two strongest allies of the US in the region.

These two countries might be different when it comes to religion but they are opposed to the same thing- Iran- and it is that common ground that binds them together.

 Saudi Arabia loves Trump, as does the UAE, where I spent time again recently. While Trump has business dealings in Dubai, with Damac, a large real estate developer, he also has close ties with Saudi Arabia. The arms deal signed with the largest Muslim state in the region is worth $110 billion, which mean that war in the region will go on and on. It is in the US interests to ensure that it does.

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Global Communications Report Predicts Convergence of Marketing and Public Relations

The convergence of marketing and PR is often discussed, and the recent AMEC meeting in Bangkok was no exception. Some continue to argue the two are distinct skill sets while others maintain the two are converging. The findings from USC Annenberg’s 2017 Global Communications Report predicts the latter.

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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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Rivals H&F and TPG vye for Fairfax

Australia’s Fairfax, which controls many of the newspapers across New Zealand, may have had its proposed merger with New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) rejected but it appears to have other options. One of them is to be taken over either by New York-based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman (H&F) or by a consortium led by TPG.

Merger and acquisition newswire service, Mergermarket (which was then owned by the Financial Times Group) was sold in 2013 to private equity firm, BC Parners, for GBP 382 million. (Since then another sale is being sought, according to reports).

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Does the chaotic news cycle inform us the way it should?

I read the article below that appeared in The Washington Post and thought this was a good reflection of how people feel about the media almost everywhere. What should they believe and what should they not believe?

All over the world, people seem to have become bored with much of traditional media, saying that most of what they read is “fake news”.

However, here is usually some truth in all that is reported, whether it is embellished or not. If people choose not to believe the news, there is little that can be done. That is increasingly the case.

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US reporter arrested for shouting questions on healthcare

Like many people in the media I was shocked to learn about Dan Heyman, a veteran health reporter who was arrested Tuesday night after asking the US President, Donald Trump, the "wrong" questions. It's horrifying to know that such repression of the media is happening in a country that other people in the less developed countries look up too, particularly where the media is still not free- like the Middle East. 

Although the environment is hard for journalists it does force you to think about how to tackle issues in a different way and to be creative. Here's what happened to Dan Heyman.

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Teaching data journalism in developing countries

Data journalism is a term that is used to refer to the increased role that numerical data has in journalism. It brings together computing, technology, statistics and journalism. It is a relatively new term and has become more important as technology and computing has grown. It was just part of investigative journalism before.

The extent to which data journalism is applied is cultural. But it is not just impacted by what is written but how data and statistics are gathered in the first place. This is what this article explains.


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Can you avoid being scammed?

 Nowadays there are so many scams and it seems some are difficult to avoid. I have been a victim of an e-commerce con, which has gone on for about three years now. Clearly, I’m not the only one as Forbes magazine has outlined (see below). Unfortunately, it was not until I had parted with my money – twice- one for an upgrade, that I finally realised I had been scammed. Duhhh..

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The UK Government Is Completely Deluded About Brexit

How Brexit impacts the UK remains to be seen, with Brexiters and Remainers sure of the outcome. The meeting that happened on 25 April between the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the President of the European Commission, doesn't look like a good start.

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NZ Finance Minister dismisses visitors' tax

New Zealand finance Minister, Steven Joyce, confirmed his reluctance to impose a visitor levy on tourists because visitor numbers may not remain at the current level, he said. He was speaking at a lunch on April 28 2017, hosted by the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce.

 He noted that tourist numbers in New Zealand were only a small percentage of tourist numbers worldwide - although they might seem big to us.

 However, it was important for the government to invest in infrastructure, to make things happen, he said, particularly in a place like Queenstown given that it is a tourist mecca.

 He also spoke about the need to mobilise private capital and utilise that when necessary.

 At the end of April, Joyce announced that he would be allocating $11 billion over the next four years to infrastructure in the May Budget, up from $4 billion. Some of these projects are already underway such as the Kapiti Expressway and the new City Rail Link (CRL) in Auckland.

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NZ Super Fund among global leader in climate change

Private equity in New Zealand is lead by the country's sovereign wealth fund. The annual SWF conference was held in Auckland last November. Here is a link. IFSWF Conference: where should sovereign wealth funds invest?

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has achieved a AAA rating in its listing of top international asset managers in the most recent Global Climate Index report, and ranks at 15, in its list of top international} asset managers.

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Two Versions of France now racing towards the finishing line

Like many people, I'm closely watching the French election. The country is divided, in much the same way the USA was divided about Trump's election to the Presidency. Will there be a similar upset in France to that of the USA? Will there be a surprise election result? Just like the “two Americas” that many U.S. analysts saw during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Macron-Le Pen match that will take place on May 7 in the French presidential election this presidential run off will have all the ingredients of a clash between the "two Frances." This analysis by Philippe L Corre from the Brookings Institute explains the potential outcomes and what they might mean.

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Gaw Capital closes US$1.3 billion

Gaw Capital Partners Successfully Closes on US$ 1.3 Billion for Gateway Real Estate Fund V

Hong Kong fund Gaw Capital has raised yet more money for its latest fund. Here's what the company says.

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Getting real with Riyadh

I thought this article was very interesting (not that I agreed with all of it) explaining the very complicated relationship between Washington DC and Riyadh. There is always the risk of oversimplifying the relationship but I think this article does a good job of avoiding that trap. It also explains the somewhat fraught relationship between Iran and the Gulf States. Such is the complications of the relationship between the Gulf States and Iran, even my friend (who has always kept his counsel on the subject of Iran) talked about the "mad country next door that may do something at any time". Whether this is true or not, probably doesn't matter as long as people believe it will happen.

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Tradition meets modernity- camel racing

I recently had the opportunity to go to camel racing in Dubai, way out on the Dubai-Al Ain Highway- not far from the Outlet Mall. While I lived in Dubai (for 8.5 years) I had wanted to attend these races but at the time women could not attend, and then there was all the performance about the use of child male jockeys, which, for a time, seemed to stop camel racing altogether- or at least it was never advertised. There was certainly no stadium, as there is now, and visitors weren't encouraged to attend.

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