Inside Reuters Agency

US Elections: Behind the scenes, Donald Trump’s HQ

us elections result live outside hilton mid-town hotel, donald trump's election night hq

Ahead of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, our team share their 2016 US elections broadcast stories.

Reuters-TIMA Location Services set up broadcast facilities at many locations in New York and Washington DC. This gave clients the opportunity to report live from the scene of one of the most important events of 2016: US elections.

As American voters went to the polls, we broadcast from New York and the roof of our office which overlooks the White House.

Chiara Rodriquez
Donald Trump’s US election night HQ, New York

Leaving London on the morning of Nov. 5, 2016, we knew these US elections would be like no other.

Some of the team met in Heathrow for the flight to New York, then made way to different Reuters TIMA locations. We broadcast from Times Square, The Javit Center, and the Hilton Midtown – my location. Mixed emotions of enthusiasm and concern stirred the group.

Organizing the logistics for Elections’ coverage was challenging. Candidates had never left the announcement of their HQs so late, or an accreditation release from a candidate been so mysterious. Never had the world’s media covered an event, anticipated for four years, with limited information.

“Never had the world’s media covered an event, anticipated for four years, with limited information”

The atmosphere at the Trump headquarters was confusing. Most international media were denied accreditation by Trump’s campaign “due to venue size, media space, and safety”. Every media outlet, including Reuters-TIMA, crafted an alternative plan of action to put in place as quickly as possible.

“Most international media were denied accreditation by Trump’s campaign “due to venue size, media space, and safety”

As the majority of the world’s media needed locations to report from,  live positions were created on the street in front of the Hilton Midtown. The NYPD redirected us to the east-side sidewalk on 6th Avenue between 53rd and 52nd street. We set up and were ready to go

Hours passed as we live broadcast back-to-back, alternating clients at our two positions. Despite the limited space, clients and colleagues found a system to get what was needed.

As the evening drew to a close, the atmosphere began to heat up. Anti-Trump protesters and Trump’s supporters filled the street. Both sides careful not to leave the area before vehemently and colourfully expressing their opinions.

“Anti-Trump protesters and Trump’s supporters filled the street. Both sides careful not to leave the area before vehemently and colourfully expressing their opinions.”

We worked straight through the night of our lives, from the first States being called to the winner’s speech. Teams started to de-rig around us and the crowds dissipated as our last hit with TV Tokyo finished.

A quiet morning had started in Manhattan. Taxi drivers were rushing people to work, coffee and bagels in hand. It was as if history hadn’t just been made in the same streets.

Reuters-TIMA Location Services will be covering the 2017 US Presidential Inauguration. Find out how to book your live coverage of this historic event.

Author: Chiara Rodriquez

Behind the scenes: U.S. Elections, Hillary Clinton’s HQ

broadcasters-reporting-live-from-inside-hilary-clintons-election-night-hqAhead of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, our team share their 2016 US Elections live broadcast stories.

Months of planning saw Reuters-TIMA Location Services set up broadcast facilities at multiple locations in New York and Washington DC. This gave clients the opportunity to report live from the scene of one of the most important events of 2016.

We had facilities on the roof of our office in Washington DC which overlooks the White House, and sent several teams to New York to broadcast from the key locations as American voters went to the polls.

Tanya Lezaic, Special Events Coordinator
Hillary Clinton’s US election night HQ, New York

After months of planning the wait was finally over, election week was upon us and I was heading to New York to work at the Clinton campaign headquarters in the Javits Center. This was my first US election and needless to say I was quite excited to be part of this historic event.

“This was my first US election and needless to say I was quite excited to be part of this historic event”

The day before the election all hands were on deck to set up the dish and live positions. Of course we were not the only one’s preparing and I took a moment to look around and take in the surroundings. Media from around the world were setting up on the high risers next to us, domestic networks were setting up on a high riser to the left of us and the Clinton campaign staff were rushing round with union workers prepping the venue for the thousands of supporters expected on election night.

