Commie J-School in Oakland

Last Sunday, I was one of 11 people who attended what got nicknamed “Commie J-School” in Mosswood Park in Oakland. Initiated by two of Occupy Oakland’s most active reporters, journalist and cartoonist Susie Cagle and journalist and journalism teacher Justin Beck ( @susie_c and @pixplz respectively on Twitter), it was billed on the Facebook page as

A workshop on journalism law, ethics, best practices, tips & tricks. We’ll cover livestreaming, tweeting, blogging, photographing, interviewing, investigating, and the tools needed/best used for all.

That, of course, sounds like a couple years’ worth of journalism school curriculum, not a two-hour workshop. Nevertheless, quite a bit of ground did get covered as it applies to amateur, citizen and freelance journalists covering topics like, but not limited to, Occupy Oakland.

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“Twitter Jail”—Oregon style

In order to defeat spammers and to save their servers from being overloaded, Twitter sometimes temporarily suspends an account from further posting for a short period of time—usually under a couple hours. To get thrown in this “Twitter Jail,” as it’s known, you have to send over 100 tweets/hour or 1,000/day.

Recently the Oregon State legislature introduced—and, for now, killed—Senate Bill 1534, a bill that would have put most of us in actual jail for sending ONE tweet if the content involved soliciting “two or more persons to commit a specific crime at a specific time and location.” The crime you would be charged with under this law is “aggravated solicitation.”
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No livestreaming at Sundance (huh?)

Besides the obvious and well-known films, Sundance Film Festival also includes panels at Filmmaker Lodge and special multi-media installations at New Frontier. Today I nearly missed out on a panel on indie film distribution at the Lodge because it was over-capacity. Luckily I was first in line, so when a few people left, I got in, missing only the first ten minutes.

While I was waiting, I checked in to Twitter on my iPhone to see if anyone in the audience—or if Sundance officially—happened to be livestreaming it. If so, I could just watch it there or go back to the condo and watch it on my laptop. Not only was it not livestreamed, but doing so is prohibited without the written permission of the Sundance Press Office.
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Clarification on charges of misinformation on Twitter at Occupy Oakland

“People with good info were drowned out by your ignorance @MikalJakubal”

Yesterday, the police raided the Occupy Oakland vigil and tree sit, arresting around a dozen people, three at the tree-sit and the rest at the vigil area or on 16th Street just to the north. I was in the area for most of this and tweeted and livestreamed throughout. I was later accused of putting out misleading information. What happened, instead, was a small cascade of miscommunication, based on assumptions, information gaps and protocol lapses, that led to misunderstanding of and false accusations against my reporting. At the end of the day, none of it was of any consequence to the outcome but, in another situation, it might have mattered. I’m posting this hoping that others can glean some bit of experience from it.

I own my mistakes and challenge the other parties to own theirs. read on!

A very cool article on rumor propagation and fact-checking in the twittersphere

The U.K. Guardian has this fascinating piece on the way “…misinformation corrects itself in open, unregulated forums. (The) initial source was a corpus of 2.6 million tweets provided by Twitter, all of which ‘related to’ the (London) riots by virtue of containing at least one of a series of hashtags.”

Once you’ve clicked through and watched the rumors run their course through the twittersphere, be sure to click on the link to see the thinking and process behind these interactive graphics. Because I don’t like all-text posts and because I want you to become intrigued enough to check out the story for yourself, here’s a static screenshot of the interactive.
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