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Read this: Are the public interested in public interest news?

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Are the public interested in public inte…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts, this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 you interested public in public interest journalism, how do you get a bigger splash that is the theme of today's programme the largest leek of offshore data in history as in newspapers around the world co-ordinate unleash the Pandora papers their findings reveal the hidden wealth and tax avoidance of some of the world's richest and most powerful people over in the states of Facebook Whistleblower and an expose into a media company have also got this excited but how can the public be persuaded to pay attention to stories like this what tips something from worth reporting to gain changing will let me introduce you to my guests Ben Smith is m cornerstat New York Times and before that he was.

Chief at BuzzFeed news hello Ben will it be talking a lot today about investigations and art form that you are familiar with what would you say has been your own biggest well, the one of the glorious of being added as being able to take credit for other people's work and it's always go ahead and do that and headache basically quite small hand in the project the wonderful of to this year that mega rajagopalan did a bit after getting passed out of China and investigation of Chinese of the week as it was really like is the feeder incredible going because she had done it after being tossed about reporting on the company ozmedia Alexandra bus is also with us, she's seen The Economist for the economic for The Economist covering politics technology.

Hello, is there any part of your brief that Facebook haven't touched on this week has been keeping me busy on the media show with actually.

I'm having a sense of the Cambridge analytica scandal in 2018 and you're talking about that.

I'm in Facebook epic.

I not good.

What's that Mark Zuckerberg has posted ceiling on Instagram on doing anything but I will definitely about that obviously outages another thing as well.

It's happened Juliette Garside business editor at the Guardian and works on the Guardian newspapers coverage and Juliet you also worked on the paradise papers and the Panama papers.

Can you remind us what links them all and widely all begin with the letter p?

Will that the letter P I don't know it just happened and we do get them confused, but they are about similar things getting bigger each time so Panama papers was a leak of information from the offshore law firm mossack fonseca about 11 million files paradise papers was from a different social welfare.

I think they were 13 million files and that one and then the Pandora papers is 14 different martial law firm and they will work on it together with an organisation in washing icij who receives the data and then shared it out to hundreds of Janice all around the world and we all published together and Gibbs is investigator investigative reporter for the aptly named international Consortium of investigative journalists, she is one of 600 journalists around the world who been working on there.

Let's get off with you Margo what happens first because you had over 11 million financial records to choose from so how did you said about this? So I think it starts with a massive data crunch from icij stated him, so we have all of the all of the files stored on some service and many services and I think there is a month-long process of machine reading those files, so that we as journalists, can then go and and the files eventually and give them our hypotheses and say ok, so are there is their dirty money coming to the UK property system is there questionable fun going to go by democratic process exposes.

I mean you looking for big names to how do you find those that?

Basically I suppose and I think you seen from the Guardian fantastic coverage of UK political donations part of the processes you run around all political donors over a certain size and then you'll see you know what the results are and then and then comes the huge amount of reporting that goes into digging through OK positive is this an interesting records? What can we do by going outside the files and reporting elsewhere as they think that they have done fantastically with the reports for example and yes, so I suppose you start with the hypothesis of something that would be an important story to tell I'm and then you go and the data with what words you if this were true.

We would find something and yes, that's the process.

I mean.

As well is how do you feel when you're doing it because it like a slug or would you get a buzz out of it get such a person as well, but it's really exciting when you think that you're actually finding something.

That's a real juicy juicy nugget.

It's it's incredibly fun and exciting I think you know I came into this project since February I think other people have been on it for much longer one of the things.

That's most difficult quite a small organisation is you can get countless stories from the from these leaks, but if you're launching a particular time the mistakes of writing that many stories in essentially like a week is tough so we've each of the reporters have been involved in this would have been sending dozens of comment letters over the last month.

That's a hugely time-consuming process in order to be responsible journalists, we had together and the right to reply and that in a project like that.

This is just is it phenomenal feet is at the icij as we mentioned and you've been doing this for the Guardians 2, how does that work? I mean there are 150 different media companies all working on Pandora and that is over 600 journalists.

So how are you all coordinating? We communicate main thing is share everything communicate really really really well.

Don't keep stuff back.

I know that it's in the Instinct of managing this particularly investigative journalist actors Lone Wolf but you have to kind of unlearn all that and kicks off with a big Gathering where maybe beautiful looking at the data for a few weeks then.

After I've been to a couple of big gatherings in Germany and slightly United Nations of journalists and you have people there from every every part of the world and they are all talking about the project and it's very forceful feeling and we're like a big family we come back together and we trust each other and I couldn't believe when I worked on the first one of these that nothing that nobody kind tried to get on the rest and that's because you know that you're just going to have so much more impact when you do it together.

It's an international Firestorm and and it only works that way because because we do it together and there were moments when information started leaking out because of people we were writing to a trying to get ahead of the game on all these projects and trying to get their side outside the story out before we and I remember you don't Gerard who is the director of the icij I can sort of general at the front of the street saying hold hold hold.

