links for 2009-06-30

  • Kevin: Erik Sass at MediaPost says: "The lack of interest among creditors could be a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, it may signal that creditors don't believe there is an immediate threat of McClatchy defaulting on its debt — a rare vote of confidence in the beleaguered newspaper business. On the other hand, they may have quietly arranged insurance for their debts in the form of credit swap defaults, in which case, it would mean the opposite — that they believe a default to be likely and are hoping to collect more money on their default insurance."
  • Kevin: Anyone who looks at their site stats knows that aggregators – such as Google News, Yahoo News, the Drudge report, Newser, Digg etc – drive the vast majority of traffic to news sites. Rob Weir, the director of digital development at the Columbia Missourian in the US says the vast majority is more than 71%.
  • Kevin: Jeff Jarvis takes issues with more calls in the US to change copyright law to help save newspapers. I'm in full agreement with Jeff that the lawyers on the wrong side of the First Amendment. The desperate arguments would attempt to return us to not only a pre-internet news cycle but a pre-radio news cycle. Law should not be used in an attempt to turn back the clock. Furthermore, laws that attempt to do this fail.
  • Kevin: As other news organisations cut staff during a recession, US political blog Talking Points Memo is adding staff, doubling their editorial staff. They are adding four reporters and three other editorial staff members.
  • Kevin: John Timmer at Ars Technica writes: "Although attempts to formalize online codes of behavior have run into a buzzsaw of criticism, a survey of over 1,000 bloggers shows that most of them hold themselves to some standards of ethics. But they rate ensuring material is properly attributed ahead of any sort of personal accountability."
  • Kevin: A service to see how many updates are being posted to Twitter. I used it to get a rough idea of how many updates were being posted to Twitter as news of Michael Jackson's death broke.
  • Kevin: This is the power of an API, and it's one of the reasons that Twitter has seen such growth. Like, Flickr, Delicious and other web services, it shows why building an API is key to fostering an eco-system. It is why content companies such as NPR, the New York Times and my employer, The Guardian, have made the effort to build an API.
  • Kevin: Jon Donley writes about new developments in Web 3.0, aka the Semantic web. Key work is being done to build sites that are architected with machine-readable formats, but much work remains. And it's not clear what will motivate companies to do the work left. Both Yahoo and Google are building services that will accelerate that work whether it is Google's Rich Snippers or Yahoo's Search Monkey.
  • Kevin: Rich Miller cites a Keynote Systems analysis of the internet traffic as news of Michael Jackson's death broke. "Advertising networks and widgets are being cited as the key factors in the performance problems experienced by major news sites during the crush of Internet traffic Thursday as news broke about the death of pop star Michael Jackson."
  • Kevin: Google has launched a suite of mobile services in Africa that include SMS-based mobile search, an SMS-based marketplace and an SMS information service that includes topics such as agriculture tips, news, local weather, sports and health. This is something that Google is doing for obvious feel-good PR, but with the number of mobile phones available around the globe with nothing but voice and SMS service, this is a huge new opportunity not only for development in Africa but also for Google's development.
  • Kevin: Intel shows off a prototype gadget to let you know when information that you might find on the internet is "contradicted by other information". Sign me up.

links for 2009-06-26

  • Kevin: Nieman Lab reports: "MinnPost, the non-profit news startup in Minneapolis, has rolled out a new form of advertising that looks a little bit like print classifieds, a lot like Twitter, and nothing like traditional marketing on the Internet. They’re calling the service Real-Time Ads, and it’s live in the left column of the front page right now.
    The service aggregates tweets, blog posts, and other feeds from local business with timely messages to convey — an ice cream shop announcing the flavor of the day, for instance, or a clothing store offering a one-day coupon."
  • Kevin: Martin Belam writes: "I think the Telegraph's bunkered attitude to their scoop, and their insistence that they alone determined what was 'in the public interest' from the documents is a marked contrast to the approach taken by The Guardian. The Telegraph are physically publishing a selection of their data on Saturday, but there is, as yet, no sign of it being made online in machine readable format." Disclosure: I work for the Guardian, and Martin Belam is information architect at the Guardian.
  • Kevin: John Naughton, who writes for the Observer, looks at a report on trust in the media in the UK. John said this about the report and a debate hosted at the Guardian (my day job): "For me there were eerie echoes of the arguments about the Birt-Jay “mission to explain” in the 1980s, which in turn went back to Walter Lippmann and his view about the role of the press in early 20th-century America. Like Lippmann, Birt believed that the function of journalism was not to “pick at the scabs of society” but to convey to citizens the complexities of the decisions that have to be made by a sophisticated, industrialised society."
  • Kevin: David Schlesinger, Editor-in-Chief Reuters News, tells the International Olympics Committee Press Commission: "Fundamentally, the old media won’t control news dissemination in the future. And organisations can’t control access using old forms of accreditation any more."
  • Kevin: Topix looks at the kind of revenue necessary to sustain newspaper staffs, and finds that newspapers are still finding it difficult to make money online .

links for 2009-06-25

  • Kevin: Benji Lanyado, travel journalist and one of the journalistic innovators here at the Guardian, answers some of the questions that I posed in a post on the Guardian's digital content blog about augmented reality – applications that layer information over the physical environment that you're in. IBM is getting a lot of attention for its Wimbledon AR application, the Wimbledon Seer, which layers over match and venue information over the camera view from a Google Android phone. Very clever. Benji and I have talked about the possible applications for AR in travel. He expands on his ideas on his new blog. Worth a read.

links for 2009-06-23

The future of civil society and social technology

I’ve been working on this section of my report for Carnegie Uk Trust pretty solidly for the last few weeks, and I finally have something to show for all of the brainstorming, mindmapping, matrices and post-it notes stuck to my office wall! The section is 7,500 words long, so quite a decent chunk of the final report (although also 1,500 words over its allocation!).

You can, if you wish, read the section here and leave your comments as per usual at the bottom. I am, however, also putting it into BookOven for paragraph by paragraph annotation. (That’s a nice collisions of clients!) If you want to be able to comment at a paragraph level, please email me and I will send you an invitation to the site (we’re still in private alpha).

I’m particularly interested in any references you have that either support or rebut my points – many of these were arrived at through interview and workshop, and if there’s something that it’s hard to do, it’s to reference stuff that’s come out of other people’s brains like this whilst simultaneously being imaginative and trying to guess what might happen in 15 years! My schedule makes it a tough job to fully reference everything, so any help you can give would be much appreciated.

I look forward to your comments.
Continue reading

links for 2009-06-22

  • Kevin: From a Dow Jones report: "Axel Springer AG (SPR.XE) expects consumers will pay for high quality online content in time, although the publisher of Bild, Europe's largest daily newspaper, already has a successful online business model, according to chief executive Mathias Doepfner."
  • Kevin: Reuters Global Community Editor Mark Jones looks at how different news organisations including the Huffington Post have handled running web coverage of the post election protests in Iran. Mark wondered why the HuffPo might have a large number of private emails, more than the Guardian, the BBC and the NYTimes. I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with the HuffPo's southern California roots, home to a large Iranian ex-pat community. But that's just a guess.

    Mark also made this observation: "CNN via its iReport, and the BBC via its Have Your Say service, all had rich seams of user-submitted pictures and videos. But they didn’t appear to be able to weave such material into their running commentary on the Web — perhaps a case of being overwhelmed with material and being forced to keep it in silos."

  • Kevin: The French government is to give all 18 to 24-year-olds a free newspaper once a week for a year as part of 600 million euro aid package for the press.

links for 2009-06-20