Archive for October, 2007

CovTel Strike Link

Here we go. It looks like the news the strike is off has found its way into the Press Gazette.

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Post Bloggers

The newest addition to The Birmingham Post editorial team, Tom Scotney, has started his own personal blog.

Vive le revolucion!

One of his first posts deals with a journalist pet hate – the mountain of unsolicited and irrellevent PR emails that we recieve.

My own hobby horse is the unnecessary waste produced from PR campaigns – a subject I hope to post in picture form soon. I’ve been saving up a few beauties.

Bedtime reading for the NUJ…

…and for any journlist who wants to get to grips with the future of journalism.

I’ve been following Paul Bradshaw‘s recent posts about blogging and investigative journalism with great interest. Currently there are five – all draft sections of a chapter for a new Investigative Journalism book.

I think they give a fascinating picture of just what can be achieved online – not just for investigative journalism, but perhaps other forms of reporting too:

  1. Blogging and Journalism 
    Explores the relationship of blogging to journalism.
  2. The Amateur-Professional Debate
    Questions whether the subjectivity of blogs is really corrosive to the search for “truth”. 
  3. Sourcing Material
    How online material can make readers part of the investigative process and help to “fine tune” stories.
  4. Publishing
    How online work can provide greater transparency and a wider distribution.
  5. Fundraising 
    How blogs have provided alternative funding streams for investigiative jourmalism. 

In his fifth draft, Paul also puts forward examples of interesting economic models for this style of journalism.

If would be nice to see the NUJ debating how such issues could be better exploited by professional journalists and, perhaps, provide us with a bit of training to boot.

Here’s hoping.

Alfie the opera budgie

I’m planning to buy a little camcorder to play around with videos on this blog, so I thought I’d check out the videos produced by our sister paper the Birmingham Mail.

The paper employed their video journalist Phil Vinter a few months ago and they have been playing around with the medium ever since, trying to find out what works for the paper.

I think some videos work better than others, but this particular one  had me in hysterics (it would be nice if I could embed it, can I?). It’s all about Alfie the budgerigar who can, apparently, sing along to Il Divo. A slow news day perhaps?

NUJ is wrong (2)

Another blog post from Greenslade on the NUJ’s attitude towards Web 2.0. Again, I find myself agreeing with him.

He describes the frustrations of X, a journalist on a regional weekly.

I predict that X will, in the near future, find that he cannot square the circle at his paper. Despite his continuing sympathies for colleagues, and his lingering desire to remain faithful to the NUJ, he will realise that the demands of a paper gradually moving from print to screen are inimical to those of a union that, despite its pro-digital rhetoric, is committed only to preserving outdated demarcation lines, defying the need for flexibility and struggling to fend off staff cuts that, in fairness, will be necessary.

Also Suw and Kevin from Strange Attractor provide a fantastic response to some of the anti-Web 2.0 polemic that seems to be appearing out of the NUJ. Their post critiques one of the stories that sparked Greenslade’s decision to leave the union – an article by Donnacha DeLong entitled Web 2.0 Is Rubbish . It originally appeared in the NUJ’s magazine The Journalist.  Suw and Kevin conclude:

Both of us embraced the internet because of the opportunities it presents. It’s the world’s greatest story-telling medium, bringing together the strengths of text, audio, video and interaction. The internet as a communications tool can help journalists tap sources like never before, making their stories richer and more balanced. Why wouldn’t journalists take advantage of the internet?

Yes, the job is changing, and we as journalists need to change with it. The internet may be posing a threat to the business model that support journalism, and it’s understandable that this causes anxiety. But misrepresenting the reality of that change won’t make it go away.

I couldn’t agree more.

CovTel Update

I hear that staff at  The Coventry Telegraph have resolved their dispute with management.

I can’t find a link that confirms this yet, but I’m sure one will appear soon.

Answers: Sly Bailey

Well! I didn’t get an interview with Her Slyness after all.

But we were introduced and I did have a short chat with her (without my notebook).

We chatted about Web 2.0 and my recent rant about Roy Greenslade’s departure from the NUJ.

She said that she realised that there was a desperate need to invest in new technology because without it (nodding her head towards my iMac running OS 9) young journalists will just leave the business and find somewhere else to work.

She was keen to stress she was excited by the explosion of the web but was, of course, keen to find a way to generate the same revenues online as generated from print.

Then she said her plan was that the Post & Mail was going to have a new IT system and websites that would “blow the competition out of the water” and we would soon be far ahead of what any other newspaper group was doing.

I asked her if she thought Trinity Mirror would be able to create sites to rival The Guardian. She said yes, and The Telegraph too.

She said she had been doing a lot of research on what made a good news website. She said she recognised the good stuff that had been done by competitors but that there had been “dead ends” that they had gone up too, that she would like to avoid.

But, she said, the good thing about the web was that there was an opportunity to experiment with new ideas in a way that wouldn’t financially impact in the same way as doing it in print.

Her parting words were that she would “watch my career with interest”, which was unnerving.

As one colleague suggested, perhaps in the current climate the best I can do is to return the favour.


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