For a project I did for the Economist, I created a treemap script that could be easily updated via Google Spreadsheets every day, allowing a running tally of Olympics medals for each country and event.

The treemap was created via The Javascript Infoviz Toolkit, with Google Spreadsheet data pushed via PHP.

I found this particularly illuminating:

I think a lot of the criminal justice legislation of recent years has been a response to popular newspaper complaints. It’s not wholly new, and the popular press have always tended to be—– made a great virtue of ever toughter policies on law and order, and I don’t know a politician who isn’t in favour of tough policies on law and order, but there has been a wave of ever more noisy campaigns, either following high profile criminal cases or whatever, demanding ever tougher sentences from an ever wider range of crimes, to which government and Parliament seems to me to have most readily conceded.

Part of what I asked myself when I got back in charge of prisons again, after an interval of 20 years: why do we now have double the prison population? Why are all the sentences longer than they used to be when I was led to believe as a member of the public that crime had actually fallen in the intervening time? Some would say it’s cause and effect, but it plainly is not because the longer sentences are for one type of crime and the fall in crime has been in other types of crime, mainly crime against property which sentences … fall, but not much. The answer is really a series of tabloid newspaper campaigns responded to eagerly by government and Paliament and a series of criminal justice bills.

Actually, it’s quite a lot of my officials and people in the criminal justice system, not just me as a politician, that even the courts respond to this strident demand all the time for ever longer sentencers, ever tougher penalties, and you can see the judiciary and the magistrates, if you like, responding to the criticism they would otherwise come under in individual cases if they don’t keep imposing strict penalties.

Obviously as a polician I disapprove of that. I’m not sure it really does represent a genuine public feeling. There are some people who think you would somehow get rid of crime if you just made the prisons nastier and the sentences longer, but it’s not the prevailing public view, and the newspaper campaigns are usually based on a very, very partial account of some very shocking high-profile case.


I won’t go back, I’m dilating on again, but I just think the clamour from particular newspapers for tougher and tougher Criminal Justice Acts has been responded to. I think prison requires tens of thousands of people in, they are serious criminals who should be punished severely and need to be put away to stop them committing more crimes, but I don’t think you should add people who are really an extremely annoying nuisance and people who really you can get them to stop being criminals if you dealth with them in some other way. Because the prisons are so overcrowded and so difficult to do anything there, we are steadily toughening up an underclass of criminals who keep going round and round in the cycle, in and out, and I blame the newspapers for that.

(Emphasis mine.)

This is the blog and portfolio of Ændrew Rininsland, London-based Canadian expat multinerd.

I use Google+. Woo.

(This is mainly a placeholder for Google microdata stuff. Will add more content later.)

Londoners collectively spent an estimated 36 million hours waiting for late buses in 2011, data revealed through FOI has shown. That means every man, woman and child in London spent over four and a half hours waiting for late buses last year alone.

According to Transport for London’s quality of service indicators, excess waiting time (EWT) on TfL’s high frequency routes averaged 57 seconds per passenger journey between January 2011 and 2012. On a whole, roughly one minute per bus might not seem very much — however, it really adds up when multiplied over the 2.3 billion bus journeys made per year alone.1

“Transport for London operates a fleet of 8,500 buses over 700 routes 364 days of the year,” said a spokesperson for TfL. “It is one of the biggest operations in the UK and Europe.   TfL  monitors the performance of all bus companies contracted to provide services in London.  Contracts are rigorously managed and financial penalties are levied if a bus company is not meeting targets for reasons within their control.  London’s buses generally perform very well.  Where issues are identified however, they are quickly rectified.”    

TfL measures bus performance two different ways. On high frequency routes, which run five or more buses per hour, users are less likely to use a timetable and thus EWT is used to measure how long they’ve had to spend waiting because of irregular or non-running buses. Meanwhile, users on low frequency routes are more likely to use a timetable and thus the percentage chance that a bus is running on time is more important.

Bus punctuality is most visible in central London, where road construction and rush hour congestion can have a dramatic impact on bus performance. It really is no coincidence that the performance of bus routes increases fairly substantially the further one gets from the city centre. Below, a normalized index has been used to compare the punctuality of both high and low frequency bus routes.

“Street works will have a sharp impact on buses, particularly when they’re ready to be timetabled,” said London TravelWatch policy officer Robert Nichols. “Any road works on the route will have a cumulative effect over the course of the day. The recent changes that TfL has introduced in terms of the licensing of road works and restrictions on the time and length of roadworks, we think that will increasingly improve things and make roadworks less disruptive.”

This can be seen with Abellio London, which on the whole had the worst record for both high frequency and low frequency routes — it averaged 1.13 minutes of excess waiting time and an average 80.1% chance of its buses departing on time (respectively). The following chart lists punctuality by provider:

“The problems we have are your normal disruptions in London — when I say that, I mean road closures, diversions because of road works, demonstrations and other events held in the centre of London,” said an employee with Abellio involved with network performance. “We have many routes that go through the centre of London and the City. Unfortunately, these are also the areas where lots of events and disruptions are held and these can impact performance.”

Of Abellio’s routes, the 414 was the worst high frequency with an average of 1.49 minutes of excess waiting time, followed closely by the 172 with 1.48 minutes. The N35 was the worst low-frequency, with only 68.56% chance of departing on time.

“With [the 414 and the 172], it’s quite simply where they traverse,” said the Abellio employee. “Unfortunately, those routes go through some very popular areas, and what’s going on in those areas can have a dire impact on the service. The 414 goes through Fulham Road and Hammersmith, and for the last six months there’s always been roadworks on Fulham Road — that doesn’t help service.”

“You also have when Chelsea play at home and the impact it has when thousands of people come to view that — your buses just aren’t going to be on time,” he added.

Meanwhile, the 220 (run by London United) was the worst high frequency line in averaging nearly 2 minutes of EWT. The N109 (run by Arriva London) was the worst low frequency route, with an average 68.6% chance of departing on time. Abellio’s 172 had the worst month out of all the high frequency routes, with 2.97 minutes of EWT in March, while Metrobus’ R10 route only had a 29.8% chance of departing on time between 17 September and 14 October.

