Posts Tagged 'news'

“The Collaborator”? Naming Newspapers 2.0

This evening I had that very rare and precious of things: time on my hands. But, unfortunately, it appears that when given space to think I don’t always use it that wisely.

As I was pounding on the cross-trainer in the gym my mind definitely wandered.

Ignoring some of the more fundemental historical reasons for their being, it occurred to me that many newspaper names in this country might be accused of reinforcing the “we shout, you listen” mentality.

The Post, although I hope developing a reputation to the contrary, is a case in point.

Then there’s The Mail, The Mercury (the winged messenger of the Gods no less!), The Standard, The Telegraph… even The Guardian seems a little paternalistic.

So, I mused, in this brave new world of crowd-sourcing, participation and reader inclusion what should a news publicaton be called?

The Consult? The Listener?

The we-try-and-take-your-opinions-into-account-but sometimes-we-run-out-of-time-er?

I plumped for “The Collaborator”.

It did, however, occur to me that this didn’t sound very Web 2.0 in comparison to the many new social media applications springing up across the interwebs.

Perhaps it would be better to design a cute little mascot-cum-logo and give the publication a title such as “Storeez” or “Gnewz” (oddly gnewz.com goes to the campaign website of Douglas Geiss, Democratic candidate for State Representative Committee in Michigan).

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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!

Enviromental journalism: question for BCU students

This afternoon I’m popping down to Birmingham City University to meet Paul Bradshaw‘s group of online journalism students.

They’ve been doing some fascinating work on developing an environmental news service, with each of them specialising in a different subject area.

Environmental news is close to my heart. I would love The Post to be giving more coverage to stories on sustainability.

But it’s also one of those subject areas that many readers regard with great suspicion. Look at The Times guide to the most popular environmental stories of 2007 and you’ll see what I mean.

So, I guess the big question is, can you write environmental stories in a way that builds trust between you and the reader? Is the current suspicion surrounding climate change – for example – caused by media sensationalism or poor scientific reporting? Perhaps it’s neither, maybe it’s just human nature to respond to environmental stories with suspicion.

I certainly don’t know the answer. But in a world where the hegemony of large news corporations is increasingly challenged, the issue of maintaining trust as a way to maintain audience is critical.

And, I suspect, if you find a way to crack the hardest nut of trust and environmental reporting, then you have probably struck gold.

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.

Today and the Internet

I’ve just heard the oddest piece on Radio 4’s Today programme. [Edit: According to Martin Stabe, it was by a media commentator called Steve Hewlett, which explains a lot. You can listen again.]

I think it was supposed to be a news report but, uncharacteristically of Today, it made absolutely no effort to even try and appear objective.

It came across as an appeal, nay a plea, to Radio 4 listeners and BBC executives to support and preserve the station’s current methods of compiling the news agenda.

It looked at the most read stories on the BBC website last year and made the rather obvious point that, just because they were popular, didn’t mean they were the most important stories.

I would have thought BBC executives would have understood that “most read” and “most emailed” stories are more a reflection on the kind of material people will link to on the web, rather than its importance. Don’t they? From this piece it suggests they don’t.

The tone was one of “big bad web” and there was also mention of 4radio, so perhaps it was a rallying cry to try and encourage listeners to stay loyal.

But, to be honest, if Today had an important point to make about the web, I think I missed it.


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