Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Apple pays $700,000 for bloggers' legal fees
Bloggers and online journalists have completed their final victory lap in a protracted fight against Apple. Earlier this month, a Santa Clara County Court ordered Apple to pay the legal fees associated with the defense of subpoenas issued to online journalists (and other related entities) in response to online reports about a confidential audio/video product -- code-named "Asteroid" -- under development at the Cupertino-based company. The "Asteroid" product was never released, but Apple claimed the news reports violated California state trade secret law and that the journalists were not entitled to First Amendment protections. However, following an appeals decision last year that strongly sided with the journalists, the Court ordered Apple to pay all legal costs associated with the defense, including a 2.2 times multiplier of the actual fees.
"The court's ruling is a victory for journalists of all mediums and a tremendous blow to those firms that believe their stature affords them the right to silence the media," said Kasper Jade, the publisher of AppleInsider.com, one of the sites that broke the original "Asteroid" report (the other was PowerPage.org). "Hopefully, Apple will think twice the next time it considers a campaign to bully the little guy into submission."
In total, Apple was ordered to pay nearly $700,000 -- a small amount for a company that reported nearly $1 billion in profit in the December quarter, but a large moral victory for bloggers, journalists and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which helped defend against Apple's subpoenas.
"We are very pleased, as this will go a long way towards keeping EFF on the forefront of impact litigation defending the rights of online journalists and others," EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl wrote in an email. "Bloggers break the news, just like journalists do. They must be able to promise confidentiality in order to maintain the free flow of information. Without legal protection, informants will refuse to talk to reporters, diminishing the power of the open press that is the cornerstone of a free society."
Apple last week declined the opportunity to appeal the award ruling and paid in full. In addition, Apple dismissed the underlying case, but did so "without prejudice" (i.e., allowing them the to retain the right to re-file it at a later date).
In May of last year, a California state appeals court overturned a lower court decision from a few months prior, ruling in favor of the EFF's appeal on behalf of three bloggers: the Court upheld the rights of online journalists to protect their confidential sources and putting them on par with traditional print journalists. In its ruling, the appeals court said that bloggers and webmasters are no different in their protections than a reporter and editor for print publications.
"We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news," wrote a three judge panel. "Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment, which is to identify the best, most important, and most valuable ideas not by any sociological or economic formula, rule of law, or process of government, but through the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace," the judges added.
The EFF, a legal organization dedicated to bringing traditional rights to the digital and internet worlds, received $425,000, while the remaining monies went to co-counsel Richard Wiebe and Tom Moore who also helped prepare and defend the case.
Behind the multiplier
The EFF asked the court for a multiplier (a.k.a, "loadstar") of the actual legal fees to compensate for the double contingent risk presented, i.e., both the risk of not prevailing in the defense of the subpoenas and the risk of succeeding, but without the circumstances necessary to obtain legal fees. At the low-end of traditional multipliers, which can range from 2-4 under California law, the EFF also said that California laws provides for a multiplier based on the novelty and complexity of the legal issues involved.
"We litigated this case in the public interest and successfully obtained substantial public benefits by vindicating constitutional rights protecting all journalists, and the public that benefits from the work of journalists, and vindicating federal statutory rights that protect all the millions of users of email communications," Opsahl wrote.
"Also supporting a multiplier was the fact that the issues litigated were novel and complex, our work was of high quality, and the result achieved was extraordinary."
Separately, Apple has sued another Mac enthusiast site Think Secret, alleging that postings on the site contain Apple trade secrets.
Monday, January 29, 2007
The OJR Discussion Board
* Questions about Web publishing technology
* Advice on business models and strategy
* Personnel moves
* New features on your site you would like to promote
* Anything else you'd like to talk about
Thursday, January 25, 2007
blogchat is the original browser-based chat window that you can attach to your weblog or site. When you are online your visitors can engage in a text discussion with you in real time. The chat can be a popup window or you can embed it right in the page. All you have to do is put some links on your page, we provide the service.
Google Apps(Applications) for Your Domain
Google Apps for Your Domain lets you offer private-labeled email, instant messaging and calendar accounts to all of your users, so they can share ideas and work more effectively. These services are all unified by the start page, a unique, dynamic page where your users can preview their inboxes and calendars, browse content and links that you choose, search the web, and further customize the page to their liking. You can also design and publish web pages for your domain.
