Thursday, 20 August 2015

Bastille Festival in London


Bastille Day meringues in "red", white and blue

If London's many French residents were feeling a little homesick or dépaysés, they had only to head for Borough Market on Sunday 12th July. There they could celebrate Bastille Day a few days early.

France celebrates its Fête Nationale on 14th July. The date marks the storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution on 14th July 1789.

Borough Market on London's South Bank can trace its history back 1000 years. It is located in the London Bridge area - overlooked by both the old and the new. Southwark Cathedral stands alongside on a site dating back to 606 AD. By contrast, the towering glass Shard goes back to just 2009.

Today, the food market boasts a truly international range of produce. You could salivate over French cheeses, bread and pâtisserie, German sausages, Spanish ham and tapas, Italian cheeses and other specialities. The list of international foods is extensive. There was an impressive range of mushrooms - you would never find such a wide selection in a British supermarket.

Exotic range of mushrooms in Borough Market

There is even a shop with a 2CV!


French shop with mounted 2CV in the market

On 12th July, the market's stallholders put out French flags and dressed up to help the French celebrate their forthcoming national day. Maybe some of the stripey t-shirts and berets were somewhat clichéd, but their hearts were in the right place.

Accordion playing on Bastille Day

A huge glass roof provided protection from the London drizzle. A variety of entertainments took place there. The day was largely geared towards families and conducted in both French and English. I saw a very funny cabaret act followed by improvisation for French children. The audience sat on hay bales or stood on all sides.

Bastille Festival audience sitting on hay bales

On the big day itself, it was possible to watch the 14th July parade and fireworks on French TV via the Internet. No need to feel left out in London.


Email karen@anglicity.com for further information on Anglicity's content writing services.

London's Brazil Day 2015


Pic of crowd in Trafalgar Square for Brazil Day
Brazil Day 2015 stage and beach volleyball court

Brazil took over London's Trafalgar Square on Saturday 8th August. The colours were yellow and green everywhere.  

Brazil Day 2015 was staged in eager anticipation of the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. There was music, dancing, singing, Brazilian food and even beach volleyball. 



Pic of Brazilian dancers and singers on stage in Trafalgar Square
Brazilian Singers and Dancers on the Brazil Day 2015 stage

The crowds turned out in strength on a warm summer afternoon and evening. Not quite Brazilian weather perhaps. The temperature and the crowd were nonetheless warm.

It was great to see beach volleyball back in Central London. It brought back memories of one of the most entertaining events at the London 2012 Olympics on Horse Guards Parade.


Pic of Skeletal House statue with Nelson's Column behind in Trafalgar Square
The Gift Horse on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square

Hans Haacke's Gift Horse on the Fourth Plinth looked as if he could do with fattening up. He could perhaps have done with some of my spicy Brazilian chicken and sweet potato fries.


Pic of takeaway Brazilian Spicy Chicken with sweet potato fries and canned drink
Brazilian Spicy Barbecued Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries

On a more serious note, the skeletal statue is meant to convey the gap between rich and poor for the City. It should probably also draw attention to the gap between rich and poor in Brazil.

Sport and culture are great levellers. Whatever the current difficulties, I am sure the Brazilian people will stage the first South American Olympics and Paralympics with their characteristic welcome and enthusiasm in 2016.


Email karen@anglicity.com for information on Anglicity's content writing services.





Tuesday, 18 August 2015

1984 in 2015



Back in the early 1980s, my Latin teacher urged our class to hurry up and read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Half jesting, half warning. Orwell's nightmare was a matter of years away. I got on and read the book pdq*.

Fast forward 30+ years: my reading of 1984 is a dim memory. A Time Out Magazine promotion brought me to the Playhouse Theatre for the new adaptation by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan. The ticket price was an appropriate £19.84. 

Pic of the front of the Playhouse Theatre, displaying 1984 sign and ticket price £19.84


In retrospect, I wish I hadn't gone. This was a bewildering, unnerving and harrowing production. And yet, as Dr Paolo Gerbaudo of King's College London wrote in the play's programme:

"We have become the consenting surveilled, people who by accepting the system of Internet communication and its "free" economy have ended up unwittingly accepting the surveillance of state security agencies."

The time sequence becomes increasingly confusing. What is a real time event? What is a portrayal of Winston's memory or madness? 

The events are more unsettling than my teenage memories of the novel. Was that due to the adaptation? My youthful understanding? Or simply that drama is more vivid than my own imagined world in reading? Could it be because 2015 more closely resembles Orwell's 1984 than my memory of that time?

