September 2007 Archives
September 30, 2007
September 29, 2007
A model for the 21st century newsroom
We've only really seen incremental changes in the way we run newsrooms (and magazine offices). This is a good start for a new way of thinking.
A recent journalism graduate thinking in a creative way about the very same topic. [via Jeff Jarvis]
Improving Traditional Media with Social Media
Once you get past the horror of words like "leverage" and "brand", there's the germ of some good ideas here.
Blogs and Real Journalism
Are journalists-turned-bloggers offering something distinctly different?
The fun of pun! (Boring bit: are the demands of search engines killing witting headlining, or do we have to think more about the context and utility of headlines?)
Where Did The Community Care Post Go?
September 27, 2007
September 25, 2007
I just upgraded my Wordpress blog, Coffee & Complexity, to version 2.3. It broke, horribly, despite me following all the recommended steps.
I'm less than happy. Guess I'll get to find out if that Wordpress community is all it's cracked up to be, if I can't fix it myself…
Update: Based on some advice I found on forums, I deleted the whole installation, and reinstalled it from scratch. That solved the problem, but destroyed the customised look'n'feel of the site, which is a pain... Not exactly a smooth process.
September 24, 2007
It was shot on a mobile phone, so please excuse the lousy quality…
September 23, 2007
Many journalists assume that blogging is just a form of opinion writing. And it certainly can be.
If you have a depth of knowledge of your subject and can add genuinely interesting new content which gives the readers the benefit of your expertise, you can add something to the debate already underway around the blogging world.
These blogs can be slow builders in terms of traffic - expertise takes time to establish in the blogosphere. But as other bloggers find your work, enjoy it and link to it, readership can grow steadily.
However, if you aren't yet an expert on a particular subject matter, this sort of blog is a short road to humiliation. Your readers will, collectively, know a lot more than you. If you're lucky, they'll just never return to your blog. If you're unlucky, they'll come back and point out your ignorance in great and exacting detail.
Big Lorry Blog, Mannerisms, Tony Collins' IT Projects Blog
Why have I bought it? Why am I reading it? Isn't Mr Keen's book an assault on everything to do with the mass publishing revolution we're seeing on the internet? Isn't it just a pean of praise to a declining "command and control" media environment that is being rapidly replaced by mass choice?
Well, here's the thing. Many people on the leading edge of the Web 2.0 movement think we should ignore Mr Keen and his polemic about the horrific consequences for our culture of participatory web culture. "He's just a troll," they cry. "Don't feed him."
The problem is that he's far from alone in his views. I'm part of a team (with 'im and 'im) who are trying to translate the workings of the modern internet into terms that working journalists grasp - and many of them come out with the same arguments that Keen does. It's my job to counter these arguments, to understand the flaws in Keen's logic and to spot the misleading evidence he produces. And, indeed, to understand where he's right. Because this revolution is going to change media, and it is going to change the career structure of everyone involved in print journalism.
If you're a working journalist today, it's between you, your conscience and your bank manager as to whether you think it's a bad thing or not.
September 22, 2007
It appears that 35,000 people really care about mobile phone batteries:
September 21, 2007
His commenters show the typically depressing blogger mindset of treating us journalists like a monolithic social block that all behave the same way. Yet if any journalist should dare to describe bloggers in the same way, all hell breaks loose...That was me, over four years ago. Can't we move on from this issue yet?
September 20, 2007
I was initially a little worried about how useful it would be, as I found my eyeballs rolling up at yet more blanket statements about mainstream media's Agenda. (I've been in the mainstream media for a decade. I clearly missed the Agenda memo…) However, Lloyd Davis' skilful management of the discussion* moved it into much more fruitful territory. There were three principal streams of discussion:
- the numbers of people needed for a fruitful community
- how social media will revolutionise/subvert existing media
- how you find the right quality of material for your needs in an ever more diverse media landscape.
And the end, Lloyd struggled to draw out what people had learned from the session. I think he was fighting a losing battle, because it was the sort of discussion that exposed the questions that need to be explored, rather than one that provided answers.
If I had to identify one thing that I really took away from it is that the most important moment in social media thinking is when the "social" element of it becomes more important than the "media"; when we stop focusing on this as a technological issue and start thinking of it as a human one.
