Good stuff from Fergus Bell...
"Separate the source from the content. Even if we trust that they were probably there and they probably caught it on camera, they still might not know what they actually witnessed. We forget that being on the ground is very different to being in a newsroom where we are used to a constant flow of updating information. When it comes to eyewitness media or eyewitness accounts, I need to back that up with my own confirmation of events.
"During this year’s general and local elections a collection of my Birmingham City University students used WhatsApp to publish regular updates throughout the two days of voting. Frankly… they nailed it. In the process they learned a lot, so I thought I’d share some of the things that came up throughout the process – as well as the experiences of the person responsible for the Mirror‘s political WhatsApp account in the week leading up to the election.
I think this is a lovely post on Ampp3d's success
"Other people will write blogposts that better sum up the influence Ampp3d etc had on digital journalism in the UK – I am not qualified to do that. I will just say thank you for the inspiration, for demonstrating there was an audience for data journalism beyond the broadsheets and for the ever entertaining social media channels"
"Every newspaper chain talks about getting digital faster. The plain truth is, that despite almost two decades of effort, most aren’t close to where they need to be. Even The New York Times can count only 28.2 percent of its ad revenue coming from digital"
"Instead of thinking about the constraints of mobile - of the things you can't do because the screen is smaller and there's no keyboard - we should rather think of the PC as having the basic, cut-down, limited version of the internet, because it only has the web. It's the mobile that has the whole internet."
"Before we built qz.com, we built the Quartz API. (On day one, someone had already started playing with it.) Today the API’s primary customer remains qz.com, but it could go in all sorts of directions. Our philosophy has always been to put as little friction as possible between us and our readers, and our API is an advantage in living up to that ideal."
This analysis of Twitter's shift from developer darling to standalone creator is a fascinating read. I remember the blog post alluded to in this article, and the shockwaves it caused about Twitter's supposed retreat from openness, dev culture and the open web.
Of course, Twitter has never pretended to be a charity; it employs people, and they need paying. It has offices, shareholders, expense accounts - it's a company that exists to make money and grow. The Meerkats and Datasifts, that build businesses on someone else's data, are always gong to be at risk. "Twitter’s story in many respects makes me think of Google: both companies started out benefiting greatly from openness and the power of both connecting users to what they were interested in and opening up powerful APIs to developers. The monetization model is even similar: note the AdSense reference above. Over time, though, Google has pulled more and more of its utility onto its own pages (and the revenue balance in the company has followed), just as Twitter focused on its own apps, and now Google is even starting to eat its best customers like travel websites and insurance agents (members-only), just like Twitter ate Datasift."
What is says on the tin.
"what we have here are ignorant people (Vaynerchuk, Brogan, Kawasaki, and friends) telling big brands and agencies to dump their money into unproven platforms, or platforms with really shady metrics that they can totally fudge and claim their successful to journalists who don’t really know better. A tech blog may know to call out Vaynerchuk’s portfolio company, MeerKat, for spamming Twitter in order to grow their service, but other publications like AdAge won’t. And guess which one of those publications the brands and advertisers are reading? So the money continues to flow from the agencies and brands and that leads to VCs continuing to prop up these companies"
I had no idea it was based on such an everyday annoyance as an unavailable name. Now, Flicker would just look weird. "We wanted Flicker, but the guy who had it wouldn’t sell," says co-Founder Caterina Fake. "So I suggested to the team, ‘Let’s remove this "e" thing.’ They all said, ‘That’s too weird,’ but I finally ground everyone down. Then of course, it became THE thing and everyone started removing vowels right and left.""
Where next? I like Google Glass and it's been useful for our journalism, but the problem was it was made by developers, and really it's a fashion accessory for most people. So, we're expected to fit around the device, not vice versa. This piece on where wearables are headed is worth a read. "We're at an interesting point with these devices that feel analogue but have a subtle digital participation. We are used to watches being so simple that making them into tiny phones on your wrist may prove interesting to some but will create a split between those designing for aesthetics and those designing for function.
When you get ready in the morning it seems natural to use voice. I don't often talk to my computer because it has a rich set of interfaces but you could imagine a talking mirror, a piece of furniture that would work. With wearables we are in a weird place because they are a mix of analogue things and digital devices so do I use a crown or do I talk and tap? Apple has done both with Siri and double touch but they have also included the scroll wheel from 20 years ago."
Research paper by Matthew Hindman into the regional news business in the US. Fascinating, frustrating and familiar... "Hindman’s research finds that although national news websites have robust traffic, traditional local newspapers are severely behind in adopting the technology and digital content practices needed to retain and grow audiences. No business model – advertising, paywalls, or nonprofit funding – can succeed long-term without continuous digital audience growth. Hindman suggests a variety of proven techniques for newspapers to implement, including faster page load time, improved user experience, personalized content recommendation, social media optimization, and A/B testing.
'If your mother says she loves you, check it out'... Or not, in the case of Rolling Stone. So much has been written about the Rape on Campus 'story' but this is one of the most considered reads around what it says about Journalism and what happens when the scramble for a Good Story overtakes fundamental training. "The Story Too Good To Check happens at the intersection of journalism's two imperatives: Be truthful, and be interesting. This doesn't provide a lot of room to operate—almost everything that's true is boring and almost everything that's interesting is false. There’s an asymmetry in the profession, however; journalists are expected to be truthful, but they are rewarded for being interesting. It is into that asymmetry that “A Rape On Campus” fell. "