1984 turned out to be one of the best years of my life. It included the second half of my year abroad - a year at Nancy University in the East of France. A year that informed and shaped my thinking far more than I realised at the time. It intrigued me to contrast news reports from both sides of the Channel.

In 1984, Winston rewrites history according to the state's current allies. People become "unpersons" under his direction - as later happens to him. It turns out that he and Julia are under surveillance even in bed. No privacy at all.

During the torture scene, I was glad that I was perched high up in the gods**, unable to see the full stage. I couldn't bear to look. And yet, I remember how just before Christmas 2014, the US Senate report confirmed torture.

And I remember my old Latin teacher's warning about the need to be aware before the unthinkable happens...



*pdq = pretty dammed quick
** the gods

Brazilian Dance Spectacle



The Brazilians are well-known for worldwide for their colourful and exuberant carnivals and parties. Giving a Brazilian flavour to a family celebration evening seemed the perfect recipe. We celebrated in style by attending Baila Brazil at the Royal Festival Hall.

On Saturday 15th August the Balé de Rua dance company staged their final performance in London. Oh yes, it was loud, colourful, energetic and exuberant. The show was as The Scotsman described:

"Stunning. If only, I'd had a sixth star at my disposal."

Baila Brazil has travelled the world since it opened in Sydney, Australia. Over 500,000 performances in 13 cities later, it was London's turn. The company has come a long way. Born of an art project in the favelas, its dancers were discovered at the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon in 2002. Today's professional dancers all trained in the project's free schools.

I was somewhat nonplussed at the beginning. A troupe of male dancers dressed as women was totally unexpected. For the majority of the evening, they were more scantily clad than the two women. That made a pleasant change.

The dancing was simply amazing. I didn't realise that the human body could even bend in such ways - let alone dance in them.

Alexia Falcão Lopes had a great voice. She kept going throughout the noisy, unrelenting show without showing any strain in her voice. She even sang centre-stage without flinching as acrobatics were performed about her ears.

The range of dancing was incredible. I particularly enjoyed the breakdancing. I don't remember seeing a show before in which so much was danced upside down. The head-spinning on a raised platform was breathtaking.

A number of cultural influences seemed to be at play in the dances. The slavery scenes were particularly powerful. They stood out for their change of tone and pace.

I lost track of how many encores there were. The performers didn't want to stop singing and dancing. They still had energy and enthusiasm to burn. They came out into the audience to dance. We all clapped and sang along as invited.

The drummers were brilliant. You could feel the rhythm pulsating through the floor,  your feet, ears and even in your heart during the show.

We could still feel the Brazilian beat and energy, as we spilled out smiling into a warm summer evening on London's South Bank.

Just can't wait for the opening ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. We'd all better start preparing our superlatives for the spectacles to come.

 
For information on Anglicity's content writing services, email karen@anglicity.com

Friday, 14 August 2015

Your Right to Know


Pic of open filing cabinet with hands going through official documents in folders


At the Guardian's Masterclass on Investigative Journalism, Helen Darbishire of Access Info gave a fascinating talk on our right of access to information. Her presentation was entitled Your Right to Know: Legal Leaks. This is a topical subject in Britain. 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. There is also much discussion about a British bill of rights.



Following a brief history, Helen explained that Freedom of Expression includes the Right of Access to Information (UN Human Rights Committee, Article 19, 27 July 2011). Such information includes records held by a public body, regardless of the form in which the information is stored, its source and date of publication (e.g. even an official's handwritten notes). 

There are two obligations:
i) Reactive - obligation to respond to FOI requests
ii) Proactive - obligation to publish information.

Helen gave the audience ten top tips to follow in pursuing FOI requests

·      TIP 1
            It might be public already!

·      TIP 2
            Set prejudice aside
            (Don't assume that you will never get the desired information).

·      TIP 3
            Know your right/law

·      TIP 4
            Keep a record of your requests. Set an alarm.
            European FOI time frames vary
            Best in class: Estonia, Iceland & Sweden at 5 days
            Worst in class: Austria at 42 days
            United Kingdom: 20 days

·      TIP 5
            Think laterally

·      TIP 6
            Go public with your request
            A request is a story. Campaign for an answer.

·      TIP 7
            Be prepared for the answer
            Have experts on standby to help you analyse the data on receipt.

·      TIP 8
            Anticipate exceptions
           Send separate requests. Don't be too obvious in what you are after.
           Cross-referencing information can fill in blanks.

