Recently in Media Category
June 14, 2012
Andrew Grill, talking about Skype's plans for in-call advertising:
"highlight unique and local brand experiences"- what?? Humans don't speak like this to to other humans. This is ad speak.
There is a clear phenomenon where people get so embedded in marketing and sales that they lose touch with normal humanity, and come to serve the abstract gods of marketing objectives. I am reminded of a marketing-written proposal for a mobile app I saw once, that required the user to go through two pages of data capture before they could start using it. Serves marketing goals, no sense of what humans actually do, doomed to failure.
Or, of course, this could just be Microsoft brining its "magic touch" to Skype. I fear for Yammer.
July 11, 2011
I'm loathe to join the general mob of bloggers posting about every little twist and turn of the phone-hacking scandal, and the closure of the News of the
Screws World. That market niche is filled sufficiently. I'm more interested in trying to discern the long-term consequences of what's happening now; how this might change the media landscape over the next 10 years or so.
Here's three things playing on my mind right now:
In one area, I'm distinctly worried, as I suggested on Friday. The regulation system for journalism is under review, and it looks awfully like the days of the PCC are numbered. And what will replace it?
I can't say I'd trust either main party on this - New Labour was just as busy sucking up to News International's brands as Cameron's Tory party has been, and it's worth bearing in mind that for all the left's accusations that Murdoch's papers are essentially right-wing, they've supported Labour for three out of the four most recent general elections... As one of my colleagues pointed out over lunch, the LibDems have no skin in this game, but only because they were never considered significant enough.
Our politicians are smarting from the expenses scandal, and now they're having their overly cosy relationship with elements of the media pulled apart. Will they respond with honour, justice and a regard for the good of political discourse in this country? Or will they try to emasculate the press so that an investigation like the expenses one would no longer be possible? Hope for the former, prepare to fight against the latter. And maybe the LibDems have a chance to start redeeming themselves in the eyes of many of the public here.
And there's a bigger challenge for them to consider: how can any regulation framework possibly function without some oversight of online-only publications? And how do you separate the powerhouses like Guido Fawkes and (possibly) the Huffington Post UK, from the thousands of independent bloggers doing their thing? Is it even feasible?
The Age of Social Publishing
However important or not you feel the role of social media was in the protests against the News of the World, we're almost certainly seeing a shift in the relationship between the traditional media and the people formerly known as the audience. The advent of Facebook, Twitter and other forms of low-input social media has actually brought into being the concept of everyone being able to publish. While the visionaries of a decade ago might have envisaged the idea of one man, one blog as the primary means of creating that mass publication environment, social networks have actually delivered on the promise. Before now, people's only option to show disapproval of journalists was not to buy the paper - and The Sun in Liverpool is a good example of that. Now they can target the advertisers, and other buyers of the paper, who might be unaware of what's happening. And they can help bring down an entire newspaper.
The model of active publishers and passive audience is broken, and this is just another example of the "audience" beginning to wake up to its own power, and flex its new muscles. And, for us in the media, it's a warning shot across our bows, a reminder that we'll have far more success in the future working with the audience - Rusbridger's "mutual media" - that merely talking at them. And that may require a different sort of journalist. The NotW crisis has been fuelled by that particular breed of news journalist for whom the adrenaline hit of getting the story outweighs everything else - morality, legality and relationship. This byline junkies can be incredibly powerful force in society if harnessed carefully - and an amoral disaster in the wrong context. We need journalists like these, but in an audience-empowered age, we can't afford to let them run the show. That needs to be in the hands of those who understand and respect their audience, and know how to work with them.
A Habit, Broken
Also, I wonder how many of the people who were buying the News of the World are just going to walk away from newspapers? Will they just transfer their purchasing affections elsewhere, and perhaps return to a putative Sun on Sunday, or will they just use this as a "jumping off point" for the whole concept of Sunday newspaper buying? Will this be the critical event that breaks the habit?
Thanks to Paul Bradshaw for some impromptu post-publication subbing of this. ;-)
July 19, 2010
June 4, 2009
Well worth watching all the way through.
October 28, 2008
Where does one get a digital hoodie? Do they offer iPhone integration?
August 6, 2008
July 25, 2008
March 25, 2008
August 29, 2007
December 4, 2006
November 14, 2006
Now look round the average British newsroom. How many hacks have a Flickr account or a MySpace profile? How many sub-editors have ever uploaded a video to YouTube? How many editors have used BitTorrent? (How many know what BitTorrent is?)
And while some of our teenagers' interests coincide with ours, many do not. Here, for example, are the top blog tags on Technorati last night: Bush, careers, college, comedy, Congress, death, Democrats, elections, Flickr, gay, Halloween, Iraq, Microsoft, money, Republicans, Saddam, Ted Haggard, vote, war, breaking-news, tagshare, YouTube. Some you'll recognise. But you won't see much about many of these in the papers.
It's not only an accurate view of the way things are in many media businesses, it's also a roadmap as to where they should be...
