One Man and His Blog: May 2009 Archives

May 2009 Archives

May 31, 2009

links for 2009-05-31

May 28, 2009

The Dishonourable Powder Plot Polemic

A video reaction to the recent UK parliament expenses scandal:

The creator blogs for Computer Weekly.

May 27, 2009

On (New) Blogs and Blogging

Hectic day. Just wanted to link a couple of things I've been involved with:

Hope tomorrow's calmer...

May 26, 2009

New Yorker Cover Painted on an iPhone

What a fantastic experiment:

New Yorker CoverThe cover of the latest issue of the New Yorker was painted on an iPhone.

A willingness to experiment is one of the major things that will allow existing publishing businesses to survive the next few years, as technology reshapes the way information and entertainment are produced and distributed. And the ability to see new technology in the context of what you already do - but without being constrained by that context - is vital.

Colombo's phone drawing is very much in the tradition of a certain kind of New Yorker cover, and he doesn't see the fact that it's a virtual finger painting as such a big deal. "Imagine twenty years ago, writing about these people who are sending these letters on their computer."
Part of the tradition, but also creating something new. Perfect.

The Importance of Disconnecting (Occasionally)

"Moderation in everything," my late mother used to say, somewhat ironically given how much unused wool and unpainted china she left behind. But, like many clichés, it has a deep element of truth, as I've discovered by disconnecting somewhat from my normal blogging-twittering-photographing lifestyle. A quiet weekend with friends and family, as well as a rather sobering visit to my parents' grave (to check the newly-placed gravestone with Mum's name added) have helped put many things back in their proper perspective, and that's valuable.

The one big danger of social media, I think, is also its strength - its ability to connect you with like minds. If you don't move outside the tight circle of people just like you, you can start seeing things in a distorted way, leading to a bubble mentality. This is one reason I value being married to a social media sceptic. Perspective is important, and sometime you have to step back to get it.

I've yet to open my feed reader, which is likely to be a place of horror and despair after 5 days away from it, but I'm glad I took the break.

Sorry for the unannounced silence, but I'm back in business.

May 20, 2009

Media140: Local Journalism

Joanna Geary: Twitter us another way of finding you local community online and interacting with them.

Christian Payne: Geri Jackson (sp?) - evicted from Zimbabwe, broadcast into the country. Blocked. Now texts into there. 400k texts a month. One third of population left, but leave a mobile there to communicate with family. How get free texts into Zimbabwe?

Paul Bradshaw: Distribution is now journalists' responsibility. Can you organize users to cover events?

Simon Grice: setting up a local news site. At a local level, people are interested in things that happen where they live. Unique opportunity for local news to harness this medium to serve audience.


PB: tools and services around news
SG: local ads
JG: no-one has the answer. We don't sell content, we sell audiences. Audiences follow you because you have something to say. We need to look again at what people want from us.
SG: We need to rethink what localization means, when you don't have a fixed distribution base.
PB: Need to create a newsroom without walls. Connected journalism.
JG: For traditional journalists, social media are a scary lot. Taking meetings face to face cements online relationships.
CP: I'm glad the advertising model is lying kicking and screaming in the gutter.
PB: Publishers not throwing enough money at innovation.
SG: Publishers not looking at the innovation in startups.

Media140: Success & Failures With Twitter Journalism

Panel chained by Laura Oliver of

Suw Charman-Anderson is talking about Ada Lovelace day, an event to celebrate women in technology, and give women good technology role models. They had 1000 people sign up in the first day, and meme mainly spread through Twitter. The Facebook group was closed and inwards-looking and many people who joined the events page didn't sign up to the pledge. Twitter spread the idea widely through retweeting. Will be more Ada Lovelace events and another day next year.

Kevin Anderson is up next, talking about twittering and blogging his way across the US for the presidential election. Use Twitter to crowd-source question. Took him back to his early reporting days in Kansas. Blogging brought him back that sense of immediacy that he lost when he went to national press. "The worst thing is to be in the field and not to be able to file". The US trip was an experiment - came down to blog as the hub, with Facebook, Twitter and Flickr as the main tools. @s and DMs while he was moving - a 2 month conversation in the field with his audience. Met people and made contact (ie built community) as he went. Found it difficult to aggregate everything they did in one place on the site - hard to add the right context. And how do you aggregate the interaction?
Continue reading Media140: Success & Failures With Twitter Journalism.

Media140: How Will Twitter Change News Reporting?

First panel discussion - five white males, points out Bill Thompson.

Difference between PA and Twitter is between newspaper front page and an ocean, says Mike Butcher.

Jon Grimpton says that Sky use search terms during breaking news events. Generally, they're just monitoring Twitter. PA is just a potential source of stories - so is Twitter if you use the tools around it. 

Bill Thompson: old school journalism should be allowed to continue so we can all experience its death throes. It's missing the point of Twitter. It's the Id unleashed. Like ESP with no filters.

Darren Waters: foolish of any news organisation to ignore the flow of information in Twitter. BBC has a user-generated content hub, who sources information from the audience.

