Archive for 'Media'

Twitter Illiterate? Mastering the @BC’s

Posted on October 26, 2013, by Hanna Ingber, under Media, social media.

This ran on the cover of The New York Times’s Business Day section. It also was the number one article on The Times’s Most Emailed list on Oct. 25, 2013.

Using Twitter sounds so simple. Type out no more than 140 characters — the maximum allowed in a single tweet — and hit send. That’s all, right?

Not quite. Twitter’s interface may look simple, but it is not, and its complexity has turned off many people who tried the service. This is a problem because one of the big questions facing Twitter before it starts trading as a public company, perhaps as early as next month, is whether it can attract enough users to become a robust outlet for advertising dollars. Although Twitter brings in money from advertising, it does not yet sell enough ads to make a profit.

Still, in the few years since it started, Twitter has quickly gained users. People and organizations of many stripes — celebrities like Justin Bieber, brands like Oreo, even the economist Jeffrey Sachs — have flocked to Twitter to share information and thoughts.

In a prospectus released for investors last week, the company said its worldwide monthly users grew to 232 million in the third quarter, up from closer to 200 million early this year. According to a Pew survey, the percentage of American Internet users on Twitter as of May was 18 percent, more than double the percentage in November 2010.

But those numbers are a far cry from those attained by Facebook, a top rival. Facebook has more than a billion users, and according to a Pew survey, Facebook was used by 67 percent of American Internet users as of late last year.

Will Twitter become a platform used by the masses? Maybe the best way to answer that question is to use the service yourself. Here’s a primer.

Continue reading at The Times.

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Interview with Pangea on GlobalPost’s New Twitter Series

Posted on August 29, 2012, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media.

PANGEA, an online show that explores global issues and social media, interviewed me about GlobalPost’s new Twitter series, “A Friday In.”

In the interview, Hanna, who spent two years reporting from India before landing at GlobalPost, takes us behind the website’s social media curtain. Topics discussed include:  how @Sweden inspired GlobalPost’s approach, what it means to cover global breaking news, the importance of having a conversational tone on Twitter (even for a brand!), and more.

Here’s the interview (ignore the squealing kittens).

And here is more on the series. This week, we’ll be doing “A Friday On a Safari in Namibia” with Erin Conway-Smith.

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Give Oprah a Break on India

Posted on July 30, 2012, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media.

Oprah Winfrey has been trashed for her recent television special on India, based on a trip she made to the country in January. She’s been accused of reinforcing stereotypes and oversimplifying a complex country.

Yes, maybe the two episodes, part of her primetime series “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” were cheesy. “There is nothing like this country,” she said in the preview. “I am forever changed by the experience.”

But it’s Oprah. Of course she’s cheesy.

Yes, maybe the show provided a slightly simplistic, superficial view of India. She visits the Taj Mahal and meets with Bollywood stars.

But it’s American TV for a mass audience. Of course it’s simplistic and superficial.

Furthermore, much of what Oprah presents is exactly what newcomers notice when they come to India. It would be a little strange for an American to visit Mumbai or Delhi and not notice the cows wandering the streets and hanging out at train stations. Sure, maybe mentioning the cows is a cliché and not the most creative storytelling. But does that make it rude and offensive? Hardly.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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Reporting in Myanmar, a Test of New Limits

Posted on July 12, 2012, by Hanna Ingber, under Burma, International, Media.

YANGON, Myanmar — We are sitting on the floor, our legs crossed, talking intensely about the young Kachin woman’s work as a human rights activist. Ah Hkawn, 30, has hiked for days into the mountains to talk to villagers who faced physical or sexual abuse by the Myanmar army. She has visited relief camps to bring aid and supplies to those displaced by fighting.

I ask Ah Hkawn if I can take a photo of her to accompany my articles. She looks at me and with an expression of deep reflection says: “I don’t know.” She pauses and asks, “You think it’s OK?”

I traveled to Yangon in May and throughout my trip activists, aid workers and clinicians again and again told me they didn’t know if they could have their names or photographs used because they were no longer sure where the line was.

In the past, when a military dictatorship ran Myanmar (also called Burma) for close to five decades, the rules were clear. If someone said anything critical of the regime or any aspect of the country, he or she could face trouble with the authorities.

“If this was in the past regime,” says a health worker after an interview about the state of Myanmar’s health care system, “oh, my God, I couldn’t say anything!”

But now? Now that Myanmar is suddenly (and finally) in a time of transition and reform, the old rules no longer apply. And the new rules are still unclear.

