Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Coming out of Xmas, starting to study the Guardian more carefully. There was nothing at all for two days last week. Then this week so far no section on Media or Education. I know the Technology has gone but this may be what 2010 may be like. The sections will vanish as and when the advertising drops away. Content will still turn up on other pages.

Today the theme seems to be the e-book. An actual advert from Sony on the whole back page. News about Amazon sales through Kindle overtaking hard copy, maybe just because of the number of Kindles as presents. LG are planning a range of devices and have a contract for e-paper. Not much news about education as such but a letter follows earlier reports on cuts to university funding. Lewis Elton suggests more use is made of the Open University, "arguably the most successful innovation in higher education in the past fifty years". Elton suggest that expanding the OU would be "far more cost effective than any other method to treat the present crisis."

However the OU methods could be applied more widely. I am following the Cloudworks site and suggesting e-books links. Hosted at the OU but globally connected. So far education technology has mostly been based on paper. The thing is my guess is that the Education section of the Guardian rarely covers how gigital changes this. There will be supplements soon around BETT.


No Media section but the Scotland Correspondent , Severin Carrell, reports that culture Minister Margaret Hodge is pressing for faster introduction of powers for libraries to archive UK websites. That is UK plus Trinity College Dublin. This story could have started in Scotland, the National Libray of Scotland as wel as the British Library is reported as "dismayed" at delays since legislation six years ago . Also mentioned the National Library of Wales, Cambridge University Library and the Bodleian in Oxford. Seems quite complicated as a structure. Many UK sites have a global reach so the archiving may not suit an arrangement developed for print.

Carrell reports that "the internet is fast becoming the dominant form of publication in the UK : about a third of all works now published are only in digital form and that number is incereasing." Included from 2010 will be the Technology section for the Guardian. I thought this was the most interesting news around the time of the Online Information event. OhmyNews editors changed my headline to make it more general rather than just about the Guardian. I think the Guardian could do more to explain itself. The Media coverage is often negative towards bloggers and web news. If there is a strategy to move the Guardian online, why not explain?

Sunday / Previously

Peter Preston claims that the industry structure for newspapers in the USA "bears scant relationship to anything in Great Britain". So the "Lear-like self-flagellation" from New York has no relevance. What is he thinking of? Fortunately Buzzmachine continues as a blog. The work around a future business model for news organisations is surely worth checking out.

37% annual growth for what Preston calls "Guardian and Observer" website. But this comes in a disjointed paragraph from what is happening with newspaper economics or the view from New York. By the way, book publishers in New York seem to be taking a different view on Scribd. London not connected at the moment.

Previously Preston wrote in the Guardian objecting to getting so much email greetings instead of proper printed cards, part of the "wasteland of cyberspace". Maybe in 2010 Preston will find something positive to say, even about bloggers. Readers of the Guardian and Observer may contribute content online and this could be part of a new business model. There were reports that the Business and Media section will be part of the main paper soon. The Simon Caulkin column was dropped but a LinkedIn complaint group continues. Search on "The Observer needs Caulking!" What would it take for this energy to be part of the Guardian/Observer website?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

FT model makes a lot of sense

Still no news about news re Guardain Tech. They are closing down then print, moving online. But there is no comment.

Meanwhile the FT and Cengage launched a digital archive of FT to 2006 yesterday at Online Information. I did some video but don't know how it looks. More on this later.

Today spoke to people at FT stand. They have a subscription offer for digital content on any platform that includes Factiva Lexis Nexis etc etc - all the combiners of content widely regarded as legit, at least here in Olympia. The deal seems to be that FT results do not show up unless the password check out. If you go direct to the FT site you get three clicks, not five as in the new Google model.

This seems to combine reasonable access for free and an income for the hard working journalists. So a possible future would be that you need to subscribe to the News of the World to get the best value from Microsoft.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Technology Guardian moves online

Now back with more web access so can follow up print news on Thursday that the Technology section will not be printed as of 2010. Strange thing is that there was nothing about this from Peter Preston yesterday or the media bit today. Fact and opinion are to be kept apart but surely this is news, something to write about. how can you have a media bit that is often rude about bloggers, citizen journalism etc. and claims that the problems of print are not that urgent, then have a Thursday report that a section will be online only? by the way, the Technology lot want us the readers to write in about it. No payment on offer.

I really do think they should be more informative for the print audience. The policy seems to be to have an online offer that is suitably modern and available free while the people who pay get a limited view. And nonsense from columnists about the dangers of bloggers but anyway back to some sourced speculation.

Will media on a Monday be next?

Copied from journalism.co.uk

The Financial Times’ managing editor, Dan Bogler suggested that while newspapers like the Times or Guardian might not be able to charge for general news, or the front pages, they might be able to charge for niche areas, something he knows they are thinking about.

