AP names first international social media and UGC editorOct. 15, 2012
"Fergus Bell has put the AP front and center in our efforts to secure the copyright and forensically verify user-generated content (UGC), which has become a focal newsgathering resource for the AP and took on a sharpened urgency as the Arab Spring swept the region last year and into this one," said Tamer Fakahany, AP deputy managing editor and head of the news agency's Nerve Center, in a memo to staff today.
"Fergus has spearheaded notable newsgathering victories which have paid huge dividends for our entire news report, our subscribers/clients, and made our competitors and the online community stand up and take notice," Fakahany added. "In Syria, where access for the AP has been intermittent due to regime restrictions and security concerns, daily clips of bombardment, protests and massacres have helped us to tell the story of the civil war. Fergus established a network of sources in Syria we could depend on for material and helped set in place a multilayered verification process involving AP Television, the Middle East desk’s regional and linguistic experts and the Nerve Center."
With his international focus, Bell will remain based in London and report both to Fakahany and AP Television Head of Output Beth Colson while also working closely with overall Social Media Editor Eric Carvin in New York.
“I’m really excited to take on this new role and continue working to find new ways of telling stories through user-generated content, whether it be from difficult places we can’t get to or allowing us to always find that one person who was in the right place at just the right time,” Bell said.
“The AP is in a perfect position to really be able to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to user-generated content. I am excited to continue extending that reach internationally through social media and forming relationships with those who hold the keys to new technologies. I’m looking forward to working with AP’s international staff across all our formats so that we can continue to access UGC quickly and fairly from contributors around the world and interpret social media during breaking news accurately for our global report.”
Bell, a graduate in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Leeds, joined AP six years ago as a news assistant on the television news desk in London and worked his way up to senior producer. Since April 2011 he has focused on social media newsgathering, big set events, training and strategy. Besides the Arab Spring, he has used social media to aid the AP’s newsgathering operations and source UGC for the shootings in Norway and the Japanese earthquake.
Bell recently was named a winner of AP's highest staff honor, a $10,000 Oliver S. Gramling Achievement Award, for his pioneering work in the area of UGC.
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