Looking more broadly, the period from 17 September to 14 October was worst for the high frequency bus routes, with 1.09 minutes of EWT. 12 November to 9 December was worst for the low frequencies, with all those routes averaging only a 82.9% chance of departing on time.

Credit to dot linking for Tableau TfL route shapes.

  1. Note that this assumes the same amount of excess time spent waiting for the roughly half as many low frequency routes, which average an 85% chance of departing on time. Low frequency routes don’t use EWT, so it’s difficult to apply the “1 minute per trip” average to them, plus there is no breakdown of the 2.3 billion bus journeys number between low and high frequency routes. However, the collective 36 million hours stat above is still a very conservative estimate, as a “bus journey” as defined by TfL may involve multiple transfers, and there’s a possibility of EWT each time the user has to transfer to a different bus.

n0tice is a hyperlocal, community-driven news, events and classifieds website brought to you by The Guardian.

This plugin is designed to pull content from specific locales and/or n0ticeboards, allowing it to be curated for display on a WordPress blog.

A backend interface allows specific curations to be taken from n0tice, while a widget allows either curations or a raw feed to be displayed in a sidebar.

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Note: I wasn’t able to attend the second revision section, but listened through the audio recording on Moodle.

Media law Examination 2011

N.B. Answers are in bold for multiple choice.

1) Answer a, b, c or d. 1 mark per question.

  1. A trial of an indictable offence is heard in which court?
    1. The High Court
    2. The Divisional Court
    3. The Crown Court
    4. The Magistrates Court

ii. Who is the least senior of these judges?

a. **District judge** (In a Magistrate’s Court)
b. High Court Judge
c. Circuit Judge
d. Crown Court judge

iii. Where in a criminal trial following a guilty plea, there is a dispute on the facts between prosecution and defence and it affects sentence, this is called:

a. An indictable hearing (A hearing in which an individual is indicted.)
b. **A Newton hearing** (Where facts are determined.)
c. A plea in mitigation (Essentially sentence bargaining.) 
d. A summary trial (Trial within the Magistrate’s Court.)

iv. The standard of proof in a civil law case is:

a. Beyond all reasonable doubt (Criminal standard.)
b. A standard of certainty (Also a criminal standard.)
c. **The balance of probabilities** (Otherwise known as “more likely than not”.)
d. Beyond all probability
  1. The word “counsel” refers to:
    1. The lawyer
    2. The Court Clerk (Advises the magistrates on the law; is a lawyer.)
    3. The judge
    4. The defendant

vi. Which of the following is not a Source of law:

a. A statutory instrument
b. A Directive (I.e., something from the EU.)
c. Judicial precedent
d. **A Bill of Parliament** (A bill is before the legislation’s passed; after passed, becomes a statute. A bill is a draft that has no legal effect.)

vii. The European Court of Justice is situated in

a. **Luxembourg**
b. Strasbourg (European Court of Human Rights.)
c. The Hague (International Criminal Court.)
d. Brussels (EU Parliament.)

viii. Whose interest does CAFCASS look after in court cases?

a. Victims of crime
b. **Children**
c. Vulnerable adults
d. Witnesses

ix. Who is the deputy to the Attorney General? :

a. The Deputy Attorney General
b. The Lord Chancellor (Head of the Ministry of Justice.)
c. **The Solicitor General**
d. The Director of Public Prosecutions (Head of Crown Prosecution Service.)
  1. What is the purpose of a “without prejudice” letter?
    1. To set out your case
    2. To ask the other side for more details of their case
    3. To confirm that the case will be contested
    4. To try to negotiate a settlement (You’re setting out why the case should be resolved now instead of in court.)

2) Whilst working as a reporter on a car magazine you are informed there are safety concerns about a new car the Laser, made by a leading car manufacturer. You speak to a man who claims a serious accident he was involved in was caused by a fault with the steering wheel on the car and he is aware of others who have also been involved in similar accidents. He shows you a letter of complaint sent by his solicitor to the car manufacturer and he says he has also informed his MP.

The MP also raises these safety concerns in a telephone interview he gives you.

You contact the car manufacturer who make no comment.

  1. What steps would you take before publication, could the car manufacturer stop publication, who could sue and what would be the position on damages? 5 marks

Steps before publication? What real evidence do you have? There’s not much at the moment. More sources needed — couldn’t go to publication based on one person. Also find an expert opinion. Speak to source’s solicitor to get more backing; ask whether there’s any documented evidence to back it up. In terms of report itself: written in a balanced tone, facts have been presented, it’s not inflammatory or over the top. Are you saying these allegations are true, or simply saying they’re allegations that need to be investigated further.

Could the manufacturer stop publication? Not likely, it’s a libel case and not a confidentiality case. Under libel law, this not likely — rule against prior restraint (Bonnard v. Perryman 1891) Challenged by Green v. Associated Newspapers 2004, judges ruled that Bonnard v. Perryman was good law, not altered by Human Rights Act).)

Who could sue? Car company be entitled to general damages for loss of reputation. If they can prove actual loss of sales or revenue, might be able to claim under special damages. Directors and chief executives could sue if reasonably identifiable, though less likely.

  1. Following publication of a report on the issues, the magazine receives a letter of complaint from the solicitors for the car manufacturer. What are the two main defences you might rely on, explain your answer and what issues arise. 5 marks

Defences? Justification and common law qualified privilege. Justification = allegations are true, would have to prove on balance of probabilities and have evidence to support report. Common law qualified privilege = Reynolds; reporting on matters of real public interest, if proper journalistic procedures followed (Factors set out by Lord Nicols in Reynolds v. Times Newspaper 1998). Would need to be balanced, have right to reply. Grobolaw v. Times Newspapers; Galloway v. Telegraph, Jameel v. Wall Street Journal.)


