Thursday, October 11, 2007

Moving some of learn9 here

Yesterday there was a conference on Networked Journalism. My impression is that this has started a conversation about journalism which includes bloggers, citizen reporters etc. Quite how will only become clear over time, including the material from the day appearing online. Search tag netj.

Recently I have been putting material about journalism into the learn9 blog, which is supposed to be about learning and quality. There seem to be similar discussions about authority and grassroots knowledge when discussing both academic writing and journalism. Breaking down the discipline barrier between quality and learning has been important for me but I think this now obvious. Or at least there is sufficient online discussion that crosses over, whether it is recognised by academics or not.

I still think the Guardian has a long way to go in adjusting to the web. Jeff Jarvis is a genuine blogger but the print Guardian still includes knocking copy about the web, mostly written by proper journalists.

So there could be more about that in this blog but not in learn9.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Little Richardjohn - draft review

Discussion continues on Guardian blogging talk. I think the current suggestion is to do reviews for the common ownership of link promotion. Here are some notes, may do a tighter version later.


Contributes historical perspective to topics such as "11 year old shot dead in pub car park". I have not read all 412 posts but it seems to be about the welfare state as something we have lost.

LittleRichardjohn - 02:24pm Sep 3, 2007 GMT (#413 of 447)

So Blair was socialist? That makes even less sense.

We're gradually paring down this 50 year experiment to a realistic few months after 1845.

This 1845 probably means 1945, so people assume

Yamnaya - 02:27pm Sep 3, 2007 GMT (#416 of 447)

"We're gradually paring down this 50 year experiment to a realistic few months after 1845."

Its true, the Welfare State ceased to exist in June 1946.

About tea time.

LittleRichardjohn uses few words to ask the righ question. On another topic-

Vanishing England

LittleRichardjohn - 02:26pm Sep 3, 2007 GMT (#133 of 142)

When was 'England'

Friday, August 31, 2007

New Readers Start Here

think that's it

so follow this LINK

Not sure exactly how this will develop but there is some support for an independent critic of the Guardian Unlimited Talk project.

What I think is that the Guardian editorial policy cannot continue to both claim to be moving online and also rubbish bloggers in print. See my forthcoming book "Editorial Brand Dissonance".

The Talk is fairly close to what online should be, except that the Guardian staff do not join in. I have started topics on PDF and OhmyNews which both relate to the Guardian and would have benefited had they contributed information. It is just wierd that there is one section in which they say nothing and then "Comment is Free" in which they may or may not respond to comments. There used to be a section on Saturday in print where there was some explanation of what was happening online. This has stopped. The "Reader's Page" is actually written by professional journalists. The readers appear to choose the headlines. On OhmyNews the editors choose the headlines and sometimes change the suggestions from citizen reporters. this makes more sense to me as a way of working. I think the Guardian should get some accurate information on how the editing is done in citizen journalism. There could be a better result, both online and in print.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Guardian talk - media-newmedia-why blog?

This is getting interesting

more later

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guardian outsources to USA for blogger opinion

Scott Rosenberg has some space in the print Guardian today. All the examples he gives are from the USA. My guess is that this article was written for a US audience and then the Guardian repeated it.

Nothing wrong with that, but there is still a lack of positive articles about blogging from actual Guardian staff. As far as I can tell, I may have missed some.

So maybe this is ok. If there is agreement in the US that blogging etc. are part of the mix, then this will be accepted in the UK. Jeff Jarvis is mentioning a conference coming up on October 10th. Not sure where but presumably more will appear on Buzzmachine.

Suggest Victor Keegan, Marina Hyde, Simon Jenkins etc. follow online and add comments.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Allowing for print deadlines

Maybe I have been too unreasonable in expecting Guardian media print version to reflect Buzzmachine from last week. The "wack a curmudgeon" post was on the 23rd. Most people expect some rest over the UK August Bank Holiday. So maybe more will turn up in about a fortnight.

A Jay Rosen moment

The Guardian is still annoying as the print journalists seem to have had a groupthink about knocking the web.

"Ever since Al Gore invented it in whatever year the anonymous Wikipedia contributor insists he did, the internet has been hailed as a sort of algorithm that produces a new utopia each time it is fed back into itself."

Marina Hyde on Saturday

Actually the Wikipedia starts with ARPANET around 1969.

