Posts Tagged 'birminghamUK'

Snow!

Snow in Birmingham, UK

How lovely! Taken at about 7am this morning – it’s now 11.30 and it has started to melt, but this field now has six snowmen in it!

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Bambuser-ling Brummie bloggers

Bambuser is a service that can stream live video from a webcam or mobile phone onto the Internet. I was shown it for the frist time in Preston by one of my tutors and today got a couple of Brummie bloggers (Pete Ashton and Stef Lewandowski) trying it out too. The result was quite entertaining – three windows with three conversations going on.

I like Bambuser and can see its potential for opening up the newsroom – perhaps streaming news conferences or getting journalists to check in with readers.

As with Qik, the mobile function also allows journalists to stream events live and to allows readers a chance to ask questions.

The first few steps…

The blogs are starting to get a few comments: Roshan Doug, James Treadwell, Stef Lewandowski and Terry Grimley have recieved good-quality responses. Terry’s is longer than his actual post, which is both unbelievable and wonderful. I’ve always had a feeling that Terry would make a good blogger… he has said he plans to respond to comments soon.

I’m so nervous…it feels so scary to have to wait to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve already realised that we might have been slightly guilty of letting form get in the way of content, with some very good blog posts ending up in some very odd blog sections. It’s nothing that can’t be changed with a bit of aggregator wizardry… but it’s a lesson learnt.

I just hope our bloggers keep up the good posts!

As an aside, I’m still looking to cover a few more areas in the blogs, namely: music, sport and politics.

It has been pointed out to me more than once that there’s not a strong right-of-centre voice amongst our current team. I might disagree, but still… there’s certainly room for more controversy…

Birminghampost.net goes live!

So… there it is. The shiny new Birmingham Post website is now up and running.

We also have a blogs section covering news, business and lifestyle. Those be the bits I’ve helped to organise.

There’s still a lot to do and more bloggers to add tomorrow (!) but I’m pretty pleased. We’ve all worked really hard…

…which is why I am now going to go home and sleep.

Night!

Earthquake!

So I was woken up an hour ago by shaking walls and the crashing of books falling off their shelves. It looks now as if the UK has been hit by an earthquake. Reports so far vary suggesting its magnitude was between 4.7 and 5.3 [edit: modified to 4.9 at 0245].

It’s the second time the earth has moved for me in Brum – the first being the Dudley earthquake in 2002.

The difference this time (as well as it being bigger – rumours are that this one was the largest earthquake in the UK for 20 years) was that I could confirm instantly that there had been a quake by logging on to Twitter, whereas I spent hours in 2002 convinced the rumbling must have been an explosion. As my Twitter account demonstrates, there were a fair few of us wondering what had shaken us out of our slumber.

It was interesting too that the first report I saw about the earthquake from a news organisation was via a tweet from Bounder. Through Twittersearch he had found a report from Twitter-based Dutch news service BreakingNewsOn. I then found other links to sites including a Seesmic (apt name for this) video blog from Midlands-based Documentally. [this was blogged seconds after the quake, I am told] I even tried to put my not-so-great skills into a Google map of the epicentre. [which, according to Podnosh, scooped Sky News!]

More on how the story unfolded from ReadWriteWeb. I’m off back to bed!

Guten tag

As the countdown to the website launch begins, I don’t expect to be getting much opportunity to blog over the next few days.

Yesterday was spent tagging up some of the stories that have been imported over from the old CMS. It’s a funny job – my instinct is to just tag everything and anything that is mentioned in the story. But, when you remember that these will appear in the “related stories” box on the page, you have to be a bit more tactical with your tags.

Steve (our multimedia editor) and I have been building up a few internal rules as we go along. As, when the website launches, journalists or sub-editors will tag the story, I imagine we’ll develop a stronger set of tagging conventions. Apprently this, according to people wiser than I, is called a folksonomy. But, of course, it’s a folksonomy that will be created only by the content creators, rather than the users.

I am curious to know if this will effect the way things are tagged and, if it does, whether that is a bad thing or not? Should there be a way for readers to submit tags? Would they even want to? And, if they do, how would you stop that creating a tag cloud as large as the moon?

This ties in to a conversation Marc (my editor) and I were having the other day about the transparent newsroom. He’s written about it on his blog. I have been really taken with what the Spokesman Review is doing in the US (see right hand column on their homepage). They have been experimenting with a variety of different techniques to open up the process of newsgathering and writing, with varying degrees of success. [found via the World Editors’ Forum weblog]

I love the idea that I am not only directly answerable to the people who sign my pay check, but also to the people I purport to be writing for and, if we would make any of the things the Spokesman Review is doing work on our paper, I’d love to try them.

But, as with the tags, would anyone really be interested in taking part? If so, how?

Beautiful Day in Brum

Brummie Sunset

I’m in the mood to assert my English-ness: What glorious weather we have had today!

This was the view from the window of my flat this evening. Absolutely beautiful, wish all Sundays in February could be like this one…


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