  1. Explain how the law of libel and contempt applies to publications on the internet. 5 marks

Publication on the Internet the same as any other platform. Libel, contempt equally apply. Libel: If referring to ISP, may have special defence of innocent dissemination from Defamation Act 1996) Limitation period: 1 year from time of being taken down (offline: 1 year from publication). Circulation: if a small number of people, courts may dismiss the case. Geography: could be sued anywhere in the world.) Contempt: Normal principles apply. Anything reported once proceedings have started that could prejudice can be contempt. Giving the jury more information, showing the subject’s face where ident is an issue, etc. etc. — the same as offline. That said, courts also allow tweeting from the court room, don’t need OK from judge if reporter. Normal rules of contempt apply.

  1. Answer a, b, c, or d. 1 mark per question, 5 marks total.

  2. Who out of the following can sue for libel?

    1. The relatives of a dead person whose obituary is inaccurate (Dead and estates cannot sue for libel. Can bring to regulators, but not sue for libel.))
    2. A political party accused of wrongdoing on an internet site (Political parties cannot sue Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers 1993; Goldsmith v.) Bhoyrul 1998)
    3. A councillor accused in a newspaper of misleading the Council on a matter of public interest (Although an politician, he’s an individual and can bring case.))
    4. A government agency accused in a live television programme of corruption (Highly unlikely.))

ii. Which of these is not a relevant issue in the defence of innocent dissemination in libel law?

a. Who was in control of publication
b. Whether care was taken
c. Who made the statement
d. **Whether the statement is true**

iii. Where an honest mistake leads to a libellous statement being published by a newspaper, the appropriate defence is likely to be?

a. **An offer of amends** (Can't have offer of amends and use justification defence at the same time. Will lower damages to reflect offer made.))
b. An offer of mitigation
c. An offer of damages
d. An offer of removal

iv. Which of these factors is not relevant to a defence of fair comment?

a. What was believed at the time of publication by the publisher
b. **Whether the jury agree with the opinion**
c. Whether the facts in the report are true
d. Whether the report was on a matter of public interest
  1. In libel law, a defendant has to prove:
    1. The publication is not defamatory
    2. The publication does not reasonably refer to the claimant
    3. The truth of the publication (Burden of proof lies with defendent.))
    4. All of the above

4) You are reporting on a local newspaper and receive a telephone call that a local woman has gone missing and there are fears she has been murdered. You approach the police who say that a man has been arrested but as yet there is no charge:

What issues arise in reporting the following in an article in the newspaper?

  1. Naming the man arrested, publishing a photograph showing the man and the woman on holiday together with their children and publishing a picture of the street where they live. 5 marks.

Man has been arrested, so proceedings have started and Contempt of Court Act applies. If naming man, would have to ensure guilt not implied or publishing information that would cause serious prejudice to trial. Strict liability offence, would have to be carried by Attorney General. Could also fall into libel territory — if the wrong man or implied he’s guilty, he could sue for libel. Lewis v Daily Telegraph (1964) — can’t suggest guilty, but can report has been arrested. Needs to be carefully worded.)

  1. Publishing allegations from a family friend that the husband has had an affair in the past and is said to have a jealous nature, paying a neighbour who was the last person to see the missing woman and getting the brother of the arrested man to provide photographs. 5 marks.

At the moment is a suspect; under Contempt of Court law, publishing an image of someone still a suspect is an offence because he/she might still be subject to an identification parade. With vacation photo — privacy issues, inappropriate to show photo of children of someone who has been arrested (children pixelated or blurred to protect privacy). Copyright clearance of photograph.) Picture of street? Potential class actions — if very general without identifying particular houses or individuals, less of an issue. If focusing on 2-3 houses, possibility that those living in those houses can bring a libel action due to being accused of being a suspect. Allegations from family friend? Provides motive for crime; might not be in contempt, yet after the Jeffries case (And AG going after contempt cases more actively), would be better to avoid. Fade factor may apply — long way off from trial.) Paying neighbour? Serious breach of PCC and Ofcom codes; would have to tell prosecution. Danger of criminal charge of perverting the course of justice. Even without pay, could be interpretted as another version of events — danger of being dragged into the case yourself. Very unwise to speak to witnesses as to fact before the case is over. Expert witnesses another story. Brother providing photos? Would need to ask whether he’ll be a witness, and to avoid if so. If not a witness, might be able to speak to. Would have to ask who owns copyright and whether he has right to sell them. Is identity an issue relating to the suspect? What about privacy issues relating to others in the photos?

5) A 17 year old schoolgirl is charged with the murder of an elderly man aged 68) It is said the man was trying to stop a fight outside a school and was pushed and he fell and hit his hit and subsequently died.

  1. What court will the case commence in and in what court will the trial be heard in? Will reporters be allowed into report the proceedings?

Person is 17, so will commence in youth court. Will be transferred to Crown Court. Reporters will be allowed to report, both in Youth and Crown courts. No public in Youth Court. In Youth Court — §49 of Children and Young Persons Act applies (not identifiable). In Crown Court — §39 order, which is discretionary and granted in most cases. Might be lifted if defendant is found guilty of murder.)

  1. What restrictions or court orders are likely to apply?

Youth Court: §49) Crown Court: §39) If turns 18, veil of anonymity lifted.

  1. Explain the issue of “jigsaw identification” and how this could be relevant in this case.

Jigsaw ident: giving enough information to identify person even though not named. Details where the individual lived, which school, number of siblings, back of head shot, etc. could breach this. Shouldn’t identify individual due to §49/§39 orders. Less relevant here; more relevant to sexual offence cases.

  1. The victim’s son want to speak to you about his father to talk about the father’s life as a soldier and to highlight how easily a push and a blow to the head can lead to death. What contempt issues arise?

Duty not to cause serious prejudice; if reporting life and times of victim, would have to give account of life and not exaggerating the facts or providing detail of the crime. Would not refer to proceedings against defendent, by referring to what she did. More scope if early in proceedings due to fade factor. Blow to head — §5 of Contempt of Court Act, allows reporting of public affairs where the risk of prejudice is incidental. If talking the danger of head injuries, more general public affairs and less risk. Would need to factor how late into proceedings it is. AG v English; AG v Mirror Group Newspapers (Leeds Footballers case). (First a §2 defence, would have to show that it wouldn’t seriously impede or cause contempt. However, could then use §5 saying that report is in public interest and the risk of prejudice is incidental.))