Prep was over and the security deadline was fast approaching, our first pre-election lives had to set up outside the venue whilst a security sweep of the building took place. Before we knew it day 1 was finished and US election day was here!

Walking up to the Javits Center the roads were completely closed off to the public with police at every barricade. Security at the center had doubled from the day before and more was still to arrive in the shape of dumper trucks filled with sand. The morning of the elections was the calm before the storm. The live hits started with Canal 11 Mexico, followed by Al Hurra, Antena 3 Spain and N24 Germany. This increased and the lives followed back to back on both live positions.

“Security at the center had doubled from the day before and more was still to arrive in the shape of dumper trucks filled with sand”

A tag team system had been developed with the co-ordinators. I seemed to spend most of the evening meeting clients and escorting them through the maze of broadcasters that had now gathered, and then up the stairs to our positions on the high riser.

All the rushing did not distract from the mood within the Javits Center. Cheers and singing from Clinton supporters seemed to have softened as the first states began to call their results. Walking through the crowds seeing the shock on their faces and then noticing that some had started to leave with tears in their eyes distracted me, but soon a broadcasters question brought me back to the reality and the work that was still ahead, especially as it was only 10pm est.

“Walking through the crowds seeing the shock on their faces and then noticing that some had started to leave with tears in their eyes distracted me”

The team continued to work hard throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning, even a few minor technical issues could not hold back the crew and the never-ending live hits. As the night progressed, and more states were called, it soon became clear that there would be no party at the Javits center.

“As the night progressed, and more states were called, it soon became clear that there would be no party at the Javits center”

It was finally around 02.00am est during a TV3 New Zealand live hit that the chairman of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, John Podesta arrived on stage to address supporters gathered. Podesta proceeded to thank those gathered and announced that it was time for everyone to go home. His speech was not over and the crowd was already heading towards the exits. For me and the crew this was the light at the end of the tunnel, our last live was being broadcast and the next challenge would be to dismantle the live positions, pack up and move to a new location.

After all the tears and drama the US elections were finally over, the people of America were waking up to a new president, Donald Trump. For the supporters of Clinton the dream was over and for #teamclinton the night was over and sleep was finally on the cards.

Reuters-TIMA Location Services will be covering the 2017 US Presidential Inauguration. Find out how to book your live coverage of this historic event.

Author: Tanya Lezaic, Special Events Coordinator

5 Emerging Content Opportunities Your Newsroom Should Be Trialling Now

SOURCE: Poynter SOURCE: Poynter

Facebook has been coming under fire for how it describes itself recently along with its handling of trending topics and showing (or rather not showing) specific content.  Big questions are being asked about the future of the big blue misery machine but for many newsrooms just being seen would be a great problem to have.  All content is created equal on Facebook but that’s sadly where the truism ends once it goes into the endless content sausage factory.  After content is lovingly crafted in the status editor box and sent into the ether, numerous answers to questions are applied so that Facebook can determine where in the Newsfeed it should be “shown”.  Knowing and understanding what is working then becomes mission critical for many news outlets.  It would be unfair to say however that the various platforms aren’t offering newsrooms an array of tools to help newsrooms.  Below are five such tools that newsrooms are failing to jump on (for a wide variety of reasons).  With clear strategies I believe the following tools offer the next way outlets grow audiences, find news ones, make new revenue and reduce risk:

1) Facebook Live…as a programme
Reuters UK is doing a great job of extending the news product runway with Facebook’s live streaming platform, Facebook Live. Beyond simply entertaining a somewhat captive audience the team are smart and mention other products and areas of interest for the viewer during the broadcasts about the markets. Timed well in the morning with a good pace and level of depth the team has a great opportunity create a new audience and then push them around the Reuters ecosystem.  NPR, The Verge, The Young Turks and Digiday are also worth a look for inspiration.   Telescope.TV and Groovy Gecko offer teams a variety of set-ups should your strategy go beyond simply point and shoot.
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Sponsorship, Product Placement, Branded Content, Partnerships, Ads…it all depends on what your brands is comfortable with… and that you don’t break Facebook’s community rules.