September 25, 2006
Today is a strange day. Today is the sort of day where I need two strong cups of black coffee, just to function. (The lady in the coffee shop here starts making me a strong, black Americano as soon as she spots me in the queue.) Today is the sort of day where I find myself linking to The Sun.
Why? Because Jeremy Clarkson's account of his collegue Richard Hammond's recovery from an insanely high-speed car crash is a work of pure genius:
In the wee small hours of Thursday night, just 30 hours after what is almost certainly the world�s fastest ever car crash, Richard Hammond suddenly sat up in bed, opened his eyes and asked what had happened.
�You�ve been in a car accident,� I said. �Was I driving like a tw*t?� he asked, before getting out of bed and walking, shakily, to the lavatory.
Go on, read the rest.
September 18, 2006
September 14, 2006
Stupidly busy. Let me distract you with this:
August 24, 2006
The headline on a BBC news alert that just dropped into my in-box is:
Pluto stripped of planet status
Did it fail a drugs test?
July 31, 2006
July 28, 2006
But, in recognition of the move towards a screen-based world, she says much of her energy is devoted to trying to apply magazine brands to new media.
They are vulnerable for many reasons - they often serve sectors and audience niches that may be better able to serve themselves via online communities. Some depend on classified job ads for a great deal of their revenue (a business which is easily distintermediated by the web) and their legacy infrastructure, their commitments to print based business models can make it hard for them to move quickly enough to take advantage of the fast-evolving online media world.
He is, of course, quite right. These are going to be testing times for trade media, but very exciting ones, too. (Of course, I'm a bit of a change junkie. Other people's views may differ...)
July 25, 2006
July 6, 2006
The poster child for the growth in video podcasting (or video blogging, or vlogging, or whatever you want to call it) is in trouble. Rocketboom's presenter, writer and producer Amanda Congdon appears to have had a serious falling out with her partner on the site, Andrew Baron, as her most recent posts explain.
Business Week has a good analysis of Rocketboom's financial situation. Business 2.0 examines the phenomenon of a business problem being conducted in public, which is an interesting development in its own right. And Jason Calacanis of AOL-owned Weblogs Inc has made a very public job offer.
Whoa. It's interesting that not only do the public feel enough of an ownership of Rocketboom that they're discussing this so much, as the Technorati Tag page shows, but the people involved feel that they can do business in such a public way, too. There's a fine line between transparency and washing your dirty laundry in public, and I'm not sure which side of the line this business is on yet.
But it sure is entertaining.
May 23, 2006
April 5, 2006
Preliminary tests have confirmed the H5 avian flu virus in a sample from a swan found dead in Fife, health officials have revealed.
Lorna, with her PhD in immunology, tells me we really shouldn't be sweating this, but I believe in the media, so I have to worry, right?
After all, journalists would never blow things out of proportion, would they?
March 14, 2006
January 21, 2006
The Guardian has occasional moments of confusion. Despite being one of the leading big media proponents of podcasting in the UK, it's just published a piece mocking the whole idea. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Newspapers should have room for different ideas and positions within the covers. It's just that, well, it's so predictable. You could have picked out some of the 'jokes' in advance. For example:
The term podcast - coined and first used, according to most sources, by the writer Ben Hammersley in this very newspaper in February 2004 - distinguishes a certain sort of internet-borne audio (or, increasingly, video) content from all the other sorts, and specifically denotes an MP3 file that can be downloaded to one's computer automatically via RSS subscription technology and thence transferred to one's personal MP3 device for later listening. In short, it's like a radio programme that you listen to on your iPod. A podcast is not to be confused with a webcast, which uses real-time streaming to allow you to listen at your leisure, but not on the hoof, as it were. (You are free to regard this distinction as largely semantic or, if you prefer, wholly incomprehensible.)
The emphasis is mine. So, Mr Dowling, are you suggesting that the readers are free to regard your journalism as inferior, because you can't comprehensibly explain the the theory and technology behind it? Surely the distinction between something you have to sit and listen to at your computer or something you can listen to anywhere you take your iPod isn't that hard to express or understand?
Other podcasts make use of "podsafe" music, that is, music wholly owned and controlled by the artist, who has uploaded it on to something like the Podsafe Musical Network in order to make it available, for free, to registered podcasters. ("Podsafe", therefore, is well on its way to becoming a synonym for "homemade and/or of necessarily limited appeal".)
That's Podsafe Music Network, and do you really believe that "not picked up by the mainstream music industry" really equals "rubbish"?
Though the technology probably exists, my iPod has no means of fast-forwarding through a boring rant or a dreadful podsafe tune
And that's a pretty clear example of what IT support types call "user error". Mine can do that Mr Dowling. All iPods can do that.
There's a funny article to be written about this stuff, but it'll rise above "isn't technology so geeky?" and "all amateur material is laughable".
So nyah, nyah, nyah.
January 20, 2006
January 13, 2006
The latest series of Celebrity Big Brother is proving fascinating. I'm not watching it, mind, as we lack the aerial to watch any TV right now. But I am watching the newspaper coverage of the show with fascination. In the first week it's gone through three phases:
- Fascination with Chantelle, the fake celebrity
- Jodie Marsh being "bullied"
- George Galloway and Rula Lenska little kitten game
Each tells us something about the modern media.