2)5 marks each

6) Answer a, b, c or d . 1 mark each

  1. What court order would be most appropriate to protect the identity of the victim of blackmail?
    1. s46 order (Primarily to do with vulnerable witnesses)
    2. s39 order (Children or young persons)
    3. s11 order (Prevents publication of matters from disclosure in the court where necessary — doesn’t lapse at end of trial.))
    4. s4(2) order (Series of staggered trials, where during course of trial important that certain information doesn’t go into public domain)

ii. A s4(2) order lasts for what period of time:

a. **Until the judge lifts the order**
b. Whilst a witness is giving evidence
c. Until the end of the trial
d. Until the verdict

iii. Which of the following proceedings are not subject to the laws of contempt?

a. The employment tribunal
b. Courts Martial
c. Coroner’s Inquest
d. **General Medical Council proceedings**

iv. Which of the following is a reporter allowed to do?

a. Sketch in court
b. Use a tape-recorder in court
c. Film the proceedings using a mobile phone
d. **Tweet in court subject to the judge’s consent**
  1. A conviction that ended in a prison sentence of five years becomes spent:

    1. never (Sentences of over 2)5 years years can never be spent — Rehabilitation of Offenders Act)
    2. after 10 years
    3. after 3 years
    4. after 5 years
  2. Explain the reporting restrictions that apply when reporting preliminary hearings such as a bail hearing in the magistrate’s courts and the reason for the restrictions. 5 marks.

§8 of Magistrate Courts Act 1980 (“Barebones” rule) — can only report bare bones of trial, it’s not a full trial, it’s a bail application. Name of defendent, magistrates and lawyers, which court the hearing was in, occupation of defendent and age, actual charge and summary of charge, when and where next hearing is taking place, arrangements about bail, whether the case is being transfered to Crown Court, whether restrictions have been lifted. Can’t report why bail is not being granted, previous convictions, legal argument. Similar rules apply in Crown Court.)

7) You are working on a television current affairs programme. You are given confidential internal document from the accounts department of a major international company that highlight legal methods that can be used to avoid the company paying tax. The documents DO NOT highlight any illegal behaviour. The documents are e-mailed to you by an employee of the bank who you have promised anonymity.

You want to show and refer to the documents in a documentary about how companies avoid paying tax.

  1. Explain what confidentiality law issues arise and discuss whether the company could stop the broadcast of the programme by an injunction. Explain the issues and arguments the court would consider. 5 marks.

Test set down in Coco v AN Clark 1969 is: is info confidential, is there a duty of confidentiality owed, has there been an unauthorized disclosure? Prince Albert v Strange; Prince Charles v Associated Newspapers. Could company get injunction? Could apply for it, court would have to look at test of confidentiality, art. 10 of European Convention on Human Rights (Is there a public interest in this being disclosed?), §12(3) Human Rights Act about injunction being granted for confidentiality (No injunction is to be granted to restrain publication unless applicant is able to establish publication would not be allowed — i.e., only if applicant is likely to win case). Not highlighting illegal behaviour, so no public interest defence. Confidential document that would only be obtainable by a 3rd party working for the company. If not showing illegal behaviour, reasonable case for keeping documents confidential. If illegal behaviour, different matter.)

  1. Could the company obtain disclosure of the source of the documents and the return of the documents? Explain the issues and arguments the court would need to consider. 5 marks.

§10 of Contempt of Court Act 1981, basic provision a court should not order disclosure of sources unless: a. Matter of national security b. Prevention of crime c. Interests of justice. If tests satisfied, could defend with Art. 10 (Right to impact information), the right to protect whistleblowers in the public interest. Company would say it’s important to identify the disloyal employee. Major cases (X v Morgan Grampian 1990, Goodwin v UK; Mersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd). Camelot v Centaur Communications 1999; company ordered to disclose where they got some information re: directors pay. Could seek a warrant from the court, or ask the police to return it (stolen property. If police asked to investigate, police would have to seek disclosure of the documents before PACE activates — i.e., would have to seek court order under PACE; to get that, would have to seek evidence for an indictable offence, would have to show they’d sought disclosure; likely to be excluded material, i.e., that under confidential circumstances.))

8) What PCC/Ofcom and legal issues arise in the following situations?

  1. Publishing a photograph of a footballer and his son sitting at a table outside a restaurant having a meal

Is there a reasonable expectation of privacy? Although seems a public place, footballer should have reasonable expectation of privacy. Somewhat similar to being in a church or a road accident. Has the celeb sought publicity about family? If so, perhaps more justification for showing that. Might also ask about the circumstances relating to the particular photo — has the photo been taken seriously, by a member of the public by chance, something going to cause deep personal offence, etc? Issues to do with protecting children — Murray v Big Pictures 2008, i.e., the J.K. Rowling case. Might be advisable to pixelate child.

  1. Reporting on a suicide where a man jumped from a window, showing a photograph of the person just before they jumped and flowers being laid at the scene

PCC/Ofcom rules say to show a sensitivity; shouldn’t show moment of death; have to regard privacy issues and sensitivity towards the family; shouldn’t give explicit details as to what happened. First photo would need to regard sensitivity of the family. Second might not be possible if it shows people in deep grief; however, if a public display of grief (i.e., laying flowers), might be more acceptable to do so.)

  1. Reporting at a school

Basic principle is that you have to seek permission from the school, e.g., head teacher. Should have permission in writing. Pupils shouldn’t be asked questions beyond their general capability to answer and should avoid asking questions about personal issues or controversial topics (parents might complain).)

  1. Following a criminal trial where the defendant was found guilty, paying the defendant’s wife and a juror to tell their story about their thoughts on the case.

Paying a criminal or an associate is “highly unusual” unless with really high public interest (Tony Martin case; PCC case involving Jonathan Aitken’s daughter). §8 of Contempt of Court Act — should not ask juror how decision in jury room was made. General thoughts on case or thought on defendent, or running of courts, etc. should be okay. But must not go into jury deliberations.)