2) Instagram (and Snapchat) Stories…as a story

A huge opportunity springs from corporately owned Facebook in the guise of the shockingly copied Snapchat feature but with a few tweaks. Quartz, Cool Hunting and others all show the potential for this sort of reporting tool and reaching the audience that Snapchat and Instagram boast is important for any news organisation.  No-one is getting it right straight away but the numbers are impressive.
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Terms of Service for Snapchat are different to Instagram but it’s somewhat the Wild West still out there at the moment.  So long as anything paid for is labelled ‘promo’ or ‘ad’ (however faint!) it is usually ok. Naturally partnering with either of these monsters (should they ask you) isn’t a bad strategy either.

3) Animated infographic video…as an entire news product
Different brands report different amounts but between 50-85% of videos viewed on Facebook are viewed without sound. A growing trend in the newsfeed is being based around silent video products (audio costs and people are generally using Facebook in a variety of scenarios where sound is undesirable (toilet, bus).  GOOD Magazine’s ‘Data Vizeo’ series is a good example.
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: In-house or externally this can be done efficiently.  Companies like Wibbitz (FD: now working with Reuters) offer to create high-quality videos for very little extra work once the story has been created by the editorial team at the news organisation.

4) Facebook 360 Photos/Video…as an extension strategy
You don’t have to buy the $30,000 camera that Facebook have open-sourced to create beautiful and useful videos of news you are covering. Instead, a regular smartphone, Go-pro or a mid-range drone often will create a high-enough quality product. 360 Video projects need to be carefully thought out (sometimes a fly through adds little) but as the cost continues to fall, these interactive products can add new dimensions to reporting.
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: From sponsorship to product placement – it’s all a question of ethics and transparency…

5) Messenger Chatbots…as a hook to other places
My experience with Chatbots has been clumsy to date but the technology is improving fast and will not always be so creepy and lackluster.  A good experiment, with the right product push strategy, could see some significant traffic pushed into downloading an app for example. Chatbots will also likely see a lot of attention now that Facebook has begun allowing payments to be taken through Messenger. Perhaps a new subscription model looms?
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chatbots have the potential to revolutionise the way we consume news…if we let them. Instead of a ‘show us everything and let us decide’ model we could morph news consumption into something entirely new. Perhaps a more ‘choose your own adventure with some weighting’ type scenario feels right or maybe even as a way to personalise your reactive website experience.

Creating a valuable editorial product remains a hard thing to achieve at scale and speed especially for the “snack-news” world we increasingly live in.  While there remain some obvious focuses (video) and simple wins for Publishers, it is increasingly clear Facebook wants Publishers to pay to play in their sandbox.  While this may be grating, Facebook clearly owns the sand and sandbox – Publishers can get angry and be cautious but you could also choose to create exciting things which, if used correctly, could help you get your target group to want to exit the sandbox.

Paul Armstrong, guest writer for Inside Agency, runs HERE/FORTH an advisory that helps business leaders decide how to best use rapidly changing, disruptive and emerging technologies. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul__armstrong or contact him on hereforth.com.

This article does not express the views of Thomson Reuters. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author.

Reuters Video Archive – unlocking the 20th Century

From the bruising Trump, Clinton election campaign to the unprecedented turmoil brought about by BREXIT, from England football disaster to genuine tragedy of the Istanbul airport bombings, these are hectic times in the news business. Numerous long running major stories vying for position alongside breaking news to gain prime position in the headlines and news bulletins. Reuters coverage of these events is delivered with its customary professionalism and integrity and with such a heavy focus on news; it’s an ideal time for Reuters News Agency to launch a brand new service offering Broadcasters unprecedented access to its unique archive collection. With the launch of the Reuters Video Archive, subscribers will be able to augment their coverage with relevant footage, be it comparing the US election of 2016 with a more collaborative campaign run by Roosevelt in 1936 or honouring the centenary of the battle of the Somme.  The Reuters Video Archive has been compiled since the foundation of the television operation and now contains over a million news clips, covering world events from 1896 to the present day.

