Tag Archives: Emily Bell

GEN Summit: AI’s breakthrough year in publishing

This week’s GEN Summit marked a breakthrough moment for artificial intelligence (AI) in the media industry. The topic dominated the agenda of the first two days of the conference, from Facebook’s Antoine Bordes opening keynote to voice AI, bots, monetisation and verification – and it dominated my timeline too.

At times it felt like being at a conference in the 1980s discussing how ‘computers’ could be used in the newsroom, or listening to people talking about the use of mobile phones for journalism in the noughties — in other words, it feels very much like early days. But important days nonetheless.

Ludovic Blecher‘s slide on the AI-related projects that received Google Digital News Initiative funding illustrated the problem best, with proposals counted in categories as specific as ‘personalisation’ and as vague as ‘hyperlocal’.

Digging deeper, then, here are some of the most concrete points I took away from Lisbon — and what journalists and publishers can take from those.

Continue reading

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Wired stands by story after Guardian denies iPhone app paywall plans

If, like me, you’re a regular reader of The Guardian‘s media coverage, or you listen to their Media Talk podcast, you might have been surprised to have read the following in the February 2010 UK edition of Wired:

The Guardian… hopes users of it’s £2.39 (iPhone) app will pay extra for privileged access to in-demand columnists. (p.89)

This seems to fly in the face of what I know about The Guardian‘s digital strategy. The Guardian have always seemed to be staunch opponents of paywalls, and Emily Bell, Director of Digital Content at Guardian News & Media, always seems to me to take a particularly strong line that she doesn’t want to charge for online content. I asked her to comment on Wired‘s claim. “I’m not sure where the ‘columnists’ assumption comes from, not us, that’s for sure. Bit off beam” she told me on Twitter (incidentally the ‘columnists’ in question include David Rowan, Wired‘s Editor, who co-wrote the piece).

So, order is restored to my universe: The Guardian is still the bastion of free online content, creatively looking for another way to make digital pay. But wait, what’s this? Wired have weighed back in, with this tweet:

@jonhickman @emilybell Came from a senior Guardian exec who demonstrated the app in person, actually

So, are The Guardian really thinking about paywalls? Was this loose talk? Has there been a misunderstanding? Is someone fibbing?

I don’t know, but I think it matters. The Guardian‘s online brand seems to be about free: free data, free access, free comment. If there’s a grain of truth in Wired‘s claim, what does it tell us about the future of online access?

What is a publisher’s “duty of care” to bloggers?

Amidst the recent furore over Max Gogarty’s unblog-like/allegedly nepotistic travel blog entry on the Guardian website, a phrase caught my eye: Director of Digital Content Emily Bell’s reference to their “duty of care” to blogger Max.

It particularly interested me because I had a similar experience recently with a student blogger, who was on the receiving end of ferocious (and partly justified) criticism on an Australian alpha blog.

What was my duty of care to her? Continue reading

Social bookmarking – The Guardian way (Five W’s and a H that should come *after* every story: addendum)

The Guardian has brought its typical idiosyncratic approach to social bookmarking with the launch of ‘Clippings’. But for once I think they’ve missed the mark.

By clicking on the scissors icon (clipping icon) next to a story users can now ‘clip’ an article to their own account. They could do this before anyway – but importantly, the revamped service means they can see others’ saved stories and subscribe to a feed, or publish their own feed elsewhere.

These are welcome additions to an older service, but there are some glaring oversights. Continue reading