And yes, you can be sure quite a lot of my posts in the coming days will revolve around that idea.
*Clearly the fact that he pulled me into the discussion early giving me the chance to hold forth at length to a captive audience has no bearing on my appreciation of his skills…
So far I've been incredibly impressed with them, but I'll blog more about that later. For now, it's shower and work time…
September 18, 2007
Is blogging changing theatre criticism? Undoubtedly, yes. The newspaper review is now part of a broader debate about what is happening in the world of theatre. The professional critic is no longer regarded, if she or he ever was, as a lone, ivory-tower expert. We are all now exposed to the democratic hurly-burly of blogs, where our opinions can be countered, corrected, reviled or even, on rare occasions, enthusiastically endorsed.Well, hurrah. Break out the booze, chaps. Another journalist has fallen to the blog borg.
Oh, hang on, what's this?
But, precisely because we live in age of relentless PR, the professional critic's voice becomes ever more vital. I see it as part of one's job to shut one's ears to the relentless din and simply judge a show on its merits.OK, cancel the party. He's not quite there yet. He still holds to that intangible aura of superiority. We, the professional critics, are superior to you, the blogging hoi polloi, because we are immune to the wiles of the PR types. Our discernment is superior, our insight deeper.
It's the classic hack's delusion. We know more, and our opinions are more important, because we are journalists. We have control of the channels of information, so we must be better. The Reduced Michael Billington nails it:
Also, critics are uniquely equiped to see through all of the PR and marketing that surrounds plays. They do this by going to theatres on special nights set aside for them, where they are met by the play's publicist, handed a handy press pack put together by the marketing department and given free drinks at the interval which come from the play's marketing budget. How could an ordinary member of the public possibly see through the marketing, which, from the theatre's point of view, I am a part of?
*With apologies to Private Eye
no wifi at apple iphone uk launch. What idiotsI really can't believe that anybody seriously arranged a press event, particularly a tech press event, without giving free WiFi access for the hack. Liveblogging has become such a big part of the coverage of launches that this is just foolish.
September 17, 2007
Just as I did with the first guide, I'm posting it here for my wise and lovely readers to laught at, mock relentlessly and rip into tiny, electronic shreds:
What differentiates blogging from other forms of publishing?
Most publishing is a one-way medium - you write, the readers read. Some response is possible, with the readers writing letters or phoning you up, but it’s limited and there’s no guarantee that the response will ever see print. Or that you'll pick up the phone. Or that you won't laugh at the reader with your colleagues as soon as you put the phone down.
Blogging is a multi-way medium. Post you put up on your weblog shouldn’t exist in isolation. They should link to other posts on other blogs, and they should receive links in return. Discussions happen over a few hours in the comments section of your blog, and elsewhere. You post a response to something one blogger has written on their blog, and a few minutes, or hours or days later they post a response. The readers move fluidly from one discussion on one blog to another elsewhere.
In other words, blogging is much more akin to the way conversations happen in real life. Traditional publishing is much like running into a pub, yelling at people for five minutes, and running out again. Blogging is like coming into the pub, and working your way from conversation to conversation through the course of the evening.
The nine days since that post went up have been something of an eye-opener for me. For one thing, I had no idea that there was such a strong and virulent hatred of social workers. For another, I'd mentally marked (almost certainly unfairly) Community Care as one of our "fluffier" titles - less likely to spawn a contentious debate than some of the others. I really hadn't thought that one through, had I?
I've been exchanging e-mails with the community editor of Community Care (he blogs at Mad World) for much of the morning, and he reached a decision that is, I think, the right one, even though it doesn't sit comfortably with me. While they were happy (well, fairly happy) to leave attacks on the magazine staff and the general social work profession up, and just about tolerated links to a BNP member's site, comments in which the commenters made accusations (some of them very serious) about each other just seemed beyond the pale. And, as Simeon pointed out in his closing comments, they were well off topic.
September 16, 2007
She's right, you know.
September 14, 2007
A Wordpress vrs Blogger fight like you've never seen it before…
September 12, 2007
Some thoughts on what advertising needs to do to survive.
