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Photography Projects

Post-Agreement identity narratives: A photographic essay

The 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement gives legal recognition to the coexisting and overlapping national citizenships in Northern Ireland, entitling those born in the jurisdiction to be British, Irish, or both. The devolved administration codifies the traditional political identities of “Unionist” and “Nationalist”, as well as an opportunity for “Others”. The accord has also pledged greater protections for human rights and a development of equality for all.

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@NorthernSlant Essays Photography

“In my imagination, it was true”: Margins of Excess exhibition talk by Max PINCKERS

“In my imagination, it was true”: Margins of Excess exhibition artist talk by Max PINCKERS
by Allan LEONARD
14 June 2019

As part of the Belfast Photo Festival, Belfast Exposed is hosting an exhibition of Margins of Excess, by Max Pinckers. The artist gave a talk about this project in the gallery, describing how he approached the topic of intersecting news story truths from investigative facts and subjective realities.

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@SharedFuture @SluggerOToole

Is ethical journalism possible in a contested place?

Is ethical journalism possible in a contested place?
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
27 May 2019

At a public lecture event hosted by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, at Queen’s University, Professor Steven Youngblood (Director, Center for Global Peace Journalism, Park University, Missouri) discussed the ethics of journalism in a contested place like Northern Ireland. Youngblood also spoke at Ulster University and held separate workshop sessions, all supported by the US Embassy.

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@FactCheckNI

Beyond fake news: Working collaboratively to address misinformation #NICSLive

Beyond fake news: Working collaboratively to address misinformation #NICSLive
by Allan LEONARD for FactCheckNI
15 May 2019

FactCheckNI is becoming a regular feature of the annual NICS Live event, which brings together figures from across the Northern Ireland Civil Service as well as the wider public, private and voluntary sectors. This year was our third consecutive appearance, and I gave a presentation on “Beyond fake news: Working collaboratively to address misinformation”, discussing some key features of fact checking and the role that facts play in the political sphere of opinions and persuasion.

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@SharedFuture @SluggerOToole

Media guidelines potential remedy for damaging past reportage

Media guidelines potential remedy for damaging past reportage
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
5 March 2019

The project team of “Victims and Dealing with the Past” at Queen’s University Belfast hosted a launch event of two complementary media guideline publications: one for victims and survivors of the Northern Ireland conflict on how to best engage with the media, and another for journalists, editors, and educators on how to best engage with victims and survivors and report on legacy issues.

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@NorthernSlant

Book review: Don’t Mention the War (Vicky COSSTICK)

Book review: Don’t Mention the War (Vicky COSSTICK)
by Allan LEONARD
5 March 2019

Don’t Mention the War is an e-book by Vicky Cosstick, published by ChangeAware in association with Northern Slant, that aims to explore aspects of legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in a set of five chapters covering the peace process, women’s perspectives, trauma, the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, and the role of media during and post-conflict. Her research and writing took place between spring 2017 and autumn 2018, with regular references to the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the confidence-and-supply arrangement between the DUP and Conservatives in the current British Government.

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@FactCheckNI @SluggerOToole

Stephen NOLAN: Enhancing democratic debate in the era of fake news?

Stephen NOLAN: Enhancing democratic debate in the era of fake news?
by Allan LEONARD
26 February 2019

As part of their engagement programme, Queen’s University Belfast hosted a lecture by radio and television personality, Stephen Nolan, who was introduced by Ryan Feeney. Much of Nolan’s lecture was an autobiography of how he has developed his career in journalism and working for the BBC. His views on the topics in the lecture title — “Enhancing the Democratic Debate in the Era of Fake News” — were teased out during the question and answer session.

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@NorthernSlant Essays Photography

Book review: Bobby Sands by Yan MORVAN

Book review: Bobby Sands by Yan MORVAN
by Allan LEONARD
11 October 2018

Sorj Chalandon ends his foreword with a question from Bobby Sands’ memorial card: “Will tomorrow be remembered?” He is with Bobby Sands, a photobook by Yan Morvan.

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@FactCheckNI @SluggerOToole

Earning trust “story by story”

Earning trust “story by story”:
Can we believe the media? The role of journalism in the digital age
by Allan LEONARD for FactCheckNI
4 October 2018

Ulster University — along with the UK press regulatory body, Impress, and the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) — jointly hosted a symposium event at its Belfast campus: “Can we believe the media? The role of journalism in the digital age”. Keynote speakers were Jonathan Heawood (Chief Executive Officer, Impress) and Peter Feeney (Press Ombudsman, Press Council of Ireland).