President Roosevelt and Governor Landon Meet During Campaign, 1936

One can hardly discuss an archive without a little history lesson.  The Reuters Television operation was established in 1957 in the guise of the British Commonwealth International Newsfilm Agency (BCINA), which became Visnews in 1962 and was part owned by BBC, NBC, Reuters and others.  In 1992, Reuters bought the entire operation and along with it the video library which contained not only all the Visnews footage back to 1957 but also several, wholly owned, newsreel archives, including Gaumont Graphic and British Paramount – which, in their day, were direct rivals to Movietone and Pathe – and comprised material from the 1910’s to the early 1960’s and to top it all, footage from the very start of film cinema, including the coronation of Tzar Nicholas II in 1896. This unique collection was stored on 16mm and 35mm film and video tape and was successfully made available to the Reuters newsroom, broadcast customers, documentary and film makers via an analogue operation until the 21st century.

Throughout the years, those of us involved in the Reuters Video Archive dreamed of the day when the entire collection would be digitised and available on-line. The project to make that dream a reality started in 2013 when Reuters embarked on a major project to digitise the tens of thousands of film cans and video tapes in the archive. That project will complete by the end of 2016 and today over a million news clips can be viewed and downloaded via Reuters Media Express.

Whether you are looking for specific events such as the bringing down of the Berlin Wall or Britain’s signing up to European Union membership in 1976 –

 

………or more abstract searching for material that you wouldn’t even have thought of – “a cocktail of the loopiest news items of 1936” anyone?

 

For more information about our comprehensive collection of international news stories dating back to 1851, please visit us here, where you can sign up for a free 30-day, no-obligation trial by completing this form.

 

Author:

Tim Redman

TIM REDMAN, Head of Archive, Reuters

 

Global MMA News (GMN) Content Available For Free Via Reuters

Russian MMA phenomenon Marat Gafurov crowned Interim ONE Featherweight World ChampionGlobal MMA News (GMN) and Reuters today announced that select breaking news and feature articles will be free for editorial use by digital publishers via Reuters platforms.  As the exclusive Mixed Martial Arts news contributor to Reuters Media Express, GMN will deliver breaking news on events, fight cards, in-depth features, exclusive interviews with star athletes, and commentary that covers the burgeoning MMA scene.  The very first feature from GMN is now available:

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL MEN IN ASIA SPORT

You can view it here

Any digital publisher can view and download Global MMA News content from the dedicated GMN channel on Open Media Express:

For inquiries on how to access Open Media Express:

https://liaison.reuters.com/contact-us/openmex/

About Global MMA News:

GLOBAL MMA NEWS (GMN) is the premier source for the most updated news on the development of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the world. Focused primarily on the rapidly growing Asian MMA scene, our team of experienced journalists is embedded across the region to provide real-time news and features suitable for MMA fans and mainstream audiences alike.

logo-Global_MMA_News-400x400px (1)

Start Your Engines. Free Content Is Coming With Sports Desk Direct.

Singapore Grand Prix 2015Anyone following Reuters (or anyone who has read the last post) knows that we have been upping our game when it comes to using our know-how and platforms to provide customized editorial and content marketing solutions.

In addition to the launch of Open Media Express, we have now launched a service called Sports Desk Direct aimed at helping sports teams and leagues to reach out to their global fan bases by carrying their content on Reuters platforms.

This weekend will be a great example of what this new service can offer as we deliver the sights and sounds leading up to the Singapore Grand Prix. The race itself is surrounded by a dazzling array of A-List Music Concerts, autograph signings, press conferences, and fan events. Reuters will be delivering photography from these events via Media Express. This content is free for any digital publisher that wants to make use of them for editorial purposes.

You can access the Singapore Grand Prix content here or by clicking on the “Contributors” tab in Media Express.

