Sunday, 29 December 2013

My 'interesting reads' roundup (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

My 'interesting reads' roundup (weekly)

  • I find IFTTT very useful but I need to spend time working out more recipes for storytelling on the move. The iOS location move has huge potential I think ". The channel will allow users to specify an ‘area’ that will allow them to trigger actions and recipes based on when they enter or leave that area"
  • The 'be right or be first' mantra aside, nowadays journalists risk falling foul of 'be retweeted and Liked' trap "It seems like we've reached a tipping point. Initially there were only a few viral hoaxes. Now, with the immense popularity of social media, they are happening almost daily. We are deluged with information coming at us like a firehose--and news organizations and journalists are falling for them"
  • I read the short-lived new block t&cs and felt very uneasy with the change, so the rapid reversal was a welcome example of a service listening to users.
    tags: twitter block
  • I like very much where Kevin Marks is coming from here, with this talk at Le Web: "The IndieWeb is a group of people who recognise that the silos are important for connecting - but you should have your own site. Don't replace those tools, but use them to connect the rest of the web.Its principles:You should own your own data. Have your own page, not a Facebook or Google one.You should have visible data. People can read it, programs can index it. You can't crawl Facebook or Twitter any more.POSSE - Publish on your Own Site and Share Elsewhere. Spread links to your own stuff.Make tools for you, not for other people. If you wouldn't use it, other people won't. Odeo was a classic example: a podcast platform built by people who didn't podcastDocument what you do. Say what works - help other people by doing so. And Open Source what you make, because you get help and it ensures that what you do will last.Design and UX are really important. Don't just add them on top of what you've built.Be modular. Don't try to build everything - build pieces that plug together. It makes it easier to swap things out, or replace dead services.The Long Web - expect it to last, don't destroy history and spread copies elsewhere.Bet on the web - open outlasts closed. Make infrastructure that others can build on."
  • This post pretty much sums up how I feel when I see Parliament in action on TV. The searing cut and thrust of debate it ain't - it's like looking into a classroom that the teacher's stepped out of unexpectedly. Unedifying is probably the kindest word for the way our politicians behave on the green benches. "The sight of shouting, screaming, shrieking men and women get paid decent salaries to determine so many aspects of lives is simply appalling.  How much money the Government will take from us and how it will spend it are supposed to be the subject of the Autumn Statement – serious, big things. Yet the people Campbell expects us to trudge to the polls to vote for or reject think it’s acceptable to behave like a baying mob. In the case of the Tories, it’s trying to bring on Balls’ stammer. But don’t have too much sympathy for Balls – he likes nothing more than trying to derail the PM by making funny gestures at him during Prime Minister’s Questions."
  • This, from the NYC, on the phenomenon of apparently sane, qualified and respectable journalists, reporting something because it's on the internet, without checking, speaks to me. I know there is a terrible temptation to do it Because Everyone Else Is and the page views will be huge. It's also an easy way to wipe out integrity and trust from readers who have a relationship with us. “This is journalism as an act of pointing — ‘Look over here, this is interesting,’ ” he said. He says uncertainty about a story’s veracity is unlikely, in most cases, to keep an editor from posting it. “I think BuzzFeed is probably a little bummed they are being called out, but they are not going to start asking for three sources,” I take the point, but I'd argue that it's not journalism as an act of pointing - it's just parroting something someone else has said, regardless of veracity. 
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Goodnight, sweet Post

liverpool sunset

The Liverpool Post is to close.
The last Post will be printed on December 19; the website will go dark and the Business Daily e-edition fold.
The details are here if you want to know more; I want to talk about the Post I remember, and love.

When I joined the Liverpool Daily Post, as it was then, it was as deputy editor in 2007, second-in-commend to newly-appointed chief Mark Thomas, previously deputy editor on the title and a journalist already in possession of a long and distinguished career.

While working on the Liverpool Post I discovered the amazing joy and interaction of social media and online, networked news.
I remember ringing the Post's then-digital editor, David Higgerson, from Preston where I was on the Journalism Leaders Course to ask him if he'd heard of Twitter.  I had learned of and joined it just minutes earlier, he hadn't come across it at that point so joined with enthusiasm - and seconds later he created the LDP's first account too.
I think we were one of the first regional dailies (I know the Birmingham Post, where Jo Geary was in situ was and the MEN - with then-digital editrix Sarah Hartley in charge, but can't think of many others) to jump onto Twitter and we did it well.

Sod modesty - the LDP was good at online. It had 150+ years of print history already but in digital the LDP found a new voice. The LDP Twitter talked to people, answered questions, told followers what we were up to, and what was going on, and I personally got to meet some really cool, clever Merseysiders who worked and played in digital spaces as a result.
The photo of the sunset over Liverpool, at the top of the this post, is by Joe Neary, who I know as exacta2a, a fabulous photographer I met through our setting up the LDP's Flickr group and becoming involved with the large, talented and vocal photographic community that sees Merseyside through a lens.
Brilliant people, and I'm happy to say some of them are still good friends of mine. The LDP built a great relationship with its Flickr group (learning a lot along the way about communities and how to work with them - not 'manage' them) and they do smashing things like photographing the page and uploading it to Flickr when their photos are published, so they rest of the group can see...

My Photo in the Daily Post!
My Photo in the Daily Post! (Photo credit: Abhorsen The Final Death)
In 2008 David and I went to Mark one day to pitch a bit of a mad idea - to liveblog the entire newsroom day, tell people what we were doing, stories we were working on, film bits if we could, and just open the whole process out.
Mark signed up for the craziness, and we did this which was great and a bit ground-breaking (CoverItLive were very happy, I think, with the amount of press interest our day generated), and I personally learned a massive amount about the needs and hungry demands of  live coverage (which had to be a learned skill for this print-era hack), how to find a voice on a live blog, and how to juggle multi-platform approaches. It was huge fun, absolutely knackering and still gives me the best sense of achievement.

The Post is/was/always will be a great name. I worked with some of the smartest people in journalism there, had excellent stand-up yelling telephone rows with both Liverpool and Everton FC press types, made my first ever front page (it was terrifying the first time Mark went on holiday for a fortnight and left me in charge - then suddenly I didn't want to hand the reins back)  and wrote the only leader article of my editorial career that has ever sparked a letter of agreement from a reader.

I will miss the LDP and, as much as I admire and champion the Liverpool Echo, I think Merseyside will be a poorer place for the loss of that familiar blue masthead.
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