·      TIP 9
            Appeal, Appeal, Appeal
            Know the deadlines. Ask for an expert. Cultivate pro bono lawyers.

·      TIP 10
            A refusal is a story to publish

·      BONUS TIP
            It's your right: use it or lose it!

Karen Andrews runs Anglicity Ltd. She is an entrepreneurial French to English translator, editor, content writer and marketing consultant. Contact karen@anglicity.com for further information on Anglicity's services.
 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Salt of the Earth


Green Brazilian forest and hillside Salt of the Earth is a documentary on the life and work of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. German film-maker Wim Wenders co-directed it with Salgado's son Juliano. I saw it at the French Institute's Ciné Lumière in London.


The Salt of the Earth title refers to humanity. During an award-winning career, Salgada has recorded some of the world's major events with his camera. The film shows many of his still photographs in black and white. The images are both stark and powerful.


Brazilian gold mine
The documentary opens with a blank screen. Then, you see yourself looking down over a large, open-cast gold mine in Brazil. The miners resemble ants. It looks like Hell on Earth - yet that experience is saved for later in the film. The miners at least had the hope a rich seam of gold, as they carried their sacks of mud up ladders in a fast, steep climb.

Infant mortality
One of the most touching early scenes was set in North East Brazil. Infant mortality rates are high. Death is part of everyday life. Coffins-to-rent are lined up against the wall alongside fruit and vegetables for the living. If a child dies unbaptised its eyes are left open. They hope that it will still find the way from Limbo to Heaven.

Arctic
Juliano speaks of his father as a sort of superhero, who came and went on his photographic adventures throughout much of his childhood. He relished the chance to accompany his father. Together they go to the Arctic to photograph walruses and polar bears. Here, we also see some of the boredom and frustration at having to wait around for the desired shot and composition - never mind the discomfort of having to roll over hard pebbles to ultimately get close enough unseen.

Kuwait
Salgado captures the human spirit battling against seemingly impossible odds. In Kuwait, we see the burning oil wells in 1991. He captures the spirit of Canadian fireman still polishing up their fire engine at the end of a long, exhausting day - even though they know it will be covered with oil and dirt again in the morning. He shows the Kuwaiti royal family's thoroughbred horses driven mad by being left behind, trapped.

Africa
We see famine in Africa. A father carries his son only for him to die as they reach the doctor. Salgado shows others who survive, but whose lives and health will still be blighted by the experience. 


African's feet and lower legs standing on barren land


Rwanda
The most powerful shots are of the Rwandan refugees fleeing genocide. Salgado captures many traumatised souls in his lens on their trek between Rwanda and DRC. 210,000 did not make it. Those that did were sent back. He speaks of having to lay down his camera at times in tears. Some pictures are unbearable. He saw the real scenes in motion with his own eyes. He says:

"We [...] didn't deserve to live; no-one deserved to live. When I left there I no longer believed in anything".


Rebirth in Brazil
After the Hell on Earth that was Rwanda, Salgado said he felt sick without being physically sick. It was his wife Léila who raised the family morale. They replanted trees on the barren slopes of the once green family farm. She started something that others copied. The forest and its animals returned.

Together the Salgados created the Instituto Terra. Today, it serves as a testament to the power of the human spirit and nature to recover. 




Karen Andrews runs Anglicity Ltd. She is an entrepreneurial French to English translator, editor, content writer and marketing consultant. 
Contact karen@anglicity.com for further information on Anglicity's services.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

"Don't even give them cake" (Calais 2015)







Migrants in Calais are so desperate to come to the UK that they are risking life and limb. Britain's answer? Barbed wire. Bash the French. Send in the dogs and the army. Deny them benefits perhaps? Let them starve? Mustn't encourage others...


Whatever next? Let them eat cake? This is supposed to be the civilised 21st century Britain.

They keep coming because Britain has a great reputation. The trouble with reputations - both good and bad - is that they can endure beyond real events.

These are not invaders. This is not 1066 and the Norman invasion. This is not the Spanish Armada with the Inquisition. The "invaders" are not Nazis.

Barbed wire and starvation won't stop migrants from coming. British foodbanks are bad enough. I do not wish my country to try and starve people out. I do not wish my country to turn a blind eye to adults, children or babies drowning in the Mediterranean.

Island mentality
Britain has such an island mentality. We are justly proud that we managed to maintain our independence despite the odds over centuries. We should be more sensitive to the fact that our European neighbours' countries were more easily turned into war zones.