“The Guardian is big on media, is big on public sector jobs, if they bundled that content both print and online and charged for it, I bet you they could. They might not be able to charge for everything they have but they could charge for certain parts,” said Bogler.

“Yeah well, definitely, Dan’s right – clearly he’s got the inside track on this,” Kelner said.

“The Guardian is looking at the Media being an online section as opposed to being with the newspaper and certainly that is one of the niches the Guardian could charge for.”

MediaGuardian recently celebrated its 25th birthday in print and is read by 525,000 readers every week, according to its advertising information; online it attracts 950,000+ unique users per month.

This is crazy. Will the price be reduced for the people who no longer get a print version of the Technology or Media?

Who is supposed to read the sections? Is it the normal Guardian reader, whoever we are, or is it specialists working in media or tech? Do the people who work in media want to read Peter Preston on the "bilious bloggers"? Enough to pay extra online?

What about some reporting for the general reader on what is actually happening?

More to come on this story I think.

Friday, November 06, 2009

glories of the past are gone

Glories of the past are gone, financial that is and for the music industry. They need to transform to a promising future in ringtones, downloads and streaming. That is the guardian media verdict for Monday 2nd. For newspapers it turns out that "print is not dead" but they seem to be aware of a transformation and news organisations are coping quite well as revenue increases slightly when you include online. Another encouraging sign is that Peter Preston boasts of the UK newspaper success with websites that score well with page views from the USA. I think the Guardian is making a move. However the new model may still need more respect for the readers/contributors than print journalists are used to.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Complaint about missing report on Kindle in UK

Today Friday I found an item in the Guardian about the Amazon Kindle. On the business pages towards the end the headline was that Microsoft have no plans for an e-reader. There is a brief mention that Amazon launched an international version of the Kindle two days ago. I don't think there was anything in the Guardian on Thursday, even in the Tech section. The news was in an email alert on Wednesday from the Bookseller so I am continuing to check the daily email as it seems to cover digital publishing fairly well. Coverage of the Kindle continues on the Neill Denny blog. The Teleread blog has more about ePUB but file formats have always been a minority interest.

The Guardian however seems to me to be fairly reliable about the impact of technology on music or television but has series of blankouts when it comes to print, publishing or journalism. Through a search I have found two blog entries for Technology and Digital Content but I am concerned about the printed version that is charged for and the sort of reporting it provides. The print audience is just being informed about what is available online. The implications for Guardian policy are also not dealt with.

Over the last decade Amazon has changed the UK book market to a large extent. The availability of the Kindle will move this in a deeper direction. UK media may ignore it without a UK specific launch but I think many Guardian readers will find out about it. USA news titles are already available for download. The nature of the Amazon launch evidences a take on global media in itself.

My guess is that the Books section of the Guardian tomorrow will have no mention of the international Kindle or what it implies. The extracts from the Bookseller stopped a while ago. Extracts from a range of blogs also vanished. Now there is a bit from the Guardian blog though it appears to be much like a long piece of text from a columnist with maybe a comment at the end with no response. They will have to talk about something else now the Booker is over.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jeff Jarvis and the Press Association

Jeff Jarvis is backing the Press Association moves on local news.

But will this just be reporters on a classic model? How to involve citizens? Many Guardian writers ignore such issues but maybe Jeff Jarvis will consider this later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

local news and Press Asssociation

Alan Rusbridger is on Twitter and uses it to promote his view that funding should be available for the Press Association to report local news now that newspapers and ITV find this difficult. He welcomes Twitter as a way to amplify existing media.

What about Twitter as a way for anyone to publish, a way to build communities of people who share news? Is the only option to pour money into existing models? something missing here, I think.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Greenslade still on about the BBC

It never stops. Print journalists and former print journalists such as blogger Roy Greenslade are still on about the BBC as if the free BBC news is the reason they have a problem.

A recent story in the Guardian (that i can't find at the moment, tried the Guardian search and can only find opinions similar to Roy Greenslade) reported that 16% of respondents backed the approach of forcing the BBC to charge for content in order to make life easier for commercial companies. So why is this opinion constantly repeated by journalists? Is it worth £1.90 to read stuff you know you don't agree with and is only written from self interest. A Radio Times might be a better bet on the weekend.

Source Digital Spy found through Google News

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Guardian salaries compare with BBC

Even though the BBC is offering free video for newspapers the questions continue. the Guardian has revealed that the BBC spend money on hospitality for promotion at trade shows. the thing is they actually manage to sell stuff so can continue with projects such as Dr Who. I think this is ok and that the Guardian is being a bit silly.

Recent info
is that the editor, Alan Rusbridger is paid around £400,000 and Carolyn McCall, chief exec, is paid almost £500,000 down from £800,000 last year. So the bonus system is based on performance. Rusbridger will reduce salary further in future.

The controller of BBC1 is paid between £250-280,000. Is this a less worthy job than editing the Guardian?