So should I do another post about how surprising it is that "Everything is Miscellaneous" has yet to be reviewed in the Guardian so far as I know given all the stuff about amateurs not checking facts?

Monday was media day and another surprise. The Jeff Jarvis print selection from Buzzmachine failed to include anything about Jay Rosen and his advice to Michael Skube, a "contrarian-come-lately" who has attacked blogs in the LA Times. Rosen said it was time for Skube to retire. “I’m serious. You’re an embarrassment to my profession, to the university where you teach, and to the craft of reporting you claim to defend. It is time for you to quit, as you’ve clearly called it quits on learning— and reporting.”

As not yet repeated in Guardian print, Jarvis adds "That’s that".

and also

I’ve said it before and I hope we can stop saying it soon, but this is not a matter of ‘or’ but ‘and’: Rather than one tribe of reporters attacking the other, we can and should be working together to report more than ever.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, was reported as being "relaxed" about the idea of the newspaper becoming web only. If this started to happen there would need to be some clarity from the journalists. I do not understand how they could be seen as part of the web given the views on blogs and citizen journalism that are expressed in print. Claims to be an 'editor brand' result in disbelief and dissonance.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Moo ok, thank goodness for print journalists

Just as I was beginning to despair of print journalists ( Victor Keegan joining in the knocking of citizen journalism) on the opposite page is news of a print service for cards from Flickr. Moo turns out to be ok. I must have missed it even though I look at Flickr quite often. The link is there quite clearly as I now realise. So the printed version of the Guardian can complement the web. Print survives through sensible use of the web, in this case. Surely print journalists can do the same?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Reflective weekend

Sunday lunchtime. Unusually I have bought an Observer. Usually the Saturday Guardian is enough for the weekend. And I am still staring at the Friday examination of e-books.

Andrew Marr asks "Is this the future of reading?" and eventually concludes that the e-book is arriving and eventually somebody will buy one. Meanwhile he explains that 'Start the Week' on Radio 4 is still based on books and that "all my life I've somehow assumed that simply owning books like Tully's (on India) , or the Stalin biography, made me a better person."

He is less kind about newspapers. "In our house, every day we get mounds of newsprint, much of it thrown instantly away." Apparently he has the BBC online news "flickering in the corner much of the time".

However there was no sign of this on BBC1 earlier this morning. He was clutching Sunday newspapers as he announced the agenda of guests looking through the Sunday newspapers. The TV screen was on furniture holding books, not DVDs. Maybe there is a computer screen round the corner, but the newspaper is still the prop of choice.

One downside of this is that any judges watching the BBC may continue to believe that the London newspapers are significant. The decision to ban UK media from mentioning Al Jazeera and a recent trial in the same report is clearly not able to block internet discussion about UK policy. More on this in the Froomkin fan blog.

I recently went through old copies of the Guardian I was unable to read at the time. I don't know when it ended but there was once a review that included books together with music and film etc. My current guess is that the move to a books only review will later be seen as reactionary. Why is there a separated world of literary authority?

There is a mention of blogs in the Saturday Review. Sarah Crown is credited at the end of her blog selection as editor of Guardian Unlimited Books and then there is a link to the blog. This is in six point type.

By contrast the Observer Review has a section for books at the back, after the films and music. The Browser's column ends with a plug for in bold type, maybe 14pt, certainly bigger than most text. It may be all the pop culture that allows a context for this. Paperbacks reviewed include 'The Long Tail' so web ideas are considered. "Sales of bestsellers have slumped by as much as 25%, threatening the basic economics of traditional book and music stores."

The paperback reviews from Saturday include a contentious remark. Nicholas Lezard reports that after writing about Tintin for the Guardian's arts blog "one of the ill-mannered vermin who infest cyberspace posted a comment saying that I had disgracefully copied every idea from the book under review." The world of literary criticism is often more polite. For reasons explained in the blog roundup. Ysabeau Wilce is so aware of the agony and work involved in writing that "if i love a book, you'll hear about it here. But if I hate a book, you will not."

Possibly this kindness could be extended to the people who add comments on the Guardian website.

Tim Brooks, Guardian MD, recently told Revolution "When we first started the site's Comment Is Free section, there was internal resistance. The journalists said 'what? we're actually going to let the readers come back to us in the comments column?' And when the comments started coming back, some of them hostile, that reaction only intensified."

