Daniel Bennett


December 21, 2010

Covering the Marines on Facebook: embedded journalism goes open source

Teru Kuwayama is embedded with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, but he’s not there with a traditional media organisation. He and a team of photographers are using funds from a Knight Foundation grant as part of an experimental project covering 1/8 battalion’s deployment in Helmand province. The team’s photographs and material relating to the deployment […]


November 29, 2010

Wikileaks and the embassy cables: media coverage

I’m afraid I might not be able to look at the latest Wikileaks release of U.S. embassy cables in too much detail as I’m scrambling to finish up my PhD thesis. If, for some reason, you want my thoughts on Wikileaks I wrote a couple of blog posts on the organisation last month – ‘Some […]


November 23, 2010

Twitter reaction to the Korean border clash

Earlier today North and South Korea engaged in a cross-border clash. The North fired on the island of Yeonpyeong, shelling the area for about an hour. According to the South Koreans two Marines were killed and four civilians were injured in the attack. The South returned fire while around 1,600 residents on the island fled […]


November 17, 2010

Medal of Honor awarded to Korengal valley soldier

The video below describes the story of America’s first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war. Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta was awarded the United States highest military honour for rescuing a captured colleague in the Korengal valley, Afghanistan. The Sal Giunta Story from Sebastian Junger on Vimeo. Meanwhile according to Militaryblogging.com, […]


November 15, 2010

Blogging backlash against proposal to escalate confrontation with Iran

Earlier this month bloggers rounded on a column written in the Washington Post which suggested that Barack Obama could revive the United States’ flagging economy by ramping up tensions with Iran. In an article in the Washington Post on 31 October, David Broder wrote that the President could "spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating […]


October 28, 2010

Wikileaks: cat among pigeons

Download this episode View in iTunes Watch the associated event here.    A couple of days ago, I finished a post on Wikileaks by stating that the media organisation that refuses to play by everybody else’s rules is still learning its own game. I promised you more on that and here it is. One of […]


October 27, 2010

Reaction to the closure of Internet cafés in Kabul

Journalist Abbas Daiyar has an interesting blog post on this month’s decision by the Afghan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to close 17 Internet cafés in the capital. The cafés had been warned not to allow their customers to view pornography or un-Islamic material. Daiyar argues that imposing such bans will not combat "moral corruption":  "By shutting […]


October 26, 2010

Some thoughts on Wikileaks, the media and the truth

This was the second time I’d seen Julian Assange speak at the Frontline Club. A few months ago, the small club room was lined with TV cameras as the Wikileaks founder launched the Afghan War Logs leak. The audience of journalists that day were sceptical and were looking for a news line – they pushed […]


October 17, 2010

The U.S. Navy’s social media manual and (not) “flattening communications”

The U.S. Navy has produced a social media handbook including guidance for sailors and Navy personnel as well as a section for commanders.   In the introduction, the Navy’s Chief of Information, Denis Moynihan, suggests the manual is necessary because "the rapid growth of social media platforms and technologies have flattened and democratized the communications […]


September 30, 2010

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent on new tools for journalists

Harriet Sherwood reflects on life as a foreign correspondent after four months in Jerusalem for The Guardian. Here she offers an assessment of the new platforms available to journalists: "…in the digital age, there are other platforms to consider. I have flirted with Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. The former seems a useful […]


September 21, 2010

BBC Newsnight says MoD refused to provide figures for Sangin attacks

British forces have handed over responsibility for security in Sangin, Afghanistan to their U.S. counterparts. More than a hundred British soldiers lost their lives in the district. As part of their research for last night’s coverage of this story, BBC Newsnight wanted the figures for "significant attacks on coalition forces in Sangin". They were trying […]


September 16, 2010

Should local voices replace foreign correspondents?

Solana Larsen, one of the co-founders of Global Voices, argues that local bloggers and journalists are able to connect us deeply to the stories they tell and are unencumbered by the news production process in Western media newsrooms: "Events don’t look the same when they are told from the inside out. I am reminded of […]


September 15, 2010

Embedded in Afghanistan: “All you can do is give a snapshot”

Embedded journalism in Afghanistan is on the agenda at the Frontline Club this evening. Several journalists are on the panel including Caroline Wyatt, (BBC), Tim Marshall, (Sky News) and the Club’s founder Vaughan Smith. While they’ll be discussing Afghanistan and embedding tonight, The Independent‘s Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent, Kim Sengupta, will be heading back to […]


September 1, 2010

Upcoming paper on the BBC’s coverage of the Mumbai attacks

Just a note to let you know that later this month I’ll be speaking about the BBC’s coverage of the Mumbai attacks in 2008. The paper is a case study of the BBC’s adoption of live text commentary to report breaking news. Indeed, Mumbai was the first time the BBC had used a ‘live-blogging’ format […]


