Collected letters to boost Greste campaign


GresteCoverSmallHow often do you find yourself watching the news and wishing you could do something to make a difference? We felt it when we saw Peter Greste in that cage in Egypt. We felt it when we saw his parents campaigning for his freedom. We decided to do something about it. Now you can help too, by pre-ordering Free Peter Greste here today, on his birthday. If you would like to write to Peter and offer your letter for possible inclusion in the book, please send your email to freepetergreste@gmail.com by midnight on December 15.

Happy birthday, Peter. We’re thinking of you and we want to see you home.

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

FREE PETER GRESTE: Letters and emails of support

Including a foreword by Geoffrey Robertson

All profits from this January publication from digital first press Editia will assist the Greste family campaign to clear Peter’s name

The world was shocked when foreign correspondent Peter Greste was convicted in June 2014 of reporting false news and endangering Egypt’s national security.

The trickle of emails for Peter and his family that had begun with his arrest the previous December increased exponentially. The Grestes set up an email address for the letters, freepetergreste@gmail.com, then printed out copies to take to Peter. In August, Peter responded at freepetergreste.org:

“Each time my family visits the prison, they bring a new sheaf of letters … each time I am staggered by the range and spirit of the notes you’ve written. Whoever you are, whatever has motivated you to take to the keyboard, I want to send a “huge” thank you … I want to tell each and every one of you who has taken the trouble to write or tweet or donate or back our cause in any way that the spirit of support is what keeps us going…

“Whenever I find my resolve wavering; whenever I feel weak or angry or frustrated; whenever I loose sight of the ‘why’, I only need to dip into the huge pile of letters for the answer. You’ve all given us and our families enormous strength; and for that I am hugely grateful.”

Editia will publish a selection of the letters (to be considered, letters must reach freepetergreste@gmail.com by midnight on December 15). The book will include a foreword by international human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson and feature on its cover a Khaled Desouki photograph of Peter in a cage during his trial courtesy of AFP. After production and distribution costs are covered, all proceeds will go to the campaign to free Peter.

Price: $5.99 (ebook) and $24.99 (print)
Pre-orders: Editia.com
Media inquiries: publicity@editia.com

Behind the scenes at Al Jazeera English


18 daysIf you’re one of those media junkies who likes to be first with the news, you need to know that Scott Bridges’ 18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution is now available for pre-order from this very website. The official digital publication date is this Saturday, but the first pre-orders “shipped” this afternoon.

You’ll be keen to read it to get to know University of Canberra journalism lecturer and ex-Al Jazeera English director Bridges. He’s a media commentator and non-fiction author to watch. Here at Editia, we feel privileged to be publishing his first book.

If you haven’t already heard about 18 days, here’s the blurb:

“On February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule of Egypt came to an end after 18 days of massive and unprecedented street protests. In the course of those few days, a 24-hour news channel unlike any other, Al Jazeera English, emerged in a crowded global news market as the source for reporting on the Egyptian Revolution. 18 Days examines the Doha-based channel’s coming of age and discovers how a network known to many in the West as “Terror TV” was transformed almost overnight into a trusted and indispensable source of news.”

Sound like it has the makings of a cracker yarn? That’s because it is. Bridges has woven a fast-paced narrative around some of the most significant events of the Arab Spring.

We gain behind-the-scenes insights into the operations of a dedicated television news network both at HQ and on the ground. Forget CNN and BBC World: Al Jazeera is where it’s at, as the recent launch of Al Jazeera America attests.

Anyone who is considering a career in television news or as a foreign correspondent, or who has even a passing interest in the convergence between television and online, needs to read 18 days.

Personally, I’ve been living vicariously through the Al Jazeera English correspondents these past few weeks as they experienced the Egyptian Revolution in the pages of the book. I won’t say I wish I was there, but I am glad that they were, because it’s a story that needed to be told.

I’m looking forward to following future developments on Scott’s blog, too, as Al Jazeera extends its market into the US and beyond.