One of the advantages of having European friends is that they can tell us when we are getting it wrong. The Germans may tell the Greeks that they have been spendthrifts. The Greeks may tell the Germans that they are being too austere. The British and French keep to verbal fisticuffs these days.


Eurotunnel

In March, I saw for myself the measures that Eurotunnel had taken to expand the compound, so that fewer lorries were exposed in the open. I heard about their thorough lorry checks. Frustration was rife over the same migrants returning day after day. French police were powerless. They had to keep putting the migrants back on the other side of the fence - a short distance away from where they were found.

I heard about the fights breaking out with lorry drivers, fearful of UK fines and damaged cargoes. There was exasperation that inadequate staffing levels in British passport control at Calais meant lorries had to queue on the motorway, making them sitting ducks for migrants. The Calais residents, drivers and Eurotunnel were afraid that migrants would be knocked down and killed on the dark road late at night.

My visit took place on 25th March 2015. The problem has been around even longer than that. It has just been ignored. A Guardian article describes a problem back in September 2001.

Scare them?
I saw a picture of a child passed over a barbed wire fence in the news. I remembered reading bedtime stories to my children at similar ages. Michael Rosen's "We're going on a Bear Hunt" came to mind. A father and family go out in search of a bear. They travel through all sorts of terrain and get scared by the bear in a cave and rush home. For these migrants the scary bear is at home. Even if Mr Cameron stands at the mouth of the tunnel and pretends to make himself as scary a bear as possible with the army for back-up, it won't be scare these migrants to go back home.

Increased cruelty may scare the ordinary British people more, already robbed of old social safety nets. Yet strangely greedy bankers still manage to stay out of prison.

The crisis in Calais is costing Britain money. If money is your priority, it is not working.

Reaction and overreaction
A little while ago I did a pro bono translation for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in Paris. I translated the annual report section on migrants. After the translation, I deleted "proud Brit, Francophile and Europhile" from my profile. It was a reaction. An overreaction. I just didn't feel so proud of my country or Europe after that translation. I translated the failure to accept accountability for migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. I translated legal avoidance tactics.

These migrants are desperate people. Some are fleeing torture, death, famine, etc.

And what if some of these desperate people prove to be economic migrants?

Opportunity in Family History
What is so wrong with wanting a better life for yourself and your family? My parents wanted a better life for me. They wanted me to have an education and greater opportunities than they had. I do not agree with all Margaret Thatcher's politics. I do appreciate that I got the opportunity to go to university because of the social mobility she fostered. Today, we are going backwards.

To the best of my knowledge my genealogy is completely British. My children however, are of Anglo-Indian descent on their father's side. Although our marriage did not last, I can still appreciate that his family came to Britain to give their children (and therefore my children too) better opportunities.

The family arrived on a ship at Marseille via the Mediterranean. The female line can be traced back to Poitiers in France during the French Revolution and to Tipperary in Ireland. They arrived in Britain in the bitterly cold winter of 1962-63. They were cheated out of the home they had pre-arranged (just as some migrants are being taken advantage of today). They ended up in a hostel and later in a one-bedroomed flat with 3 children under 5.

Life is not easy for immigrants in Britain. It is tough for the first generations to settle. They come for their children's education and opportunities. I remember watching a documentary on how hard immigrants found it to return to India after discovering that Britain is not the El Dorado that they had believed. They ended up sleeping under railway bridges or in sheds at the end of London gardens. Too proud to lose face and return home unsuccessful.

EU 2020 Initiative
I came to London from my native South West for greater job opportunities. Today the Internet can create jobs and improve educational access even in rural areas. The EU's 2020 initiative is providing improved broadband connections for Member States. Cornwall has benefited.  The EU now has satellite broadband available aimed at raising coverage to 100% in every Member State.

Estonia has made access to the Internet a human right. The digital divide creates more haves and have-nots. Without wifi access, it is difficult to compete economically or in education terms today. The gap may get wider. How about extending the 2020 initiative outside Europe?

Stop-gap solution or fix?
Conflict, famine and lack of opportunity are forcing migrants to leave their own lands. As a project manager, I know you can keep applying a stop-gap solution to a problem, but in the end it comes unravelled in a spectacular way. It is far better to deal with the problem at source.

The source of the problem is not at Calais - nor is it in the Mediterranean. People don't like charity. The majority don't sponge off the state. Put more effort into solving the world's conflicts, create education and business opportunities via the Internet wherever they are and they will help themselves. An unrealistic ideal? Africa has already shown it prefers to help itself.