After numerous interviews on everything from political reform to gender equality to HIV/AIDS treatment, sources paused and had an internal debate about whether they wanted their name and the name of their organization in my articles. When I was interviewing multiple people at once, they would turn towards each other and discuss it. When it was just the two of us, they would ask my opinion. None of us knew the answer.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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Homai Vyarawalla, India’s First Female Photojournalist, Showcased in Mumbai

Posted on March 14, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media, women.

An exhibition featuring the work of India’s first female photojournalist is showing at the National Gallery of Modern Art through April 11. The collection of about 150 photographs by Homai Vyarawalla includes images of the last days of the British Empire, the Indian Independence movement and the birth and subsequent struggles of a new nation.

Ms. Vyarawalla, who is now 97, spent most of her career working for the British Information Services, which later became the British High Commission. Many of her photographs depict important political leaders and events in India’s modern history. These include the first flag-hoisting ceremony at Red Fort and the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi.

The exhibition (Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort; 91-22-2288-1971) also includes photographs of Indians enjoying leisure time at cultural events, social gatherings, school functions and private institutions, said Sabeena Gadihoke, a curator and the author of a biographical book on the photographer, “Camera Chronicles of Homai Vyarawalla.”

Continue reading at NYTimes.com.

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Ross Dunkley, Former Head of The Myanmar Times, Arrested in Burma

Posted on February 17, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Burma, International, Media.

MUMBAI, India — There was a time when Ross Dunkley, my former boss at the Myanmar Times, was a powerful man. Today, he sits in a prison cell.

I remember Ross storming into the newsroom in Rangoon after having stayed up all night drinking. Ross, a tall Australian with broad shoulders, wore a power suit. His head was bald and shiny.

“Come on, Hanna,” he commanded, waving his arm in the air. “We’re going to lunch.”

We arrived at Trader’s Hotel. “Sake, sake!” Ross shouted at a young Burmese woman standing near the entrance. She looked confused and walked off.

“Sake, sake!” Ross yelled. Another woman brought over a kettle, which Ross took out of her hands. He poured me a cup.

“No, thanks,” I said. “I have articles left to edit.”

Ross pushed the cup closer to my face. “When your boss tells you to drink, you drink!”

The Burmese junta detained Ross, the publisher and co-founder of the Myanmar Times, on Feb. 10, and today he is being held at the infamous Insein prison in Rangoon. Officially he’s been arrested for immigration violations, but there is speculation he will also be charged with possession of drugs and prostitution.

Ross, who founded the paper in 2000 with a once-powerful Burmese businessman, has a controversial reputation. But most Burma watchers assume his arrest has nothing to do with sudden allegations of age-old behavior.

Instead, it’s being seen as evidence of a government doing everything it can to cling to power. Ross’ arrest comes during a time of transition in Burma, and the government has responded to this period of possible instability by tightening control, said Toe Zaw Latt, the Thailand bureau chief of Democratic Voice of Burma, a leading news outlet on Burma run by exiles.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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India: ‘Wife-beating diplomat’ shames nation

Posted on January 26, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Crime, India, International, Media, women.

MUMBAI, India — “Envoy shames India.” “India-UK diplomatic row.” “Diplomatic cover for domestic violence?” “Wife beating hardly diplomatic.” These are some recent headlines peppering Indian news outlets.

Put plainly, the case of a senior Indian diplomat allegedly beating up his wife at their London home has caused quite a stir. Indians are debating everything from the role of diplomatic immunity to what extent one allegedly violent husband can shame an entire nation.

But perhaps most strikingly, the case reflects India’s complicated relationship with and often tolerance for domestic violence. In India, many communities still condone marital abuse.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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The Gender Factor: Is the Media Sensitive?

Posted on December 9, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media, women.

Kalpana, Hanna

Veteran journalist and former editor Kalpana Sharma, along with Hanna Ingber Win, who covers Mumbai for GlobalPost and blogs for the Huffington Post, conducted a two hour interaction with aspiring journalists  from three Mumbai colleges on the need for understanding media biases towards gender-related issues.

Continue reading at the US Consulate General, Mumbai, India, site.

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Social Media Has Come to Kashmir

Posted on September 16, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media.

MUMBAI, India — A Facebook user posted a video of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani giving a speech, and within 24 hours there were 300 comments.

People debated Geelani’s call for non-violence and argued how best to bring peace to a region that has seen an explosion of protests in which 50 people have been killed since June. More than 30 died in the last week or so.

Over the past few years technology has played an increasingly important role in protest movements around the world, from Myanmar (Burma) to Tibet to Iran and now to Kashmir, the largely Muslim state at the heart of the dispute between India and Pakistan.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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India Abroad Profile

Posted on July 15, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media.

India Abroad profiled me and other foreign correspondents based in Mumbai in their July 9, 2010 edition. Here it is.

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