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@NorthernSlant @SharedFuture Essays Photography

The Lost Moment exhibition: The provocation of 1968

The Lost Moment exhibition: The provocation of 1968
by Allan LEONARD
27 September 2018

In the year 1968, there were street protests and marches in Belfast, Berlin, Derry-Londonderry, Paris, Prague, Selma and beyond. Some of the most powerful captured images and video clips are on display at The Lost Moment exhibition at the Gallery of Photography Ireland. On the day of its launch there was a two-part symposium on the topic of “Civil Rights: Then and Now”.

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@FactCheckNI

Ensuring trustworthiness, quality and value in all our work

Ensuring trustworthiness, quality and value in all our work
by Allan LEONARD for FactCheckNI
12 April 2018

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) hosted an information seminar at Belfast City Hall, for staff from government organisations in Northern Ireland who have responsibility for statistics in their work (creating and/or applying).

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@FactCheckNI

“The fightback begins in Northern Ireland!” says Byrnes

Siobhan SINNERTON, Jon SNOW, and Dorothy BYRNE. “The importance of journalism in an era of fake news”, Belfast Media Festival, The MAC, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“The fightback begins in Northern Ireland!” says Byrnes
 The importance of journalism in an era of fake news #BMF2017
 by Allan LEONARD for FactCheckNI
 17 November 2017

As part of the Belfast Media Festival 2017, there was a moderated discussion on how ‘mainstream media’ is responding to the evermore prevalent environment of ‘fake news’, with Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, Siobhan Sinnerton, chairing the session with Dorothy Byrne (Head of News and Current Affairs) and presenter, Jon Snow.

Sinnerton began by asking what a challenge fake news is for all of us, this “flood of misinformation”. Snow replied that he didn’t really know what a definition of fake news is, because he has seen it all during his journalistic career, while Byrne asserted that the concept of fake news is a fake itself: “If it’s fake, it didn’t happen so it can’t be news.” She suggested that we replace ‘fake news’ with the word ‘rubbish’ and instead concentrate on the importance of journalism.

Next was how to answer an apparent conundrum of scolding social media platforms, namely Facebook and Twitter, for facilitating misinformation at such speed, yet legitimate media outlets using it to disseminate news. Snow replied that they need to recognise a responsibility of providing a “bedrock of dependent information”, yet he immediately mooted whether that should include Channel 4 and/or the Daily Mail, which he recognised was a value judgement. Byrne suggested a kite-mark for news providers that are deemed to be trustworthy sources.

As for whether and how social media providers should be regulated, Snow cited how media is regulated in the UK as a positive exemplar. Likewise, Byrne credited regulation with continued very high levels of trust amongst the British public with tv journalism (as surveyed annually by OFCOM).

Byrne said that it was time for journalists to all stand together to stand up for the value of journalism, with strong and powerful journalist organisations. Snow was sceptical, replying that journalists as a bred will not do that, “because we’re wrapped up with wanting to be a journalist”.

“So should journalists be on a war footing?” Sinnerton asked. Snow repeated the above riddle, whereby private citizens are engaged with social networks that connects people to one another, but with a downside that these networks serve as a medium for disseminating “dangerous stuff”: “How do you stop one yet allow people’s freedom?” Byrne remarked that it can depend upon which country you’re in, because in some places one can’t believe anything one reads, journalists get killed, “where Twitter is the most truthful place and governments will try to block it”.

Snow and Byrne both commented on their visits to schools. Snow said that the children he talks to are “switched on”; they know the upside and downside of social media. Byrne demanded any necessary change in the UK education system so that young people, from age four or five, learn how to spot fake news.

Earlier, Sinnerton played the following video about basic fact-checking:

Sinnerton opened up the discussion to the audience, where a member of the audience asked whether there should be more positive news (with Snow begging the question of what news is about). Alex Graham (Chair, Scott Trust) said that social media platforms need to be regulated supranationally, e.g. by the European Union. Someone else asked why it takes hundreds of people to die before people care, in order to try to prevent disasters such as the Grenfell fire. Snow explained some of this to the demise of local media, which historically serves such a role: “Social networks ought to be a means of highlighting such issues, but why it hasn’t is worth examining and learning from.”

I had the opportunity to introduce myself as editor of FactCheckNI, Northern Ireland’s first dedicated fact-checking service, and tried to add to two points raised in this discussion. As for journalists collaborating together, I cited CrossCheck, where 37 media organisations came together to jointly fact-check claims made during the 2017 French presidential election. In regards to kite-marking trustworthy sources of information, I explained how fact-checking projects work to a code of principles overseen by the International Fact-Checking Network, with compliance overseen by an independent third party, and that the audience should look for this badge if they are on a proclaimed fact-checking site.

Byrne acknowledged the CrossCheck project, which must have emboldened her zeal for standing up for the importance of journalism: “Yes, the fightback starts now, and Northern Ireland is where it begins!”

ENDS


Originally published at www.factcheckni.org on November 20, 2017.