Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Continued comment on Peter Wilby / Guardian / OU / Futurelearn

Some comment already in Hello Spiders, main blog or one where most things seem to fit.

This below relates to Guardian. Interview with Peter Horrocks mostly negative about digital trends and schemes. Two quotes to mention.

Horrocks, his critics can reasonably say, has form. He came to the OU from the BBC, where he had spent his entire working life, latterly as head of the World Service. In an earlier job, he turned BBC news into a multimedia operation, to the consternation of its more traditional reporters who were upset when he said that aggregating and curating content, some of it from social media, was part of their job.

Well, is it actually true, what he said? Is it ok to base a news story on a tweet? Should a proper journalist reply to comments?

UK newspapers, Horrocks said in his Durham lecture, never tried “to create a shared platform for value and quality in news content”. Universities were in danger of making the same mistake – until the OU’s “foresight” provided a “best of British universities” platform.

One more time, there was Guardian Unlimited Talk , an early platform supported by readers. Trashed without warning. Now never mentioned in Guardian Media Group history. whatif etc.

Tabloid with Trinity Mirror is consolidation in an industry, some explanation would be reasonable content for news media, multimedia or whatever. No sign of that so far. 

Now off to plan radio show, Phonic FM  12 - 2 . Presented with Jon Mahy who thinks FM is on the way out. We are trying to find a social media equivalent. Not obvious but enough happening with streaming etc to show that there is a situation. Something similar could reach newspapers or even the campus.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Naughton on purpose for Twitter / questions still for print

Even with links there is still limited space in a tweet, so here is an expanded blog post.

I have to agree that Twitter has attracted lots of broadcast mode advertising, unknown proportion of bot retweets, some abuse. But it remains part of social media and it can link to longer texts and other content. I think that opinion such as John Naughton in Observer today is part of a print journalist trend that seems to be about finding the negative in social media. See another Post in Hello Spiders, should be near the top , will check the link later.

Week after next I think, the Guardian and Observer will go tabloid. Trade issues about how fast the consolidation around Trinity Mirror can go given the Mirror decline in circulation. Express pension funds have concerns but not much reported. Still less on what is supposed to happen online.

Apparently the news value of Twitter has forced proper journalists back to following Twitter. So some communication continues with readers, even lost ones. Something will replace the print liberal opinion, not clear what though.

One more time on the facts. There was once Guardian Unlimited Talk. Early form of social media. Trashed without warning, all copy deleted. Now never mentioned in history of Guardian media Group. Anything contrary welcome.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Speculation around MOOC and MOCC

Trying out a radical stance, not getting much response, so maybe just stating obvious anyway. So far posts on other blogs about decline in newspaper sales probably reaching a crunch sometime soonish. and when will TV stop assuming the newspapers decide what is news? Blogs now various so follow @will789gb for sequence.

This one about education. Follows on from Guardian and change of format to tabloid. I find there is very little in print about what the plan is for online. Lots on negative aspects of social media but no obvious plan for what the Guardian intends. Reporting on education seems similar somehow. Peter Scott has stated he will not write about the MOOC ( Massive Open Online Course ) and this pretty much true for other reports.

Headline explanation, MOCC is Monetised Online Course Certificate. Maybe becoming more of a trend.

Latest example Anna Fazackerley on how elite universities would like higher fees and more than others. Apparently the older established need a bigger slice of the cake. Funding is a problem. I cannot see anything in the story on how technology could cut costs. Just how to get more money. Meanwhile the Open University ( not in the Russell Group) has decided to close buildings and invest in online. I am not sure if any other uni has a similar approach.

What is worrying is some of the implications of the article.

One idea rumoured to be doing the rounds in the Treasury is that fees should reflect the salaries graduates can command. In June the government published the first full set of its Longitudinal Education Outcomes dataset, the first of its kind to track higher education leavers from university to the workplace. It highlighted real disparities in earning power across subjects and institutions, with subjects including the creative arts and mass communications coming out particularly badly.

My guess is that "creative arts and mass communications" are not part of the UK research unis to start with. But there could still be economic possibilities, probably around the Pacific.

Pushing my luck even further

The salaries for some subjects varied widely according to which institution graduates had attended. For instance, five years after graduation average earnings for business and administration degrees ranged from £19,400 at the University of Wolverhampton to £71,700 at the University of Oxford.

Is this supposed to mean that Oxford should charge much higher fees? It could be a lot of factors, contacts in the south east etc. Anyone know a difference in what is on offer as content? Could just be an expensive networking situation. Facts welcome, even those to show I am off on a rave.

Meanwhile at MIT the Intersection of Leadership and Technology. Looks good value.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Hello Roy Greenslade, facts please

In the Guardian today, Roy Greenslade writes

A dozen or so years ago, the public’s striking back at the gatekeepers of news seemed refreshing. It notified journalists that ; the top-down journalism of old was no longer relevant. Audiences were not passive consumers. They had opinions too and, at last, were able to express them. 
That initial healthy phase has been transformed into something much more worrying. Having exploded the myth that journalists deal only in facts, aA significant portion of the public, especially the younger generation, have adopted a virulent strain of anti-journalism journalism.

During those dozen years the Guardian started something called Unlimited Talk, arguably an early form of social media. It was closed down without warning. No option for any contributions to be copied by the people who wrote them.