So this online stuff has been imposed on the journalists. My impression is that they would prefer the Saturday Review style of format to continue indefinitely.

My own response is to spend more time on blogging. I will continue to post comments on Guardian Talk ( as will787, my own name had gone) but don't expect any response from Guardian staff. I still find Talk is better than Comment from my point of view as the topic stays open and there is more choice over the agenda.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Perhaps there is a better way of expressing a view on the US Presidency. Jeff Jarvis on occasion refers to "anti-Americanism" as if this is something found only outside the United States. At this time it seems that opposition to the Iraq war is more explicit in US media than in the UK. It is possible to criticise the policy of George W. Bush without being anti American, in my opinion. Next week there may be a UK trial under the Official Secrets Act that may be about a conversation between George W. Bush and Tony Blair. It is surprising to me how little this is reported, even by those who take an interest in press freedom around the globe. If there was a similar trial coming up in China, my guess is that something would have already appeared on Buzzmachine.

Attempting Dialogue

The Guardian seems to have stopped mentioning citizen journalists but is having a go at the bloggers, possibly the same people in many cases.

An attempt to encourage civility has resulted in Guardian printed statements suggesting that the comments on blogs are often insulting. Personally my impression is that most online discussion is a lot calmer than it used to be.

What I do notice is an editorial policy from the Guardian and other print-based organisations to rubbish what is already online while moving towards much of the same as fast as possible. Now, was that too sweeping a statement?

Tim Dowling writes

"In the course of that research I branched out, seeking out the online detractors of journalists with higher profiles than myself. This was my introduction to the blogosphere: a seemingly intemperate, foul-mouthed, grotesquely misogynistic community where no one can spell and everyone is blessed with a surfeit of time."

This extract is reasonably representative. Dowling's research method has been to look for references to himself and other print journalists. The qualifier "seemingly" is used, but the words "intemperate, foul-mouthed and misogynistic" are clearly his own. There is also a quote from a random source who happens to have written a book.

"It tends to be self-referential and obscure," says Andrew Keen, whose book The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture is published in June. "And irrelevant. I mean, who cares? It's absurd. It reflects the intellectual bankruptcy of the blogosphere that things have degenerated to this level."

Yeah, right. Self-referential as in searching on your own name and then complaining at length about the mixed results.

Is it possible that any print journalist would find anything on the web from which they would expect to learn something?

As I mentioned on Guardian Talk it seems to me that the words from Tim O'Reilley and Jimmy Wales suggest some positive action from people who run blogs or other web sites. Something to ease discussion. Yet it is rare for there to be any response on Comment is Free to the points made in comments. I am not sure that all the people who write for the Guardian actually like the idea of their words going online. They may not have chosen to leave the safety of print.

So my idea is a new logo. It may get some traffic for this blog. OK so I post so rarely it is not surprising that nobody checks it. Still, my suggestion is that blogs are about attempting dialogue. The abuse happens when this fails. So the remedial task is to support dialogue, not just counter the flack.

The other logos are included. Right click and save as you like I think. There is not yet an ISO standard in civility, as far as I know.

The evidence for a formal Guardian policy on mixing messages is not in the form of a smoking gun but I first got disturbed around the time of Davos this year. In the almost festive context there was much online discussion about online etc. Jeff Jarvis invited questions for example. What about the UK Official Secrets Act Jeff? Is it just there to protect your President? Ok you don't have to get into the mess that is the UK but anyway back on topic more or less the print views from Jackie Ashley seemed out of sync with what had happened online, including posts from the Guardian editor that were more or less a blog.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Is there a print equivalent of a troll?

At the risk of still seeming a bit grumpy over the season of goodwill, it seems to me that the attack on cyberspace may be the result of the editor of the Guardian setting up a troll. The print comment is in more or less complete opposition to the direction the web discussion has been going in. During last year Jeff Jarvis managed to leak the text of a couple of statements bu Alan Rusbridger that placed the Guardian as aware of social software and citizen journalism. it seemt to me that most of the print coverage of these issues is intended to keep the readers in a print world for as long as possible. If 2007 is not to continue in confusion it would be helpful if the Guardian made some clear statements on what they think they are doing. Such clarity would only be achieved through print, naturally.