Dedicated or crisis budget?
Ah, but it will cost money.... It's costing money now. Far better to have a dedicated budget than a crisis one. The solution has to be a long-term one. Better get started now. If we had started back in 2001, there wouldn't be such a problem today.

Maybe international aid should be seen as the repayment of a debt rather than a hand-out? Once Africans were snatched from their homeland into slavery. Today they come of their own free will and we won't let them in. What a cruel paradox. 



Sunday, 9 August 2015

Japanese Tea Ceremony


Pic of Japanese frothy Japanese green tea, matcha tea powder and tea whisk


The Japanese Galleries at the British Museum in London are sponsored by the Mitsubishi Group. In one corner sits a small Japanese tea house. I witnessed a Japanese ceremony there on 7th August.

Urasenke Foundation
Three students from the Urasenke Foundation kindly demonstrated and explained all the Japanese tea ceremony's details. There was so much interest that there were not enough seats available for everyone. We were happy to sit and listen on the floor. We all learnt that there is so much more to the ceremony than the drinking of tea. Humility is an especially important part of the process.

Chado
Our presenter kindly explained that the Japanese word "Chado" is formed of two parts. "Cha" means "tea"; "do" means "way" or "path". The Chado ceremony thus comes to mean "the way of tea".

Two guests were invited to the tea ceremony. One was one of the Urasenke Foundation's students to show the way; the other was invited to follow her from the gathered audience.

The two guests had to remove their shoes before entering the tea house. The British Museum's Japanese tea house is a typical 16th century design, although it is not a life-size version.

Humility
Guests have to crawl through a small entrance to enter the tea house. The entrance is just 72cms in height. The need to crawl into the tea house is supposed to remind guests to be humble and show humility towards everyone inside. No matter how powerful you are, you are still expected to show an attitude of humility towards your host and other guests. Even a great Samurai warrior would have been expected to remove his weapons on entry and crawl inside.

Once inside, the two guests looked at the various items used in the tea preparation. They were offered a sweet tea first, before any other tea.

Chinese Medicinal Origin
Our presenter explained that tea came to Japan from China. It was originally taken as a medicine. As a result, you speak of 1 or 2 "doses" of tea in Japanese rather than "cups" of tea.

Meditation and Purity
The tea ceremony involves a period of meditation. All the host's actions were measured, calm and respectful in preparing the tea for her guests. She took great care in cleaning all the various tea items - bowls, tea whisk, spoon, etc. She used the procedure laid down by the Tea Master and his successors in the 16th century. Chado has its roots in the "clarification" process from the Shinto religion. Before entering a Shinto temple, it is important to wash your hands and mouth. It is a time to be pure in both mind and soul.

Matcha Production Process
Our presenter explained that the tea used in the ceremony is a powdered green tea called "matcha". Tea production starts in May. Only the best leaves are picked when they are still just buds. They are steamed, dried and left in a dark place for 6 months. Then, they are ground into a fine powder. No machinery is used. The grinding is carried out with a stone by hand.

This process develops and adds depth to the tea's flavour. As the tea is powdered, no part is lost. The tea has a clear, clean colour. It keeps all its vitamins as it has never been exposed to the sun. It is also reputed to have anti-ageing properties.

Bowl turning
The guests bow to thank their host for the tea and show their appreciation before drinking. It is very important to pass the tea bowl with the front facing forwards. We saw how the tea bowl was turned in drinking, as passed between host and guest and returned after drinking by the guests to the host.

The front of the tea bowl usually bears a pattern. In passing the bowl with the front facing forwards, the host shows the best part to the guest. The guest drinks from the side. After drinking, the guest turns the front of the bowl back to face them to see the best part again. Then, the bowl is turned to face the host as it is returned.

Our presenter likened this procedure to how we would return a book to someone. We return it facing right way for them to read the words on the cover.

Mindful Atmosphere
If you are ever invited into a tea house in Japan, you are expected to be humble. You should not wear any jewellery at all. No watches either. You should put any jewellery or watches away in a pocket out of sight. You should be mindful of your five senses and enjoy the beauty of nature. You should not wear any strong perfume or aftershave as this would destroy the atmosphere.

It was not permitted to film the tea ceremony or take photos during the presentation. Chado is not a religion, yet it contains elements of both Buddhism and Shintoism.

At the end of Chado, the hostess cleaned all the utensils and bowls. She put them all back as they were at the beginning of the ceremony.