Will it get there and seen you describe the whole process has been like bashing a giant Pinata that but in terms of the timing of public you know you got some Conservative Party donors and co-chair Billy Elliot live all had their activities raped over as part of Pandora and you managed to publish in the week the Conservative Party Conference that's not just sheerluck.

Is it will it depends that worked out well for the Guardian and we are really important anise anise investigations because our website is free to access and it's very widely read and we put a lot of effort into the so we had some influence over the timing but it's it's also to do with how long the project takes we weren't going to be ready to publish this before the summer so we were looking at autumn, so we had to pick the best timing for autumn.

Ben Smith from the new times I mean that's that's the Pandora papers, but you've had your own expose of sorts this weekend for listeners who don't know tell us what is media and how did you come to be writing about it? I think I think I should preface this by saying that there's high Stakes and global and really kind of important is the Pandora papers.

This is like the lowest stick story in the history of media and I actually think that is maybe part of white people liked it so much and instead of a challenge and the previous icij the fence and files and people engage with the stories whereas stream best tell you people really love to start itself is this you know the leading millennial media company and even though no one has ever heard of it essentially persuaded any of the richest people in the world and like chlorine.

Doesn't very sophisticated midi investors to give them their money as well as very sophisticated advertisers and something in particular that as you put it over matic happened about that.


I think they were you know they were pretending to have very financially strong relationship with you too when in fact they were making a television show that they posted to YouTube the way your egg custard video do you too and so at some point the rubber meets the road when Goldman Sachs which is about to invest 40 million-dollar wants to talk to you again and how that business is an iPhone with a YouTube exactly it will just say it is your videos.

They impersonate said YouTube executor can say while they're amazing and they get cut immediately to this impersonation incident and attributed to a mental health episode.

Play last Detail is named after the poem ozymandias which the founder who's message the founder believes is dream big and things will sewing Breaking Bad but then before all this happened ozmedia was establishing itself as a major player it had some big collaborations and one comes to mind I work on the wall services feedback program and it's a lot for a series that has he did with the biggest it called when Katie met Carlos so appealing investment additional media companies feeling investment of people who had no idea.

What was going on the actual all the actual Media represented a kind of diverse progressive Millennium vibe ahead no conflicts no substance nobody was getting a trouble.

They won't reveal anything anybody you know secret hideout like that.

But at the same time you know that somebody would say they identified a market.

It wasn't polemical it wasn't brass.

It wasn't polarising should work should I know I don't think so I mean in the media that is boring and has no steaks is not traditionally it something you want to consume Alexandra see which bus from the on the media took a lot about the knees for a friendlier Moorthorpe for journalism, but very in mind is the internet geared up to allow that is actually what people what do you think I mean? I think social media and the internet reflects human beings and Society so I think a lot of people like to point the finger social media.

There is a question about whether or not we should be pointing the finger at ourselves as well, but I think it's certainly much more entertaining to point the finger.

Facebook and social media presence for on all the problems that were proceeding on Internet it's come down quite quickly, it was a founder of people wanted to believe in providing reasons and startups in Silicon Valley coverage.

I was having flashbacks to the Wall Street Journal and in this update is what was the actual State of Play now right now with with ozmedia.

Then came out on Monday and compare the company to Jesus raised from the dead and are now facing lawsuit for investors would like them to shut that down and give them back the money, please.

Ok the reason I asked about that.

I asked about the whole nation of the public is interested in is because that's the kind of innocence of the journalism that I can argue all for if you do I mean Alexandra accusing Facebook of harming democracy and putting prophets before him that good obviously they did buted much of what she said and this all seems like a juicy story, but I want to read you a Tweet from veteran Silicon Valley Observer Benedict Evans he says wonder how much any Facebook story now changes anyone's Minds there's a group of people now quite convinced that Facebook is evil who see any new story as proof and you think it's all just a noisy mess but you have just published a piece for The Economist pretty much are given the opposite.

Haven't you?

No keyrings in too big to come a little bit like a minor holidays nothing changes after them and they all blur together and I expected that be true of yesterday's hearing in which friends have testified about the documents that is me on Facebook saviour in celebrity internal research.

I would argue that yesterday was a chance you can make another claim in history with support that which is nothing's changed in some ways that there was a warrior has shown is what we already knew you spoke which is it's too faced toxicity in so now we have this new fresh evidence for children and teenagers think it's much easier to understand the pernicious farms that social media have on kids if you compare to the Cambridge analytica scandal.

Data privacy concerns on the media I can get glass with every person and then children and concerns ultimately this is going to change tack for a different reason and it will fix Facebook I think that this is the start of the golden age of with all these big firms and have an horse regular and I think there are a lot of employees now that have seen how Francis are in a bin has been Lying Eyes she was having a 21st century American Hero by several senators, and I think that that is going to encourage boss to companies to make your payment on about some of the work that Dave cancelled due to step forward so I think it is a big.

Anything is going to other big chat because I mean I could be interesting to media types you like a little Tikes like ice innocence and perhaps the person in the street.

Really only cares when they're WhatsApp and Instagram stopped working as they did this week and I'm and then what's what's that? Is? It? Is it you know I think it's like he's been through the waves have been battering the Barricades around Facebook for a while in this does feel like a moment.

