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Month: January 2009

links for 2009-01-29

Mobile FT.com is a River of News

I have a pet theory, one that is not widely shared amongst my colleagues. I think that what we now know as news sites will come to resemble what we now know as blogs. I don’t mean this in the broader sense of the conversational use of blogs so much as the “newest story at the top, reverse chronological” flow of news. That’s what makes sense to me as a useful way of presenting news in the era of vertical scrolling and user-determined levels of importance.

On the whole, the people I work with treat this as a pile of old tosh, and cheerfully ignore me. But the new mobile version of FT.com, which I’ve been checking out today on my iPhone, brings my idea to mind:

Mobile FT 2Mobile FT 1

The design, to me, demonstrates the value of that blog-style design in the mobile environment. What do you want to know? The latest news. Not what a gatekeeper has deemed the most important, just the newest.It’s incredibly easy to just scroll up and down the news with a flick of the thumb, or click through to anything interesting. It’s simple, but very, very effective, because it understand that speed and timeliness are the key factors for news on the go.

And it’s even got a nice icon for bookmarking it on the iPhone:

FT HomeScreen Icon

Phil Clarke: The Robert Peston of Farming?

Phil Clarke's Business Blog
Another new RBI blog launch I’ve been working on in recent weeks: Phil Clarke’s Business Blog. It’s another blog from the growing stable of Farmers Weekly blogs, with their economics and world editor taking a serious look at the financial world underlying farming.

There’s a little bit of Pestonesque influence at work here, I suspect, but the first post has garnered 10 comments already, so I’m not complaining. 

Guide Girl: Blogging Restaurant Guides

I’m going through one of those insanely busy periods at work, with multiple projects all happening at once. That’s why posting has been a little thin on the ground since I returned from my holiday.

In lieu of a proper post, let me introduce one of the reasons for my silence:
Guide Girl
Guide Girl is a new blog from the Caterer team, focusing on the rarified world of upmarket restaurants and upmarket restaurant guides. The Caterersearch editor posted about the thinking behind it.
I made the mistake of describing it as for “foodies” on Twitter, and was swiftly corrected by noodlepie, a sometime food blogger himself. It is, of course, for rich foodies. Mind you, in the current economy, looking at the upscale end of the dining out market might prove very interesting indeed.

Quick Apology

Apologies to those of you subscribed to e-mail notifications of new entries here. You’ll have been hit with a couple of dozen notifications of old entries over the last couple of days. I’ve found the solution to the issue, and it should be a problem no more.


President Obama has a blog

LONDON - JULY 26:  Presumptive U.S. Democratic...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I must confess that I’m having a bad dose of the “bah humbug”s today, as I grump and work at my desk while people all around me, virtually and physically, get very excited by the inauguration of President Obama. (It’s Tony Blair’s fault, I think – I was so very excited when he was elected and felt so very betrayed by him at the end.)

But one thing has emerged which I am excited about – the relaunched whitehouse.gov has a blog.

That’s right. This is the first blogging presidency. It’s open for debate about how significant this is for the presidency itself – but it’s a pretty darn good endorsment of blogging.

Bloggers are all sad individuals blogging in their bedrooms? Well, if one of those bedrooms is in the White House, perhaps people have a little rethinking to do…

Update: Daniel Bennett has a nice take on the new blog over at the Frontline Club.

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Digital Doorstepping Done Right

CareSpace logoTwo years ago, there was some debate about the ethics of digital doorstepping – the practice of media diving into blogs or social networks looking for quotes and interviewees for their stories, particularity in the aftermath of a tragedy. This morning, in a meeting with some folks from Community Care, our title for social workers, I was interested in seeing an example of digital doorstepping done, as far as I can see, right.

A poster on the CareSpace forums started asking if any social workers in the Doncaster area though the recent stories about social work there were justified. Community Care asked anyone who wanted to share their experiences annonymously to do so, and they did just that.

And that caught the attention of the mainstream media, with ITN diving in, followed by the BBC.

The story appeared on the BBC website this morning (although, with no mention of Community Care or CareSpace. Tsk.)

Why is this digital doorstepping done right? Well, in this instance, the people involved were actually looking for publicity. They weren’t the shocked victims of a crime seeing their quasi-private space violated. The BBC poster clearly signed up as themselves, giving their name as well as the company, humanising the approach a little. And they didn’t just lift testimony, they solicited contact.

Slowly, we learn…

Twitter: Tipping Point for Journalists

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Something has happened in the last couple of weeks. Twitter has moved from something that is used by the social media cognoscenti amongst journalists, to something that is rapidly spreading amongst the more web aware hack. A slew of my colleagues are now using Twitter actively, and several who have had moribund or RSS-only accounts are now actively using it as a conversation tool.

What’s changed? 
I think two things happened. The first was the rapid succession of news coming from people twittering plane crashes and mumbai terror attacks. That gave the service all too often derided as being about “what I had for my breakfast” a certain credibility as a reporting tool, one that could be faster than TV or the conventional web page.. 
And, much as I hate to admit it, I think the very visible presence of celebs like Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross on Twitter has something to do with it. That creates an impression, perhaps only subconsciously, that this is a real tool, not just a play thing of the engagement evangalists like me. 
Anyway, whatever the cause, I’m delighted to see growing numbers of journalists starting to use Twitter to engage with each other and (hopefully) their readers. The next couple of months could be very interesting indeed. 
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