The campaign from print journalists seems to be that free news from the BBC is the main problem. If only this could be lobbied into history, then newspapers would suddenly have no problem. This ignores the other sources of online news which are also likely to be free. Also the BBC is the only UK brand with a major web presence, something to consider.

Getting into exposure stories on BBC expenses could start a whole new series for UK media. When Rusbridger attends Davos, what expenses are involved? Is the visit strictly necessary?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BBC helps Guardian, What About the Rest of US?

The BBC is about to lend video to newspapers including the Guardian as reported by journalism website. Maybe this will reduce the amount of moaning and groaning that carries on about the BBC. I still think they offer a decent service. I saw them working on gardening at Tatton Park, it took a lot of resource for a couple of half hour broadcasts.

Also I still think the "Digital Britain" approach has missed the aspect of the Web that it allows lots of people to contribute and add comments. There is still no recent news about the BBC inspired creative archive. I think it was Greg Dyke who presented this. Clips available for mashup and soforth. My memory is a bit random but I thought the original batch included Wizz Jones in Newquay some time ago. Wherever it came from this is now on YouTube. More recent performances by Wizz Jones are also on YouTube including one from Exeter TV. If the original content could be downloaded then more edits would be possible. The BBC could look at the archive for stuff that could be mixed with new material. This could be more like the vision and leadership that Ben Bradshaw is looking for. At the moment "Digital Britain" seems to be about finding subsidies for existing structures that are in trouble but still have enough clout to complain. Apparently ITN are complaining that the new offer will make life more difficult for them. Maybe they will be offered a slice of the licence fee as compensation. But what we need is ways to open up new possibilities.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Less Rusbridger mystery

Alan Rusbridger on the Future of Journalism from Carta on Vimeo.

seems quite close to Jeff Jarvis

What I still don't understand is why the Guardian and Observer print versions still contain so much knocking for bloggers etc. Maybe the 1000 recognised commenters are ok, then the rabble who add comment to this are sometimes too rude, and then anyone else is just outside. Guardian Talk is almost never mentioned but it is still the format where the reader chooses the subject.

Murdoch and News Organizations

According to Peter Preston things are back to confusion. Rupert Murdoch has followed his apparent call to charge for Web news by suggesting that online is the future and paper may decline.

"We think of newspapers in the old fashioned way, printed on crushed wood so to speak. It's going to be digital. Within 10 years I believe nearly all newspapers will be delivered to you digitally...But if you've got a newspaper with a great name and a great reputation and you're trusted, the people in that community are going to need access to your source of news. What we call newspapers today, I call 'news organizations' and 'journalistic enterprises,' if you will. They are the source of news. And people will reach it, if its done well, whether they do it on a Blackberry or a Kindle or a PC."

Preston is not sure how this fits with the plan to charge for the Sunday Times. How would the Times fit in? Maybe the confusion is resolved by accepting that the "news organization" possibility is much as it was before the recent talk about charging for content.

Roy Greenslade suggested the Murdoch quote could have come from Jeff Jarvis or alan Rusbridger. Not sure what to make of this. Buzzmachine has been going on about news organixations for ages but what Rusbridger thinks is a mystery.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Not much on Sony at Hay, but Google is news in New York

The print Media Guardian has not got anything I can find on what happened at Hay. Maybe this is normal. Conferences etc are to be sold before the event. Reporting what was said is not the point. Anyway Jeff Jarvis writes on the basis of actually using a Kindle and paying his own sub for the Journal ( no longer when it reached a new price level). He thinks news has changed and the idea of a branded package that can be charged for is no longer very viable. He is usually the most interesting read in the Media print. why is he always near the back?

Maybe his next book could fit with a Keynote for Online Information 2009 with a series of Twitter posts for people who can't be there.

Meanwhile there is news in the New York Times about Google claims at the BookExpo about launching a service for paid book content sometime in 2009. The Guardian has reported this, through a PDA blog. The Teleread blog hopes that the EPUB format will be in there somewhere. This is more than likely as Google seems to claim that all routes will be supported.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Draft fiction - Talabont on Usk In Your Time

Title needs changing but starts with the words that fit at the moment. So far the Hay Festival take on the sony Reader has been a big disappointment. No reporting at all of what happened. As in what was said and if anyone changed their view. All I can find online is bookish views about the dangers.

So maybe fiction is a way to think about this. Imagine two visiting citizens of the USA, loosely based on David Weinberger and Jeff Jarvis. They are staying at Talabont on Usk because Hay is full and because all my fiction has to be near a canal to fit in with another project. Jarvis is worried that his change agent role at the Guardian may damage his reputation as the print culture is fighting back and the brand is damaged. He thinks the Hay Festival could help him to understand. Weinberger is in the UK on a secret BBC project of which more later.

They spend some time near the Sony Screen, try to promote their own digital work, and most days escape to Talabont On Usk to compare notes in amazement.

