May 2007 Archives
May 31, 2007
Rather late (as it was weeks ago) here's a selection of pictures from the Lewisham Bloggers' Meetup:
I hope the next one is less than six months away, otherwise I may not be a Lewisham blogger any more.
To be fair, a trade press story popped up on the Press Gazette Twitter feed this morning
Centaur in 300k directory buy-up: Centaur has acquired the Creative Handbook from Reed Business Information for £300,000.The purchase of the annual directory for the creative services market is planned to complement Centaur's monthly magazine Creative Review and the weekly Design WeekPity it was one I had known about for a few days...
Update 22/2/07: If you're looking for information about Reed Elsevier's divestment of RBI, try:
RBI to be divested by Reed Elsevier
RBI for Sale: Coverage Continues
May 30, 2007
I have a love/hate relationship with the NUJ. It's been great at handling disputes colleagues have had with bosses, but when it does stupid political stuff, it runs the risk of further discrediting all journalists.
May 29, 2007
My first impression was generally positive. I liked the "classic yet somehow modern" new logo and the newsy feel of the site. The few technical glitches in the site that I noticed in the first 24 hours seem to have been largely ironed out by now. And it's generally clean, clear and easy to navigate around.
There are some major negatives, though. The lack of RSS feeds for the news is the obvious one. Most of the sites I follow regularly, I follow through RSS. Other news sites I have to remember to visit, and I suspect I'll only be visiting the Press Gazette site when a journo-blogger I follow links to it.
But what really galls me is, try as I might, I couldn't find a single reference to trade media in any of the sections.
If your stated aim is to broaden the appeal of the title to all journalists (the mag's new strap is "for all journalists"), completely excluding the area that the few hundred journalists in this building earn their crust in seems a rather dumb move. And RBI is far from the only large publisher churning out business to business publications and websites. A whole, and not insignificant part of the market, ignored. A whole possible subscriber base, forgotten.
While I'm sure that Press Gazette runs stories on trade media, managing not to have a single story on this area on the site at the time of a major relaunch hardly endears the struggling title to us trade hacks.
For all journalists. Apart from you dumb bastards in the trade press. Obviously.
Management Today has noticed that employees blogging is creating management conflicts:
Here at MT, we think that if employers - and employees - are ever going to deal effectively with this situation, they need to engage in a deep-rooted analysis of the causes rather than giving a kneejerk reaction to the symptoms. Aside from the fact that bans, censorship and similar draconian measures simply don't work, they send the wrong message to staff and the community at large - leading, in all probability, to even more bad-mouthing of the company by disaffected workers on internet suck sites. Which is where we came in…
It's always fascinating watching discussions that bloggers were having two or three years ago starting to leak out into the mainstream business press...
May 22, 2007
May 14, 2007
I'm taking some time of work and, as blogging is work these day, I'm taking some time off blogging, too. It's more likely than not that this blog will go silent for a week. See you next Monday.
(I'll probably still be posting to Vox from time to time, though.)
May 12, 2007
I've spent a chunk of the afternoon today dealing with various behind the scenes issues on my blogs. The most obvious to you will be that, at long last, the headlines of each post on this blog are now links that take you through to that entry's own page. There were various historic reasons why that wasn't the case, but Karl mentioned it often enough that I decided it was time to fix it.
In other news, we finally installed Akismet, the spam filtering service from Automattic, on the RBI Movable Type Enterprise installation. As our blog traffic grew, so to did the number of spam comments MTE's own spam filtering couldn't handle. In the 48 hours or so it's been running, Akismet has all but killed off the problem. Hurrah.
May 11, 2007
It appears that David Miliband has some strange toilet habits:
I was lurking outside the press room at the CLA's centenary conference when the minister appeared and asked whether I could check if there was anyone in the toilet opposite. The reason he wanted me to check it out was because it was the ladies and he didn't want to surprise anyone.
Not surprising people seems to be his thing right now. No standing against Brown, for example.
Some thoughts on what could be limiting the growth of podcasting
Best. Headline. Evar.
Emily Bell explains the new look Guardian Unlimited front page. I find it a bit "ho hum" myself.
