One Man and His Blog: August 2008 Archives

August 2008 Archives

August 29, 2008

Behold the Bouncing Blogger

Ah, synchronicity. On the way into work this morning I stopped off in Waitrose for a few essentials (middle class, moi?). I picked up a copy of Waitrose Food Illustrated, as an impulse purchase.

I get to the office, and start scanning the overnight posts from our stable of bloggers. And I find that Mr Matthew Naylor is featured in that very issue:

Matthew Naylor in Waitrose Food IllustratedWe only use the finest action hero bloggers, ready to vault low-lying food troughs at a moment's notice, you know.

August 28, 2008

12 Second of Video

Thanks to the wonderful Jackie Danicki, I'm now playing with the new "Twitter for video" service, 12 Seconds. This idea is simple. Just as Twitter restricts you to 140 characters, 12 Seconds restricts you to...

...well, you can work it out.

Not Today on

What the Garner Hype Cycle Means For Journalists

It's that time of the year again. Yes, it's the Gartner Hype Cycle:

Gartner Hype Cycle 2008
Neville Hobson has produced a good analysis of it against previous years, but I want to highlight a few journalism-relevant points: 
Continue reading What the Garner Hype Cycle Means For Journalists.

August 27, 2008

Flightblogger Breaks Obama Running Mate Story

Obama Campaign Plane
One of our bloggers broke the Obama running mate story. Here's how:

He knew that the candidate's planes go into shop for re-painting around the time of the announcement. He put a call out to his readers to keep their eyes peeled - and they came back with details of a flight which gave away the identity of the running mate.

So far, so good crowd-sourced journalism. What's slightly disappointing is that the mainstream media and established blogger who followed up on his spot so completely failed to credit him. Flight Global web editor Michael Targett puts it thus:

According to Jon, his tip on the flight was picked up by a well known US political blogger and then CNN and FOX mentioned the flight (but not FlightBlogger) on air. Unfortunately the blogger in question failed link to FlightBlogger directly (bad form!), but a FB twitter caused a 2000 page view jump in traffic in about an hour on Friday afternoon well BEFORE the VP news broke.

So, full marks for a good use of Twitter and major demerits for the established players who took the story and ran...

August 26, 2008

The Computer Weekly Blog Award Winners

Computer Weekly Blog Awards
One of the projects I've been involved with over the last couple of months was the Computer Weekly Blog Awards.

The idea was simple - allow the readers to nominate and select the very best blogs out there in the UK IT space. Well, the results are in, and after a little bit of internal adjudication over patterns, we announced the 2008 Computer Weekly IT Blogs Awards winners.

CW's online editor, James Garner posted about the awards on his blog, and linked to an aggregator of posts from the top 20 IT blogs. And many of the winners have posted, too, including Mike Butcher of Techcrunch UK, Elizabeth Harrin of a Girld's Guide to Project Management and Ray Fleming of the Microsoft Schools Blog. And even the odd good loser...

I hope we can turn this into an annual event (and maybe even expand into other markets), if enough people see value it in. Are blog awards actaully useful, or are they old media thinking in a new media age?

August 25, 2008

Losing Battles and Other Journalists' Clichés

Mum & DadPeople don't lose battles with cancer. From the BBC's Will & Testament blog:

It's unfortunate, however, that The Daily Telegraph chose to run with the headline "Sudders the blogger loses cancer fight". Anyone familiar with Sudders's story must know that the word "lose" does not apply in his case. Nor does it apply, in fact, in the story of anyone who dies following a cancer diagnosis.

I've watched both my parents die of cancer (that's them on the right, setting off on their honeymoon, back in the 60s). Dad lasted 9 months from diagnosis, Mum two and a half years. Dad made my brother's wedding, and was healthy for it, when the initial diagnosis was that he wouldn't. Mum lived an active and healthy life, even attending (and enjoying) a charity ball, weeks before she died. Neither of them lost their fights with cancer. In both cases, death was inevitable. But they both took what they needed from the life they had left. The stock phrase "lost their battle" puts the emphasis on the wrong place; the cancer, not the life.