It's all free* and everything is hosted by Google. No hardware or software required.
You can choose any combination of these Google services
The start page - A central place for your users to preview their inboxes and calendars, access your essential content, and search the web.
Gmail - Offer email to your users with 2 gigabytes of storage per account, search tools to help them find information fast, and instant messaging built right into the browser.
Google Talk - Your users can call or send instant messages to their contacts for free -- anytime, anywhere in the world.
Google Calendar - Users can organize their schedules and share events, meetings and entire calendars with others.
Google Page Creator
Google Page Creator - Create and publish web pages for your domain quickly and easily with this what-you-see-is-what-you-get page design tool.
To sign up, go to http://www.google.com/a/
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
iTalkNews.com is a breaking news forum and a forerunner in a new kind of news journalism, where everyone can participate in current events.
What is “iTalkNews”?
This is a section where you can post your own articles. You can write on any topic as long as it relates to current events/news. If you think someone else has written a good story then you can also post a link to their page for everyone to see. Posting your article is simple: Just log in with your username and password, and submit your story. Articles will be posted on the main page and available to view for a significant period of time.
How does it work?
Blogging has ushered in a new era where anyone and everyone can write and publish news and opinions. Citizen journalism has sprung from the blogging phenomenon; this kind of democracy in journalism is great and overdue. The difference between blogging and citizen journalism is that the latter tries to preserve the accountability and factual accuracy that was present in your grandparents’ journalism and not always present in everyday blogs. On iTalkNews you can write and post news stories where you can build up your writer’s profile by storing them on your online portfolio. Other writers will then read and rate your stories by style and content. Through recommendations iTalkers themselves decide what stories get published to the main page. If you see something happen and you take a picture of it on your phone you can then post the picture on the site and relate the events as YOU saw them. It’s our world, our lives; write about them. Whenever you like.
what is the difference between blogging and citizen journalism?
italknews provides an interesting view point on this:
The difference between blogging and citizen journalism is that the latter tries to preserve the accountability and factual accuracy that was present in your grandparents’ journalism and not always present in everyday blogs.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Going local across the globe
The students in my online journalism class at City University this year must be wondering whether they have made the right choice.
Getting a professional qualification in journalism, with its shorthand classes, endless lectures on ethics and numerous assignments designed to hone students' reporting skills, may well look like too much effort in the world of citizen journalism.
After all if bloggers like web designer Charles Johnson can expose the faked Bush military memos and show how Reuters was fooled by Adnan Hajj's photoshopped view of a burning Beirut, what do we need professional reporters for?
The BBC, in common with other mainstream news organisations, is looking for reports from those directly involved in world events.
One of the biggest stories of recent weeks, the circumstances around Saddam Hussein's execution, relied on a mobile phone video taken by one of those present, not on the reporting of a trained journalist.
An MA is far from cheap when a free Blogger account would seem to be the only qualification needed to change the world.
Unfortunately for those already working as journalists, many readers and viewers seem to feel the same way about the need for professional journalists. The rapid growth of citizen journalism seems less a sign of the emergence of a vibrant new area of online newsgathering and reporting than a symptom of the decline of existing forms of news journalism.
It points to a career-threatening loss of trust in what people see on their TV screens or read in the daily papers as they become what citizen journalist advocate Dan Gillmor calls 'the former audience'.
This could be seen as a counsel of despair, but I do not think we should give up hope yet. If we are willing to look closely at what the internet is doing to the practice of journalism then we could do a lot to regain this trust and re-establish a connection with readers and viewers.
The internet has changed many things about the way journalists work but the most important change has been in the power relation involved in newsgathering and reporting.
| || Current experiments in news blogging from the mainstream media are a first step towards finding a way of being a professional journalist in this new, conversational, medium. |
When owning a newspaper was the privilege of the rich and powerful and broadcasting required permission from numerous gatekeepers, there was a clear difference between a BBC reporter or Guardian columnist and the people whose stories were being told.
Journalists, at least at the national level, were different from the people they wrote about and were rarely directly involved in the stories they wrote or the communities they covered.
