July 2017 Newsletter
Welcome to IBT’s July newsletter with an update on our work and relevant news from the media industry. (Download/Print this Newsletter)
Last month’s briefing with Sky News
Last month we heard from Matt Rhodes, Senior Planning Producer at Sky News. Matt talked us through the best way to pitch ideas to him and his colleagues and how to contact the interviews team with suggestions for studio guests. International coverage remains a priority, however, it was clear from Matt’s talk that Sky is devoting more resources to the major international stories and there is therefore less space for off agenda features. Their main focus at the moment is the US and the Middle East, particularly Syria and Iraq, but also Yemen and Libya. A detailed note on the briefing can be found on the members’ page of the IBT website.
Next week we will be holding our AGM. This is a formal occasion during which we report back to our members on our activities over the past year and plans for the future. The event takes place at 5pm on Thursday July 13th at the IBT offices. Please let me know if you would like to attend, so that I can send you the meeting papers in advance.
BBC call to action
All IBT members should have received an email from me last week, asking you to write to Ofcom to support our call for international factual content on the BBC to be tagged. Thank you to all those who kindly offered to write to Ofcom. The deadline for letters is Monday July 17th. We are happy to help you draft a letter. If you missed the email or would like more information please contact me or IBT’s advocacy consultant, Sophie Chalk, who is leading on this Sophie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Save the Children’s new report: The People in the Pictures
Last week Save the Children published The People in the Pictures, an important report which looked closely at the experience of people and communities that have appeared in their communications. The aim was to have a better understanding of how they experienced the image-making process and felt about the way in which their images were used in campaigning, fundraising and other communications. The report makes a number of recommendations, which involve greater recognition of contributors as stakeholders in the image-making process. At last week’s launch event, Save’s CEO, Kevin Watkins, said that they had made a number of changes to their practices to comply with the report’s recommendations. It’s great that Save have published the findings of the report and have provided this stimulus for a sector wide conversation.
Screening: Sea of Pictures
Later this month the Frontline Club, in collaboration with the Ethical Journalism Network, will screen Sea of Pictures, a documentary which explores how the image of the Syrian toddler, Alan Kurdi, went viral and looks at the wider issue of how the media use images to tell stories. The screening will be followed by a debate discussing how pictures can impact and shape public discourse and policy, often in ways which are unintended. The event, chaired by Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4’s Head of News and Current Affairs, takes place at 7pm on Monday July 31st.
Reframing Climate Change
We have been continuing with our reframing climate change project. At last month’s Sheffield Documentary Festival we hosted a short film pitch with The Guardian online and a panel debate in which four leading filmmakers talked about how they had tackled the issue of climate change. Two of the films featured were screened at the festival, Thank You for the Rain and Chasing Coral. Both have now been released in the UK. We also held a brainstorm with the Unreported World team to encourage them to cover more environmental stories. Our next brainstorm will be with Horizon.
If you missed last month’s Ashden Awards, it’s worth watching Al Gore’s keynote spech. His new movie An Inconsequential Sequel comes to the UK next month.
New website on attitudes to aid
The team behind the Gates-funded Aid Attitudes tracker has launched DevCommsLab, a new website, which aims to make the findings of the tracker more readily available and to stimulate a sector wide debate about the best ways of building public support for aid. https://devcommslab.org/
Does the Daily Mail’s criticism of aid matter?
In a recent blog, Martin Scott from the University of East Anglia, questions the influence of the press on public attitudes to aid. He makes the point that there has been no significant change in the public’s perception of the effectiveness or wastefulness of UK government spending on aid, in the period 2013-6, despite the Daily Mail’s vociferous anti-aid campaign, launched in 2014, to encourage aid money to be spent on flood victims in the UK.
New book: Caring in Crisis
Bruna Seu and Shani Orgad have published their new book, Caring in Crisis, which documents why and how people respond (or fail to respond) to humanitarian communication. The book highlights what NGOs seek to achieve in their communications and explores how their approach and hopes match or don’t match what the public wants, thinks and feels about distant suffering. It contains essays from a number of academics and industry professionals.
New report on public attitudes to refugees
The ODI and Chatham House have published new research which examines public attitudes to refugees and migrants. The working paper is intended as a primer, outlining current global polling data on public attitudes, and analysing what the literature has to say about the drivers influencing these attitudes.
Reuters Digital News report 2017
If you’re interested in the changing way in which audiences are consuming news, it’s worth taking a look at the latest Reuters Digital News report which was published last month. This year’s report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a YouGov survey of 70,000 online news consumers in 36 countries, including the UK and US. The report focuses on the issues of trust in the era of fake new, changing business models and the role of platforms.
Screening: Calais Children: A Case to Answer
On 4th July, Sue Clayton is screening her new film, Calais Children: A Case to Answer, which follows some of the many unaccompanied minors forced to leave the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in October 2016. The screening will take place at Birkbeck, University of London, and will be followed by a Q and A with the filmmaker who will talk about her own brand of social activist filmmaking and discuss the question ‘can films change public policy and the law?’ There will be further screenings later this month (see Campaign below).
Screening: City of Ghosts
Finally, one of the most powerful documentaries screened at the Sheffield Documentary Festival was City of Ghosts, which focuses on the work of a group of Syrian exiles, who call themselves Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. They risk their lives to document the atrocities committed by ISIS in their homeland. The film is now on release in the UK and shown on 5th July at the Frontline Club. That screening was followed by a Q and A with the director. You can see the trailer here