August 27, 2010

Embedded with the Taliban

Discussions around embedded journalism in Afghanistan tend to focus on journalists joining up with NATO or U.S. forces but what about the view we get from an embed with the Taliban? In the video below, Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal risks his life to film Taliban operations with a commander in Eastern Afghanistan. There’s some intriguing […]


July 28, 2010

Footage from Pakistan plane crash site posted to YouTube

Earlier today a plane crashed in Pakistan killing all 152 people that were on board. The Airblue aircraft came down in hills north of the capital, Islamabad. Footage from the scene of the aftermath was posted to YouTube and highlighted by the CitizenTube blog. In June, CitizenTube said it would increase its focus on finding […]


July 26, 2010

Media round up: Wikileaks releases Afghanistan war logs

Main coverage Wikileaks "The Afghan War Diary [is] an extraordinary secret compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The reports describe the majority of lethal military actions involving the United States military. "We hope its release will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the war in Afghanistan and […]


July 12, 2010

Do images of the aftermath of an attack help insurgents?

Earlier today I came across an interesting blog post by Holly Pickett who recently finished her seven week rotation as the New York Times bureau photographer in Baghdad. She says: "It is nearly impossible to photograph the aftermath of a car bomb or street battle. In most cases, the scene is blocked by police, and cameras […]


July 7, 2010

Tracing the first official U.S. military blogs

So yesterday on Twitter I asked a question: when was the first official U.S. military blog started? Of course, long gone are the days when blogs were an unknown quantity, and these days blogs by U.S. soldiers will usually be signed off by a superior meaning they are to some degree ‘official’ but I wasn’t […]


July 1, 2010

British Armed Forces launch front line blogs from Afghanistan

Need to run out in a moment or two so excuse the brevity of the post, but I’ve just been helpfully pointed in the direction of a press release on military blogging: ‘British forces in Afghanistan have launched their first-ever mass blogging initiative, with dozens of personnel writing from the frontline on the Army, Navy […]


June 28, 2010

McChrystal, Michael Hastings and the future of war reporting

Last week, General Stanley McChrystal was fired from his position in charge of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan after comments he made in a magazine article. As I write it looks as though he will retire from the military altogether. In the article written by journalist Michael Hastings for Rolling Stone, McChrystal and (in […]


June 17, 2010

CitizenTube highlights plight of Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan

CitizenTube, run by YouTube, recently announced that it would be providing a breaking news feed of video that is uploaded to its website. It has ‘dallied’ with news videos in the past around the Iran election protests last year and the Los Angeles wildfires but says it will be increasing its "focus significantly" over the […]


June 16, 2010

Founder claims Wikileaks is preparing to release video of Afghan strike

According to the Daily Beast, NPR and apparently Wikileaks itself, the organisation is preparing to release a video of a U.S. airstrike on a village in Afghanistan which caused civilian casualties. In April, Wikileaks released footage of a U.S. Apache helicopter strike in Baghdad from 2007 in which two Reuters journalists and several Iraqi civilians […]


June 1, 2010

A lesson in information operations

That’s what Andrew Exum at the Center for a New American Security thinks the Israeli raid on the Free Gaza flotilla provides.


May 28, 2010

The blog as a weapon in an era of information war

I’ve been doing some research into the coverage of the Gaza conflict (back end of 2008, front end of 2009) on blogs. One of the English-language blogs that covered the war was the Muqata blog. The Muqata blog was started in 2005 by ‘Jameel’, a Jewish settler who had lived in Chomesh in Gaza before […]


May 24, 2010

How Facebook users can report casualties in Afghanistan before the military

Recently Facebook changed its privacy settings which meant that a lot of people’s profile information is now far more public than they might realise. Facebook users who joined with the expectation that their information was only going to be shared with a select group of online ‘friends’ are finding that all sorts of other people […]


May 18, 2010

Russian war correspondent discovers journalism is more dangerous at home

In this New York Times article we learn of the fate of Mikhail Beketov who dared to investigate corruption in Moscow. Beketov, a former army officer, had reported from both Afghanistan and Chechnya but Russia proved to be more dangerous.  As his paper, Khimkinskaya Pravda, wrote about the dealings of local officials and questioned party […]


May 17, 2010

How difficult is it to cover a modern war effectively?

I thought I’d have a long overdue experiment with AudioBoo. I have been recorded by somebody else on Twitter and Journalism but thought it was time to give it a go myself…I reckon short and sweet is the way to go rather than rambling on and on and on. But if you think you can […]


May 6, 2010

Admiral Mullen’s social media strategy

The Public Affairs Office looking after Admiral Mullen has revealed his social media strategy for 2010 by sticking it up on Slideshare. Admiral Mullen is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for US forces and admitted a while ago that his wife reminded him to use his Twitter account.   Some interesting bits […]


April 26, 2010

Wikileaks, journalism and the military

I did mention the possibility of writing a piece on the publication of a US military video by Wikileaks which depicted two Reuters journalists being killed in Iraq in 2007. But one of my colleagues at the War Studies Department, Jack McDonald, has beaten me to it. While not representing my own views, he does […]