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The News Lab at Google empowers the creation of media that improves people’s lives. Our mission is to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs everywhere to build the future of media with Google. We do this through product partnerships, media trainings, and programs that foster the development of the news industry as a whole.

In case you’re wondering what Steve Grove and Olivia Ma of the News Lab at Google are plotting, here’s a brief description on the registration site for their News Impact Summit Brussels

The Special Rapporteur on the protection and promotion of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, is currently preparing a report on the legal framework governing the relationship between freedom of expression and the use of encryption to secure transactions and communications, and other technologies to transact and communicate anonymously online. This report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June, 2015. To prepare his study, Mr. Kaye is gathering information on national laws, regulations, policies or practices that permit or limit, directly or indirectly, the use of encryption technologies and services or the ability of individuals to communicate anonymously online. All States are being asked called to submit information on their relevant national norms and policies. Similarly, the Special Rapporteur would like to encourage all interested non-governmental stakeholders – including civil society, corporate actors, international and regional organizations, and national human rights institutions – to provide their views on the appropriate scope of the right to freedom of expression as applied to encryption and anonymity. He would particularly appreciate receiving comments addressing this matter from legal, state practice, or technical perspectives. Any available information should be sent electronically to freedex@ohchr.org, not later than 10 February 2015.

This article critically interrogates the impact of new information and communication technologies on the institutional practices of mainstream journalists in Nigeria with particular reference to current newsroom practices and how user-generated content (UGC) was incorporated into mainstream media coverage of the 2011 Nigerian election. Rooted in the sociology of journalism, the study employs an ethnographic approach to examine the implications of new information and communication technologies for journalistic practices in Nigeria. With a reading of new information technologies as “alternative journalism”, the ethnography, which deployed in-depth interviews with print journalists as well as newsroom observation, investigated whether “alternative journalism” is challenging traditional newsroom culture in Nigeria. The findings suggest that alternative journalism is redefining the roles of mainstream journalists as “news producers”. Journalists have become “gatewatchers” with everyone else, especially during the 2011 elections when citizens actively engaged with alternative journalism in reporting the elections. However, mainstream journalists continue to contest their hegemonic traditional practices of giving prominence to “official” sources in news reporting, and negotiate how “alternative journalism” in the form of UGC is networked into mainstream reporting to avoid publishing rumours. The study concludes that contrary to scholarship that sees digital technologies as “de-professionalising” journalists, mainstream journalism in Nigeria maintains the dominant discourse by articulating and appropriating content from “alternative” sources for subtle economic motives.

The basis of the information revolution in Egypt centres on the use and appropriation of technological advancements. At its forefront is the growth of information and communication technologies (ICTs), which offer an active and interactive platform for socio-political development, including the circumstances leading to the “25 January 2011 revolution”, predominantly labelled as the “Facebook” or Twitter revolution’. After this “digital” revolution many Egyptians continued using cyberspace. They clustered in networks, created parallel communication systems, each with its own identity, and interacted on issues of common concern. Witnessing a changing environment, the Egyptian journalism industry has had no choice but to overcome its fear of adopting technologies in order to fit into the new mould. Several newsrooms have adopted ICTs in the hope that the new media would help them to develop their content and reconnect with their audiences. Although on the surface this implies development, this claim requires further assessment. This study therefore aims to investigate the implementation and appropriation of ICTs, especially internet technologies, in three Egyptian newsrooms: Al Ahram, Al Dostor, and Al Masry Al Youm. The study further examines the extent to which newsrooms are incorporating ICTs into their daily routine as well as how the technologies are shaping and redefining practices.

This study investigates how information and geographic space can be connected to a concept called place-based knowledge that can be applied within a journalistic framework of how we see journalism practice, news producers, consumers, and the news experience within this light. This connection of geographic space with place-based knowledge can form a unique concept called spatial journalism that is the main premise of this article. Future research directions are explored using this concept and implications of this approach are discussed for the future of the academy and profession.