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tv   Listening Post  Al Jazeera  November 16, 2015 3:30am-4:01am EST

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dramatic change we will have more editorials and blogs regarding the elections there in argentina and also up-to-date developments of any movements on the ground as far as those horrific attacks in paris are concerned, and the raids to get the attackers. stay with us, you're at the listening post. these are some of the media developments we're looking at. one new story, various interests, multiple narratives,
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ca examining the coverage of the russian air disaster over egypt. pack is it stan is leaning on the media telling them not to cover certain militant groups. we look at word smith and the growth industry that is robotism. advertising agencies saying no. when that russian airliner came apart 33 thousand feet over killing all 224 on board. what followed was a war of interpretation fought through the global newspaper with no access to the site the investigation has been challenging for reporters to cover. various governments have big geopolitical stakes in this story over what happened and what did not. for egypt's president sisi this disasterer needed to be about something other than a bomb on board and a security breach at the sharm el-sheikh airport. so as to protect the vital part of the egyptian economy, tourism. for russia's president putin the
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crash needed to be something-- be about anything other than i.s.i.l. for the u.k. the u.s. and some of their natoa lies this was an ont to underline the risks of russian involvement in the syrian war, but ultimately this is a story about government's finding what they want to find, feeding the media machine with what they want said and to varying degrees the media's willingness to act as echo chambers for those government. the problem with some of those narratives comes when the fact gets in the way. it's eight scare miles of the crash skit in sinai is the starting point today. -- crash site in sinai. one plane, 224 fatalities. four cam capitals and a
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multiplicity of positions taken. >> the plane may have been brought down by an explosive device. >> this is part of the nature of the event yourself. if you compare this to the taa 680 in 1996 it took them 16 months for the f.b.i. to do their investigation and reach no conclusive evidence. so i think the fact that we have two weeks cycle tells us a thing or two about why each country are so focused on making this story out of this event. >> reporter: investigators are gather reckage where i.s.i.l. operates. >> like all news, there's also the events and narratives that circulate and is perpetuated. >> especially in 24 minute never mind hour media seamark el that exists these days, they needed to get out a story that
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would get into papers and sell air time on tv. what was clear is that it wasn't based on an irrefutable conclusion by an investigative team on the ground. new cycles don't necessarily fit with empirical reality. it's not necessarily their fault. it's the fault of the news cycle appeared the news organizationss that want immediate answers when there really can't be any those who perished were russian but no country has more riding on this story than egypt. it's airport was involved, so was its airspace. the sisi government came to power in national security anti terror platform that a disaster like that can easily undermine. anybodily, egyptian news outlets echoed what was coming out of moscow, that there was no proof of the bomb. the cause of the crash could have been mechanical and that flying to and from egypt was still safe. >> translation: the egyptian media were towing their
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governments line and one newspaper took the boots to british papers reporting what downing street was telling them, that the crash was most likely an act of terror. >> the egyptian sensitivity so far as the western media and the coverage of this incident is concerned is a combination of multiple factors. it ranges from the national pride, their contin gee of-- contingency on the sharm el-sheikh tourism and the fact that they're on the receiving end of one russian narrative and one u.s. narrative contradicting each other and yet the consequence of this is for the egyptian economy. >> i think we need to almost self analyse that a little bit. there is a sense that egypt is being under siege, egypt is being pushed for the russian proximity, the u.s. in the west are not happy with russia is doing in syria. >> this narrative has been
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instilled in egyptians not just for the last two years since the military coup, but for the last 50 years, that people want to undermine egypt and its greatness. as events like this piles up this narrative is going to be challenged more and more by reality and there's the repressive element. if you're a journalism and you don't want to go to jail and get tortured and disappear for gold knows how long, you put out the statement the government wants you to two egyptian journalists were reminded of that. one was arrested and questioned before being released and this lady of the state owned channel was taken off the air. both had been critical of the sisi government on stories unrelated to the plane crash. however, the narrative coming out of cairo that it wasn'ta a bomb took a major hit from an
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unexpected source, moscow, when the russian government came to the same conclusion that russia and london did, that it was probably a bomb. that left the sisi government isolated and the egyptian media were left holding the bag, still selling a narrative that known, not even russia was buying. >> that was the turning point. at that moment, most of the media supported the version of a terrorist attack and surprisingly the media supported the action of the government. you can woe the liberal radio stakes was the first time i think in many years they didn't blast the government. they said that it was to evacuate people and the decision to have the fly to egypt-- stop the flights to egypt was a sensible one >> there have been examples of russian media trying to push
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conspiracy theories and link the west to the accidents. of the the channel 1 tried to somehow link the west to the tragedy suggesting that there might have been a deal between the west and the terrorists. however, i have to admit that these versions are not taken seriously by the majority of russians for all of the confusion around the crash itself, if it was a bomb, who planted it, what motivated them and could it happen again. this story has exposed the way media in certain countries operate. governments everywhere like to control the narrative. in some places those governments get to write the script and their media, which are supposed to hold power to account, simply
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read the words aloud. >> what can i advise to our rear rears--a loud. >> the american government, they all push their version of the war. i think that their crash of the russian plane over egypt became a part of the syrian civil war. it become almost part of the war around syria which has been waged in the world's media for about four years now ultimately the question goes back to independent investigative journalism. is it possible within this particular architecture or dominant, powerful, political positioning of major super powers for independent journalism to be possible. this is the fundamental problem that the public at large faces because of the crisis that we have at the heart of journalism that the tragedy such as the crash of this airliner tip fizz,
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ex-emapply phis-- tipi ferrics es, exemplifies. s.
