Posts Tagged 'Flickr'

Preston: Day 3

So after last night’s technology melt down, I’m back up online tonight but I don’t have much time to blog.

I’m off out in a few minutes with the Nokia N95 to record interviews with sports fans about how and when they access information on sports. Yes, this means I’m off to roam the pubs of Preston waving a £300 phone about the place.

Luckily, I am in a group of six others. The “field project” is supposed to give us experience of using multimedia for journalism and also to understand how people get the information they want (and, crucially, at what time).

The last two days have gone by in a bit of a blur with so many ideas flying about I feel simultaneously wired and exhausted. Yesterday was particularly intense with a forum of Digital Editors. Some really interesting stuff came up about Flickr which I will blog more about later when I have more time. There’s also some fantastic stuff to say about the launch of the website EveryBlock. Suffice to say, I have a lot of catching up to do!

One way of tracking some of the stuff I’ve been looking at is my del.icio.us account, which I’ve been trying to update whenever possible. Also I’ve been tweeting a lot but, as the way I have used it has varied from a repository for thoughts to a tool for classroom gossip, I’m not sure how useful it is (there’s another post in that too!).

Today we have been messing around with video and looking at basic video editing packages. The laptops we are provided are capable of running Avid and I’d love to get a chance to play with that at some point (I had a brief lesson on Media100 a long time ago), but we haven’t really had time on this course.

I’ve also been thinking about the application of bug-tracking wikis to newly launched newspaper websites. More to come on that too…

Right, I’m off to face the pub-going, sport-watching folk of Preston!

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Trust and UGC

Ever since the coversation about Flickr, there has been an niggle in the back of my mind about some of the arguments out there that newspapers will cut staff to start to rely more heavily on blogs and other user-generated content [edit user-generated content = UGC].

It’s certainly a fear expressed by the NUJ, and by others. I can see their point and have said that, if profit-driven newspapers groups thought they could increase margins by relying more heavily on UGC, then it would probably happen.

But I’ve started to revise those thoughts of late. If the Flickr question taught me one thing it was that while journalists are debating how UGC will be used in the future, we are not at all sure about how the future content generators might feel about it.

Whilst the value of blogs as sources is, I think, beyond doubt, it doesn’t mean that the Internet is an orchard of social networks for newspapers to cherry-pick content at will… even if there is no legal reason why they shouldn’t.

For example, Flickr is designed for photo sharing. From the comments I’ve recieved, there should be nothing legally wrong with a newspaper providing a Flickr feed on its website. BUT just because it can, doesn’t mean it should or that people will like it if it does.

One of the problems is that we live in suspicious times. The media is badly mistrusted and, whilst people are happy to read about others in the newspaper, they are fearful about getting involved with it themselves. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard the lines: “Oh you’re a journalist, so what lies are you going to make up today?” or I’ve had to spend considerable time convincing people that I am, in fact, not going to stitch them up. Personally, it’s insulting, but then that’s the regard our industry is held in.

I suppose, once upon a time, with an army of dedicated readers and no Internet, it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference to sales if one reader was upset. Now they are a potential content generator, the situation is different. Not only will a lack of trust make it difficult to obtain content, it could also mean that if a paper appears to be doing something else that fits the untrustworthy stereotype, the news and damage will spread.

For example: A paper develops a Flickr feed without building trust in the Flickr community. It has done nothing legally wrong, but it is tapping into a community that will not all be fully paid up subscribers to that newspaper. Therefore, the default position of mistrust is likely to stand and the assumption may be that the newspaper is trying to profit at the expense of unpaid photogrpahers.

The understandable result is that Flickr members get angry and start pulling their photos from the group. They then replace these with offensive photoshopped versions telling that paper exactly were to stuff its feed. Angry blog posts sprout up all over the place and, within days, you’ve alienated a community and, I imagine, the feed would have been taken down.

I don’t have an example of where that has yet happened, but its seems pretty plausible possiblity.

So if newspapers are serious about UCG, then they might have their work cut out. Unless they start getting out into local social netwoks and communities and start building up trust, they may find their UGC dream backfires.

What I’m going to do with the Flickr feedback

As the flow of comments has started to slow on the Flickr post, I thought I’d let you all know what I plan to do next!

Over the next few weeks (after I’ve finished my first assignment), I’ll start collating the comments. I think what has come out from the discussion is going to be applicable to a lot of the other things I wanted to looking at for the website project.

I had just assumed (naively, perhaps) that because people were happy for bloggers to link to their work (as long as they were credited), they would also be happy for a site like The Birmingham Post to link to it too.

This, however, doesn’t seem to be completely the case. Most of the concern seems to come from the belief that – as we are a commercial publishing operation – any and all the material we link to on the web must be paid for.

I can understand that point, but I think the distinction between commercial and non-commercial spaces on the Internet needs to be looked at in more detail. Not that I’m going to do that right here and now – the comments have given me way too much to mull over!

In my head, I saw The Birmingham Post website as a place to go for news and opinion, but also as a (sorry to use this word) gateway to Brum’s professional and creative communities on the web. I still see it that way, but I now realise I need to look at how I’m going to do that in more depth.

But please keep the comments coming in, I really want to get to grips with this.

Could The Post website use Flickr?

I have said before that the Birmingham Flickr group is a wonderful thing, and I know that others appreciate it too.(thanks CiB for the link).

There are so many fantastic pictures of Brum on Flickr, I would like to see the new Birmingham Post website showing and linking to them. It would certainly help showcase the talent we have in the city.

Indeed, it is something that was suggested when I asked for ideas for the new site.

But not everyone in the Birmingham Flickr community is going to want The Birmingham Post publishing their picture on our website. We wouldn’t have the right to do so anyway, unless we contacted the photographer first to get express permission, or they had relinquished all their IP rights (which is very rare).

So, what could be the solution? Pete Ashton suggests that The Post creates it’s own Flickr group, which people submit Birmingham photos to on the understanding that they may be used in a certain context on The Post website and will, of course, be credited.

But I wonder, with the plethora of specialist groups out there on Flickr, how keen are photographers going to be to submit to a Birmingham Post group?

Any advice and ideas from members of Flickr, and particularly the Birmingham Flickr group, would be gratefully received.

Merry Christmas!

Birmingham Christmas MarketI’m going offline for (only) a few days, so I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Chirstmas and to thank you all for turning what started as a little experiment back in September into a major obsession!

Seriously! I love this blog. It has been a great thing to write for and it is wonderful to get the comments that I have. It’s all been very exciting.

I’m now hooked on blogging and I hope it will help make 2008 just as interesting!

J.x

(Pic taken at Birmingham’s Christmas Market by Tim Ellis. Check out the Birmingham Flickr group – it’s a thing of beauty.)

Lolpolitics

Well now, this is an odd one.

It looks like Flickr is host to a bizarre new breed of lolpics.

Loldeirdre is a user who has posted six pictures of councillor Deirdre Alden that have been lol-ed.

Is this a new phenomenon that will take off, I wonder. Are we set to see a lolNev, or a lolMike user appearing in future?!


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