2)5 marks (Each, I’m guessing)


  1. Answer a. b. c. or d. 1 mark each.

  2. An exclusive copyright licence to a publisher grants:

    1. The complete transfer of copyright ownership
    2. A partial transfer of copyright ownership
    3. Permission to publish the copyright work to the publisher alone
    4. Permission to publish the copyright work but others may also publish the work

ii. Copyright in a magazine article written by a freelance writer who has recently died is owned by:

a. The magazine
b. The editor
c. The person who commissioned the report
d. **The estate of the freelance writer**

iii. A photograph is taken in 1925 and the photographer died in 1935) When does copyright in the photograph expire?

a. 1975
b. 1985
c. 1995
d. **2005** (70 years from death of person creating the work)

iv. A trial seeking damages for breach of copyright would be heard in which court?

a. The magistrates’ court
b. **The High court**
c. The Crown Court
d. The Copyright court 
  1. The right to life in the European Convention of Human Rights is:

    1. Article 1
    2. Article 2
    3. Article 8 (Privacy)
    4. Article 10 (Freedom of Expression)
  2. “The law of fair dealing provides a fair balance between the public’s right to know and the right of the copyright author to prevent copying of his work”. Discuss. 5 marks.

Fair dealing main cases: Hubbard v Vosper 1972, Fraser-Woodward Ltd v BBC 2005, BBC v BSkyB 1992, Pro Sieben Media AG v Carlton Television 1999)

10) “The law of privacy and the number of privacy injunctions has got completely out of control. Judges should protect freedom of expression and the freedom of the press – not celebrities trying to cover up their private lives. Parliament needs to legislate in this area”. Discuss. 10 marks

Privacy main cases: Naomi Campbell v MGN 2004, Douglas v Hello 2003 (I think; also 2005 and 2007 — not sure which is most relevant), Peck v UK, Mosely, etc.)

Note: These may be somewhat scattered and incomplete, same caveat with all my notes — Battle moves really quickly through this stuff. Also, apologies for any spelling errors.

  • Have to answer all questions. “You need to know a little about a lot.”
  • “Preferable” to know the cases and the statutes.

Answers for 2010 test (Questions available on Moodle):

  1. Magistrates Court
  2. (Didn’t get it)
  3. Crown Court
  4. Inditement
  5. Strasbourg
  6. Public authority
  7. Attorney General
  8. Ministry of Justice
  9. If in spoken word, is slander, not libel. So, no.
    • In terms of contagious diseases, damages don’t need to be proven.
  10. Not likely to succeed as libel action.
    • Does it succeed on its comment (”fair comment”) — is it made without malice, is it made on the facts, etc. §1 doesn’t apply because it’s prerecorded. Berkoff v. Berchill case.
  11. Politicians personally can sue, though political parties can’t (Darbisher County Council v. Times Newspapers), an individual can sue if accused of corruption. Would have to prove what is being said; might be able to rely on Reynolds defence. Could apply for the case to be struck out due to insubstantial publication (Jameel v. Dow Jones). Could also be subject to proceedings outside of Britain.
  12. If said in a press conference (i.e., a public meeting), subject to qualified privilege (Breen v. Times Newspapers) if reporting is fair and accurate.
    • More the statutory qualified privilege (Defamation Act 1996)
  13. Probably defamatory, but might not be libellous if written in a straight manner. Would need comments from Met, the bank. Defences: justification (Lewis v. Daily Telegraph); relies on burden of proof. Possibly Reynolds Defence is you fairly and honestly report facts as known at the time. If not, the bank could get damages for losses but not for loss of share price (Tallit v. Financial Times)
  14. Limitation for bringing libel action for Internet article is 1 year from time it’s taken down.
  15. Absolute privilege (Defamation Act 1996)
  16. That the comment is fair.
  17. Never becomes spent.
  18. All the above.
  19. No photos of defendant or witnesses in court (Criminal Justice Act 1985). Shouldn’t harass either outside the court, though the practice is otherwise. Court orders in effect will change this.
  20. For sexual offences, criminal offence to identify (Sexual offences and amendment Act 1986) unless right to anonymity waived. Jigsaw identification comes into play; don’t identify even if they’re not named. §39 order prevents identifying youth.
  21. No, serious contempt of court. “Voi dere”
  22. No, time in trial when extra care is needed. In absence of order maybe be a straight report of charges, but not backgrounder or anything that could prejudice jury (Attorney General v. Mirror — Leeds Football case)
  23. Automatic ban applies only to those who are youths (17 and lower). No ban on John Jones if turns 18 or when transfers to crown court (Basic principle of open justice). No ban on naming victim; would have to show caution in interviewing family.
  24. Sketches have to be made outside of court from memory. Would have to ask whether orders preventing identification of witnesses are in place. Highly unlikely to do a reconstruction of events.
  25. Applying to court under Art. 2 of European Bill of Rights (Venables v. News Group Newspapers; case of Maxine Carr)
  26. First one involving a police should not have been made; not satisfactory reason offered (principle of open justice — Ree (s) v. A Child — only in rare and exception circumstances should such an order be made). May be justified for later trials to prevent substantial risk of prejudice.
  27. Just because defendent was in possession of heroin doesn’t mean there’s a moratorium on the topic; however, depending on the facts of the case, passing reference to current case might not be a great idea. Judge could halt the trial, could give directions to jury to ignore a particular article, could refer complaint to attorney general and/or order cost of trial to be paid by newspaper.
  28. Information confidential, has unauthorized use, and a duty to confidentiality is owed. Could argue right under Art. 10 and general public interest; also fact that information that’s going to come out into the public domain anyway. §12 of human rights act (injunctions), which states injunctions shouldn’t be granted unless the claimant can show they’re likely to succeed at trial (Lower bar than the Bonnard v. Perryman precedent set for libel). No copyright in the facts. Could lead to police investigation re: handling stolen goods. Might be able to force disclosure due to §10 of the (Police and Criminal Evidence Act? 1991?); in response, Art. 10 gives right to impact information (Goodwin v. UK). Camelot Group v. Centaur Communications
  29. Police wouldn’t be able to obtain without court order. Would have to satisfy certain tests in court. Harder for police to get disclosure under information deemed confidential; may be able to get under handling stolen goods.
  30. Order has been obtained by book publisher against somebody else and also applies to you (Spycatcher principle).
  31. Shouldn’t publish photos of her standing at grave (reasonable expectation of privacy), both PCC and Ofcom would rule against.