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other media stories that are on our road accidented are this week in malaysia, the country's largest on line over a story it has opinion covering on government corruption. on november 6 they went into offices of the malaysia website as well as those of the tabloid. they were back in the building on 9 november demanding to know the source of the report on a public prosecutor investigating allegations of financial
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wrongdoing by the p.m. the news have been threatened. the malaysian government's approval ratings are at an all time low around 20%. the pressure that it is under has landed on the mediation opposition leaders and bloggers. a man was arrested earlier this year facing fine counties of sedition resulting in 43 years in prisoner. the charges do not relate to his cartoons. it was his tweet it related to. the pakistani media regulator has begin implementing a decision that bans all television and radio coverage of militant groups. 72 organizationss were covered by the bad including fif. both organizationss are linked to the group suspected of carrying out the 2008 hotel siege in mumbai india which
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claimed more than 160 lives. it is said that pakistani media outlets will be monitored on this. last week broadcasters were said not to show pictures of people being rescued under a fallen building. the media have been ordered to stop running charities associated with the militant groups of the noncompliance would invoke legal action that could result in fines or the determination of a broadcaster's licence. a canadian news magazine has taken heat when it published its cover story. the magazine is mclean and it has guantanamo bay prisoner. she was charged at guantanamo bay and eventually pleaded guilty in 2010 after which he whaps sentenced to jail time before being freed by a canadian
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court this year. two other well-known canadians, a sexual assault victim and another abducted in somalia in 2008 and held there for more than a year. the story was written and mclean said the common theme among the three is that they had all suffered immensely. some readers took to twitter to say that they would be cancelling their subscriptions. fox news in the u.s. and daily mail went to town on the cover. this is one of those stories that since it's about automated journalism, robot journalism, really should write itself, but the technology, at least for television is not there yet. it is however already working its way into some types of reporting, whether you've realised it or not, some of the data driven journalism you've seen on line may have been produced by robots, computer of
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the financial reporting sports updates or earthquake alerts are the kinds of stories already being produced without human involvement. one piece of software, word smith, created by april company called automated insights produces thousands reports every quarter. another video creeation platform called watch it means that hundreds of news videos can be generated and uploaded to news web sites and social media automatically. the up side is obvious. more stories produced more quickly with fewer people to pay. the down side is what? the implications of robot journalism. >> translation: breaking news about an earthquake in california a first look at apple's quarterly earnings. three stories you would think at least three journalists would
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have been involved. how about none? software aided reporting has been dubbed robot journalism and it conjures up images of robot machine man running the news room. it is the work of software that instead of helping you with word processing or virus protection help says you produce news report. >> these use artificial intelligence to convert data into new stories. they produce algorithms that produce these story forms. these are not sophisticated quotes. stories that don't require a lot of thinking. you could do a lot more a lot quicker. it's cheaper to do it and in essence you might even be making fewer mistakes. if the data is qualitative, it doesn't matter if it's a subcommittee meeting or a meeting of parliament, as long as that data is tracked and
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documented somewhere, we can pull that data and write a story from it. so if you are a mere human journalism, the information for a new story would be facts, quotes, maybe a personal angle. the robots in the news room need much less. and they don't run on coffee. give them numbers, a set of preprogrammed narrative parameters. for instance, an earthquake measuring between 20.0 and 3.9 is classified tied as light. 6.0 to 9.0 is strong to great. add a dictionary full of words and specialist terms, stress, plate shock, and your computer could spit topics. no emotional insights will be given. it will be cut and dried. this is algorithmic journalism. automated insights in northern carolina has spotted the
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potential in the market since july 2014 the their software word smith has been used in the associated press. ap, to produce reports. it's one of the first large scale implementations of software produced journalism. accord to the ap it's a productivity bonanza. each quarter we were spending about 20 to 25% of our time writing these reports. universely my reporters hating them. it wasn't a good use of our time. we found a way we could automate it and fre up the time. >> the word smith would write around 4 had 0 companies per earning system. after word smith they can write 3000 oralities appeared that is growing. >> nobody has lost their job. the time has been put back into journalists' hands. by doing that they're doing the things they went to school to do