Nick Halstead: Pairing of blogging and Twitter is giving a wide reach to the small blogger. (Content marketing, essentially). The future is all about sites that discover the trending stories.

Mike Butcher: 5 years ago we would have been having mediaTechnorati, but that's now something of an also-ran. I was late because I was breaking a story.  

BT: Did you call them to ask if it was true?
Continue reading Media140: How Will Twitter Change News Reporting?.

Media140: Opening Sessions

Pat Kane is first up, showing us a picture of Dick Tracey with his wrist communication device - something for us all to aspire to, right?

Social Media lets you play at being a journalist - and play is an ambiguous term - are you a player or are you being trivial?

Journalism becomes quotidian in this environment - you can produce it on the same street corner you used to buy your newspaper.

  1. Beat reporting (content search, geolocation) 
  2. Early warning of events/news
  3. Real time content/reporting
  4. Traceable sources for leads and interviewing
  5. "can you help" - audience interaction
  6. Promo tool (content marketing)
  7. Expertise archive
Desk research becomes handheld device responsiveness as you react to the community's collaborative decision as to what is important.

Who verifies flows of information? All news is a narrative that is constructed by groups. Truth is balkanised - which is an interesting niche for existing brands. Can they be the people who frame the tumult?
Continue reading Media140: Opening Sessions.

links for 2009-05-20

May 19, 2009

Recommended Read

Thumbnail image for Farmers Weekly in Waitrose
I knew I liked Waitrose.

(Yes, Farmer's Weekly is one of ours. Although, I have no idea how many farmers shop in the Beckenham store...)

Entitlement, Page Views and Content Atomisation

It started with a tweet:

Tweet on Journalistic Entitlement
And soon it spiralled into quite a discussion on Twitter and even a blog post on Strange Attractor. I don't have a lot to add to what Kevin says there (but I do recommend that you go take a peek), other than to recount how I came to tweet that in the first place. I'd overheard a conversation between colleagues, wherein one was expressing surprise that nobody had responded to their first forum posting.

And I come across this a lot. Journalists are genuinely surprised when their new blog or newly-launched forum aren't instantly innundated with hordes of readers. In fact, I remember a Daily Telegraph political reporter expressing this very shock at an event Shane Richmond hosted a couple of years back.
Continue reading Entitlement, Page Views and Content Atomisation.

May 18, 2009

4 Steps to Social Media Heaven

There is, I think, a tendency for journalists to over-complicate social media and how they talk about it. Somehow they makes something which is fundamentally just about talking to people, well, hard. Look at the recent kerfuffle about the WSJ guidelines for using social sites.

There is a remedy for this. And Ryan has just published it

May 17, 2009


Friday night saw me at #TweetupLondon, an impromptu drinkies session after the Somesso 09 conference. Good beer, good conversation and a good time.

Here's a wee bit of video I shot, featuring Jason Falls, Andy Piper, Dennis Howlett, Andrea Vascellari and Sarah Blow, as well as others whose names elude me.

TweetupLondon from Adam Tinworth on Vimeo.

Oh, and there are some photos on Flickr, too.

May 15, 2009

A New Way To Follow The Eurovision

It's nearly the weekend. And we know what this weekend brings, don't we?


Now, we might be lacking Terry Wogan this year, so can I recommend a whole different kind of coverage for you? Mr Ewan Spence, a mad Scotsman whom I've run around New York and Paris with (but never anywhere in the UK, strangely), is over in Moscow reporting on the thing, in an online, new-media kind of way. In fact, he's been doing so all week, so you can head over to his site to get your preparation done for tomorrow night's Eurovision extravaganza.

And just to whet your appetite, here's his 50 Fun Facts about the Eurovision:

Obligatory Journalism Content:
What I find really interesting about watching Euan's stuff is the completely different level of involvement you get from watching a genuine enthusiast cover an event they are passionate and knowledgeable about, as opposed to the "skating the surface" mainstream coverage. Around an event like the Eurovision, the main broadcast is in real danger of becoming just a social object that people interact about elsewhere. 

links for 2009-05-15

May 14, 2009

links for 2009-05-14

May 13, 2009

CoverItLive for Journalists: City Uni Event

Follow @journalism_live for Twitter updates

CoverItLive event on

I've never really liked the name "liveblogging" being applied to CoverItLive, because there was an established meaning for that term, and CoverItLive is something distinctly different. And I was delighted to hear Keith McSpurren from the company describe very similar reservations.

Keith McSpurren of CoverItLive
He's played with other names and straplines - "AltCaster" - "There's more to be said" - but the current pairing have stuck.

So, what was the inspiration? "There is this terrible movie called Showgirls. I was forced to watch it twice." Once was his wife's "bad movie" night. Once was with his brother, with an hilarious commentary on DVD - that derivative content was what made it work for him.

Since then, its moved to 40% of CoverItLive used being non-derivative - ie an event in its own right. 

It's all about holding readers for long periods of time. Most monetisation has come from sponsorships. 

