Tag Archives: Google Inc.

What I was told when I asked about blogs joining the PCC

Following recent coverage of the PCC’s Baroness Buscombe’s Independent interview where she possibly mooted the idea of the PCC regulating blogs, I thought I would share some correspondence I had with the PCC recently over the same issue. In a nutshell: blogs can already choose to operate under the PCC anyway.

I asked Simon Yip of the PCC whether a hyperlocal blog could opt in to the PCC Code and self-regulation. These are his replies:

“They can decide to adhere to the PCC Code if they choose. To fall formally within the system overseen by the PCC, they would have to subscribe to the body responsible for funding the Commission.

“I am afraid I am unable to answer the question of cost, as it depends on the circulation of the newspaper [sic]. As you can imagine, it would vary from publication to publication.

“For any publication to subscribe to the Code of Practice, the publication would contact Pressbof.”

So there you go. If you can afford to pay for a shiny PCC badge, then you’re welcome.

And of course, that’s the main hurdle to the idea of PCC regulation of blogs: few blogs could afford to pay, and even fewer would want to. Meanwhile, there is no financial incentive for the PCC to recruit blogs (nor is there any incentive for bloggers – yet – in joining an organisation whose 2 main purposes appear to be to stave off statutory regulation and to mediate disputes to avoid legal costs).

Whether there is financial incentive in trying to attract public funding to do so, or to use blogs as a common foe to do the same is, of course, a separate matter.

What is much more worrying than this blogging regulation sideshow is the apparent ignorance demonstrated by Baroness Buscombe in talking about Google and the news industry’s business plans, described earlier on this blog by Matt Wardman.

The most curious quote for me from her SoE speech is this one, following on from a paragraph which attempts to conjure up the now almost pantomime-like Monster Of Google.

“I urge you to recall the recent words of Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO: “We use as our primary goal the benefit to end users. That’s who we serve.” So there you have it: the end user matters, not those who create content in the first place.”

Is she saying that serving users above content creators is a Bad Thing? Weren’t newspapers supposed to serve their readerships as well? Or did that change while I wasn’t looking?

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Guardian makes its comments accessible, SEO friendly and mobile friendly all in one go!

The Guardian has changed its user-generated comment system – moving from a client-side system to a server-side one. (This story was first published here, where you can read a bit more of the background.)

With the old system, once you loaded a story, some javascript would go off and look up readers’ comments and display them. This wasn’t terribly accessibleif you couldn’t or didn’t run javascript, you couldn’t see the comments.

It was also bad for SEO, as search engines couldn’t run the javascript (so couldn’t see the comments). And if your mobile didn’t run javascript (like mine), you couldn’t read the comments either.

With the new system, the comments are just part of the web page, like all the rest of the text.

This is a great change by the Guardian, and not before time. Google has already started to index the text of comments, as this search for some text I left as a comment once shows.

If you notice any problems, they’ve asked you to point them out.