Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fake News and loss making newspapers

Things are speeding up. See previous posts for usual comments, here are some notes on recent Guardian.

Paul Mason on Facebook and Google. He likes Soundcloud and Medium but doubts they can survive. I do not think he is fair about the length of clips on YouTube. There is a lot of long clips from lectures and conferences.

10th Jan news that Trinity Mirror is trying to work with the Express. there could be more reporting on the business background for this kind of move.

Today story about "fake news" quickly becomes one about social media

The News Media Association has previously warned ministers that Google and Facebook were unfairly making money out of journalism produced by its members.

I think we should get more about what the plan is and less knocking copy on the web as it is. Any news could be "fake" and needs to be considered with a views on who is writing it. the newspapers need to consider that the web is read / write so involves the audience, people like us, see previous posts etc.

If Jeff Jarvis was still writing on a Monday I would be more positive about weekday print continuing in 2017. As it is I expect more about "fake news" and not much in print about what the news organisation websites are trying to do or how the public can relate to them.

So far neither Google of Facebook have closed a site without warning destroying all content I contributed. Sorry to keep repeating this, probably time to move on.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Guardian hello

This is written as if someone at the Guardian may read it. Just to clarify. I mention this because of a Steven Poole opinion on Saturday.

Generally speaking, just as people say things over the internet that they would never dare say to someone’s face, abusive marginalia is not meant for the author’s eyes. In an age when furious readers fire off torrents of poorly spelled invective directly to the author via email or Twitter, simply writing rude comments in a copy of the book that the author will never see seems the height of good manners.

This post is meant for the Guardian, readers writers edit suite whatever. What time is it? Trends in print sales? Should there be some guidance on web policy? The print version recently is mostly negative on web. So what else is proposed?

In this way, then, the centuries of marginalia in printed books make up a kind of invisible republic of readers and writers having extended conversations through history. By contrast, the fact that you can’t scribble in the margins of electronic books reflects the paradoxical atomisation of an internet age in which everything shouts about how “social” it is. And so here is one more reason to cherish the printed book: you can talk back to it, and to future readers.

Nonsense, surely? Is there some sort of archive on Unlimited Talk?

By the way, thanks for the discount tokens. But I stick to my forecast. either print Guardian Monday to Friday will cease during 2017 or at least the possibility will reach some sort of public conversation.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Citizen Journalism worth another look?

Not sure what citizen journalism is at the moment but I come across signs of problems with newspapers especially. Is it time to look back at this and work out some new variation? I contributed to OhmyNews International. the English language version. Recently I come across OhmyNews video on YouTube but I don't understand Korean.

One of the points made when OhmyNews was launched ws that the business model of existing news was not going to work online. The web is write as well as read. Some sort of collaboration would follow.

It seems though that news organisations are still reluctant to change their approach. I find the Guardian is now going backwards. Unlimited Talk as closed down. In print there is some negative coverage about social media but very little about how the web site is different or what the plan is.

Recent article from Peter Preston inludes much history and some numbers.  I notice that the "users" only appear when prepared to pay money
users, especially young people, were used to paying to use their mobile phones.
although this did not last long on tablets. Thing is, no mention at all of the reader as a source of content in any form.

I have found another article by Jay Rosen that has some possibilities. Part one was about the problems for US media in Trump era. Part two looks at positive ideas-

From journalists is only one way Americans get news now. They get it directly from newsmakers, as with Trump’s Twitter feed. They get it from ideological cadres styled as news sources, like Breitbart. They get it from entertainers like Rush Limbaugh (an opponent of the press) or John Oliver (an ally of accountability journalism). They get it from friends and family members passing along a personalized mix of stuff. They get it from people interested in the same things who collect online and pool information. 

Thing is, why not work with this? The people who collect online pools of information may have a perspective.

In the UK I find it easier to follow Jeremy Corbyn directly on Twitter than rely on the Guardian for fair reporting. Maybe this is just me but I guess more of this direct content will be part of the future. Some journalists also turn up on Twitter with links to comment. Somehow more connections could develop. This is likely to be through social media rather than platforms such as OhmyNews. At least that is my guess. The editing function is still there when links are repeated or comment added.

More on this later in the year. Meanwhile stories around BETT will be partial, derivative and a bit vague. Still they may contribute something. Sort out in Feb may suggest a better pattern for future occasions.