The Evolving Newsroom is a series of Q&As with important names in the data journalism field, discussing how the newsroom is evolving to better incorporate data and data-driven journalism. Next I’ve spoken with Simon Rogers, Editor at the Guardian’s Data Store and Data Blog.

Ændrew Rininsland: To start with, would you mind describing a typical workday?

Simon Rogers: We start by thinking about the news of the day — what’s going on today, what can we add to, what can we compliment, and is there stuff we can get stories out of by investigating and looking it? Because there’s not very many of us, we have to be very focused, we can’t look at everything. We also have different specializations — James [Ball] may focus on more investigative stuff, I might pick up some of the more mainstream stories. It really varies, depending on what we’re interested in. A news editor once said that the way to choose what you do each day is to look at things that interest you, because if it interests you, it will interest somebody else. I really believe that, you have to pick up things you can really add to.

We’ll look at that, and often then it goes into getting ahold of the data. Often we try to aim stuff for lunchtime, and the reason for doing that because is the web has sort of midday phenomenon, even with all of our U.S. readers. If you can get stuff up at lunchtime or early afternoon, you’re going to get more hits. So, there’s kind of time thing there, and a lot of stuff we do is very quick, we don’t have a lot of time to do stories. We don’t really spend ages doing stuff, whereas traditionally data journalism does spend a long time doing stuff. We don’t do that, we do things as quickly as humanly possible. But then what we do is we open up the data set and people can take it and do things in a better way. So there’s a lot of faffing around with the data, making it work properly, getting rid of all those merged columns and getting it to do what you want it to do. When you’re at that point, you can start looking at it and thinking what does this show us, what does this tell us — and that’s when it gets really interesting, when you can visualize it and make it work for you.

Then what we do is ask “What are we going to do with this?” Is it going to be interesting as a story? Is it going to work best as a graphic or visualization? The great thing about data journalism is it’s such a versatile format — what you do can end up in so many different results. You could just be printing the numbers, or you could be printing lots of things much different than that. It’s what makes it interesting — what you produce can be anything from a story to a visualization, an animation to anything else from that. Once we’ve done that, we kind of concentrate on getting stuff up and out there. But that’s not the end of it because being the Guardian, it’s very much an open organisation and we will try to put stuff out as much as possible on social media, Twitter, Tumblr, so on, see what people can do with it, and see what they like about it, what they don’t like about it and so on. So we try to make it a live process, where we respond to people as well.

Q: How does the Data Store make use social media?

A: We do it partly because they’re all traffic drivers — we often get about 50% of our traffic via Twitter, for instance. So it really works for us because less people use the front page and it’s really hard to get stuff on the front page; if you can’t do that, how are people going to find what you’re doing? So we rely quite a lot on social media, and some things do really, really well on social media without ever having being near the front page — the other day, we reproduced a graphic from the 1920s showing what people though life would be like in the 1950s, and it didn’t go anywhere near the front page until it started doing really, really well. So that stuff really matters for us. We’ve recently started doing a lot of stuff on Tumblr and Facebook, which at the moment because we haven’t been doing it that long, we don’t know how it’s going to go. But that could work out really interestingly, we just have to see what happens with that. That kind of thing, the increasing of that, is where people are going to share. Stuff going viral by word of mouth, that really matters for people. That’s what’s really interesting to us there.

Q: That community often feeds back with new content; how often does that community help produce new visualizations or other content?

A: It really varies; if you look at the comment field, some things do really well — we did the poverty map of England and it got 300 comments in about half a day. That’s one instance where feeding back into the visualizations, people take a bit longer. There’s only about 1400 active members of the Flickr group, but they are pretty active — they’ll normally post one or two things a day there. So it really varies, but I’ve noticed the frequency of stuff has increased over time.

Q: Talking a bit more about some of the Data Store’s outside contributors, what are some of the risk and rewards of having outside contributors?

A: I guess it can be risky, but newspapers have always used columnists and people who don’t work for them to write. There’s no difference in having somebody visualize something for you, who doesn’t work for you. What you often get are new takes and new ways of seeing things you wouldn’t normally get otherwise. You have to make sure stuff’s right, or if it’s not right you do stuff about it — that’s always a risk. We had somebody the other day we had to correct, because it wasn’t adequately sourced, and that happens sometimes. But it’s a risk worth taking because you get associated with being the place to see that kind of stuff.

Q: In terms of the positioning of the Data Store in the broader context of the Guardian’s newsroom and workflow, how would you describe it? Are you more of an island or more integrated into the overall workflow?

A: It’s really important that we’re part of the workflow of the paper as a whole. We sit on the news desk, we work closely with the news editors to suggest stories, we’ll see things they missed and so on. It’s really an interesting thing for us to be in our place. If we were too isolated, it’d be quite easy to just put your head down and worry about the latest scraper you’re working on, but it’s really much more important to be part of the routine of the desk. So now when people are, say, discussing the budget next week, other people will kind of just make sure we’re included in them, which I’m really pleased about, because that’s how it should be.

Q: How do other journalists in the newsroom perceive the work that you do?

A: I think before Wikileaks, it was seen as slightly odd — it’s still seen as slightly odd, really — but less-so. I think it’s always with journalists, that as soon as you get a story out of something, then it makes a difference, or as soon as you get content out of something — now increasingly what we do is stuff beyond stories that just does really well on the site — then people can see it’s important. They can see you can add stuff to what they’re doing — often journalists might be faced with a really hideous spreadsheet and they’ll might need help with that. I try not to turn anybody down, probably we all do a bit of that too much, but I think it’s important to be part of that process for as many people as possible.

Q: Has there been a movement towards computer-assisted reporting (CAR) and if so, has it been a gradual evolutionary process or more of a faster, revolutionary change?

