The Future of Humanitarian Reporting
On Wednesday 6 March 2013, the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism hosted a conference on the Future of Humanitarian Reporting. Practitioners and academics from development and journalism backgrounds debated the latest developments in disaster reporting and the ethical questions raised by the new media landscape, the changing nature of the source-media relationship and NGOs' own use of new media tools. Participants examined whether a 'new ethical and reporting framework' is required to which all involved parties can sign up to.
- Lyse Doucet (Chief International Correspondent, BBC)
Panel one: user generated content (UGC) and humanitarian disasters: the latest development in mainstream media's use of new media
- Moderator: Professor Stewart Purvis (City, University of London)
- Nicola Bruno (Effecinque/Refreshing Journalism)
- Professor Simon Cottle (Cardiff University)
- Chris Hamilton (head of the BBC's UGC hub)
- Dr Stijn Joye (University of Ghent)
- Dr Claire Wardle (Storyful)
This panel examined some of the most interesting new developments in the use of social media and user-generated content to report humanitarian crises - from how the BBC verifies the information it gets, to how user-generated content shaped such disasters as the 2012 Emilia Romagna earthquake, and the 2012 Sierre bus crash.
Panel two: communicating change: how NGOs are using new media to deal with disasters
- Moderator: Paddy Coulter (Oxford Global Media)
- Glenda Cooper (City, University of London)
- Alice Klein (Radar)
- Liz Scarff (social media consultant)
- Russell Watkins (DfID)
This panel looked at how non-governmental organisations, as well as the DfID are increasingly using social media and user-generated content to shape and form the news agenda - and the advantages or potential problems that must be considered. Specific case studies included the 2013 Kenyan elections, Save the Children UK's '#blogladesh' campaign and World Vision UK's #shareniger.
Panel three: the end of the affair? How do aid agencies and journalists relate to each other in a social media era
- Moderator: Professor Suzanne Franks (City, University of London)
- Professor Charlie Beckett (LSE)
- Ian Birrell (journalist)
- Leigh Daynes (Doctors of the World)
- Brendan Paddy (Disasters Emergency Committee)
- David Randall (Independent on Sunday)
This panel debated the symbiotic but sometimes fraught relationship between NGOs and the media, discussing questions such as should NGOs pay for press trips; what does the relationship between NGOs and the media really consist of, and what are the mainstream media really looking for when it comes to information from such organisations.
Panel four: how we now report disasters: emotion and trauma
- Moderator: Professor Howard Tumber (City, University of London)
- Dr Sallyanne Duncan (University of Strathclyde)
- Dr Jackie Newton (Liverpool John Moores University)
- Dr Einar Thorsen (Bournemouth University)
- Adrian Thomas (Red Cross)
- Ros Wynne-Jones (journalist)
This panel reflected on the difficult issues thrown up by the very reporting of stories of humanitarian crises and disaster. It looked at how survivors of catastrophic events such as the 2011 Utøya shootings used social media to give themselves a voice, but also how journalists can both help the victims of disasters take control of a story, and how journalists themselves deal with covering such events.