Social media in the news…..monkey selfies and causing risk to trials – my pick of this week’s media stories.

By September 15, 2017Indigo

The benefits and pitfalls of social media continue to receive column inches in this week’s newspapers.

The justice system must “catch up with the modern world” said the Attorney General as reported in this week’s Daily Telegraph. Signalling that contempt of court laws could change to cope with the social media age, he has launched a review of how posts on social media are affecting justice with responses called for by 5 December 2017.  His concern stems from the fact that until recently the only people with the ability to reach a wide enough audience regarding a trial were the mainstream media who all understood what the 1981 Contempt of Court Act entailed and where the line was drawn between what you can and cannot say.  However, the general public probably do not realise the damage their piece of social media commentary or comment could do.  It is a different world now and in recognition of this, he is calling for the issue to be thought through.  Mr Wright has invited lawyers and judges to cite cases where social media had interfered with a trial and recommend any changes as a result of their experiences.

Still on the theme of social media, it was reported that a lawsuit in the USA has been settled over rights to a monkey selfie. This was centred around who owned the copyright to selfie photographs taken by a monkey.  Under the deal, the photographer whose camera was used to take the close up of the macaque monkey in 2015 has agreed to donate twenty-five percent of any future revenue of the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia.

As someone who makes a living from writing, I was interested in the reaction this week of the Man Booker judges who were reported in The Telegraph as saying that book blurbs are just horrendous. The comments came after reading 145 novels and rereading 13 of them. The books were described as mostly great but the blurbs were atrocious. The article cited various authors from the past including George Orwell who fumed that blurbs were responsible for the downfall of the novels describing them as “disgusting tripe”.

Life for the next generations may involve many changes including that machines will replace teachers in the future, according to Sir Anthony Sheldon, master of Wellington College.  In an article in the Independent, he outlined his views that artificial intelligence will instil knowledge into young minds within 10 years.  Sir Anthony says this will open up the possibility of an Eton or Wellington education for all.

Achieving a drivers licence is also undergoing changes as reported by The Times.  Under new rules being introduced this year, motorists will have to wash windows, beep horns and open windows as they drive under “real life” driving conditions.  In an article in The Times, it is reported that The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has released videos on YouTube to allow learners to prepare for the new “show me, tell me” test.

Finally, Indigo attended a session with Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday Editor director Frank O’Donnell,  who shared his insights on the changing landscape of managing the news agenda and his passion for covering the good news stories around Scotland.