Tag Archives: is ice cream strawberry

Which blog platform should I use? A blog audit

When people start out blogging they often ask what blogging platform they should use – WordPress or Blogger? Tumblr or Posterous? It’s impossible to give an answer, because the first questions should be: who is going to use it, how, and what and who for?

To illustrate how the answers to those questions can help in choosing the best platform, I decided to go through the 35 or so blogs I have created, and why I chose the platforms that they use. As more and more publishing platforms have launched, and new features added, some blogs have changed platforms, while new ones have made different choices to older ones. Continue reading

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Is Ice Cream Strawberry? Part 6: Everything I’ve just said in 7 soundbites

This is the final part of my inaugural lecture at City University London, ‘Is Ice Cream Strawberry?’. You can also read part onepart twopart threepart four, and part five. A full PDF is available here.

Now, this lecture said that I would sketch out the two paths that I see journalism taking in the next decade – so here they are:

The first path is a self-interested profession that sees value in users beyond their eyeballs.

The second path is a self-interested profession that allows others to control the public sphere.

I would obviously not expect the industry to be anything but self-interested.

In either case, technology will not change journalism. People will. You will. Continue reading

Is Ice Cream Strawberry? Part 5: Protect the public sphere

This is the fifth part of my inaugural lecture at City University London, ‘Is Ice Cream Strawberry?’. You can also read part one, part two, part three, and part four.

Corporatisation of the public sphere

The public sphere used to be our territory, but we are failing to protect it online.

The difficulties experienced by Wikileaks last year were the most visible demonstration yet of just how far the corporatisation of the public sphere has become. Some people described it as the beginning of the first Internet war. They’re just being over-dramatic of course, but it was one fight in a whole series of turf wars over who controls online spaces.

We are thankful that our printing presses are not shut down without due process. But from Mastercard and Visa to Apple, Paypal, Amazon and even data visualisation tool Tableau – company after company pulled out of the production chain without a court order in sight.

In that case national security was given as the reason. In other – less publicised – examples relating to other content producers and distributors it has been copyright, where the mere accusation of infringement can lead to legitimate content being taken down. Continue reading

Is Ice Cream Strawberry? Part 4: Human Capital

This is the fourth part of my inaugural lecture at City University London, ‘Is Ice Cream Strawberry?’. You can find part one here, part two here, and part three here.

Human capital

So here’s person number 4: Gary Becker, a Nobel prize-winning economist.

Fifty years ago he used the phrase ‘human capital’ to refer to the economic value that companies should ascribe to their employees.

These days, of course, it is common sense to invest time in recruiting, training and retaining good employees. But at the time employees were seen as a cost.

We need a similar change in the way we see our readers – not as a cost on our time but as a valuable part of our operations that we should invest in recruiting, developing and retaining. Continue reading

Is Ice Cream Strawberry? Part 3: The production line has been replaced by a network

This is the third part of my inaugural lecture at City University London, ‘Is Ice Cream Strawberry?’. You can find part one here, and part two here.

The production line has been replaced by a network

The problem is that most media organisations still think they are manufacturing cars, and they still see journalists as part of an internal production line.

Even the most progressive simply expect existing staff to become multiskilled multiplatform journalists, doing more work – but still on the same production line.

But we can redraw that diagram of the overlapping of newsgathering, production and distribution as a network diagram. And the problem with the production line approach becomes more apparent.

NewsDigitisation3

The news industry is caught trying to straddle the gap between the physical, and the digital. Continue reading

Is Ice Cream Strawberry? Part 2: Cars, roads and picnics

This is the second part of my inaugural lecture at City University London, ‘Is Ice Cream Strawberry?’. The first part can be found here.

Cars, roads and picnics

Throughout the 20th century there were two ways of getting big things done – and a third way of getting small things done. Clay Shirky sums these up very succinctly in terms of how people organise car production, road building, and picnics.

If you want to organise the production of cars, you use market systems. If you want to organise the construction of roads, you use central, state systems of funding – because there is a benefit to all. And if you want to organise a picnic, well, you use social systems.

In the media industry these three line up neatly with print, broadcast and online production.

The newspaper industry grew up in spite of government regulation.

The broadcast industry grew up thanks to government regulation.

And online media grew up while the government wasn’t looking. Continue reading

Is Ice Cream Strawberry? Part 1

The following is the first part of my inaugural lecture at City University London, ‘Is Ice Cream Strawberry?’. The total runs to 3,000 words so I’ve split it and adapted it for online reading.

The myth of journalism and the telegraph

Samuel Morse was a portrait painter. And he invented the telegraph. The telegraph is probably one of the most mythologised technologies in journalism. The story goes that the telegraph changed journalism during the US Civil War – because telegraph operators had to get the key facts of the story in at the top in case the telegraph line failed or were cut. This in turn led to the objective, inverted pyramid style of journalism that relied on facts rather than opinion.

This story, however, is a myth. Continue reading