Singapore Grand Prix 2015Sports Desk Direct has an exciting and diverse lineup of new customers coming online soon, so stay tuned for much more.  If you have any questions at all about the service, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Rob Schack

Global Head of Sports & Strategic Projects 

robert.schack@thomsonreuters.com

Reuters Can Do It – An Interview With Munira Ibrahim, Global Head of Custom Video Solutions

Elizabeth Koraca - actionElizabeth Koraca

There’s much more to Reuters than the traditional wire service. As Global Head of Custom Video Solutions at Reuters News Agency, Munira Ibrahim manages three different departments within content solutions which help agency clients to produce exclusive content, and also produce content for broadcasters and brands.

We asked her whether she is tapping into a growing market.

I come from a broadcast background, so when I arrived at Reuters I was impressed by the infrastructure but realised that we need to further enhance it to make it more customer centric, as well as hire more broadcast journalists. I love what I do here at Reuters. It’s a brand that has credibility around the world and that can open so many doors for us, and our partners too. The reason we think there is a growing market for producing bespoke content is because of the demand for international coverage. Broadcasters come to Reuters and we can produce content or cover events or breaking news on their behalf, while utilising our access and global infrastructure to do so. We produce content in multiple languages, so we work with a variety of clients across the globe and we produce lives, updates from various locations, or fully finished programmes. Reuters has nearly 200 locations around the globe, so we can leverage this infrastructure. If there’s a breaking news story in Tunisia and our client doesn’t have a presence there, we can use a Reuters journalist to report live for our clients. That saves them money and we’re ensuring that our content and our people are being effectively utilised.

How does what you’re doing differ from the traditional TV wire service that you have?

Reuters World News service (the TV wire) is extensive raw footage, with video constantly arriving from our video journalists around the world, covering a whole range of topics and events. It is available to all clients in a non-customised form. Custom Video Solutions edits, packages and customises content for the client. For example, Kimberley Lim’s package for a client won’t be seen anywhere else (Kimberley heads up our team in London). This is different to the World News Service content where the broadcaster or media publisher will take the video and package it as their own. In most cases we commission new content specifically for our clients.

Kim - 031

Kimberley Lim

Do those clients know what they actually want?

It varies. Sometimes they have a very specific need and know exactly where they want to go but just don’t have the resources to do it. One of the big projects this year was a channel who had the studios and systems in place, but didn’t quite have the people in place to actually get going. So we launched the channel for them and that meant flying out 19 people who had the expertise to get the programme on air, on time and on budget. We continue to produce an additional one and a half hours’ worth of programming from London, which enhances their programming schedule. We built a new studio for the client and leveraged Reuters resources to help them launch the channel. On another occasion it was a very specific brief: “We need to have a live news and market update from these very specific locations, can you do that?” Our answer was “Yes, we can.”

Where does editorial control lie?

Editorial control remains with Reuters journalists: we abide by the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Everything we report is balanced, objective and unbiased. We adhere to the Trust Principles at all times, but if the client decides they don’t want to broadcast a particular piece of content, they can make that choice. We also have to follow our editorial guidelines. This makes us stronger because people know what Reuters stands for, it gives us and our clients credibility. There are some broadcasters who specifically want to work with us as it will give their news operations further credibility: because it’s the Reuters team producing the content. I think the only time that we’ve had challenges is with coverage of protests. We had to say: “Unfortunately this is it. This is how the rest of the world is reporting it. This is how we’re going to report it. You can choose not to air it.” And they didn’t. People take us seriously. For me it’s a must that we have to comply with the editorial integrity guidelines.

Does the Reuters brand appear on all work?

It varies. It really does depend on the client. Some clients want to utilise the Reuters brand, while others have their own branding. We are able to give clients a choice because the content we deliver is in line with the Trust Principles.

So if I wanted to set up an international TV news station, I could come to you?