The problem is lazy journalism - the rote use of familiar, stock phrases instead of crafting something accurate and individual to the case. I had an editor once who used to tell me that she'd made my stories more "punchy". Inevitable, that meant she'd added the phrase "hit out at" to the copy, or some variation thereof. To read the average issue of that publication, you'd think that the industry was full of fisticuffs.

It's part of that journalistic arrogance, in an unconscious way; the reduction of an individual story composed of people into a stock category box. And, as the web allows real, human stories to emerge the way Adrian Sudbury's did, we can't afford to do that any more.

How Many People Create Online?

CMS Wire has picked up on Gartner's new classification of online community participants. It's still essentially the 80/20 rule, but the 20 are broken down into three groups:

Gartner: Community Participants
Interesting how small they still perceive the creator part being. This suggests to me that there's still a role for the professional, in creating genuine original content which people congregate around. But it's worth journalists remembering that a "3 in 100" creator proportion suggests that there's a whole lot more competition for attention than the "1 to several thousand" print era...

August 24, 2008

Magazines: A Premium Product

Magazines: 3 for £2, originally uploaded by Adam Tinworth.

...or, y'know, not.

Spotted on a market stall at the top of Leather Lane in London.

August 22, 2008

Burnt Out London Bus

Burnt out London Bus, originally uploaded by Adam Tinworth.

I passed this burning London bus on West Smithfield on the way from one meeting to another this afternoon. The Fire Brigade had sealed off most of the surrounding streets and were busy dousing the last vestiges of the fire.

London may annoy me much of the time, but at least it's never dull.

August 19, 2008

Wrong: Dogs in Costumes

This is wrong:

Hula DogAnd there's plenty more where that came from.

We publish this. I'm so very proud.

Muxtape Dead?

The Music Industry spends an awful lot of time killing things for something that claims to be a creative industry...

August 18, 2008

Tiredness, iCons and iPhone Photos

Manga Me
No blogging about journalism right now - I'm tired and ratty (persuade your parents not to die - it's just too much damn hard work clearing up after them) and anything I try to write comes out as either a rant or a complaint, and I'd like to be a little more positive.

So, here's a couple of fun things.

First of all, if you haven't seen the wave of cartoon-style icons spreading across the internet in the last 72 hours, you haven't been paying attention. They're from a site called Face Your Manga, and I'm strangely pleased with mine.

I've also set up a group on Flickr for people in the UK interested in using the iPhone's often crappy camera for some vaguely artistic photography. I rather like the uphill challenge of doing something good with something rather poor. This, for example, was shot on an iPhone:

2693343302_93830c225d.jpgFeel free to stop me feeling lonely in this effort in iPhone Photography UK. Members at present: 1. Ah, well.

August 15, 2008

Mixing Blogs & Social Networks with Movable Type

Since yesterday afternoon this blog has been running on the cutting edge version of Movable Type: 4.2 Pro. In fact, it's been running on beta versions of it for the last couple of months. The major pre-advertised change was speed, and that's been more than delivered on. The whole application is significantly more snappy than 4.1 was. I can't wait to get it live on our work servers.

However, there was an ever bigger change: the Community Pack, which used to be a chargeable upgrade to the product - and quite a pricey one at that - is bundled into the product:

Movable Type Pro for Social Networks from

Essentially, it adds social network type functionality to the platform - the ability of commenters to create profiles, follow other members on the blog platform, and rate content.
Continue reading Mixing Blogs & Social Networks with Movable Type.

More Young Gordon

Full disclosure: is a site from my employers.

August 14, 2008

Movable Type Upgrade in Progress

I'm busy upgrading the plumbing behind the site to Movable Type Pro 4.2.

Apologies for any oddness over the next few hours.

The Twitterocalypse is Here - But Not on SMS

Fail Whale
I woke this morning to a Twitter news e-mail from Biz Stone this morning, but ignored it as I tend to do these things. It was only once I picked up the ol' iPhone and opened Twitterific that it became clear that the Twitterocalypse was upon us.

Twitter has suspended SMS service in all countries bar Canada, India and the United States.

Now to be honest, this only affects me tangentially. I don't really use SMS for my Twittering, and haven't really since Le Web 3 back in 2006. We had looked at using Twitter to effectively give us a news-updates-by-SMS service, but that'll be knocked on the head.