Simple message: design by committee is bad, design by obsessive aesthete is excellent
Richard Dawkins: sci-fi deist. Fantastic journalism AND blogging from Ruth Gledhill, bringing a whole new dimension to what was becoming a tired debate.
The National Union of Journalists has a Commission on Multi-Media Working, and not before time:
The NUJ has launched its Commission on Multi-Media Working at a conference at the union’s London headquarters.
At a one-day event last Saturday (5/5) an opening speech by high-profile Guardian journalist Michael White was followed by evidence taken from the BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Irish Times, the Manchester Evening News and Trinity Mirror.
The world's changing fast. Let's see if the NUJ can keep up.
[via Andy Dickinson]
May 10, 2007
So, how are things going with My Telegraph? The site, which went quietly live back on Tuesday night, got a huge push this morning, with virtually the whole of page 2 of the dead tree edition devoted to the site, and how to create your own blog. And sure enough there was a sudden inrush of new bloggers, ready to throw their thoughts into the waiting Telegraph Blogosphere. Some were confident, some tentative, some downright rude (see right). The latter were swiftly weeded off the site through the day (although I imagine such idiots will get longer exposure if they post during the night). And some people are using swear words pretty gratuitously, while trashing good blogging guidelines in their first posts…
Still, less that 24 hours into the first public phase of the experiment, there are some interesting posts scrolling by, as well as the first signs of an emergent community around the site. Definitely showing promise.
Update: Head honcho Shane Richmond has posted his thought on the day's proceedings.
Meanwhile The Blog Herald is busy embarrassing the blogging community by reporting than the already live site is coming soon. Whoops.
The Computer Weekly team picked up a PPA award last night for the work they've done exposing the appalling state of the NHS IT systems. Even better, the journalist responsible for much of the work, Tony Collins, is one of our bloggers.
He's not a man to mince his words, as his post on winning the PPA award shows:
There also needs to be open and honest debate of the problems. The government doesn't want this - honest criticism is regarded as uninformed cavilling - and ministers are not prepared to admit there have been mistakes.
There needs to be a genuinely independent review of the NPfIT that is published in full. The government doesn't want this either.
Which is why I'm glad journalists like Tony are out there doing this quality of work.
May 9, 2007
There's a nice piece over on The Telegraph's (journalist) blogs where Robert Colvile discusses how the Left in the US and the Right in the UK have used the internet and blogs in particular to reshape the political debate.
I do like the use of the term "netroots" to describe what we'd call grassroots activists in the physical world.
Andrew Rogers, head of user content development at Reed Business Information, said that in one way, magazine publishers are at a disadvantage in distributing content in a Web 2.0 world because it is not enough to use shovelware to repurpose print copy for the web.
He used a story on the Independent site as an example: the story was all about a video spoof of a gameshow that has caused a minor ruckus, but because the story was written for print and then slapped on the web it didn't do the obvious thing and link to the video. It didn't even give the video's name, so users would not have been able to search for it. Linking and aggregation is a great way to move towards Web 2.0, he said.
We spend a lot of time getting irritated by non-linking journalists here in RBI Web 2.0 central.
Well, there goes any chance of a platform-agnostic strategy for BBC IPTV, then
May 8, 2007
Couldn't resist this:
And the news that Radio 2 is planning a blogging-based comedy series is quite fun, too.
Does UGC threaten old media firms - or open the way for some really exciting transformation?
There are now over 2 million online entries for an obscure hexadecimal number. Why? Because it's the key that allows you to unlock protected HD-DVD content.
As more and more people move their reading behaviors to RSS aggregators we need to rethink our online branding.
"Going somewhere nice over the Bank Holiday?" I've now had three people ask me the same question over the course of the day: " Yes thanks. Can't wait, I'm off to the shed.
Forrester categorizes Social Computing behaviors into a ladder with six levels of participation;
A section of the proposed Free Flow of Information Act advocates that certain bloggers receive a key legal protection that is currently reserved for journalists. This would relieve some of the legal risks that bloggers face every da
May 7, 2007
Once in a while, I come across a post that perfectly expresses something that I've been struggling to articulate. In particular, of late I've been trying to explain concisely why I find the "oh, blogs are just people ranting on the internet" view I get from so many journalists so worrying.