This separation leads directly to a sense of privilege on the part of the journalist, an arrogance that often spills over in the way stories are researched or presented. It is an arrogance that has clearly fuelled the disdain for mainstream media expressed so often online.
Yet the distinction between the "citizen" and the "journalist" has always been far less clear away from national papers or TV stations.
Throughout the world, thousands of working journalists toil as members of their communities, from regional reporters in the UK covering weddings and country fetes to local TV reporters in Iraq or Venezuela or sub-Saharan Africa.
And the internet, by turning published media into two-way channels for communication, has made us all local journalists.
Anyone involved, affected by or just interested in what the papers say can reach out by e-mail or in a blog posting or comment.
They can talk to colleagues and peers, engage in online conversation in public forums and put their own point of view to a worldwide audience.
And instead of reading angry letters from misquoted eyewitnesses in the privacy of the office, reporters and commentators now encounter them via Technorati tags or flagged on Del.icio.us.
This new localism is a serious challenge to the current practice of journalism.
Cavalier disregard for the feelings of others and studied disavowal of the consequences of what we say or write does not work any more.
Inconsistencies, contradictions or plain errors of fact are noticed, tracked and widely publicised.
Some writers find this impossible to cope with, and seek refuge in the old world where their privilege and power remain intact, refusing to engage in conversation with their readers and resenting the intrusion of e-mails from an informed public.
But instead of resisting we should embrace this opportunity, because it may provide us with a way to regain the respect and even the interest of the former audience.
Local journalists are involved in the conversations around them. They are known and - it is to be hoped - appreciated as members of their communities.
Sometimes, of course, they uncover things that people would rather were kept hidden and sometimes they intrude into private grief. But they do so with an understanding of the real needs of the community as a whole and with an awareness that their errors and misjudgements will not be forgotten and will have a serious impact on their future standing.
A good local reporter gets the balance right and earns respect each time they make a difficult call, while the national press has grown used to practising slash and burn journalism, content to clear-cut the forest, take what it wants and then move on.
How many of the reporters who spent so much time in Soham following the 2002 murders of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells have revisited or tried to have a drink in a local pub?
In the connected world we are all local, and anyone who writes and publishes online is a member of many communities. We need to remember who we were, relearn the discipline and skill of being a sensitive local reporter, and apply those skills even when it comes to reporting on Celebrity Big Brother or events in Iraq.
Current experiments in news blogging from the mainstream media are a first step towards finding a way of being a professional journalist in this new conversational medium.
They are far from perfect, but those of us working in the media should watch carefully and find our own ways of engaging with the former audience, before they decide that we are best regarded as former journalists.
Bill Thompson is a regular commentator on the BBC World Service programme Digital Planet
Published: 2007/01/19 18:05:58 GMT
© BBC MMVII
Friday, January 19, 2007
Newspaper group to train its 1,500 journalists in online skills
The group says fully integrated multi-media newsrooms will soon be in operation across its titles, with all of its 1,500 journalists writing for both print and online.
Previously, many of the group's 'Thisis' newspaper companion websites had been managed from the Derby office of the group's online arm Associated Northcliffe Digital, with content from the newspapers uploaded to the websites from there.
But the aim is now to give each newspaper ownership of their own website, and the move is well under way, with a third of Northcliffe's dailies already taking full control.
This has seen some web content staff move from
As a result, some 500 stories were published online on a 'Thisis' website last week before they appeared in their accompanying paper.
Robert Hardie, managing editor of Associated Northcliffe Digital Integrated Media, said this showed a major shift in approach from the group, which now saw itself as a "24/7" news provider.
He said: "We are creating a new breed of multi-media journalist who works not just in online or just in print.
"The crucial point is that everything is being handled by the same people, so they can make a decision on how it is handled.
"If you have a story that the competition has also got it will be published onto the web, but if it is an exclusive you can use the web to publicise that it will be in the paper."
Reporters are now being shown how to add links from their online stories, and photographers are being trained to upload photo galleries so that visitors to the website can see the pictures that there wasn't space to print.
Sub-editors are also able to rewrite headlines for online stories.
Robert added: "Every editor is fully onboard. When you are trying to change a culture, unless the people at the top want it to change it won't.
