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Month: August 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.

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…

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 some…interesting…voting 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?

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…

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.