Later back in London Melvyn Bragg has been asked to host a new BBC radio show called "In Your Time", extending studio discussion through audience feedback during the day. Also the topics are more recent, starting with the ClueTrain Manifesto from late in the previous century. Bragg is rather unhappy with this. The starting design is that what took three quarters of an hour as daytime radio will be edited down to half an hour in the evening but include text and voice contributions from the listeners. "I have to get up at three in the morning to appear to have read the books. Now they want me to answer the phone."

The studio guests are UK academics and the format seems to be as usual. The morning gets more difficult when it turns out that the BBC have arranged for Weinberger and Jarvis to be among the first callers. Several other people text in who claim to know something about the Cluetrain Manifesto. Bragg decides it is time to slip away to the House of Lords for some tea and a cake. Explaining his problems to some friends they come up with a solution. Why not use the red button? Editing down to half an hour was never going to work so later that day it was arranged that around 9.55 the discussion continued on Freeview. Bragg joined in for a while but later realised that the show was called "In Your Time" because the audience was doing the work.

Sorry for 2009 read 2008

It turns out the Robert McCrum feature mentioned in the previous post was actually from 2008 not 2009. No wonder I could not find it in my print versions.

So it only confirms my impression that print journalists are getting more resistant to digital as the evidence mounts up that something is changing.

Peter Preston is now writing about complexity as if everything is in flux. This may not make much sense as a story but is an advance on just being rude about bloggers.

He mentions a website where there is translation of European news. So there are still possibilities.

Sony Reader at Hay, what happened?

I just found a feature from last week by Robert McCrum. I have been doing some checking online trying to find a report on the debate at Hay about the sony Reader and digital literature. Strangely I failed to find this review of ten years of the book scene in print. Apparently it was on page 6 of the Features Section. Maybe this was the main bit maybe the Review. The Sunday Newspaper is too big to find what might be interesting. Second lot of vouchers has arrived since I took the deal for Observer as well as Guardian. Maybe I will find my way around sometime soon.

Anyway it turns out McCrum has got a view on the Sony Reader or rather the Amazon Kindle because of the wireless connectivity. He takes it as a genuine development and suggests that
The 'iPod moment' in the book world, so often postponed, is expected to happen this year, probably in the autumn.

There is even a paragraph more friendly towards the bloggers than recent remarks by Preston and Porter

Readers and writers may now experience the liberation of literature in ways that Caxton never dreamed of. The word, written and spoken, remains at the heart of our culture, but it's no longer watched by a Praetorian Guard of elite gatekeepers. It has been handed back whence it came, from the few to the many.

However there still seems to be no reporting on what was said at Hay. Sony paid some sponsorship and provided a big screen and free use of some kit. So then what happened? Was there a conclusion? I have found a blog from Mike Wood but he seems to be a book fan to start with and has yet to say wht the meeting was about.

Henry Porter writes in print about the reassuring nature of the English countryside and then wonders why the UK tends to be rather conservative. So he was at Hay also. News reporting may not be his thing at this time though presumably views on the Sony Reader will become clearer sometime later.

Here is something for bloggers and print journalists to develop together. What is being said about digital publishing? When will it seem to be sensible?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Journalism students and mobile devices

This turns up through Google Search though the G2 print report from Hay has nothing on Sony so far that I can find. Jemima Kiss reports that editor Alan Rusbridger believes that the tech journalists show the future. And the students are expected to have an iPhone or similar. But the reporting on Stanza is yet to appear and Hay seems to be still a bookish event only. So rather than get upset I think I shall just be confident about the future and hope the Guardian makes it though the current confusion. Confiding in the readers would do no harm, unless slowing things down is hoped for.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Media Guardian catches up with Sony

Today the printed Media Guardian is more or less sensible in looking at devices for reading. Mostly about the Amazon Kindle but the difference seems to be that Sony has sponsored aspects of the Hay Festival, a literary event with celebs such as Clive James.

If the use of such devices was accepted as normal there could be a new meaning for "reading", something young people no longer do according to some critics of the bloggers and twitterers etc. etc. I am trying to be constructive here and look for some common ground.

Publishing executives are watching developments carefully - sales of ebooks are growing fast, albeit from a small base. "I don't think we are approaching a tipping point quite yet," says Gail Rebuck, the chairman and chief executive of Random House. "If you look at ebook sales, they're less than 1% of turnover." There is, however, long-term potential: "Can I conceive of a world where digital reading takes up 20% or 25% of people's available reading time? Yes I can. Could it be as much as 50%? I don't know."

So let us imagine a time, a future Hay perhaps, when the legitimate publishing execs think of digital as 10% of business as usual. They would be reasonably polite about this presumably, not like Preston and Porter on a Sunday. My guess is that screen reading is already significant. Serious books and literary fiction (SBLF) have already lost display space in UK bookshops to what the Bookseller calls R&J (Richard and Judy promoted on TV). The 1% or turnover would not include the stuff found on the web for free.