What people like:
  • Easy to use
  • Can start using it without the IT department getting involved. 
  • It's a broadcast tool - designed for large audiences.
Business model is to charge large organisations for the higher-level admin tools.

Continue reading CoverItLive for Journalists: City Uni Event.

links for 2009-05-13

May 12, 2009

Is Swine Flu Coverage in Balance?

What's the ratio of press coverage to deaths for swine flu?

I love this because (a) it's a really good example of how to do a feature visually and (b) because it shows you how massively distorting our current news values can be.

links for 2009-05-12

May 11, 2009

What A Free Evening Standard Did For Me

Evening Standard Vendors
The London Evening Standard: free for one day only!

Yes, from lunchtime today onwards, distributors in lurid orange t-shirts were distributing free copies of the new-look Evening Standard to Londoners. 

Well, all it did for me was convince me not to shell out for the Standard ever again. Why? Well, take a look at the lead story - a city "tycoon" in a divorce case has revealed that he was keeping two families. And this is the biggest story in one of the greatest cities in the world?
Continue reading What A Free Evening Standard Did For Me.

May 8, 2009

Blog This, Grandma

Blog this, Grandma
Doodle done by one of the attendees at our Online Communities workshop

Media Vacuums Will Be Filled

Time Out's Big Smoke blog makes a valid point about London blogging:

However, if we are looking at north vs south, one thing stands out: when it comes to blogging, the south wins hands down,and the south-east in particular.

As someone who used to be a south-east London blogger (before I got distracted by this whole journalism thing), I couldn't agree more. However, the 853 blog identifies a key reason why this might be:

The main reason is because this corner of the capital has, frankly been ignored by the rest of the media for decades. The Tube network barely touches it, so it may as well not exist to the kind of closed-minded north/west London media type who gets a nosebleed more than a mile off the Underground system. I get as pissed off as anyone with tedious misrepresentation of south-east London in the media, and most of it's down to sheer laziness and ignorance. The South London Press (no coverage east of Deptford) aside, local media's a bit of a joke so it's quite easy to tell a story that, simply, isn't being told.

And for us still in the media, that's something to remember. Because the new breed of publisher - the ones doing it for pure passion, at virtually no cost - will and up wounding us where we're weakest. Because we've neglected parts of our audience, pandered to our own prejudices and missed opportunities.

Journalism Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Camp: Live

Today, in Birmingham, a whole group of journalists is meeting, discussing new journalism models.

You can follow proceedings live on the Online Journalism Blog. Other coverage is being aggregated on the JeeCamp site.

links for 2009-05-08

May 6, 2009

Blogging Editorial Conferences

FT ArenaAn e-mail dropped into my inbox last week, encouraging me to have a peek at FT Arena, a blog on the Financial Times site that allows readers to join in a debate on the editorial before it's published.

Karl is fond of sharing the story from his days as editor of Computer Weekly. They had a guest editor for one issue, who sat in on various editorial conferences, an eye-opening experience for him. Much of the material in those discussions never made it into the magazine - and that seemed like a loss to him.

I've long wanted to see us do a real "behind the scenes" blog, sharing the though-processes behind the creation of an issue with the readers - and involving them in that process. Arena does exactly that for a very specific section of the FT, and does it pretty well. At the moment comments on posts vary between around 20 down to none. But it's an interesting experiment, and I wonder how long it will before other titles follow suit.

Preparing for Pig Plague

Hand sanitisers have appeared by the lifts at RBI's Procter Street offices:


links for 2009-05-06

May 5, 2009

Are Features Editors Doomed?

More frightening thoughts for print journalists:

For print newspapers to continue to exist at all, their production must become radically more efficient, and for journalism to thrive, energies and efforts must be redirected at digital media and new products.
If you are a wire editor or features editor, your odds of surviving in such a position until retirement are slim to none. Those jobs are obsolete. We can not save a system in which thousands of people sit around reinventing the wheel in parallel processes all around the country.
Once upon a time, I was a feature editor, before I accepted the editorial development job for the whole company. I'm not sure I agree that the job is entirely gone just yet - it needs to evolve into a wider "in-depth" content role, producing content for both print and web. But yes, expecting to hold a features editor job until retirement will only work if you're retiring in the next few months. 

That said, I also think we'll see an increasing shift towards journalists becoming beat-defined, rather than content-type defined and, in that sense, the news reporter job is just as doomed as the feature writer. 

Business Fails, Business Magazines Fail

Depressing news of the day - the big three US business magazines are in a bad financial place.

Let's hope they find a route out of this,

[via Adrian Monck]

May 1, 2009

May Day Protest 2009 in Video

Grabbed on my Flip Mino HD, edited in the flip software:

London May Day Protests 2009 from Adam Tinworth on Vimeo.

If I'd had my MacBook with me, I'd still have used iMovie and edited it much more tightly. Trimming clips isn't that easy in the Flip's own software. But in terms of getting good stuff up quickly, the Flip hits the spot...


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This page is an archive of entries from May 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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