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Human rights

I’ve finally got around to posting my notes for a presentation I gave at a convening in May 2011 on Media, Social Media, and Democratic Governance at Wilton Park (here’s a PDF of the conference programme – and here’s some more about the history of Wilton Park). It was a few months before Cameras Everywhere was published, and it was a much-appreciated opportunity to explain some of the thinking behind the report, and to pull out some underlying themes as they related to the people at the convening: a mix of media development, intergovernmental, governmental, donors and citizen/social media specialists. You’ll find the main themes after the jump (and if you want to read the whole thing, and to find out why the internet is not a horse, go here): Read More

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This year’s Newsfoo felt to me rather different from the 2010 edition. There seemed to be less discussion of how to sustain or resource news, or about the contexts of news consumption, and more about how to deal with some of the cognitive, knowledge-management and even ethical issues of news journalism. This post is on initiatives/tools for fact-checking and knowledge management in the news [Update: a more current list is here.]

Knowledge management, fact-checking in news organisations

After last year’s Newsfoo, I pondered whether “a key emerging role for news media and journalists might lie in more systematically tracking and unpacking the nature and web of connections, instances and influences that flow to and through and from events” – Bruno Latour’s Macospol is one example of how this might be done. Some human rights organisations are using new tools to collect and mine data, build and visualise patterns, and draw conclusions and present evidence (e.g. B’Tselem’s pretty jaw-dropping forensic collaboration with Situ Studio and Goldsmiths). What kinds of tools and methods are news organisations using to conduct this kind of work – establishing facts, establishing connections, and building a web of evidence that helps people decide what is happening around them?

Three Newsfoo discussions in particular prompted this post (alongside Baratunde‘s reminder to us all that The Onion has fact-checkers):
– Jonathan Stray asked first how news organisations could implement better knowledge management as they gather and process information – in a sense, a “context layer” for the web. As one person put it in another discussion, “the process of journalism is very lossy”, in that a lot of labour-intensive, useful information gathered in the process of doing journalism never gets used, or stored and made available to others to search or build on.
– Dan Schultz and Sasha Costanza-Chock talked about how to provide a “truth and credibility layer” for news consumers when they interact with journalism: how do you know if a statement reported online is true or not?
– a range of participants came together for a session specifically on fact-checking, looking in part of how Politifact works, and other initiatives (like this) enabling quite granular analysis of political and business discourse and reporting.

Also, a week before Newsfoo, Craig Newmark had posted on how he’s extremely dissatisfied with the state of fact-checking [UPDATE: and a new post from Craig Newmark at Nieman Lab continues to argue that fact-checking and -challenging is a critical part of how news organisations earn, retain and grow trust]. And a week ago, Ethan Zuckerman wrote helpfully about Morningside Analytics’ work on the US online fact-checking ecosystem, and Lucas Graves’ work on the landscape of fact-checking in the US. There’s a lot of discussion about the state of fact-checking generally at the moment, so I won’t retread the discussions had in these sessions at Newsfoo (not least since there was a fair amount of FrieNDA.)

So read on for a list of resources mentioned in these Newsfoo sessions, along with some others I’ve added to round things out a bit – I hope it’s of use. Most of these are US/UK only – who’s doing this in other parts of the world, in other languages? Thoughts? Additions? Let me know through the comments box!

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Following on from the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference last week, discussions looking at various aspects of the web and society are coming thick and fast. Here are two three four just this week:

Today/tomorrow in London it’s the UK Foreign Office’s London Conference on Cyberspace (programme) – which seems heavy on cybersecurity, anti-hacking, and cybercrime, but opened this morning with a long panel on internet freedom featuring, among others, one of my wife’s Article19 colleagues, Barbora Bukovska. I’ll be there on Wednesday, with a particular interest in the session on Safe and Reliable Access.

In Mexico City on Wednesday and Thursday, the Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners are meeting to discuss Privacy: the Global Age (programme PDF). I’m intrigued to see where this goes after following its previous iterations in Madrid and Jerusalem. Visual privacy still seems a little off the agenda, in particular – and with the rise in consumer-driven face-recognition, this seems like a massive missed opportunity. And interested to see also how Stephen Deadman of Vodafone approaches moderating his panel on Mobile Privacy in the light of widespread criticism of Vodafone earlier this year during the Egyptian revolution. Sadly I won’t be in Mexico City alongside another of my wife’s Article 19 colleagues, Dave Banisar (see his global RTI law map) sampling the chapulines… The Public Voice held a related civil society meeting yesterday, and the OECD is holding one on privacy frameworks today.

And then, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it’s London’s turn again for the Mozilla Festival. This promises a totally different tone and approach to the previous two – focused more on the possibilities of openness, collaboration, innovation – and should be fascinating. (No time to go to this either, however…) Lots of very interesting people there (more here), and here’s what they’re talking about.

[ADDED] Also NewsXchange is happening in Portugal right now. Always worth following along to get a sense of what is happening across news industries around the world.

(I’ll post up relevant summaries, video etc if and when these appear.)

Today in San Francisco, I’m moderating a panel at the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference. I’ll be joined by Steve Grove (formerly of YouTube, now of Google+), Sam Gregory of WITNESS, Hans Eriksson of Bambuser, and Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation and Oslo Freedom Forum.

You can watch the video live here, or follow the tireless Katherine Maher’s liveblog here. And we’ll try to take questions via Twitter for about 20 minutes after the panel ends at the hashtag #rightscon.

(After the panel, I’ll add any videos or resources we bring up or show into this page.)

In two weeks’ time, I’ll be moderating a workshop at the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference, on a topic dear to my heart:

Visual content and human rights – Content has changed our world, how do we manage its impact on society, governance, and privacy?

Panelists:
Sam Gregory, Program Director, WITNESS
Thor Halvorssen, Founder, Oslo Freedom Forum
Victoria Grand, Director, Global Communications and Policy, YouTube
Hans Eriksson, CEO, Bambuser

I’ll be drawing in part on Cameras Everywhere, but what topics and issues would you like me to raise with these panelists? Let me know either via a comment below, or tweet me.