Monthly Archives: December 2004

Media monitoring

Thanks to Cursor.org for bringing left i on the news to my attention, a media monitoring blog whose posts include highlighting

“an AFP story reporting that U.S. troops in Fallujah “had orders to shoot all males of fighting age seen on the streets, armed or unarmed,” a reader comments on “the fact that fighting-age males were prohibited from evacuating the city in the first place.””

(Cursor.org 12/21/04 18:14)

This got me thinking about why the American blogosphere seems so much more politicised than in Europe – and I think it’s this: traditionally European news media has always followed a politicised model, whereas the American model has an objective model tradition (at least according to McQuail et al, 1998: 252): does this mean there therefore seems to be more of a ‘need’ for politicised writing in America which is not satisfied by the traditional news media?

Making your news site work for the reader

This article from Editor and Publisher about news navigation makes the welcome point that “News sites should learn from other online publishers: Links navigation is becoming less important, and search capabilities must become much more intelligent.” Professional companies should devote a member of staff to search, and probably consider getting into a paid relationship with Google or Topix.net to use their search technology.

For those who aren’t technically proficient enough to add a search facility to their site, there’s still some useful tips, including the ‘less is more’ rule of navigation (i.e. avoid endless navigation columns). Rollover sub-menus and section pages will help the user much more than a list of 50 options on page 1 (eight menu options is optimum, apparently, which isn’t surprising given that humans’ short term memory can generally only store around seven items).

Other tips include including navigation elements within the main body of the page (where most users look, according to certain studies), and focusing some attention on the design of article pages – particularly the ends of articles, where users can be left stranded.



PS: The piece is based on an interview with information architect Christina Wodtke, who seems to have a lot of interesting things to say on the subject based on a quick Google search.

What TIME learned about Blogs

Quite a cute little article by TIME which lists gives a succinct overview of the blogging medium in 2004, including blog scoops, blogs keeping news alive (Instapundit.com, dailykos.com), titillating blogs (washingtoniennearchive.blogspot.com, wonkette.com), fake blogs (plainlayne.dreamhost.com, billclintondailydiary.blogspot.com), blog gendering, political campaigning (blog.deanforamerica.com, spitzer2006.com) and those fired because of blogs.

The Wireless: Another fad that’ll never catch on

Thanks to my colleague again for this one: podcasting, a new form of broadcasting audio content, as reported by the Boston Globe. An opportunity for the rebirth of talk radio – or just another excuse to fill up your mp3 player?

PS: This posting was done using Blogger’s lovely Blog This! feature (top left of screen). Bloglines has a similar feature – but how frustrating that you can only do it on Blogger’s own sites…