Yes, and we’ve already done this. We offer end-to-end solutions, from the very first stages of building studios and setting up technical infrastructure, to training, branding and enhancing coverage through Reuters News Service and custom programming. A couple of weeks ago I met with someone who wanted to launch a TV channel but didn’t quite know how to go about it. Maybe they’ll use our services, but in any case it starts a conversation, it’s a door opener. Even if it doesn’t lead to us launching the channel, hopefully it will lead to us providing content for them. But mostly it is about supporting our existing clients, enabling them to do things more cost-effectively while improving their coverage and programming. One example is COP21, the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. We can support our broadcast clients by providing custom content for them so that they don’t need to send teams of people to cover the event. Another example is a client who sent over 200 staff out to the World Cup, but still commissioned us to do a series in the run-up to it. There’s a lot that the Custom Video Solutions team can do to help broadcasters, from new startups to established partners, there is a plethora of ways we can help them.

So is Reuters becoming a production company?

Yes, absolutely, but the difference is that we have video teams and bureaux around the world that we are able to utilise, passing on our cost-effectiveness to clients. We don’t need to fly people here there and everywhere, as the chances are we already have a team on the ground. Therefore it’s more cost-effective for us to do it than a production house, and clients have confidence in our quality and expertise. Additionally, because we already have people there, we can utilise their local expertise and the global recognition of the Reuters brand to gain access to events and high profile personalities.

Where’s the biggest growth?

This year as well as last, the biggest growth has been our work with broadcast clients. Additionally there are opportunities with online publishers. This is something that we haven’t actively gone to market with yet, but we are starting to do so this year. We’re providing video coverage that they can’t necessarily gather themselves.

How do you make your content fit in with the rest of clients’ programming?

It’s constant engagement, which we encourage. We work closely with our clients because we need to understand the context of the programming to ensure the output is relevant to the audience. If we are working with a TV station we often have somebody stationed there as our liaison point so that we understand exactly what they are trying to do.

Matt - studio2

Matt Gooderick

What’s your message to broadcasters suffering budget cuts?

We’ve redefined the news agency to better serve broadcasters going through these exact problems. There are a whole host of services and solutions utilising the Reuters network and infrastructure, that our clients can take advantage of. If you have challenges ask us, challenge us. Let us come back to you with a cost-effective solution.

What changes do you see ahead?

We are solutions orientated but as broadcasters are more than just TV now, we also need to think about content for online. I think it’s going to be more graphics-based and focused on shareable content. People want to have multiple views and like to get their news in bitesized chunks. That’s going to be the challenge: how will we deliver to multiple clients in all the different formats that they need to engage with their audiences on multiple platforms. One of the challenges we have is that the broadcasters we work with differ greatly in terms of how far they have progressed and how their audiences engage with content and consume news. However, with our global presence we understand the needs of a given locality and therefore we’re able to tailor solutions that meet their requirements.

Could an organisation like the Huffington Post become a competitor to established broadcasters through a partnership with you?

International online publishers are already competing with established broadcasters. For example, they are equipping their journalists with iPhones to deliver video content. Online publishers partner with us for the quality and breadth of our global coverage and because we have journalists and infrastructure all over the world: the same reason that broadcast channels partner with us.

Munira Ibrahim, thank you.

This interview first appeared in Channel magazine and is published here with their kind agreement. You can view their article here

 

 

Sometimes it gets weird at Reuters…..

After 17 years at Reuters, I recently became the Global Head of Sports and Strategic Products for the Reuters News Agency. My job is focused on making sure that Reuters is able to deliver the raw materials that help thousands of publishers cover the sports world for their audiences.  I’m very proud to be helping Reuters carry a legacy that started well over a century ago, delivering world class coverage of the biggest sporting events.  And yes, it’s as fun as it sounds.

Of course the vast majority of our attention is paid to the most popular and largest sporting events, but it’s also important for our customers to have access to a wide breadth of coverage.  We were reminded of this recently, when the International Olympic Committee recognized Ultimate Frisbee as a sport, putting it on a path towards inclusion in a future Olympic event.

That decision also helped inspire this post.  You see, one unexpected side effect of my new role is a sudden urge to learn about the lesser known sports Reuters has covered, and then, against their will, force anyone within listening distance to learn about them too.