Corbyn Finds Voice ( in the Guardian )

To be fair and balanced as one tries to be in a blog, you have to consider the facts. Recently the Guardian did have an interview  with Jeremy Corbyn and it seems to have been well reported. He compares Teresa May with Henry VIIIth for use of the royal prerogative. So this may bode well for 2017. As the Guardian campaigns around Brexit the official leader of the opposition is a useful part of the mix.

Also the interview clarifies Corbyn views on immigration and the single market. Guardian can refer back if they get puzzled. Sometimes the reporting has been so limited that all sorts of claims are made.

My guess is that Corbyn will find more of a voice on Brexit during this year. He is now working with socialist groups in Europe and making a positive case away from the influence of Cameron and Mandelson. I doubt if it will be much reported in much of mainstream media but social media now finds a larger proportion of UK opinion.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Facebook, what time is it?

A couple of recent items suggest to me that the Guardian really is in trouble, has no idea what to do about online, is wasting time trying to put a dent in Facebook.

Tuesday 13th , front page of G2 apparently Facebook has had a terrible year. Readers should delete their account at once. Various scandals, fake news etc.

Thursday 15th , "Google and Facebook will take more than 70% of all money spent on display advertising online in Britain by 2020" report by OC&C Strategy Consultants.

This is the real issue surely. Guardian in print seems to be full of scare stories, almost as many as when the web started to get attention. Almost nothing on what the Guardian offers online or what the plan is.

They do not seem to have realised why social media works. The web is two way, readers can be writers. I recently visited King's Cross and found the Midlands Shed is now a Waitrose. Not news, happened months ago. So the plan for a campus has been folded. This may have been the high point of the celeb option. Selling courses in lecture format is not an online sort of thing.

I now doubt if they will change. Welcome of comments? not very likely. Open discussion on what happened with Guardian Unlimited Talk? This will probably have to wait till after the next shock.

So I think a 50% chance of the print version closing Monday to Friday during 2017 is sounding quite a reasonable guess.

( continues re Education aka Tuesday on Hello Spiders blog )

Monday, December 05, 2016

immigration blind spots

Guardian seems very determined not to report Corbyn and colleagues. I watched some Sunday TV and notice what gets reported in print on a Monday. Mostly Boris.

Nothing about Corbyn in Europe that I can find.

The columnists, Matthew d'Ancona again on Boris, as a potential champion for positive views on immigration.


But what is lacking in mainstream politics is not opposition to immigration, but a sufficiency of voices willing to make the case for it. In this respect, Sir Oliver Letwin was quite right last week to tell the Times that the main parties have “made a terrible mistake” in failing to argue, with commitment and resolve, that “properly controlled migration enriches the country in every sense”.


No mention here for Dianne Abbott or Jeremy Corbyn. Is it Guardian policy to under mention them? it is getting more strange every day. To use a sports metaphor from Larry Elliott it is like reading a report on a cycle race where one team seems to have vanished.




Monday, November 28, 2016

Notes towards a persuasive counter-narrative

 Matthew d'Ancona writes about a drift to the right, Trump Brexit and Europe, then claims

a persuasive counter-narrative is conspicuously absent from mainstream politics.

This appears to be so as reported by the Guardian. Corbyn and Corbyn supporters only appear as trouble. Since the leadership election the approach seems to be to ignore Corbyn, not just find negative angles.

For example this report this morning puts Emily Thornberry right at the end of a story about the economic damage of leaving the single market. Online there is a video from the Andrew Marr show so the balance is slightly different. My own take was that Thornberry was perfectly clear on the Labour policy, also consistent with other front bench statements.

Chuka Umunna means well but I wonder why the Guardian features him as a Labour rep and often ignores those in the actual Shadow Cabinet? If the Remainers carry on with the economic case they will get support in the City and the House of Lords but Thornberry and others are working with the wider public. Needs a bit of space to report in full. Issues such as worker rights and the environment were largely ignored during the referendum. Needs a wider agenda to make sense outside the City and environs.

My guess is that space will appear online, not in Guardian print. But dialogue could continue.

More later in the week. How will Richmond be reported? Will it play well up north?

Editor Brand Dissonance Update

Possibly the Guardian, more than most of Fleet Street , is moving online to a globalised future. (The Mail is outside scope of this post, their online is a bit of a sideshow at least a bit different, not really trying to continue the same journalism values imho).

Trouble is that reading the print version is doing less and less to communicate what the online offer is about or how the reader is supposed to fit with it. Recently I mostly find writing about fake news on Facebook, dangers of mega companies, threats to educationa and the novel. Maybe it is just me but here are a few examples.

 It’s worrying that our young seem distracted and often depressed, and sad for those of us who have invested so much of our belief and our effort in print technology, that it – and the modes of being associated with it – appear to be in decline.