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and got into journeyism to do which to-- journalism to do which is to write. >> technical technology can be good and bad for the industry. you have to think about we're in a state of change and a lot of the journalists losing their jobs is because the industry is changing not because some algorithm was written to write stories. >> this idea of the type of data you can use. this is usually quantitative data that's pretty easy to feed into the machine and have it spit out in a story. so what we will get is certain types of stories with easy to get data where other types of stories that are much more difficult to get won't be fed into the machine. they won't become stories. for those who sell the point, their main pont isn't the type of story. it's about the quantity they can churn out, the quantity multiplier effect. according to automated insight
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this program can produce 200 on 0 stories per second. a standard eight hour day would mean millions of stories. whether that much news or not is a different question. watch the platform, u.s. a today, germany on line and other companies in france says you can source footage and edit video packages of about a minute to two minutes long in half an hour or so. in a live room like al jazeera editing each minute of reported news take on average about three times the watch it edit time. an hour and a half. >> well, you know, with any kind of automation you're going to get more quantity, whether it's making cars or ploughing fields for fruit. automation produce productivity. you look at your twitter feeds and there's 400 steers going out at once. >> there are so many stares. what happens is that we shift
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from this idea from journalists telling us important stories a day to lots and lots of stories. it may only be available and interesting to a few people at a time. this shifts what journalism does pause it is about establishing the new agenda and when we shift to automated journalism we have this more polarised environment where there's lots of stories. where it will become popular is it fits the economics of how this works it can be up to $2000. it's sprinzive. so we can help drive those costs down from an monetisation perspective. you make as much money putting ads against a watch it clip as opposed to something that you would produce, say, using your traditional work flow. so it makes sense commercially, on the revenue side, but also on
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the costs side. given the advertised cost and time efficiencies of online video creation platforms, we thought why not give the technology a try and it worked. once we filmed the interviews, written the script and worked out how to use watch it, it took us just about three hours to put together this report. you can watch that version on our facebook page. we decided not to use it on the show because what we learned in our experiment is that services like watch it or its competitor rip ittant aiming to serve tvp networks. they're geared primely towards on line outlets that are in a hurry and it can be produced quickly. the quality isn't broadcast standard, but that isn't the point. this is about click and instant views and ultimately about money. >> i don't think what we're going to see is robots writing the front page in the new york times for us. i think we will see more robotic
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journalism fit into regular journalism, but i think we will see a hybrid approach where robots are writing part of a story and then so are humans. we will see journeyism that speaks to the strengths of both. robots are good at analysing things, sets of data, but humans have a creative edge. they can see different kinds of patterns. if a robot reporter were writing this story, it will tell you what has happened, what has changed. what they wouldn't be able to tell you is where this trend is going, how far the integration between technology and in-depth journalism will go. even if they could make that prediction, maybe they would rather not tell us.
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finally one of the draw wax of working in creative
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industries is the service you provide is often evaluated in such a subjective way, which is why clients will shop for an advertising agency will typically ask for an spec. it's their way of before they dip into their pockets finding out what advertisers plan to do. it means a whole lot of work gets done for free with no guarantee of a job on the other side. tiffing is not the only industry people trying to get established are under fresh to do free work. more and more ad ago agencies are refusing spec work. to make the point how unusual the spec is, a company tried an spec approach with some other industries and their experiment did not go down as well. more than a million views of this video in four days.
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we will see you next time in the listen post. >> i have a question for a proposal. i'm going through this strategic process where i'm going to pick my personal trainer. you give me the designs on spec and maybe i will pay for the build. i don't have a $1.75 in my budget to try one copy to see if i like it or not. that's why i i would like a spec one. you could make me a spec breakfast and then if i can joy it i will make you my ror and i will come back. >> don't pull my leg. come on, get out of my place. >> you don't do spec frames? >> no. you have to start paying day one. >> how am i going to know if i don't like the coffee. >> you have to try. >> you have to pay and then you eat. >> i'm a professional. >> do you do what you do for free? >> ah, no.
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>> so why do you want me to? more reporters, more stories, more perspective. >> from our award-winning news teams across america and beyond. >> we've got global news covered. 4
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