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Month: May 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.

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 Journalism.co.uk
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?

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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?

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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?

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