Will Self  Review Saturday

I’m also worried about how we use social media. The so-called neutral platforms facilitate hate against women, racism and homophobia, and they may have put Trump in the White House as well. It may not be the platform itself, but the way in which it favours those outside the conventional media establishment and its notions of balance. 

Rachel Holmes Monday

On Sunday John McNaughton put aside the ideas around the "netizen" or web "utopia". Things are very worrying.

What I cannot make out is what the Guardian Media Group is doing online. I still come across the website through Twitter links. But the dissonance comes about by comparing the print version. Is there a parallel universe of editorial where the web is more or less ok? Can't find it. What are the numbers on print sales? My guess is that the weekday print will vanish during 2017. 50 % confidence. Well enough confidence that it will be under discussion during the year and / or related events will actually occur.

According to Will Self "the age of bi-directional digital media only properly dates... from the inception of wireless broadband in the early 2000s" . However John McNaughton mentions earlier dates - "In the first decade after the internet we use today was switched on, in January 1983, cyberspace was a brave new world – a glorious sandpit for geeks and computer science researchers. "

More later on various dates. Will Self is closer to the Cluetrain Manifesto and the start of Guardian Unlimited Talk. This was actual social media, closed down by the Guardian without warning and without any option for readers to recover their own content. The facts are now obscure in any story told by Guardian staff. I cannot imagine any social media company doing such a thing. The Guardian editorial group must believe that their own content is the crucial bit. The conversation matters not. My guess is that things have now got worse. Much of the opinion copy is knocking online. How can it fit with other social media? Any numbers on how the audience finds the website? From the print version I guess the readers are just in a rush to unplug, if they find the argument convincing.

Monday, November 21, 2016

HE day as tech disruption, ramble till BETT

Leaving this post as Guardian related as tomorrow should be an Education day in print. Not sure if this continues, not much media today.

I have now booked three nights in London around time of BETT for me and colleagues from @wenotno and Wild Show on Phonic FM. We are mostly interested in radio but this can cross over into learning etc.

Found out about dif - digital innovation festival - through the One Planet MBA, sponsors of Tech Exeter conference. Tomorrow is HE day then on Wed Douglas Rushkoff

We don’t have to accept the rules of a 13th Century, printing press era operating system for our 21st Century economy. Real disruption would mean challenging the underlying OS, not just installing more extractive software on top of it.

From an interview but maybe more fully explained on Wed. Somehow the Guardian seems still with the printing press. They have not done a lot on the MOOC recently. Peter Scott refuses to write about them. They don't seem to have many reporters so rely on such academic sources for copy. Through Twitter I have found a video from 2014.



Time for an update on Futurelearn. And London University. Is there a business model yet? 

The Twitter for dif is 

My question is still about the buildings budget compared to online. Apart from OU / Futurelearn I think UK universities are still investing in iconic buildings. Blended could at least reduce the time on campus. It is even possible that there has been a bubble in student accomodation. More later.

Now watched the YouTube catchup on this morning




remark about campus unis about 27 min in.

@wenotno on @phonicfm between 12 and 2 Exeter time but probably an update on this much later.


Fact Check Please, why Benn left Shadow Cabinet @guardian

Report on deselection possibility today in Guardian

Benn was then sacked from his role as shadow foreign secretary amid claims that he was encouraging colleagues to resign as part of an attempt to replace Corbyn as leader.

No mention of stories in Observer and Sunday Times. Both clearly reported Benn as linked to resignation project. No way a party leader could live with this sort of report. Benn seems to have accepted this during phone call. Later he denied being the source of the story. So who was? How many versions of the print report existed? It seems to have gone from "Benn plans  to resign" to "Benn sacked in middle of the night" where "middle of the night" means leader sees the morning papers. If this story came from a source other than Bennor unknown to him who was it? Long enough ago for a bit of investigation. Somebody at Sunday Times or Observer probably knows.

Today Guardian story continues
A source close to Benn said: “Hillary is incredibly polite and a positive person and has welcomed the new [Leeds Central] officers.  
“The excitement in the media [over deselection] has been slightly distracting, but he is clear his number one job is to hold the government to account on Brexit. For many who want a good relationship with our Europe partners in the future, he is our last hope.”
He may be the last hope for Guardian readers who rely on the Guardian alone as a source of news. Unless they watch Andrew Marr show. No report on John McDonnell questions re Brexit this Sunday. Corbyn at PMQ? maybe this will be more reported. only time can tell.