Archive for February, 2011

Graffiti at a garage door in New York

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve always been into graffiti. I put down the can when I was 18, but I’m still an avid admirer. Sydney has great graffiti compared to the last city we lived in, London, but it’s behind our previous home, Berlin, when it comes to styles and     simply how much is around. Berlin pretty much kills it.

(note – this is a picture of a throw up – in New York. I’m using it for the same reason I’m not embedding the video – time)

I made a short news film on Australian graffiti for SBS – my employers – looking at legal spaces for graffiti in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the growth of stenciling and street art. It was a challenge not to do the ‘art or vandalism’  cop out which some of the people I needed to answer to wanted – it could have been done twenty years ago. I touched on the question, but was able to focus a little on the conflict between old skool graf writers and new skool stencil and paste-up artists (‘art fags’, if ‘proper’ writers are to be believed). I shot around half of it, and cut it on Final Cut Pro.



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The Subtle Roar of Online Whistle-blowing: Jul...

Image by New Media Days via Flickr

Penned this article for SBS News after an interview with Joshua Rozenberg came in from Brian Thomson.

A British legal expert has told SBS that the cross-examination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is likely to have been hugely effective.

Joshua Rozenberg, a lawyer and BBC journalist, said it always going to be an uphill struggle for Assange’s legal team to persuade the court that Assange should not to face trial in Sweden, because of the arrangement between European countries, where the legal systems are mutually trusted.

He says one of Assange’s strongest arguments – that he wouldn’t get a fair trial on sex assault charges as the press would be excluded – the norm in a Swedish rape case – also proved ineffective during the cross-examination.

The cross-examination found that noone had ever challenged this custom in Sweden, which is largely deemed fair, Rozenberg said.

An expert witness also added that Assange was unlikely to be reaxtradited to the US, as Assange’s legal team had claimed would happen to the WikiLeaks founder.

Clare Montgomery QC, the lawyer representing Swedish authorities, ‘scored a number of powerful points’, Rozenberg said.

‘She even got Mr Assange’s Swedish lawyer to undermine the evidence given by a defence witness and expert witness called yesterday on behalf of Mr Assange.’

Blocking extradition was now unlikely, Rozenberg says.

‘I don’t think he has got home on any points that will enable him to achieve that.’

Rozenberg says the judge in the case knows that whoever loses in this court following the end of the hearing on Friday will appeal to the High Court.

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Here’s a news inspired Google map of the political unrest in the Arab world.

A few weeks back, Australia was inundated by severe flooding in many different areas. This was a busy time for us at SBS news. To best tell the story, I was updating a Google map each day – first ‘Queensland Floods’, and then spreading to incorporate northern NSW and Victoria. It turns out, people LOVE this kind of visual storytelling. I was aware of them as a useful tool, but the article it was embedded in has done amazingly well for us as a news site, and exceeded all expectations. Amazingly well.

As such, I came up with another on due to the ongoing civil unrest in the Arab world. First in Tunisia (as we were quick to publish at SBS, leading in to a special coverage minisite with updates from Brian Thomson in Cairo backing up agency copy), then of course notably in Egypt, but also elsewhere in the region. Publishing online news articles on a protest in Egypt or a self-immolation in Mauritania can only go so far in telling the story, so visuals do the job well. Some would say viewers are lazy. There’s probably an argument here, but if they inform people, so be it. This one has particular resonance for me as my partner and I are heading to Syria and probably Lebanon in just a few weeks. Naturally, and for entirely selfish reasons, we are hoping that the Syrians might put up with decades of oppression and censorship until our holiday is through. This, I feel,  would be considerate. And so I have a careful eye on developments in the region. So, it turns out, do readers of SBS World News Australia online.

This ‘news map’ has also done pretty darn well. News, though, online or elsewhere, is always newsier for people, let’s say, if it is in their backyard, and the Queensland flood map smashed it in terms of clicks. Either way, I’m sure we will be doing a few more of these.

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