Altered ‘Paris attacker’ photo shows crucial role of journalists

By Karen Liu

Blogger and Technology expert Christian Payne

Blogger and Technology expert Christian Payne

A blogger and creative technology expert said an example of photo manipulation after the Paris terror attacks showed the important role journalists have in verifying online content.

Christian Payne, who calls himself Documentally, said the altered image of Veerender Jubbal – a Sikh man living in Canada whose selfie was changed to make it seem he was one of the Paris attackers – had put the innocent man’s life at risk.

He told students at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism Week: “His life is potentially in danger because of the very, very lazy approach in fact-checking.

“Verification is something that journalists do way better than any blogger.

“The reason why journalists are going to survive is because they are the moral compass for every content creator on the interwebs.”

He added journalists had to be the first to pause when everyone else was retweeting without even checking the link first.

Christian, who has worked in Sudan, Jordan and Iraq, talked about the different platforms used to tell stories via multimedia, saying simplicity was essential when using tools to illustrate a story.

“If you want to tell a story via photos, you take one close up, one general view and one three quarter length environmental shot, anything in between is a filler,” he said.

He also advised trainees that creating a rapport with listeners was important and context was key.

“The community is vital, you can’t just work with the facts and stats. Have a think about where you are posting your stories,” he added.

His final message was: “Yesterday’s news is tomorrow’s ‘error 404’.

”Some of the online sites would no longer exist in a few years and journalists needed to consider which websites they selected to host their content.”

Christian – who wore an Apple watch and a Kapture audio watch, as well as a camera which captured an image every 30 seconds, throughout his presentation – offered five tips for students to take away from the session:

  1. Keep content short and strong.
  2. Use your tools to tell the story, not to shape it.
  3. Work with any network.
  4. Find the platforms that protect sources and stories.
  5. Carry power.



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