I Could Do That (ICDT) 27-9-10

September 27, 2010

A selection of jobs that might suit ex-journalists. Intended to spark thoughts, new directions and inquiries.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change wants an editor (and reading their job ad, my goodness you know it’s true). Based in Bonn, which is a very pleasant place indeed to live; and doing something interesting and worthwhile. http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/job/1028400/editor/

Editorial Director for the medical communications division of a PR agency. Involves writing, editing, managing a load of medical content. Would suit medical writer with a degree in science, and some experience outside journalism. http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/job/1029172/editorial-director/

Editorial Director for the financial services arm of a business information firm. With responsibility for the collection, reporting and quality of data and content on a new database. They want an experienced financial journalist, though the base salary is £35k…. http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/job/1029172/editorial-director/

Corporate Communications Manager (Speech Writing), Trade Body, London, £40k. Involves speeches, blogs, PR. Hard to say much more without knowing their client, but a good springboard job if you know the industry (whatever that is). Comes via Stopgap, an agency – if they had said who the trade body was, it would be easier to know who should apply for it. http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/job/1025893/corporate-communications-manager-speech-writing/

Communications Specialist, Islamic Relief, Alexandria VA. Islamic Relief is seeking a qualified individual who will be reporting to the Communications Manager in the Buena Park, California office.  Would suit a journalist with about three years experience; an interesting org. Job opportunity found on http://www.nedsjotw.com/blog.

Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), New York, NY. JAFI is works on all manner of issues relating to the Jewish diaspora and Israel. Vice President for Marketing and Communications is a fairly senior position. Job opportunity found on http://www.nedsjotw.com/blog.

Director, External Relations and Communications Department, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine. UNRWA is the United Nations agency responsible for the protection, care and human development of Palestine refugees . This is a pretty senior job, with a salary over $100k; based in Jerusalem. Job opportunity found on http://www.nedsjotw.com/blog.

Communications Director, International Center for Transitional Justice, NY, NY. The International Center for Transitional Justice helps countries and societies pursuing accountability for past mass atrocity or human rights abuse. This is a fascinating job; think I will have ths one for myself, actually. Job opportunity found on http://www.nedsjotw.com/blog.

Journalists for Human Rights, a Canadian –based media development organization, seems to have a bunch of jobs of various sorts, many involving media internships in Africa. Looks an interesting organization. http://www.jhr.ca/en/contact_hp.php#

Senior Communications Manager, Witness, Brooklyn, New York. WITNESS uses video to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations. It captures the stories of human rights atrocities on video and putting them at the forefront of human rights campaigns. Nive job. Might have a look at this one too, though my experience of video is mainly down to Simpson DVDs. Job opportunity found on http://www.nedsjotw.com/blog.


Hacks, flaks and spooks in Afghan venture

March 15, 2010

The media, government intelligence services and private security firms are getting closer as old media winds down and private security firms seek more information for themselves or government contracts. The New York Times describes some of these ventures in an article today.

The central allegation is that a Pentagon official, “Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former CIA and Special Forces operatives. The contractors, in turn, gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of suspected militants and the location of insurgent camps, and the information was then sent to military units and intelligence officials for possible lethal action in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officials said.”

The piece is a bit confusing, in part because of the mixture of actors and subjects. They include AfPax, a website run by Eason Jordan, a former CNN boss, International Media Ventures, a “strategic communications firm” (more strategic than communications: the management is mainly ex-military), Robert Young Pelton, author of a book on the pprivate security industry, and Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, a veteran intelligence officer.

It is not clear if the venture is just about intelligence collection, which often uses open sources, but seems to have mixed up motives, finances, methods and structures in this case. It also appears to involve the use of strategic communications firms to distribute information, or psyops. And it crosses over into the world of security firms since some of the actors were involved in the (very messy and muddled) efforts to free David Rohde, the NY Times guy kidnapped (and freed) last year.

This piece in Wired by Nathan Hodge makes some good points about this issue. “Afghanistan, in fact, has been a longtime laboratory for strategic communications,” it notes. “And then there’s the military’s interest in newsgathering-type intelligence on Afghanistan’s social and cultural scene.”

