Monthly Archives: October 2012

Hurricane Sandy: how does the media serve the public interest?

This tweet from Daniel Bentley deserves a post all on its own:

 

While some news organisations take down paywalls and others help sort hoax images from the genuine article, what role should ‘common carriers’ like Instagram play? Any at all?

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Jon Bounds: Why I’m giving up Birmingham: It’s Not Shit

Some of the products available in the BiNS shop

Jon Bounds is one of Birmingham’s most established and best-known bloggers. In this guest post, cross-posted from his own blog, he explains why he’s auctioning off that site, the reasons he started it in the first place, and the problems with the ‘hyperlocal question’.

I started Birmingham: It’s Not Shit back in the May of 2002, before there were really such things as blogs in the mainstream and the term ‘hyperlocal’ was not even a glint in an irritating theorist’s eye.

Pretty much everything that’s ever been on it, and definitely everything technical was written or created by me. I’ve had a couple of ‘columnists’ for short whiles and a couple of bits of ‘holiday cover’ but that’s all.

The site was flat, hand coded HTML until I learned of PHP and wrote a simple news updating section. Later I discovered that there wasn’t only a name for such things but software out there to do it more prettily and better.

And now it, or sites like it, are either the future of the media or a disappointment to those that thought they should be.

But, it didn’t start because the media was dying, it started because the media was crapcrap at explaining why people connected emotionally with a place that—when looked at objectively—was a bit shit. Crap at self awareness, crap at understanding real life. The media has changed a little, but mostly the contents have just shifted in transit. Continue reading

Data visualisation training

If you’re interested in data visualisation I’m delivering a training course on November 7 with the excellent Caroline Beavon. Here’s what we’re covering:

  • Pick the right chart for your story – against a deadline
  • Mapping tricks and techniques: using Fusion Tables and other tools to map Olympic torchbearers
  • Picking the right data to visualise
  • Visualisation tips for free chart tools
  • Avoiding common visualisation mistakes
  • Create an infographic with Tableau and Illustrator
  • Making data interactive

More details here. Places can be booked here.

Circa news app shows liveblogging’s rise and rise

Circa news app - image from TechCrunch

Circa news app – image from TechCrunch

Just how dominant can the liveblog format become? In Model for the 21st Century Newsroom Redux I noted how quickly the format has been adopted as a default mode of reporting (for example, how widely the format was being used to report on public sector strikes).

In March 2012 the relaunch of the ITV News website saw the format adopted as the default mode of presentation.

In August The Guardian’s horizontally-navigated Olympics liveblog caught my eye.

Now news app Circa is taking the concept back onto mobile (where most liveblogging starts), and adding a few twists, including push updates. Continue reading

Does Google think your product review is linkspam?

Be prepared... by Mark Lindner

Image by Mark Lindner on Flickr

Google’s guidance on linking has just been updated to include free gifts among the factors that might count against a webpage’s ranking.

The guidance on link schemes now includes “sending someone a ‘free’ product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link” as an example of “link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results” Continue reading

Stop attacking ‘web-first’ as if the world is going to stand still

The Hangover

The Hangover – a film from 2009 as well as a term which, coincidentally, can be used as a metaphor for the fact that we’re still talking about the same things now

This week feels very much like 2009. That year I published a post titled ‘How the web changed the economics of news‘, a brief overview of some of the economic factors impacting on publishing which has recently experienced a resurgence of interest thanks to a Kingston University tutor whose students have been asked to review it. Their posts have been illuminating: not much, it seems, has changed since 2009. Many still think journalism is a high priesthood which will continue to thrive.

Meanwhile, Editor and Publisher’s Kristina Ackermann argues in an editorial that “digital first wasn’t enough to keep [Journal Register Co] from sinking back into bankruptcy” because digital didn’t make as much profit as print and, therefore, it should be abandoned. The NUJ New Media blog piles in with “This has never been a strategy for increasing profitability, but rather a strategy for slashing costs.”

*Sigh.* Continue reading