A: I love this thing about definitions we always have to have; we talk about data journalists but also data scientists, data engineers and so on. I think CAR has been going for ages; Heather Brooke has been doing it for ages. What’s interesting now, I think, is how this really has become just part of the process for many people; it’s less unusual than it used to be, it’s less weird. What you have is a few tipping points that have kind of pushed it there — Wikileaks would be one, MPs expenses would be another — not necessarily in terms of what it achieved, but just for the idea that you could do it. Obvious the coverage of the riots was another. So these things add up and they create a whole which is more supportive, more interested in the entire area.

Q: You talked a bit about definitions and how people define things — how do you team members define yourselves? Do they see themselves as journalists, data journalists, data engineers, what?

A: Very much as a journalist; that’s my background, James’ background too. We’re reporters, and often what we’re doing is very pure journalism — it’s not colour reporting and all that kind of stuff people enjoy doing. There’s a strong history of people reporting on facts and trying to base on that their work and analysis, and that’s what we’re trying to do. I very much see us as journalists. It’s just journalism that’s changing all the time.

Q: In a previous interview, Conrad Quilty-Harper from the Telegraph mentioned the boundary changes map that you and they collaborated somewhat on. How frequently do you collaborate with other other data desks?

A: It’s more — I think we’re less… argumentative about stuff. For instance, the Telegraph had this really nice code which put two maps next to each other. So we pinched that, but we credited them for it. I’ve run a post before that Conrad Quilty-Harper wrote for the Telegraph site, some investigative work he did, and we ran that as well and said where it’s from. I think we’re less — obviously we’re a bit competitive in the same way that all journalists are competitive — but I think we’ll also recognize when other people have done good work and try to show that. A lot of the stuff we show on the site are graphics and things that have appeared elsewhere that we like. I’m about to put a post up now that’s graphics from CNN and New York Times and all sorts of people. I think there’s a whole sort of process there that’s interesting for people, that we’re doing much more of.

Q: So, how would you characterize your relationship with other data desks?

A: It’s quite a small world, people tend to know each other. You tend to know who the other people are because you tend to bump into them at events or conferences or things. It’s such a weird area that people who do it tend to stand out. I think it’s a good thing, it’s much more collaborative. Open journalism is what we’re about, right? This fits in totally with that. That said, the people we collaborate with might not be other journalists, they might be from developer groups or interesting organisations around the world.

Q: What part of the job is your favourite?

A: When you come across something that nobody else has found, “That is just a good idea, we should just do that,” — I love that aspect. And at the end of it, when you’ve done all the boring stuff and can see what it looks like; when you throw a load of locational data into a [Google] Fusion map and suddenly it creates a pattern that you haven’t seen before, that’s really lovely. That moment of realization that what you’ve got is actually interesting beyond just a number, that actually tells you something about that world — that works for me.

Q: On the flip-side of that, what’s your least favourite aspect?

A: God, it’s getting stuff out of PDFs; vlookups — I’m quite good at vlookups now, but I hate doing them when you’ve got like 650 departments or constituencies and you’re having to change a third of them. All that boring, kind of making data work together stuff — but it’s part of it, it’s part of the process, and I don’t know if you can improve the tools to make that easier. Google Refine does a lot of that, but I think at the end of the day, you’re going to end up with something that can be quite tedious, but it gets you to a point where you can tell a story you’d never be able to otherwise.

Q: How do you see the field of data journalism changing in the immediate future?

A: I think what will happen is it will become much more commonplace to the extent that what we do will not be that unusual — everyone will be doing it. And that’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing. When I started reporting, we didn’t have Internet access; people laughed at the idea of having Internet access on your machine. It wasn’t until 1998 that I worked at a place where we had Internet access all the time. But now can you imagine a journalist not using the Internet? I think it’s just the same process, it will become part what other people do.

Q: There seems to be two viewpoints: on one hand, it’s a growing part of what everyone does, and on the other, it’s a specialist skill restricted to those with a particular technical literacy…

A: I suppose there’s such a lot of variety within this world; everybody’s not doing the same thing. We republish data, and also, I’m very keen that we do stuff as much as possible so it’s part of the news routine, and gets on the front as much as possible. Whereas other people will spend months doing something, but what they produce will be amazing. The way the New York Times will work for a long time on stuff before they put it out whereas we’ll do stuff really, really quickly, partly because we know it does well with the traffic. It’s an interesting thing.

Q: In terms of journalists outside of the data store adopting some of these CAR techniques, how fast do you see that progression going?

A: It’s really changed since even last year. I mean, you have Polly Curtis doing Reality Check, essentially she’s doing what we’d call data journalism, but it’s just reporting for her. I think that’s what we’re going to see; I’ve noticed it much more frequently. I mean, we work in an organisation where most people in the office don’t have access to Excel because it’s expensive, so it’s limited, but it’s increasing, especially young reporters coming in and it’s just part of what they do; they don’t see it as anything special.

Q: Talking a bit more broadly about other movements surrounding data journalism, how does the open data movement inform the work that you do?

A: I suppose it’s been a kind of catalyst for a lot of this stuff. We launched in 2009, just after was launched, just before launched, so we’re really very much part of that timing. That’s really interesting for us, and it’s worked out quite well. That’s been lucky, and that’s maybe why we’re as well-known as we are in this field, just the timing. So it’s important to us, but I think it kind of helps you can ring up government departments now and they can’t refuse to give you stuff; very rare that people refuse to give you stuff now. So even during the riots, when we asked for those court records, people just said yes. That there’s a right to this information is really important.

Q: Are there any technologies you can see moving more towards the ubiquity that, say, maps now have? Also, how do you see geo stuff evolving into the future?

A: I think what we’ll see is much more disaggregated, raw stuff, where you can see stuff at a quite granular level. Especially geo stuff, we’re noticing that. We’re getting bigger data sets that are very, very local. And that’s really good. Certainly we’re in a place where we can do stuff with that.

Q: Do you see there being a separation between the print product and the online product in terms of the work that you do? If so, how does that vary?