This is a useful reminder that it would be too easy to dismiss this as either a piece of failed experimentation, or a conspiracy, or a bunch of wannabes. Structurally, there are reasons why the private and public sector are increasingly working together in this area; and why the security and intelligence worlds and media are converging in some areas. They always have to some degree crossed over, and now the barriers that used to (in theory) divide these separate worlds are crumbling.

The tyranny of non-words

March 8, 2010

I loathe and revile vague words. I am also not that keen on press releases (too often a substitute, not a vehicle, for a message). So this piece by Tim Phillips brought me much pleasure.

“Vague non-words like significant and substantial look like they’re telling us something, but they aren’t. They’re useful for people who have a deadline but no clear idea what they’re writing about; or people who know the numbers, don’t want to tell us what they are, but want to waste our time anyway because that’s what they’re paid to do. Often they are paid by the word, so chucking in a “substantial” here and there is basically free money.”

Greenslade: the end is nigh

September 24, 2009

Roy Greenslade is in apocalyptic mood at the Guardian. “Is anybody out there listening properly? Do enough people care? Are journalists themselves sticking their heads in the sand?”

“We are not facing a momentous crisis in journalism. We are already in a crisis that is putting the central public service aspect of our role in jeopardy. “

His solution: not for profit status, charitable funding – in the interim.“The reason I’m in favour of not-for-profit journalism, whether funded by charity or, at arm’s length, by state bodies, is that it breaks the link with commercialism.

“That’s a vital first step in the reinvention of journalism. What we need is a preservation of the old until the new emerges. We cannot afford to let the old die before the new is in place.”

Slate joins the News Dots

September 13, 2009
Slate's News Dots

Slate's News Dots

I love news graphics and I love interactive gizmos. Latest: News Dots from Slate. Sponsored by Jack Daniels (is that good or bad?) and powered by Calais, a service from Thompson Reuters that “tags” content and displays it.

Bureau for Investigative Journalism seeks boss

July 20, 2009

A very desirable job is on offer at London’s new Bureau of Investigative Journalism as Managing Editor. The Bureau, likely to be based at City University, is funded by the Potter foundation. This is the press release announcing its launch.

“Its aim is to foster independent public interest journalistic inquiry while encouraging a new generation of reporters,” says Roy Greenslade in the Guardian.

“It will hire a managing editor, two or three reporters and will also fund freelance investigators and researchers,” says Press Gazette. “Its aim is to dig out – and then sell – the stories that many news organisations say they can no longer afford to cover in-house.”

“One of the journalists behind the campaign, Stephen Grey, will be acting editor of the new bureau as it prepares for launch, until a permanent managing editor is appointed.” Many journalists will know Grey from his work on extraordinary rendition.

The project is supported by the Investigations Fund, launched by the newly created Foundation for Investigative Reporting. The FIR includes a a number of UK luminaries, including Grey, Misha Glenny, Antony Barnett, Martin Bright, Heather Brooke, Peter Barron, Nick Davies, Nick Fielding,  Mark Hollingsworth, Andrew Jennings, Philip Knightley, Paul Lashmar, David Leigh and Jason Lewis.

The organisation is essentially a copy of ProPublica, the US body. “ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest,” it describes itself. “Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.”

Gavin Macfadyen, the Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, and one of the founders of the Bureau sayes in the press release: “We will experiment with all the techniques available to us from ‘crowdfunding’ to ‘crowdsourcing’ and provide content across the media spectrum. But there is no substitute for first rate reporters being given time and resources to deliver great stories, which hold the powerful to account. The Bureau will offer investigative journalists both proper funding and the support of senior and experienced editors and researchers to carry out important investigations that are in the public interest.”

Will it work? That probably depends on what you mean by work. It will produce journalism as a “production house” rather than a publisher – a news agency. Such models are hard to make work. The lack of a commercial factor will help in the sense that revenue will not be a daily fixation, but it still needs money to survive. And the lack of publishing platform means that it will need others to help drive audiences.

As paidContent sniffily says: “Journalism Now A Charity Case.” It notes “the irony – buoyed by The Telegraph’s MP expenses investigation and The Guardian’s mobile hacking story, investigative and data-driven journalism is more popular than it has been in years.”

No News is Good News

April 26, 2009

This blog is on hold for a while. I have moved countries and am much busier. I am also much more engaged in my work than I have been for some time. So: nothing new on th’ blog for some time.