September 10, 2007
Not good ones, mind...
I'm so very proud.
Bit of a hectic day ahead: discussion about making sure our blogs are properly tagged for our vertical search engine Zibb, setting up some new blogs for Community Care and doing lots of planning for meetings later in the week.
Posting may be light.
September 8, 2007
Blog reluctants don't know how to filter informations with tag filters and RSS feeds.It's a thought-provoking and challenging reply, that's helping reshape my idea of journalistic authority and relevance.
They don't understand - or maybe they understand too well - that what is at stake is not relevance or objectivity but rather how this objectivity is socially built. That is an epistemological debate and it does have an impact on certain professions. We have been used to build it on diplomas or professional ethic codes (journalists, physicians, university professors) for ages. This was a (ancient Greek-like) way to organise a stable society. We have completely overlooked the fact that, no matter the diploma or 'business' card, relevance is an ever-going and demanding process.
- Journalists' pre-existing reputation, and the inherited reputation from the magazine, are only good for one thing in blogging: getting people to the blog. From then on, the only thing that matters is the quality of the individual blogger's work. This is an unusually harsh, Darwinian world that journalists just aren't used to. It's going to be hard in the short term, but great in the long term, because mediocrity cannot survive.
- Good journalists should already have all the skills needed to make good bloggers. They network with other people, filter and select the best information and direct their readers to the best thoughts out there. However, they do the majority of this offline - either face to face, or over the phone - and only go "online" when they write up the results for publication. They challenge for a blogging journalist is to take that whole research process and move it online.
September 7, 2007
Ah. Corporate life. :-)
He's liveblogging the conference over at Falling off a Blog.
Update: Turns out my boss's boss is there as well and blogging it on Inflection Point.
(Is linking to your manager's blog a very 21st century form of brown-nosing?)
September 6, 2007
- Editorial team (Business) - www.xperthr.co.uk
- Podcast - www.NewScientist.com/podcast
- Website (business) - www.personneltoday.com and www.xperthr.co.uk
- Website (consumer) - www.newscientist.com
the AOP-nominated sites and post comments in a wiki.
This is dumb. Seriously dumb. The whole ethos of social media is built around the idea of when you link to something, it stays in the same place. Having a system that destroys that link is immediately undermining its usefulness.
Poor, poor show.
Update (2pm): It's just changed again, to video about a triple murder...
September 5, 2007
September 4, 2007
I'm in the process of working up some documentation for a blog-related event we're having here at RBI later this month. The documents are going to end up as something of a beginner's guide to blogging for trade journalists, and will be going up onto the internal wiki tomorrow, in the hope that some of my colleagues will help develop them further.
But, in the meantime, I've thrown the first of them - Types of Blog Posts - up after the cut for you folks to look at, think about and roundly abuse, if you see fit.
Obviously, I'll be pathetically grateful for any comments or advice…
Update: It appears that the video has changed. I've written a post about the problems with shifting video content as a result.
September 3, 2007
Adam Tinworth, after a year of trying to do just that, pauses to bash his head repeatedly against his desk.
Four out of five Danish journalists feel reading blogs is irrelevant to their work, according to a survey by media intelligence company Cision (via Mediawatch.dk).
Hardly any news journalists felt blogs were worth the hassle, but half of the survey's respondents did believe blogs would come to play an important role in the Danish media landscape in the future.
So, 50% think that blogs would become important, but only 20% bother to read them? "Hey, it's important stuff, but we can't be bothered to do anything about it." Way to look out for your future prospects guys.
Update: As you were. I've found inspiration and am working on a post, you lucky things.
September 1, 2007
From the dawn of blogging it's been tempting for established professionals to reject blogging as trivial and unreliable. Epitomising this stance most recently is Tom Wolfe - who, in a brief essay accompanying the Wall Street Journal's blog birthday celebration, dismissed the blogosphere as "a universe of rumours". To support this charge, he cited an inaccuracy in Wikipedia's entry about himself. Of course the online encyclopedia is not a blog at all. But critics like Wolfe can't be bothered making distinctions.And the irony here is that too many people in the media, a profession founded on research, attack from a position of ignorance.
And that's not going to be a good way of winning…