By the way, USA publishers seem a bit ahead on adjusting to digital. Random House is in the UK but also in New York. Not sure where to find quotes from London publishers that make as much sense.

The Guardian story makes no mention of the EPUB format, a central feature of the Sony Reader. EPUB is based on open standards such as XHTML so in theory most web content could be packaged as EPUB. So far the promotion in Waterstones has featured some free classics as a bargain bundle but not really promoted the amount of free stuff. Feedbooks for example can deliver EPUB from a blog RSS or news feed such as the BBC or New York Times.

Also there is no mention of Stanza, recently bought by Amazon, capable of displaying EPUB on iPhone etc. Numbers are uncertain but it seems likely that software downloads are about two or three times the number for devices. Thinking about it, free is more likely than spending on another thing to carry.

No mention either for Scribd option to charge. This has an interest for writers, but maybe not for publishers who like blockbuster titles or newspapers who like one editorial printed several million times.

But this is only Monday. Thursday could bring some detail on file formats, how to load up a memory card and place in a Sony Reader. If the details of the EPUB format are a problem, text and PDF do work but maybe not with all the menu functions.

The actual big debate is not until Friday, as reported in the Bookseller

A panel discussion hosted by Sony entitled "Brave New World—Rights and Wrongs in the Digital Future" will take place on 29th May as part of the collaboration. The debate will focus on the power and management of online content and digital reading devices.

Those taking part include Steve Haber, president of digital reading business division of Sony electronics, Jamie Byng, m.d. of Canongate and PFD agent Caroline Michel. Jessica Powell of Google and Tom Berwick of Creative & Cultural Skills are also taking part.

Sony is also sponsoring a venue, the "Sony Screen", which will host events.

Gail Rebuck, chair and c.e.o. of Random House UK said: "I am terrifically excited about the impact of digital advances on the future landscape of publishing and I am already a convert to reading all our manuscripts on my Sony Reader."

You know what? This is sounding more exciting already. This imagined future where digital is part of the landscape may be closer than we think.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Still nothing in Guardian about Scribd and paid content

I still cannot find anything about Scribd and charging for content. Search on Guardian website shows nothing new, just old stuff about piracy and the strong views of Henry Porter. I am not sure how this will turn out but there could be two scenarios to keep it simple. The Buzzmachine Guardian Scenario would follow the views of consultant Jeff Jarvis, a smooth transition to a new form for a news organisation, essentially based in the Web though still with a print aspect. The audience to contribute and interact. This might work. Then there is the Preston-Porter scenario seeking subsidies for the existing model though the words business and model are not really to be used that often. Regular knocking copy for bloggers and most of the writing on the Web will presumably drive away any contribution from readers. My guess is that this scenario will just result in continuing print decline with not much happening online. Nothing is clear at the time, maybe only in versions of history. So the two scenarios are possible. The print version of the Guardian however seems to be tending towards Preston-Porter. Victor Keegan is looking at the facts but when he points out that the new wave of music companies are doing things that older companies missed out on he might then look at print publishing also.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The end of five centuries of print

Peter Preston is facing the facts, print is over. He chooses to mention the "bilious bloggers" as part of the dreadful consequences but this recent writing at least describes the actual situation for print journalists.

Can't see any responses to the comments but then this is not really expected.

The Guardian continues the Observer support for the Murdoch suggestion that content should stop being free. News organisations will change this soon.

What strikes me is how subdued is the news about the Amazon Kindle launched last week with support from the New York Times and other papers. The Guardian writes about the BBC problem as if their websites would suddenly be in profit if the BBC was closed down. The thing is, the Web is global. It would not make much difference except to lower the profile of the UK.

For detail on the Amazon Kindle, turn to the LA Times and a report from last week. Not sure if the LA Times had this in print but I can't find anything till today in the print Guardian or Observer. Today the mention was almost at the end of the story on Murdoch's views.

Some newspaper groups are believed to have had discussions with Amazon about getting their product on to the Kindle reader, a new version of which was launched in the US last week by Jeff Bezos (pictured left). But few believe these first-generation digital readers represent an iPod moment.

As the timescale of print is over five centuries the actual digital book moment may be hard to spot. But the people who pay money for the print versions of newspapers are reasonably expecting accurate reporting of news events. Whatever the opinions of the print journalists.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Still can't find Kindle news on print Guardian

Today Thursday can't find news on Kindle in print. Should be a techie day as well but all about Windows. Apparently there will still be XP but as a virtual system in something else. Can't I just stay using this current Time Machine?

Anyway, back on topic, there is a blog from Roy Greenslade but not much detail. US papers make deal with Kindle. Surely this is news?