What is the moment when water can it comes over and in terms of American congressional action? There's a tonne of pressure on them and it's happened to the time when a big part of their business that the only purpose of Big Brother which is the blue clearly is losing traction and you know social networks can collapse really fast and I think I think in some ways you can overestimate their strengths as a company.

A lot of pressure right now and I think it's going to be a challenge for them.

You know something that is big questions that in part because Facebook is so secretive about its research and doesn't open up the researchers are like for instance are women girl struggling with Body Image more than I did in the 1990s when it was coming from Bath culture in for magazines like that is presumably a question that could be answered with research and not sure it's clear and Facebook makes it extra hard with the secrecy and the this is because whistleblowers can feel more confident now.

It is do you think that's true? I think employer around the world has become a huge huge Force in corporate life and they separately ceo's increasingly.

Are you know that are constrained by their employees? What's that is something you're staying here past and

Gives more protection to the suppliers and a billion dollars to and including 500 million fiscal year, so I'm 30% recovered, so I think that is also part of which US whistleblowing obviously massive part of the Pandora papers story Juliette Garside from the Guardian it's obviously worth reporting this story, but it's not a given that people will read it at how do you keep the public? Who is a crucial point to keep the story alive from one day to the next structures snot you know it's not just all over your cornflake, but we're lucky because we're talking about the the 1% with a 0.01% here and some pretty crooked people quite often, so you know and we talking about celebrities.

You know you've got the private jet flying you know yacht with helipad chartering oligarch.

So you get a wonderful window into how this global live and Holly cheat the system and you get our readers.

Love it.

Love it.

Love it up that's and they donate when we run these stories because they see why we write them.

They see the unfairness you know in the UK the debate about tax was really dominated for years by tabloid stories people cheating on their benefits poor people you know a cleaner who was claiming benefits and working cash in hand stuff like that a builder and what we seen through these leaks is that the rich cheap much for scale and and you can't run that argument anymore about benefits cheats and you and you.

Those two to the extent to which laws are there and politicians like them in in order to enable this kind of behaviour now.

I don't think a lot of changed but I would say that the Biden OECD tax plan which we're going to get an announcement on later on this week about stopping multinationals shifting profits around the world is probably in due to reporting like the panda wallpapers of making these stories you like sexy.

I mean it again for my first experience working TV documentary on the Scandal the producer had to come up with some really imaginative visual metaphors to try and keep the viewer engaged and hooked and Alexandra I'm sure I missed has to think hard about this to keeping the the reader hooked absolutely and then also win it.

Is both of these stories is it confirmed and things that people already active? I'm quite know and so also how do you make everyone assumes that the wealthy and all the properties in terms of different and everyone seems that Facebook chooses profits over a consumers and Society welfare.

How do you tell what might be like your story in a new way? I think a lot of it also.

I would like to think so that you remind you remind us.

What is what is truly new and we'll just before you end listing about what if any impact public interest can actually have.

Aside from the Guardian will the Pandora papers actually change anything do you think we're waiting for long promised better stands in the UK about who owns what land for example what property with all these stories that the public has a kind of Leek fatigue decent that because they're on surprised that said I was going to Real I mean serious about cij leaves of which this is the latest nothing biggest have really prompted the bunch of legal action at Leeds United in the US base in Pretty large part on the pins and files made it much harder operating on a 230 companies that is a real meaningful event.

And actually the relationship between cans of people reading and getting excited about a story and legislative alone horseman action Margo front from your perspective.

Do you think this will lead to real change well, you're already thing in the US for example but lawmakers pushing anti-alcohol the Enabling Act which is exactly to do with the fact that I see a day and it's hundreds of partners have reported public interest issues, which involves not just the dirty money of individual people but dirty money which is facilitated across borders by people and suits the lawyers the Bankers the pr firms and yeah, I mean that's that's already happening so the impact is there enough and you know this is a reminder as everyone said like things that we suspect it will happen happening anyway.

Clearly this kind of publication helps to actually improve things and all your hard slog has been worth it is the facts about Alexander last word to you.

Did you think the revelations actually will change things I think that this was absolutely your week that reinforce the power of media and the Facebook Whistleblower chose.

Not just to go to the FCC regulatory concerns public scrutiny word force behind the regulators and potentially make a change so I think that all of these stories highlight the power and relevance.

Thank you all that is all we have time for today.

Thank you again.

All my Juliette Garside deputy business editor at the Guardian Ben Smith Media columnist at the New York Times Alexandria to which bus senior economist at The Economist

Investigative reporter at the international Consortium of investigative journalists the media, show will be back at the same time next week.

Transcriptions done by Google Cloud Platform.

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Summaries are done by Clipped-Your articles and documents summarized.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Michael Martin

10:36 AM

Useless. Is this seriously the best that 21st century technology can do to convert sound broadcasts to written texts?

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Michael Martin's 41 posts GB flag

12:21 PM

Michael Martin:

As this is a free helpsite, I suspect that it's running costs have to be supported by advertising as well as the good auspices of the site owner, so this is probably the cheapest option available!

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Chris.SE's 3,713 posts GB flag

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