This is what I’d hoped it’d be all about here at Editia: longform journalism at its best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Walkleys, Al Jazeera and Editia’s latest author


Scott Bridges

18 Days author Scott Bridges.

In November last year, a few days after the birth of my second child and in something of a daze as a result, I spoke at the 2012 Walkley Media Conference as part of a panel on entrepreneurial journalism. I was hoping to inspire potential Editia authors in the audience: journalists who had already or would soon come up with narrative longform works that would fit in with our digital first non-fiction list.

On the eve of the 2013 Walkley Media Conference, I’m thrilled to report that that bleary afternoon session last year was absolutely worthwhile: one of the journalists who was in the audience that day has now signed a contract with Editia and we’ll be publishing his book later this year.

Scott Bridges is lecturer in journalism and communications at the University of Canberra. He’s also a former Al Jazeera English director who was on shift when Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed after the fall of Tripoli, and is in the early stages of research for his PhD looking at how Al Jazeera’s reach and influence is expanding in the non-Arabic speaking world.

Upon his return to Australia in 2011, Bridges started work on a book about his former employer. He has spent the past 18 months working on 18 Days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution, including two research trips back to Qatar.

“I was inspired to write 18 Days because the story behind AJE’s incredible coverage of the Egyptian Revolution needed to be told,” Bridges says. “Having heard some of the channel’s correspondents’ anecdotes first-hand, and experienced for myself how news and television is put together inside that dusty Doha studio, I thought I’d be able to give readers insight into AJE that other commentators couldn’t. And with the Al Jazeera Network’s current expansion in the USA and other non-Arabic-speaking markets, there is no better time to examine how this unique hybrid of Middle East and West works.”

The book is a fast-paced tale that provides an insider’s view of the Al Jazeera English newsroom pushed to its limits. It will appeal to readers with an interest in the media, current affairs and recent developments in the Middle East.

You can learn more about Scott Bridges and about the book at www.18daysaje.com. You can learn more about Al Jazeera English by watching its Managing Director, Al Anstey, give the keynote address at the 2013 Walkley Media Conference, Storyology, tomorrow (the session will be streamed live from 1.10pm to 2pm here). Follow the conversation via the #storyology hashtag on Twitter too.

Anstey has been a supporter of Bridges’ book from the start.

“Al made himself available for a couple of interviews, approved my access to AJE staff, and most crucially, placed absolutely no conditions on that access,” Bridges says. “Despite my focus on some controversial topics in interviews, Anstey put his case to me as a Managing Director but respected the process as a journalist.”
“His appearance at the Storyology conference gives journalists and media professionals in Australia a chance to hear directly from the head of one of the world’s most interesting news organisations.”

Here’s the official blurb about 18 Days:

This is the story of a plucky newsroom in the middle of an anonymous Middle Eastern desert city that through its coverage of one huge story changed the rules of 24-hour TV news.

On February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule of Egypt came to an end after 18 days of massive and unprecedented street protests. In the course of those few days, a 24-hour news channel unlike any other, Al Jazeera English, emerged in a crowded global news market as the source for reporting on the Egyptian Revolution. While established networks such as CNN and BBC World battled to provide comprehensive first-hand accounts of developments in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, news consumers across the world found superior coverage on Al Jazeera English. The New York Times said AJE “provided more exhaustive coverage than anyone else”; The Atlantic argued, “It is no exaggeration to say that Al Jazeera has been the eyes and ears of [the Arab Spring].”

18 Days examines the Doha-based channel’s coming of age and discovers how a network known to many in the West as “Terror TV” was transformed almost overnight into a trusted and indispensable source of news. Drawing on content analysis and interviews with key players inside the organisation, the book goes behind the cameras to tell stories of newsgathering ingenuity, hair-raising moments of danger, and internal tension. It examines the network’s relationship with its Qatari benefactors and charges of editorial bias, along with the legacy of Egypt for Al Jazeera English as the brand expands its footprint into the United States.