For instance, did you know about our Elephant Polo coverage?  You might have never seen it, but you can guess what it is.

How about Korfball? No idea right? Well Korfball is actually too main stream for me to get into here.

Underwater Ice Hockey? You’re probably thinking of Underwater Hockey. Totally different sport. Seriously. You’ll see.

Because those in the office here in Times Square have started giving me a wide berth for fear of another lecture on the more obscure rules of a Sauna Marathon, I’m taking to the internet to show off how much I’ve learned.  So without further delay, in ascending order, here are the 7 sports I’m rooting for to become the next Ultimate Frisbee:

Elephant Polo

Here it is. The “biggest sport in the world” doesn’t really need much explanation.

A player from PricewaterhouseCoopers Team, challenges players from the Audemars Piguet Team, during the opening match of 11th King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Hua-HinFootgolf

Let’s start this nice and easy.  You know Football.  You know Golf.  Just put them together and you have Footgolf.  Put away the clubs, widen the holes, break out the soccer ball and kick.

Patrick Wooten holds the flag as his son Thomas misses his putt on the second half of the FootGolf course at Largo Golf Course in Largo, Florida*Censored*

There is really enough material here for a whole other blog post (but by now we all know that’s not happening).  Apparently you can pretty much turn any sport into a new sport by simply shedding the uniform. Reuters has covered everything from Naked Bike Riding, to the World Pole Dancing Championships to something called the “Bare Buns Run”.  We’re keeping it family friendly here, but if you’re a fan of The Wider Image, feel free to do your own research into Sauna Marathons. I guarantee you will learn something.

Spanish fans react while watching the 2010 World Cup match between Spain and Switzerland, in MadridToe Wrestling

You know, like arm wrestling, except with your toes. Legend has it that this idea was born in the pub after a tough World Cup loss, where two men wanted England to become world champion at something, so they invented this sport.  Where else can one root for an athlete known as “The Toeminator”?


Rebecca Birch wins the ladies section of the World Toe Wrestling championships in AshbourneExtreme Ironing

And just about now is when I would warn you it’s about to get weird.  Participants in Extreme Ironing compete to successfully iron their clothes in the most awkward situations to score points from the judges. Have you ever seen a man iron clothes balanced on the peak of a mountain? How about while base jumping? No? I say you can hardly call yourself an educated sports fan until you’ve experienced the thrill and suspense of extreme chores.

A COMPETITOR IRONS A SHIRT ON A SURF BOARD ON A SMALL RIVER IN THE BAVARIAN TOWN OF VALLEY.Underwater Ice Hockey

We all know Underwater Hockey is just hockey played at the bottom of a pool.  Well this is Underwater ICE Hockey.  In 10 minute periods, and without the use of scuba tanks, in obviously freezing cold water, the teams play hockey with a puck floating against the bottom of the rink. Can we still call Gretzky “The Great One” if he only played on one side of the ice?  But wait, it gets weirder…

Kiehl of team Germany I dives during a match at the Underwater ice hockey Championships in lake WeissenseeChess Boxing

Finally, my very favorite. Combatants take turns playing rounds of chess and fighting rounds of boxing. Alternating until there’s a checkmate… or a knockout.  I’m really hoping for a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch following this format. How is this not more popular?

Sirci of Italy competes against Russia's Sazhin during their heavyweight World Championship chessboxing match in Moscow

Well that wraps up a view into the lighter side of the job here. Believe it or not, there is quite a bit more in the archives to tell you about, but I just found an archive video from the 1987 World Cheese Rolling Championships …

Rob Schack, Global Head of Sports & Strategic Projects

Photographer credits: Sukree Sukplang, Scott Audette, Susana Vera, Darren Staples, Miro Kuzmanovic, Michael Dalder, Maxim Shemetov

Visit Reuters Pictures to browse and license photography from around the globe.

Peter Bohan – Tales from the Trail: A Little Bird Told Me

PeterBohan

In newsrooms around the country, it’s an old saying: “If your mother says she loves you – check it out.”