Meanwhile BBC quotes -

Alan Rusbridger, the editor of UK newspaper The Guardian, for one, has predicted there might be an "iPod moment" for the industry with the coming of a handheld device on which reading a newspaper will become commonplace.

So there is awareness somewhere in the Guardian building, just not in the bit that writes for a print audience currently taking out subscriptions.

Thank goodness for the BBC.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Guardian blog reports Kindle

The Guardain website version includes a blog post from Bobbie Johnson about a new larger Kindle to be announced tomorrow. Apparently it may have "a larger screen that can more easily display newspaper and magazine pages... potentially giving the struggling print industry a chance to find some light at the end of the tunnel." Surely he means the news industry will have light at the end of the tunnel. Not sure how print continues as such.

Still, welcome news and good it is being reported. What will turn up in print later this week? Will it wait till Thursday?

Meanwhile Boston Globe story makes no mention of the Web. What resource is available for a switch online? When was this decided on?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Control Freaks and Local News

I am finding the Guardian and Observer harder to follow. They still come up with conflicting messages. I no longer think this is a cunning plan of some kind, just various people at different times. The result is still to make me think that bloggers and comment posters are not really that welcome.

Still, the John Naughton space on Sunday (Control freaks don't get it) had links to talks by James Boyle at the RSA and Cambridge so some cred for the idea that control can be too tight. The Wikipedia is fairly treated in this approach. There is recognition for the contribution of large numbers of people on the Web. However, discussion about local news seems to make no provision at all for the way that new forms of networking could contribute. It is all about subsidies for existing models.

Today an editorial includes another welcome for the idea of BBC funds heading towards newspapers.

For the first time since the Enlightenment, large communities - towns, cities, even small nations - face the prospect of muddling through without any verifiable source of news.

Maybe it is just me, but I guess this means that the bloggers etc are just not verifiable. Then there is another swipe at the BBC - "Who is to say that BBC3 (budget £80m) is more deserving of public funds than local news?" - that reminds me of the previous campaign that wrecked the BBC plans for local video. My own concern is to find some way of getting resource for local video. Some can be done quite easily but there is another level required. More on this in blog about wifi in Exeter.

Recently Peter Preston suggested a new set of deals for regional groups.

Give Trinity the West Midlands, north-east and Lancashire hinterland. Leave the East Midlands and south-west to Northcliffe. Let Archant keep East Anglia safe and Johnston look after Yorkshire.

Presumably Manchester is still seen as Guardian territory, not Lancashire hinterland. As a Guardian reader in Exeter I find this readiness to carve up the UK with the Daily Mail just slightly shocking but not very surprising given the way the Guardian line seems to be moving.

It is welcome that the Web offers an alternative. And of course the BBC continues not only local, but the only global UK media brand.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Education reporting

Surprised to find the Daily Telegraph is more interested than the Guardian in the Google aspects of the Jim Rose report. Starting with Google and aiming at creating a web page by age 11 is something like news I would think. Quite hidden away in the Guardian and not mentioned at all in the editorial.

Yesterday I went into rave mode on the Guardian Talk. No reporting I can find about the Amazon purchase of Stanza, actually nothing on Stanza ever. Not a lot of primary age iPhone users I don't suppose but sometimes I think print journalists are in a world of their own from some time ago when print journalism was safer.

However, the Education Editor answers the comments sometimes. Very welcome. Maybe the Guardian staff will turn up on Guardian Talk.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lenny Henry and the YouTube dialogue

Fairly often I try to think about how to persuade established voices to be less beastly about YouTube, bloggers, citizens in general. The stream of abuse against the claimed destruction of civilisation continues apace no matter what else happens. Proper print journalists with pages to fill through opinion probably pay not much attention to the comments sent in. So why not respond to mainstream TV instead? Asking a question is not easy for any form of journalism so maybe just raving on is one method, while looking out for something that might show a new direction.

Lenny Henry is a classic artist for peak time TV. Why he takes the approach to web video that comes over on the BBC is a bit of a mystery. Maybe he wants to insist on the role of the star in the studio. The people who produce the clips are never treated with any respect and rarely get any credit as in a namecheck. See this clip on YouTube, posted for the purpose of review and comment. Genuinely this is only there to make the point that the comments are valid. There is no taking away from the BBC of anything of value.

Lenny Henry might engage in a conversation on camera or others might comment meanwhile, BBC followers on where the advice went wrong perhaps. So my idea would be to use Morecambe as a base for discussing the role of the comedian. Is comedy socially conservative, abusing the nonconforming? Could it be more progressive?

The clips so far are to show the set, Stone Jetty as a place to meet, Rotunda to meet the stars who stay in the hotel subject to budget (offers on comments please), Winter Gardens to look back on comic history, Lubin for continued conversation and to face up to the continued losses on all things YouTube. As Lenny gets an income from current business model it may not be surprising things continue as they are. But there could also be a more creative link between online and mainstream tv.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Link to New York Times, they have a point

The Guardian, meanwhile, surely captured the Zeitgeist Prize for Journalistic Angst when it announced in an article that it would do away with its print edition and publish exclusively via Twitter, an online social network that limits written communications to 140 characters.

