A new free online tool has been launched to help journalists source relevant content for their stories. Media Alerts will allow journalists to reach the people with the right contacts and information, before deadline.Media Alerts is aimed at helping reporters decrease the amount of time spent finding information and industry experts. Radio and TV producers will also find it especially useful for sourcing people to interview for the next talk show. Based on the popular American Help A Reporter Out concept, Media Alerts is a simple service to help journalists get the best content, quickly.How it worksThrough an easy to use online form, you enter your specific requirements, from looking for IT experts who can comment on the new communications minister, to finding entrepreneurs who use Facebook for business. You will be able to specify the details of what you need, your deadlines and how you would like to receive the information.Your requests will be sent to a database of people who are in a position to help. The person who has the right information can then contact you directly, following the contact preferences and deadlines you specify.Using the power of networksThe subscribers that receive your requests are mostly PR practitioners, who have direct access to the CEOs, MDs, entrepreneurs, celebrities and other networks of interesting individuals. With their extensive contacts, plus their desire to build good relationships with more journalists, they are an obvious source for the information you need.The PR subscribers have been given one rule though – to only ever send you content that is directly relevant to your request. Any abuse of this rule will see them being removed from the service.Start sending your requests nowMedia Alerts will be sending the first alerts on 21 May, so in the meantime, be sure to submit your requests for the next story you need to research – it’s free. Your requests will form part of the first batch of Media Alerts, helping you access a fast-growing network of people who want to help you.Media Alerts is an Encyclomedia service, designed to make journalists’ – and PR practitioners’ – work a little simpler.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] articles2010 Gauteng media guidelines Young reporters go mobile The media in South Africa Useful linksMedia AlertsEncyclomediaHelp A Reporter OutGovernment Communication and Information SystemJournalism.co.zaSouth African National Editors’ Forum
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Gene editing has been a much sought after and controversial technology. Last month, part of the World Health Organization called for an international registry to track all research into editing the human genome.Purdue University researchers have developed a new technology that could change how gene editing is approached. NgAgo is programmed with guide DNA (red) to cut DNA (purple) at specific regions, enabling precise genetic modifications. (Image provided)Purdue University researchers, including one who was inspired by the cancer death of a close friend, have developed a new technology that could change how gene editing is approached in the future. The research team presents the work on April 4 at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Orlando.One of the most widely used methods for gene editing is CRISPR-Cas9 technology. The method requires a certain sequence or motif for function that restricts modifications.“CRISPR can be programmed to cut DNA at specific regions to make precise edits in an organism that can increase sustainable manufacturing, treat disease and even create better crops,” said Kevin Solomon, an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, who leads the Purdue research team. “However, it requires a certain sequence for function that restricts modifications to certain regions.”Many diseases in humans, including several types of cancer, are caused by mutations at specific sites in the genome. The Purdue team created a method that uses the protein Argonaute from Natronobacterium gregoryi (NgAgo) and supplied DNA as a guide to enable modification anywhere on the genome, providing new options to potentially improve manufacturing, disease treatment, drug discovery and crop production.“While there is still work to do, we have shown that these molecular scissors can edit regions of DNA previously inaccessible by current technologies,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Mechikoff, a master’s student working on the project.“One of my best friends died from a cancer caused by a genetic variant several years ago,” said Kok Zhi Lee, a doctoral student who works on the research team in Solomon’s lab. “I always dreamed of a different scenario for my friend — living in an era where genetic engineering is a regular and safe option to correct genetic disorders. With the potential of our technology, I anticipate a future where genetic disease is history for human beings.”The team has worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to file a utility patent on the technology. They are looking for partners and others interested in developing and licensing it.
With the names of politicians and the rich and famous making the headlines since the Panama Papers scandal, tax avoidance is front and centre on the minds of many, including some with the power to do something about it.In mid-June, a collection of countries are scheduled to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT) called the Robin Hood Tax. This tax collected on financial transactions is to go towards the protection of public services, and to tackle poverty and climate change.Actor Bill Nighy has appeared on the front page of e-activist petition #TheTimeIsNow, where it says that leaders aren’t saying how much the tax will be because of pressure from banks. Those in favour of the tax are welcome to go to The Time Is Now webpage and fill in the rest of the statement, which begins: “The time is now for an FTT because…” The petition’s goal for 5,000 signatures is over half way there. The best reasons proposed will be sent directly to leaders.“History could be made this year with a tiny tax on transactions,” says Nighy. “They have a chance to make a profound and historic change in the way we order a chronically imbalanced world.”Copyright ©2016Look to the Stars