An age-old truth – you are only as good as your source.

Bedrock journalism. Good to remember as the social media universe floods us with rumors and becomes a playground for hackers.

Social media is rapidly becoming the channel for news consumers with mobile devices.

“Twitter wants to become your go-to source for news” says one recent article while a July 14 Pew Report “The Evolving Role of News on Twitter and Facebook” finds that “that clear majorities of Twitter (63 percent) and Facebook users (63 percent) now say each platform serves as a source for news about events and issues outside the realm of friends and family.”

Mainstream traditional media already Tweet and post their own stories. But Facebook and Twitter are also becoming sources for mainstream media via Tweets and posts. Tweets are sprouting up regularly as sourcing on TV and radio.

That’s the danger zone: if your Twitter says she loves you, check it out.

A feed of Tweets should never be more than a tip wire – and a “live” wire, as in 1,000 volts.

Hoaxers are more active than ever. And hackers – from hoaxers to spoofers, from identity thieves to money launderers, from government spies to terrorist groups – are finding the water fine in the social media universe.

At the other end of a “county news release” may be the North Koreans or the Syrian Electronic Army. Or my own new favorite: Russia’s Internet Research Company.

Sept. 11, 2014. News of a toxic plume at a Columbia Chemicals plant in Louisiana began with a morning text message to a local resident and was spread quickly as “hundreds of Twitter accounts were documenting a disaster right down the road” and “dozens of journalists, media outlets and politicians, from Louisiana to New York City, found their Twitter accounts inundated with messages about the disaster.” Islamic State was soon being rumored as behind the attack.

All fake, according to the New York Times: the handwork of crafty Russians.

“From a nondescript office building in St Petersburg, an army of well-paid ‘trolls’ has tried to wreak havoc all around the internet – and in real-life American communities,” said the Times in its June 2 article “The Agency.”

Good lord: is it that easy to pull off another War of the Worlds, as Orson Welles did?

Well, yes. And how about one a day?

May 23, 2015: Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, an African American investigating alleged abuses by cops after the death in custody of black youth Freddie Gray, says her official work twitter account was hacked – which she announces on her private Twitter account. She does not give details. But her office later denies to Megyn Kelly of FOX News that Mosby “favorited” a racially charged tweet and another one calling the six Baltimore cops charged in the Freddie Gray case “thugs.” The local prosecutor later told Kelly that both Mosby Twitter accounts had been hacked.

The point is that hackers are drilling down more into media sources, not just into media.

Do you think you –or your Twittering sources – are protected?

“To a cyber expert, traditional antivirus protection offers the hacking equivalent of being able to repel a musket ball when today’s villains are firing AK-47’s,” notes Fortune in its fine portrait this month of the devastating attack on Sony Pictures.

It’s not just corporates or government agencies being hacked. It’s the whole expanding Twitterverse.

No one is more aware of this than Twitter. Their hacking team is at hacked@twitter.com and includes their handy how-to triage for victims.

So does this mean we roll back the clock and ignore social media if we want the facts?

Nope. The genie is out of the bottle. Elvis has left the building.

But as journalists and publishers it means we must use Twitter and other social media – not let them use us.

Consider the source. Load up the salt shakers. Pinch early and often.

Be like the Homeland Security official in Louisiana called by the resident in that toxic plume scare last September: “He hadn’t heard of any chemical release that morning,” the Times said. “In fact, he hadn’t even heard of Columbia Chemical. St. Mary Parish had a Columbian Chemicals plant office.”

Saved by the “n” and the “s” — and a good dose of salt.

Twitter or no Twitter: Always let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

 

Peter Bohan was a Reuters journalist for 30 years before becoming Executive Director of Reuters America Service, a product aimed at U.S. newspapers, web sites and broadcasters as an alternative to The Associated Press. Peter – Midwest Bureau Chief at the time – built the service starting in 2010 in tests with Tribune Company, which  became the anchor client for RAST in 2011. Peter spends more time than anyone working with U.S. newspapers to see how Reuters can address their needs.

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