- That its obsession with celebrity is becoming recursive, disappearing up its own backside as the whole game of somebody being a celebrity simply because the media has decided that they're a celebrity is highlighted.
- Stupid women with big tits must be protected from analysis by people with more intelligence.
- The media's obsession with sex suddenly gets uncomfortable when middle-aged people start playing games with a sexual undertone. I wonder how different the media coverage would have been if it was two much younger people playing that game.
You'll note that I've ignored the whole "George Galloway wasting taxpayers' money by being in the house" angle. That's because I don't care about it. His constituents had plenty of opportunities to see the kind of man they were electing, and they want ahead and did it anyway. They deserve everything they get.
January 11, 2006
November 20, 2005
We in the Hellhole (our affectionate name for the flat we're refurbishing) are firm believers in digital music - we just don't buy CDs any more. In my case, it's the combination of convenience and price, for my wife, it's all about having fewer things cluttering up her living space.
So, I am hugely annoyed that the new Kate Bush album has yet to appear on iTunes. Each (New Music) Tuesday, I check in the hope that the album has appeared, but it doesn't. Now, Charles Arthur has found a plausible reason why. It's enough to drive me over to the Podsafe Music Network.
July 23, 2005
On my coffee-fuelled blogrounds, onionbagbloger made me laugh this morning. Yesterday, the newspapers were trying to sell us on the idea of a city gripped by fear. The Independent was particualrly guilty of this, with a sensationalist cover that was almost worthy of a tabloid. BBC reporters were scurrying around trying to get people to admit that they were terrified. Except, they weren't.
It's nice to see blogs doing such an excellent job of conveying the real feeling on the ground.
July 8, 2005
I wasn't the only one to get attention, it seems:
Second, everyone pick up a copy of the USA Today tomorrow. I was interviewed by Mark Memmott today about the bombings and how that was affecting the blogsphere. Last I spoke with him, he wasn't sure yet whether or not the story was going to run, but if it is, it will be in tomorrow's paper (and online) and there may even be a picture of me (courtesy of Scott) in there, too. Either way, it was an interesting conversation
You can find the article here.
My photography yesterday seems to have attracted rather more attention than I expected. After all, it was mainly shot for friends and family. Here's a couple of stories that have popped up on the web already:
Adam Tinworth, a London magazine editor and freelance writer, posted several shots from his digital camera on the Internet. Among them: images of blockaded streets and of professionals �trying to do the same thing I was except with a much different camera.�
�I was grabbing photos to give people a feel of what it's like to be an ordinary person,� Tinworth said.
Adam Tinworth passed by an older couple this evening, standing by the side of the road, trying to figure out how to get home. �I haven�t caught a bus in years,� said the woman, �but I�m sure I could do it.�
�It�s strange,� says Adam, �when your city becomes a stereotype.�
Adam, who writes One Man & His Blog, lives in Lewisham, in southeast London. We caught up with him on the phone this afternoon to talk about a series of photographs he took in London today.
July 4, 2005
Yesterday, I rather cryptically mentioned that I wouldn't be writing about property and architecture on this blog anymore.
To understand why, we need to take a step backwards. During the day, I'm the features editor of Estates Gazette, a weekly magazine covering the commercial property magazine, and one of the biggest business magazines in the country. A couple of weeks ago, the executive editor of New Scientist, a stablemate to EG, turned up for a meeting with my editor. I was called into the meeting. Our publisher, Reed Business Information, was getting into blogging. Would I be interested in helping?
Silly question, really.
So, as of the weekend just gone, Reed's new site, full of blogs from the editors and senior staff of several business magazines, is live. It's called Bizbuzzmedia.
The reason that I won't be covering property and architecture here any more is that I'll be doing it on company time, for a company blog. The EG Blog is born. Go visit.
August 28, 2003
There's an interesting piece in The Guardian's Online section today, discussing the online archive in more depth.
I think this is the most interesting section:
Last Sunday, Greg Dyke changed that. He revealed that the BBC is planning to digitise and offer for download, for free, as much of its back catalogue of programmes that it can legally do, from the earliest radio reels to nature documentaries to educational programmes. Anyone will be allowed to re-use, re-edit and mix this material with their own, provided it's for non-commercial use."radio reels", "nature documentaries", "education programmes"? Ah, much becomes clear. Not only is the commercial market for those very much small than, say, episodes of Dr Who or Walking With Dinosaurs, it's significantly more simple to sort out the licensing for online distribution.
I revise my earlier opinion. I expect this to happen sooner rather than later, but don't expect to see much, if any, of the Beeb's drama and comedy output on there.
March 14, 2003
...is the sound of racial abuse and fist on flesh...? Far from proven yet, but probably not a good thing for the careers of the made-on-TV band. At least, I hope it isn't. If our society has fallen to the point where allegations of racially abusing someone is a sales-booster, then things are worse than I though.