• How to edit your story for accuracy

    12/10/12
    by Rana F. Sweis

    As a reporter, you must gather information and interview sources quickly, then explain what youve learned concisely and clearly. Once thats done, its tempting to ship the story to your editor or hit publish on your blog.

    Resist that temptation. You need to do one more thing to ensure your story contains only accurate, unbiased and verified information: edit your story line by line.

    Investigative reporter Nils Hanson shared his advice for line-by-line editing at the recent Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) conference in Cairo. More than 200 journalists and academics, mainly from the Middle East, attended the conference, which included training sessions and networking opportunities with international investigative reporters and trainers.

    Hanson, who reports for the popular Swedish TV news station SVT, and is a member of ARIJs board, offered these tips for editing for accuracy:

    Have your address book and notes handy

    Make sure your list of sources and their contact information, as well as notes from your interviews, are close at hand. There may be facts you will need to double-check as you edit.

    Keep an open mind

    Are you hit by tunnel vision? Thats the big trap, Hanson said. Tunnel vision is the tendency to hold on to a certain belief even when evidence points elsewhere. Reporters sometimes do this without realizing it, Hanson said, so stay open-minded when reporting and editing your story.

    Listen to the skeptical, examine the expert and question the victim, Hanson said. Think of the recent BBC scandal, in which an alleged sex-abuse victim admitted to wrongly accusing a former politician of attacking him. Can victims prove their allegations?

    Examine each fact

    Ask yourself if there is essential information missing and if all assertions are grounded in fact. Mark each fact, name, figure and quote in your story, and then verify it. Watch out for overstatements, such as everybody says or [that] they havent done anything, Hanson said.

    Verify all data, including statistics. Even data presented by interviewees must be verified, he says.

    Evaluate your sources and decide if you need more interviews

    Do your sources make conclusions that others might criticize? Point that out.

    Reporters need to make sure they talk with many people, including those they dont like or who dont like them. They should also include people who are controversial or who may seem a bit oddor just wrongto the reporter.

    Did the people criticized in your story have a chance to reply to all serious criticism aimed against them? Hanson asked.

    Look at the overall picture and check if it is unbiased or if it is written in an accusatory tone, he explained. Who or what could give a different picture?

    Protect sources and check copyrights

    Make certain that a source you have promised not to identify will not appear in published documents or in photos or video. Also examine graphics and copyrights, including logos and statistics revealed in charts or graphs.

    Check your gut

    After examining your report line by line, Hanson says to ask yourself two final questions. First, ask yourself, Are you troubled by anything? If the answer is affirmative, be honest with yourself and your editor about what that is.

    Finally, ask yourself, What might generate criticism? Dont automatically take those parts out. Instead, address those critiques in your story.

    If you follow these steps, youll be much less likely to need to issue a correctionor to regret publishing the story at all.

    Rana F. Sweis is a freelance journalist and media researcher. She writes mainly about political reform, refugees and social issues in the Middle East. She is also the lead researcher in Jordan for the Open Society Institute-sponsored Mapping Digital Media Study. You can visit her website and follow her on Twitter.

    Photo courtesy of Rogue Sun Media, used with a CC-license

    Read Article on IJNET ...

  • ????? ??????? ??????????? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ??????

    ???? ?????? ?? ????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ??????? ???????.

    ??? ??? ??????? ????? ?????? 30% ?? ?????? ?? ???????? ????? ??????? ?? ?????????? ??????????? ???????? ???? ?? ??????? ??? ??????? ???????? ????????? ?????? ??????? ??????????.

    ????? ????? ????? ?????? ???????? ????????? ?? ????? ????? ?????? “??? ??????? ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ??????? ??? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ????? ?????? ???????? ??? ????? ??????? ?????????? ???? ?????. ????? ????? ????? ?? ??? ??? ???????”.

    ??? ???? ??????? ???? ?????? ??? ?????? ??? ????????? ?? ????? ????? ??????? ??? ???????? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ?? ??? ??????? ?????? ???????? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ?????.

    ????? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??????? ?????????? (?? ?? ??) ????? ???? ?? ???? ???????? ??? ????? ???????? ???????? ??????? ?? ????? ?????? ????? ???????? ?? ?????????? ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ????????. ???? ?? ??????? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ???????.

    ??? ???? ??? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??? 14 ??????? ?????? ?? ???????? ???? ??? ????? ????? ????? ??? ??????? ???????? ???? ???? ???????. ?? ??? ????? ?????? ??????? ??? ??? ???? ????? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?????????? ?? ???????. ??? ??????? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ?????? ???????? ??? ???? ??????????.

    ???? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ??????? ??????? ???????? ????? ????????: “??????? ??? ?? ??? ???????? ??????? ????? ?????? ????? ??????? ????? ??????? ???? ?? ???????? ???????? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ??????? ????????? ???? ?? ????????”.

    ??????

    ...

  • Digital media empower Middle Eastern youth

    Revolutions in the Middle East have been powered by young people using new technology.

    Young people, who make up 30 percent of the regions population, have played a dominant role in protests and political upheaval by documenting events with cell phones, the Internet and social media.

    Children and young people have been at the heart of the Arab Spring. They play a key role in instigating it, using the power of social media to rally their peers and mobilize support, said Shahida Azfar, UNICEF Regional Director for MENA. But they have also been among its first victims.

    For example, the lack of access to information from Syria has forced the media to depend on photos taken by ordinary citizens and amateur recording of bloodshed in obscure neighborhoods and streets.

    Many children also continue to be caught in the crossfire. At UNICEFs annual Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Media Forum, Khaled Ezz Al Arab of the BBC and Najwa Kassim of Al Arabiya spoke about child protesters in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.

    When Sayed Ahmad Sayed, a 14-year-old boy, was shot in Bahrain, graphic videos – many taken by cellphones – revealed his bludgeoned head. The photos and videos were disseminated and large photos of the boy were paraded in one of the largest street protests. His friends made YouTube videos and disseminated them before and after the protests.

    Read More

    ...