Global round-up: Post reporter on trial in Iran

Global round-up: Post reporter on trial in Iran

The trial of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian began in Tehran yesterday after he spent more than 10 months in prison waiting to face a number of charges, believed to include espionage.

However, proceedings were suddenly adjourned with little explanation, following a two-hour reading of the charges against Mr Rezaian in the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

The Washington Post reports that the family was informed the trial would continue “at a later session,” but received no information about when or where that would take place.

Throughout the ordeal, the journalist has repeatedly denied accusations of espionage, and argued he had done nothing illegal.

Members of Mr Rezaian’s family told the Post they were not allowed to attend the trial, and were not informed that proceedings had wrapped up until after they had waited near the courtroom for five hours.

Mr Rezaian holds a dual Iranian-American citizenship, but Iran does not recognise dual citizenships and is trying him as an Iranian.

The 39-year-old was the Post’s bureau chief in Iran and was arrested last July with his wife and two photographers, each of whom have since been released.

BuzzFeed launches open-source lab

An innovation lab has been launched by BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti, with the aim of developing inventive digital tools and technology for reporting and journalism.

The Open Lab for Journalism Technology and the Arts is based at the BuzzFeed office in San Francisco, and all the products created by its members will be made available open source.

Technology and arts magazine Wired reports that one of its former journalists, Mat Honan, will head up the lab.

“When you think about media experiments, you probably think about advertising models or paywalls or, more recently, partnerships with companies like Facebook or Snapchat,” Mr Honan said in a blog post on the BuzzFeed website.

“But those … experiments are deeply boring to pretty much everyone who doesn’t depend on ads for a paycheck.”

“We want to push the envelope. We want to get just on the edge of what’s possible, and what’s permissible,” he said.

BuzzFeed is soliciting resumes from a wide range of professional areas and will invite four fellows to serve a one-year term, and a senior fellow for a two-year term, to work in the lab.

“Really, we’re open to any technology development project with the potential to advance journalistic goals, give reporters new tools and provide news consumers with better information,” Mr Honan said.

US paper tests hard paywall and no advertising

A higher-cost total subscription model and a website that hosts no advertising is a strategy being used by The Frontier in Tulsa to generate engagement and overcome traditional revenue problems.

The digital-only publication was launched last month but will keep almost all of its reporting behind a US$30-a-month subscription model.

The website’s founder, Robert Lorton, told the Nieman Lab website that he is looking for corporate sponsors to underwrite the project. There will be no advertising on the site.

The Frontier will focus on investigative journalism covering the Tulsa and Oklahoma City regions.

Journalists largest verified group on Twitter

Almost 25 per cent of verified Twitter users are journalists, according to a new report.

Verified users are guaranteed by Twitter to be the person their account says they are, a process which is usually applied to prominent members of the social network. Verified users have a blue tick icon next to their name.

The analysis was performed by Haje Jan Kamps, the CEO of app developer Triggertrap.

Reporters and news organisations are also the most active group on Twitter, according to the report.

Despite their place at the top of the verified ladder, they have far fewer followers on average than their celebrity counterparts in music.

Click here to read the report.

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