Questions
Our presenter answered various questions from the fascinated audience at the end. She described how the tea's taste might appear bitter at first, before a fuller flavour comes through as with coffee.

She was particularly respectful and attentive in answering the questions of children at the front. She explained that the tea looked like a frothy green version of cappuccino.

How much closer the world seems in the 21st century.  A familiar Italian beverage can help British children, (and other nationalities), understand Japanese tea. 

The Japanese tea ceremony provided some welcome calm within the British Museum heaving with summer holiday visitors from all over the world. Although not mentioned, a time of humble reflection was a fitting way to start a weekend commemorating the Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic bombs of 70 years ago.

Many thanks to the Urasenke Foundation.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

From Sceptic to Digital Convert


Pic of laptop with iPad and smartphone resting on top

Reluctant hack converts to enthusiastic digital journalist would be a fitting subtitle. Jon Henley described his conversion to digital journalism in the first session of The Guardian's latest Masterclass. His experiences contain echoes and insights for the translation community and many other fields.

Jon Henley started his career as a Dutch to English translator. Like many a translator, he has seen a dramatic transformation since the old typewriter days. He shared his journey as an "ageing hack" (his words, not mine), who is now embracing the digital revolution. He outlined the opportunities in "New Ways of Storytelling".

Old days
In the past, journalists viewed themselves as "dispensers of the truth". They would decide
a) what was newsworthy
b) its degree of importance
and even
c) your opinion on the subject.

The traffic was all one-way. There was little comeback from readers. Newspapers provided "the first draft of history". Even the letters page involved careful selection and editing.

Journalism today
And now? Journalists have lost their monopoly. Jon viewed this challenge as "a good thing in retrospect". Today, anyone with a smartphone and a Twitter account can act as a journalist. The Egyptian people tell the world about unfolding events in Tahrir Square.

Pic looking down on tiny people forming shape of a video camera

Engaged readers
Jon acknowledged that some readers have always known more than journalists on a given subject. Journalists are not always accurate. Today, the general public can correct them. And they do...

Today's audience act as fact-checkers and contributors. They comment. They propose storylines. They suggest new contacts and avenues to explore.

Millions access The Guardian's website rather than the printed newspaper. They find their way via a web search or a shared link on a variety of platforms.

Readers have now also become distributors. The traffic is now "multi-million way". News flows in all directions.

"Articles are the beginning of a process, not the end".

 Andrew Sparrow's Politics Live blogs illustrated this point.

Journalists in demand
Despite the dramatic transformation, the underlying principles remain the same. In Jon's view, the old days were not necessarily the "good old days". Whereas journalists used to approach people for stories, those very same people now come in the front door actively seeking journalists out.

Stories of the Greek people
Jon contrasted the "bad old days" as a foreign correspondent in France with his more recent experience of reporting on the Greek crisis. He described French bashing after consulting with the past's limited sources against the use of Twitter to engage with ordinary Greeks for stories of hardship and self-help. He had hundreds of replies before even landing in Athens.

Responsible follow-up
Open journalism is not without its difficulties. A medical story could have threatened Greek tourism when German and British tabloids picked it up. A good follow-up story created a positive vibe and increased The Guardian's web traffic. There was even a tweeted suggestion of Greek citizenship.

                                  "Responsive and responsible journalism".

The project was conceived on the Internet from the very start. The audience really wanted to get involved. They wanted people to be properly and honestly informed about their situation. 

Jon Henley is now convinced that working in this way helps to rebuild public confidence. In the public eye, journalists have a reputation that is "not much above politicians".

Verification remains important. The response can make you dizzy. A journalist should not abandon traditional judgement and values. Reports should still be objective, accurate, balanced and complete.

Benefits of open journalism
Open journalism harvests stories and gets results faster than the old ways. It is:
a) effective
b) beneficial - building trust and engagement
c) essential in the Internet age (although not suitable for everything).

Powerful storytelling
Video is a powerful way to tell a story, as in the case of a Tasmanian family hiding from a bushfire. The Guardian's Firestorm included videos taken by those on the scene at the time. The interactive story took weeks to create.

It is hard to predict what the future will bring. Journalism has changed dramatically in just 5 years. In Jon Henley's opinion, the transformation has brought more effective and responsible reporting, a more democratic relationship with readers and terrific storytelling.


Karen Andrews, content writer
Karen Andrews runs
Anglicity Ltd. She is
an entrepreneurial
French to English
translator, editor,
content writer and
marketing consultant. 

Contact karen@anglicity.com 
for further information 
on Anglicity's services.