Stories about the web and the Guardian now fail to mention this at all. My impression. Could you please point me to something I missed or find out more? What happened and why?

My conclusion at the moment is that newspaper journalists are unable to come to terms with social media. Comment is Free seemed to have a comment capability but I never got a reply and have stopped looking much. I read the paper out of interest in what I fear is a final phase.

Things could change, there could be a form of citizen journalism that newspapers recognised. But first the facts please.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

What is the convention on sacking front bench? / Corbyn strong leader

This is another go at getting some info.

While ago story in both Observer and Sunday Times that Hilary Benn would encourage other members of shadow cabinet to resign as he had lost confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. I think the story may have changed in later editions. In Exeter I get an early one. No way could a party leader allow this sort of story without a response. So I thought.

No surprise then that following a phone conversation when print version available, Benn resigns or is sacked or however you want to describe it.

"Benn sacked in the middle of the night" as some journalists remembered this when reporting the leadership challenge, the non "coup" etc.

With Boris at this time it is perfectly clear who the journalists are, where the info is coming from. (Sun , Telegraph ) some extras no clear source.

Benn has stated that the original stories did not come from him. Strange, some might say. What happened? Some one probably knows.

Main point obviously that Corbyn was strong enough to take action, whatever appeared to be the case as reported in newspapers.

But a bit of detail would be good to know. It becomes more clear that the Brexit disaster was caused in part by media priority for knocking Corbyn at a time when his style of support for Remain would have had a positive consequence.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Guardian Print Media Page - what we might be missing

See previous post, I cannot find Media page in print version of Guardian today. Same last week. No reply yet to tweet query. Same last week.

Have now found blog from Roy Greenslade, might have been intended for print when budgets allowed. My guess, happy to repeat any accurate info from Guardian on when if ever Media page returns.

Very interesting blog post, should be widely known.

Demise of tabloids linked to rightwing politics. Brexit papers listed as Mail. Express, Sun. Should include Telegraph to get a higher number.

Some 64% of Express readers and 63% of Mail readers are aged over 55, while 55% of the Sun’s audience is aged over 45........The rightwing press is heading for its coffin.

But what about newspapers in general? Fairness for the The Mirror-

...staff cuts have had a deleterious effect on its output. It cannot match the Mail for the quantity and range of its content nor the quality of its reporting.
As the Labour party’s faithful supporter, it has also found it hard to find a coherent voice. It has been unable to reconcile its own position, a post-Blairite centrism, with the leftist surge of Jeremy Corbyn. The result? A flip-flop editorial stance. Therefore, the Mirror, while probably reflecting the views of the overwhelming majority of its ageing readership, fails to appeal to the younger generation.

Could not much the same be said about the Guardian? Probably more space hostile to Corbyn than in the Mirror over recent years.

My guess is that things are closer to a crunch than is being reported.

Guardian print readers who are also part of social media should get ready to be agile.

Has Guardian stopped Media section? will circulation drop?

As far as I can tell, unless my confusion is progressing, this is the second week that the Guardian has not had a page for Media. Previously it seemed to be a post from a blog in rotation. Now nothing.

Will this continue? Is it a summer blip? No information I have been aware of.

Thing is these are interesting times for newspapers. Election showed declining influence for Brexit supporters, online support for Corbyn. Much to discuss.

I did tweet last week but got no reply. Maybe a blog post will get more notice. I am not raving on about citizen journalism. Just wondering whether to spend £2 next Monday.

See previous posts for more on citizen journalism and the question, what is the Guardian web strategy?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Guardian Circulation, is there a web strategy?

I noticed Peter Preston mentioned circulation numbers on Sunday. Observer up 8.6 June on May, Guardian 3.8 . "while Tory-backing competitors stayed stagnant or slipped back. Not much of a market, it appears, for the drum beaters of pending Tory triumph".

Well, this sounds ok and explains why Labour did better with social media. Newspapers losing an edge.

But when I start looking for detail through the Press Gazette, things are worse still including the Guardian.

The Sun dropped 10.5 per cent to 1.6m sales a day, the Daily Mirror fell 17 per cent to 641,000 copies and the Sunday Mirror fell 20 per cent to 556,000.
The year-on-year declines may have been worsened by the increased interest in news in June 2016 around Britain’s referendum on leaving the European Union.

Possibly the referendum editorial made a connection but the election was more nuanced.

Guardian down 7%, Observer 6%. Not as striking as the Mirror but not a good trend.

My guess is that the Mirror did not catch much Corbyn support as they were opposed most of this time. Guardian similar. So maybe most of the readership went online. Speculation obviously but facts will follow, especially if trends continue as this would suggest

( see another blog for even more opinionated post on recent journalism )

There must be some level of circulation at which the news operation is not viable. It may not be far off. They seem to concentrate on opinion or a package for news that readers know already from somewhere else.

Twitter / YouTube seems to work well as I find it. TV and radio clips now turn up for most events so you can make your own mind up on what was said.

Guardian still not putting much in print about what they intend to do online. There is much moaning about the web in general, especially Facebook and Google. But is the hard copy just going to complain till the circulation completely vanishes?

By the way there used to be circulation numbers published on the printed Guardian media pages but it seems to have gone completely today.