A: I think now we’re very much part of the piece; often a story won’t launch until a data blog post is ready to go with it, which is great. It’s very much part of what we do. Often we’ll say “Get the data online” and also what we do often is product is graphics or visualizations for the paper. The Guardian is a multi-platform product, so we have space on all those platforms.

The Evolving Newsroom is a series of Q&As with important names in the data journalism field, discussing how the newsroom is evolving to better incorporate data and data-driven journalism. This time I’ve interviewed Paul Bradshaw, Editor at the Online Journalism Blog and lecturer at City University London.

Ændrew Rininsland: You said at one point that universities aren’t producing very many journalists going into Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR). Why do you think that is?

Paul Bradshaw: I think it’s partly because of what motivates people to do journalism in the first place, and students’ perceptions of journalism. Traditionally, journalism is about writing, it’s about telling stories, and people are attracted to journalism because they like the idea of writing stories — they are communicators. It’s an Arts subject, and Arts students tend to be good communicators, are able to structure a narrative in a story and find what’s interesting in newsworthy material. That used to be enough in journalism, but the conflict you’re getting now is that anyone can tell the news, can communicate these stories. Some of the stuff that journalists get away with as part of their job, the kind of content processing or “churnalism” that makes up a lot of journalism — the competition is so high that it’s really not justified anymore. I don’t think you can sit in an office and call yourself a journalist when there are hundreds of thousands of people doing exactly what you are, and in some cases, doing it better because they’re more passionate and are better writers. I think people come into to journalism courses with an image of themselves and of journalism that is out of date, so they don’t see the value of CAR and may see themselves as not the types of people who could do that; they might not seem themselves as numerate or good with computers.

Q: Has there been a gradual revolution in the perception of CAR by established journalists over the past 10-20 years? How have attitudes changed towards it?

A: I think journalists have seen the potential of CAR much more quickly than they have other types of journalism that involves technology, and I think that’s because they can see the editorial value in that and because there have been huge stories that have been about CAR. For instance, the MP expenses story — a story of a generation, really — was about having to deal with this huge amount of data and finding stories in it, connections in it. The Wikileaks story — again, a story of a generation — really, those have been two of the biggest stories of the last 20-30 years, and when other journalists look at those, they can say “How did they do those stories?” Well, the first thing the Guardian did was build a database. The first thing the Telegraph did was having people fill spreadsheets. In that sense, journalists have gotten to grips with CAR relatively quickly, particularly in the last couple of years. But there’s still a lag between that cultural understanding and the actual ability to do it. That, I think, is where you come up against the barrier of journalists seeing that as somebody else’s job — that’s the geek’s job, or we’ll get our developers to do that. That is changing; there is a lot of investment. For example, the BBC is training up thousands of journalists in basic CAR skills, and I’m getting approaches from magazine publishers and Australian news organisations and things like that. So it is changing, but it takes a long time to train a lot of journalists. What we’ll also increase that change is the increasing amount of data the government is publishing and the increasing amount of stories being done by people outside of news organisations who can interrogate that data.

Q: What are the most significant ways in which workflow has changed within the newsroom due to CAR?

A: I still think the workflow is relatively unchanged. There are efforts to change that — for example, at the Financial Times, I know that they are trying very hard to make the organisation more efficient and effective and collaborative in the way they deal with data. They have to deal with spreadsheets every day, but those spreadsheets stay on those reporters’ desktops. They’ve done a lot of work with XML, allowing reporters to access data but also driving interactives and graphics on the site so those are constantly updated. I think that’s something that’s increasingly going to be the case. The Guardian obviously is way ahead in terms of systematically dealing with data and publishing it and discussing it and making it a social artefact. But I think for most other organisations, it’s still something that other people do and it will take another significant reorganisation — we’ve had a lot of reorganisation of news teams where people are now working on a 24-hour rolling basis, things like that — probably the next big shift will be to reorganise people again so that data is embedded in the way that everyone works, and if that data is shared, it feeds into live publishing, it feeds into apps, there is a lot of commercial potential, which I think a lot of companies are exploring.

Q: What avenues do you see as being the most likely to bring CAR to the average newsroom?

A: I think the first thing is big stories, which have already happened and will continue to happen. News organisations being embarrassed by being beaten to stories by other organisations. So I think the Guardian’s continued work, Channel 4’s Fact Check — those sorts of projects. If other journalists feel that they should be keeping up with this, then that will probably push things. Also, money. The more commercial opportunities come out of data, then that ultimately will be the bottom line.

Q: While CAR and open data are somewhat different movements, how do you see the latter impacting the former?

A: The big difference is that CAR tends to take place on the desktop, or at least traditionally has. Journalists have worked on that in isolation; as I say, you have situations where other journalists within the same organisation don’t even know that data exists. You have situations where a team in one department will be gathering all sorts of data and there’s duplication of effort. Open data allows people to connect data sets more easily, get insights into those connections, add extra context, avoid basic errors around data and also to make stories a more collaborative effort — not just in the sense of it being easier to do for a news organisation, but people being engaged. Again, the Guardian shows the incredible engagement people can have with their stories.

Q: Do you think people who do CAR are viewed differently within the newsroom? Do you think there’s a separation between the CAR people and other journalists, or do you think it’s becoming more of a collaborative skill that people throughout the newsroom learn?

A: I think it depends on the newsroom. There are very established journalists who use spreadsheets regularly and I don’t think they’re thought of any differently because of that. As long as what they produce is what other journalists produce — and in some circumstance, quite often better. Where there is a distinction is when somebody comes in with that as their job title; they’re a specialist in data rather than a journalist in a particular field who happens to use spreadsheets and forms and reports. I think there’s a lot of traditional journalists who use these skills, but they don’t really talk about it, and then there are journalists where that defines them. There’s value in both, but there are people who start with basic journalism and gain those skills and people who begin with those skills and gain more journalism skills as time goes on. I think it’s probably more to do with job title and organisational structure than to do with the skills themselves. In terms of collaboration, I think that more of a general change in society, which is that technology has allowed us to be collaborative and reduced the importance and role of a formal organisation. Journalists are just part of that change in having to learn to collaborate with people outside of their organisations, just like in any other industry.