The Guardian said it would also transform its archives into Twitter messages, or “tweets,” employing the same shorthand that teenagers use to update their friends on important developments in their lives, like tying their shoes: “OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more.”


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Twitter story continues, not April fool day today

Today in print Guardian and blog, the Twitter story continues.

Apparently the finances of UK football are so soundly based that orchestrated Twitter feeds are not required. But the Twitter from half time has started. Makes a lot more sense than staying with the TV for the ads.

The Guardian joke included the idea that anyone can post news. However, this is true and continues to be true. I think the plausibility of the idea that a newspaper would close down print is significant and means this was a day to remember. Not that print will vanish anytime soon, but the web also has some credibility.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Local Media near Exeter

Guardian editorial today about local news. They claim there could be no reliable source of information without print journalists. I do understand there is a problem but it is disturbing that they do not recognise the model of citizen journalism. Still a lot of negativity towards bloggers in my opinion. Peter Preston in the Observer mentioned the views of Polly Toynbee and pointed out the significance of her interest in this topic. It must be getting important.

I don't think they would read it if I left a comment about the OhmyNews business model. The Guardian Talk never has any response from Guardian staff. Probably they are very busy. So I think adding a "pollytoynbeelocal" tag may eventually get some interest. Jeff Jarvis responded to a story in OhmyNews but rarely adds to my comments on Buzzmachine. Why would he, given his heavy workload. this blog is updated every so often but somehow Jeff manages to Twitter as well as updating Buzzmachine etc. I think he may be wrong to assume that all writing needs as little subbing as his own. OhmyNews invests in editors to work with citizen reporters. Needs more study by guardian etc. but i am just repeating myself. Long list of examples of disturbing views in print could follow but maybe later.

Meanwhile in Exeter Youtube is getting stronger. I think there is enough material for stories about technology, music and animation. Where detail is missing the audience can find it for themselves. For example "A2D09" in YouTube.

Monday, February 09, 2009

More dissonance

Two contrasting views in the Media section today. Jeff Jarvis has extra space to describe his new book about Google and the benefits of opening up to the audience. However, with even more space and a few pages closer to the cover is another lament for the unfortunate print columnist who is obliged to endure comments.

I may have mentioned this before but I think the tone of conversation would be better if Guardian staff joined in the threads on Guardian Talk. I doubt they even look at it except to delete stuff. The thread on the PDF version of the Guardian includes a detailed complaint from a paying customer. If she has been contacted offline she has not mentioned it.

As far as I know this is the first review of the Jeff Jarvis book to appear in the Guardian. Well, a sort of review maybe it fails to count as such if written by the author. Chance of a mention on a Saturday? Very low I would think. More likely to get a proper auther moaning on about how book sales are dropping off and there are too many bloggers about.

"Everything Is Miscellaneous" by David Weinberger has still not been reviewed in the Guardian. Not published in the UK so that extra editorial filter is still missing. But there is no obvious reason not to review "Whst Would Google Do?"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Editorial on YouTube

The editorial on media and broadband makes a lot of sense. YouTube has a major role in public broadcasting. I have started to notice more local reporting and also I have spent a lot of time checking out the music around the inauguration. Not sure why it was hard to find on UK TV. The BBC presenters chose to speak over the chamber music so I gave up on them. Sky was better, but much more content on YouTube.

The "debate" seems to be about how to find new money to prop up old systems. Nothing I can find about resources for citizen reporting, user content or whatever it may be called. Again YouTube could help here. They have the volume and the systems to support niche communities and to store content over time. I find with the Guardian that on Talk topics are deleted too quickly for themes to develop. On Comment Is Free the comments seem to stop quite quickly when allowed. A new headline is then launched so it is hard to sustain a line of argument. There is scope for further change in how the Guardian approaches the Web.

Simon Jenkins at 180 degrees to reality

You have to hand it to proper print journalists for readability and amusement. The text's readability, your amusement, not sure I can even structure a sentence with a verb in it. But hey this is only a blog.

Simon Jenkins argues at length that fashion is moving back in time. The Rolling stones can still tour. There is book publishing interest in the second world war. So therefore there is new interest in newspapers as in print. I think this is the main point he was getting to. The evidence apparently is the launch of "The Printed Blog" and he suggests for authority that we Google it, not look in a library for a journal.

However, when I look at the site,the Printed Blog turns out to be nothing like a traditional newspaper. It is much more like OhmyNews who publish a free weekly in print to get wider interest in their website. It appears there is not much of a budget for the source bloggers. They will gain from interest in their websites. The jobs advertised are for some inside journalists but there also seems to be an emphasis on editing. this again is similar to OhmyNews. They concentrate resources on editors, partly to support citizen reporters with advice and training. I still think Jeff Jarvis could allow for more sub-editors, not less, in his model of a future news organisation.