But this continues to beg the question: why doesn't Twitter seem to have any discernible business model? We would (probably) pay for use of Twitter like that in some way - but there's no route for doing that, and now the option is gone. You can dodge the issue of where your revenue is coming from for a while, but if you're cutting services to users because you can't afford them, maybe you need to start addressing this...

Anyway, if you're really upset about SMS going bye-bye, you can join this Facebook Group.

August 7, 2008

Another Drop in the Media Ocean

Another Drop in the OceanPatrick Smith of Press Gazette (which may be about to go web-only), has finally dipped his toes into the bloggy waters of journalistic blogging with his own blog, Another Drop in the Ocean

And, like the good hack that he is, he's kicked off by being rude about PRs. And who can blame him?

The Truth About YouTube Comments

Finally, it's all explained: Local Idiot to Post Comment on The Internet.

(Personally, I suspect he posts on Comment is Free as well).

[via Andrew]

August 6, 2008

Young Gordon (Ramsay?)

August 5, 2008

Revamping Flight's Blogs

New Look Runway Girl.
The first of our blogs groupings to undergo a significant revamp since the Movable Type 4 upgrade has been the Flightglobal blogs, including our most popular blog, Flightblogger, and Runway Girl (shown above).

The redesign had two aims: bring the blogs into the overall site structure, and bring in the new features of MT4.
Continue reading Revamping Flight's Blogs.

August 2, 2008

Journalists Versus Sub-Editors: It's War

One of the delights of the social media age is seeing the dark secret of our trade dragged out of the newsroom and into the unblinking gaze of the blogging world. Take, for example, the relationship between reporters and sub-editors. Once, this was a cosy, happy relationship. The hacks went into the field, found the stories and phoned in the details. And the subs actually wrote the damn thing.

And then came the 80s, and desktop publishing, and suddenly the reporters and the subs were in the same room. The reporters had computers on their desks and, horror of horrors, were writing copy. The cold war between sub and hack began. What was at stake? Final control of the copy.

The conflict was waged in a thousand little skirmishes on page proofs. Subbing marks tracked the battle for supremacy. Editors watched helplessly, like ineffectual peace-keepers in a covert war. The best subs could polish a piece to such perfection that the journalist didn't even realise how little it resembled their original work. The worst would butcher it into a state where no-one had any idea what it was about.

But the war was silent, hidden. Few, if any, of the readers had any idea of the battle fought over the words in their hands. But all that has changed.
Continue reading Journalists Versus Sub-Editors: It's War.

August 1, 2008

The Blog Silly Season Cometh

The comment volume on our blogs is waaaay down this week. And half the office are about to go on holiday. And that got me thinking:

Do blogs now have a silly season?

In the early days, us obsessives would keep the reader and comment levels high right through the summer. But as blogs become part of mainstream reading habits, are more mainstream trends going to be seen?

Should I save all the serious stuff for September, and leave August for less weighty blog posts? Like, say, about a notional blog silly season? :-)

Why Journalists Shy Away From Commenters

Community Brainstorming
One of the issues that came up in yesterday's brainstorming about community (right) was the degree to which the journalists we employ should switch their behaviour patterns and engage with the communities on our sites and elsewhere. Regular readers will know exactly where I stand on the issue, but it's worth bearing in mind that the biggest single barrier to journalists becoming part of the community isn't arrogance: it's fear.

I got into a brief discussion on TigerTwoTiger yesterday about the fact that negative reactions to the idea of social media are often rooted in fear. Toby Young illustrates vividly in The Spectator why this might be so:

What takes your breath away is the sheer scale of their anger. The people who submit 'comments' to my pieces are not mildly annoyed by the articles in question, but in the grip of an all-consuming rage. In my mind I can see this army of furious readers, eyes popping out of their skulls, knuckles white with strain as their fingers fly across their keyboards.
And who wants to expose their finely-crafted prose to that? However, these screeching howler monkey commenters seem to be far more prevalent on national titles than the sort of niche publishing we do. And there may be some illuminating reasons for that.
Continue reading Why Journalists Shy Away From Commenters.


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2008 is the previous archive.

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