Gaza media coverage – BBC and blogs

January 7, 2009

My research looks at how the BBC reports war and terrorism and specifically whether blogs make any difference to the way they do it.
So here’s a rough ‘this-is-what-I’ve-found-first-time-round’ draft of how the BBC is using blogs to report from Gaza.
Editors’ blog
On the Editors’ blog, James Stephenson has written a post on Reporting From Gaza. Stephenson is frustrated that Western journalists have been banned from the Strip but he says:

“The BBC is lucky to have two outstanding producers in our Gaza office, Rushdi Abu Alouf and Hamada Abuqammar….Hamas has not imposed any restrictions on their reporting and they have been a model of impeccable journalism, in terrible personal circumstances. Most of us go home when the story is over. Gaza is their home.”

Stephenson also talks about “the game of cat and mouse” with the Israeli military in an attempt to get pictures from near the border.
Newsnight

Mark Urban has a blog called ‘War and Peace’. In this post he discusses the timing of the Israeli operation.
Blog-ish Diary
Jeremy Bowen, Middle East Editor, is writing ‘a diary‘ from the border.
(I’m not sure it’s all that important but the BBC has retained a distinction between blogs and these sort of diaries. It seems the ‘diaries’ tend to be kept for single news stories or events. But it’s not as clear cut as that – Sport ran a successful World Cup blog for example).
Yesterday Jeremy Bowen attended a funeral for Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem:

“I’m not even sure how they died. Some reports said it was an air strike, others said it was tank fire.
Israel’s ban on the entry of international journalists to the Gaza Strip means that we can’t originate very much of our own material from there.
Most of the pictures you will have seen have come from some very brave cameramen working for Reuters and APTN, the two big news agencies that sell news material to broadcasters like the BBC.”

World Have Your Say blog

Editor Mark Sandell highlights some of the difficulties he faces moderating comments about Gaza both on the programme blog and on the radio show.

World Tonight blog

Robin Lustig has been looking at the number of rocket attacks on Israel during the ceasefire.
Update 8/1/09: Interesting to compare the figures Robin received from the military spokesperson with these obtained from the Israeli Consulate in New York by the Huffington Post.

Israeli blogs

BBC Monitoring has helped put together this article – a round up of Israeli blogs on Gaza.

Using bloggers for interviews

BBC journalists are also using blogs to find interviewees inside Gaza. On the Tales To Tell blog we discover that:

“EJ and I are being called hourly by the BBC to contribute to news bulletins, ‘live from Gaza’.”



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