What is it about society - especially, I would suggest, here in Britain - that expressing your opinion is somehow seen as impolite or arrogant?
I find the attitude that only certain people should have the right to say what they think impossible to understand these days and deeply worrying. It is that sort of attitude that gives people power and the ability to misuse it.
Nobody's suggesting that all blog content is good. Counter-examples to that idea are rife. But dismissing everything written on blogs simply because of the ease of access to the medium is just worrying. And wrong.
the aftermath advance of its much-as-expected drubbing in the local elections Slightly Ageing Labour is reaching reached out to its loyal bloggers:
During the week I was one of a number of bloggers who went to the first of what the Labour Party say they hope will be a regular series of briefings for Labour bloggers. I think its fair to say that the Party doesn't quite know what to make of us, or this medium.
They know we're out here and they've all heard of the right wing bloggers that trade on gossip and a relationship with the mainstream media but by and large we're below the radar.
So this move is experimental, seeing how we react to each other and what sort of relationship can be developed.
I'm very glad to hear it. And I'll be watching to see if something interesting comes of it over the next few months.
Update: Antony Mayfield has done some research on links to the various political parties' blogging homes which gives some interesting context on this.
Should young journalists ignore print media and head straight for the internet? Yes, they should, says Atoosa Rubenstein, former editor of Seventeen in the US. At least, that's what she said when she visited New York University's media students:
Print magazines don't have a wide open future anymore, now that many readers are moving online.
I tend to agree with that statement. I have an occasional discussion with my boss about the future of magazines. He thinks they're pretty much doomed. I see them following the route of theatre in the age of movie and TV - becoming a high quality, minority interest, rather than a mass market form of entertainment.
However, the student bloggers are less convinced:
I had to remind myself, however, that her view of magazines may be a bit skewed, considering that her new career plans are in digital. One of Rubenstein’s reasons for leaving Seventeen, she said, was due to the positive reaction she got from girls who created a dialogue with her on her MySpace page. I think that surrounding herself in the world of teen girls has influenced her perspective about the future of media.
Well, perhaps being surrounded by teen girls has given us a perspective on the future of media consumption that even those five years older can't truly appreciate just yet. After all, teen girls are, in theory, next decades women's magazine buyers…
[via Dan Blank]
IDKee is an OpenID provider anyone can sign up for, and which provides a rather good set of controls for determining what is shared and what isn't.
[via Piers' Feed Need]
Oh, now this is very interesting:
Clearly, the unease about the levels of private information being posted on public web services is growing. It's a new technology, and it'll take us a while to get to grips with it, but this is a surprisingly measured response to the concerns. It certainly beats "ban it".
[via Andrew Ducker]
May 6, 2007
You can download a beat of Microsoft's challenge to flash video at the Silverlight site.
It's cross-platform and cross-browser compatible, which is a pretty major step for everyone's favourite convicted monopolists. And it's right puuurty, too.
May 2, 2007
A wee bit of videoblogging I did back in February and which has sat unedited, on my laptop since:
Music: Snowfall by Rada
Damian Mulley has done some research on how Irish journalists would most like to be approached by PRs.
It's pretty much applicable to journalists anywhere in the world, although I'm quite surprised not to see "in humble supplication" on the list. Certainly that's what some of my colleagues expect.
May 1, 2007
Further proof, should proof be needed, that the internet won't be truly useful until the tech sector's dominance of online publishing comes to an end: Penryn the town is being displaced by Penryn the computer chip:
The Cornish coastal town of Penryn is rapidly disappearing. No, not from coastal erosion but from the decision by global microchip giant Intel to use the town's name as the monicker for its new range of computer processors.
Since Friday, the town's online ranking has diminished from the top spot to third on a UK search using Google. Sites boasting historical and tourist information about the town have been superseded by websites about the microchips.
Businesses that have spent time and money ensuring their websites appear high up on the search engine's rankings have been pushed down the results - with only one now appearing in the top 10 on the all-important first page.
Mind you, it's worth noting that all you have to do is add the words "tourism", "visit", "hotel" or "cornwall" to the search, and the chip stuff vanishes.