So the Printed Blog is not a throwback. Print and online continue to co-exist. The Guardian is still worth 90pence in print as a curiosity but as a guide you may want to check with other sources.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Haymarket moves Marketing Direct online

Mailing shot arrived this morning by post, encloses a fairly slim magazine - Marketing Direct - and announcement that this will be online from next month, February.

So what is the Haymarket take on print? What to make of editorial in Printweek and Printing World?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Guardian reports e-books as games

I have had a good look at the books review section of the Guardian from yesterday and cannot find anything about e-books, the condition of the publishing trade or the implications for access to knowledge resources. All the blog links have gone and the Bookseller extracts also.

So I do not feel I was too sweeping in stating that the ePUB format and the clarity of e-book acceptance at Online Information have not been reported.

Meanwhile the games page in the Guide reports that Harper collins have packaged 100 classic titles for the Nintendo DS at only £19.99. Dickens, Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters with others presumably also out of copyright. Apparently "from the dustier recesses of the HarperCollins back catalogue". It may not be off topic to recall that some New York publishers never paid royalties to Dickens anyway. The comment in the Guide is that some people will be disappointed and will try to swap it for a "proper game". There are several other issues to consider. Do the schools have a duty to inform pupils about Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive and other free sources for the classics? Literary review publications try to sell advertising to publishers but also should inform readers of what is on offer. Sony also claim "free" titles as a benefit for the Sony Reader but promotion in Waterstones fails to mention other free stuff available. The cost of the Sony Reader is enough to put a lot of people off so information on savings is relevant. There is also publishing scene around Creative Commons ideas and the Feedbooks service creating ePUB from blogs and RSS.

Last week the guide covered "Pop" as distinct from literature etc as found in the Review. It will be interesting to see how this works out over time. "Pop" might include anything on a portable device while the critics only recognise hardback books.

Perhaps the HarperCollins package includes some software but this could still be free. Stanza for the iPhone/iPod is being downloaded in larger numbers that the Kindle is delivered. Similar free software for existing mobile devices may be a large part of the scene around e-books, however described. Maybe the Guardian will report this on a Thursday.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Digital Planet and the death of culture

Trying to remember what I heard during the night on the BBC World Service. Usually this is part of going back to sleep again. During the holiday this was a bit of a blur anyway. Pretty sure this is a text version -

Internet critic Andrew Keen this month launches the new edition of his book The Cult of the Amateur – How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture.

In it, he claims that, ‘MySpace and Facebook are creating a youth culture of digital narcissism; the cacophony of anonymous blogs is deafening today’s youth to the voices of informed experts and professional journalists.’

Solana Larsen disagrees. She is managing editor of Global Voices Online, which publishes the best blogs from around the world.

They join Gareth for a discussion about the affect blogs and social networks are having on global culture.

I am jumping about a bit, but why Andrew Keen again? The Guardian has not reviewed at all the book "Everything is Miscellaneous" by David Weinberger. Nothing against Solana Larsen or bloggers, just asking why the literary world ignores a book? Maybe Digital Planet is not as respectful of a book as most of the BBC. Not sure about this but the tone of the introduction for Andrew Keen suggested to me that there is some special form of regard.

Stronger claims for bloggers this year

Getting back to normal life post holiday. Studying the Guardian for example. They are interested in the Web. The hard copy version claims that most news still comes from newspapers. But I can't find that bit in the online version. This just reports that newspapers are not the trusted source of news you might expect from some arguments about the danger to civilisation if print circulation continues to decline.

I think this year will feature some more rudeness about citizen journalism. The chances of most UK news organisations changing their methods to really welcome public engagement is pretty low. Hope I am wrong about this.

My own reporting for OhmyNews is standing up quite well to later events. The stories from people who are not professional journalists can be based on particular interests or niche knowledge. I have now done two stories about the ISO survey to show that certificates indicate a stronger base in China and then some decline in US/UK.

Also I think that e-books are not reported enough on the literary pages, for example the Guardian on a Saturday. This section just carries on as a print item. They dropped the blogging extracts. Very little about the Kindle or Sony Reader. They could cover the changes in forms of writing.

OhmyNews have published my three stories on the ePUB format, Penguin support for ePUB, and the Online Information show.

I think the Online Information event was an adequate base for e-books to flourish in the UK. There was a supplement in the Guardian ahead of the event but no reporting I remember on what happened. Probably around the time of the London Book Fair there will be some more on the dangers for culture of all this blogging stuff and predictions that the printed book will never change. Maybe they will report on what has already happened. The Sony Reader in the UK is about three years later than the model for Japan.