"It is of big benefit to us that there is a commitment from the top and there is a commitment to training and resources."
Northcliffe's 18 daily titles include the Hull Daily Mail, Derby Evening Telegraph, Bristol Evening Post and Gloucestershire Echo.
It also publishes 29 paid-for weeklies and 62 free titles.
Earlier this week the group revealed it is to change its name from Northcliffe Newspaper Group to Northcliffe Media Limited.
Friday, January 12, 2007
The Center for Innovation in College Media
According to their website The Center for Innovation in College Media is a non-profit think-tank that was created to help college student media adapt and flourish in the new media environment. We hope to do this by a number of efforts, including:
National hands-on training workshops and conferences.
Regional hands-on training workshops.
Open-Source technology development and testing.
Open-source research about college media and technology.
Showcasing examples of innovative student work on the web site.
Track emerging trends in news media that will impact college media organizations.
Partnering with other organizations to explore ways to improve the transition to new media skills for student journalists.
Visit their site at http://www.collegemediainnovation.org/blog/
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Cyber Press - IT Journalists Association of the Philippines
the Philippines. Established since 1996.
Visit their website at Cyber Press
News site Web design: What works? What doesn't?
++This article looks at the best ways to package information to increase site's traffic and influence++
Goodbye 2006. The tenth anniversary year of the start of many Web-based news sites was the occasion for reflection about how far (or not) we’ve come and speculation on how best to proceed forward. Here we are in 2007 and it’s time to do a measured look at where we are right now.
For the past ten years the features on news websites have evolved and expanded. Thanks to software developments like SoundSlides audio slideshows have proliferated on news sites, expanding experimentation with "multimedia." The "We Media" mantra has given rise to collaborative community reported news both within and outside mainstream news organizations. RSS feeds have changed the notion of mass product distribution to personalized news channel delivery. The aggregation of news stories on a given topic coupled with additional information (along the lines of Seattle P-I’s Transportation page or Lawrence Journal-World’s Legislation page) is moving news websites away from "your daily newspaper on the computer screen" to a valuable aggregation of community information.
Experimentation with individual story forms continues. The slideshow is getting a remake with the "flipbook" style of choreographed image display set to music (as with the MSNBC "Iraqi Kurdistan" video.) The packaging of series stories with multiple media elements is getting cleaner and more elegantly designed (the Orphans & Angels piece from Florida Today is a good example.) Flash and Google maps interfaces are being used to navigate the user through data and information (take a look at AZ Star’s Sealing Our Border interactive map and the Boston Globe campaign contributions map.)
How the success of these experimentations and evolutions are being measured is still an issue. Page views, time spent on the page, where people enter in from and where they go after can all be measured. But what do we know about how these news features and forms change attitude toward the news product, or how effective the form is at informing, or if a new design is a more effective way to get people to engage fully with the carefully constructed package?
Research into story design effectiveness is happening in newsrooms and universities. In the case of newsroom research, the findings are regarded as competitive intelligence and not readily shared with the industry. In universities, the findings are written in academese and not readily understood by the industry.
In this column, we will ferret out the research and findings about story form effectiveness and profile the people and places who are trying to understand current practices and guide more informed design decisions. Creating stories that engage, inform, and get people to come back for more must be part of the media’s mix of offerings. We hope, in the coming months, to engage and inform you about story design research.
(Special thanks to Interactive Narratives for consistently shining a light on story innovation.)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
SOUTH AFRICA TELKOM ICT JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR 2006 CELEBRATES JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE IN ICT REPORTING – ENTRIES NOW OPEN –
Opening in October 2006 and closing on 15 January 2007, you will have enough time to submit entries and to covet the fantastic prizes.
The top ICT journalist will be rewarded with a spectacular prize of R40 000, as well as an expenses-paid trip to attend an international conference, while category winners stand to win R15 000 each. This year there will be seven categories to encourage even wider participation. These are:
Print - Mainstream Newspapers, Print - Magazines, Community and Citizen Journalist,
Broadcast (incorporating Television and Radio),
New Journalist and the most recent addition to the Awards –
http://www.telkom.co.za/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/CONTENTS/COMMON/JOURNALIST/history_pa_frame.htm for more information
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Indian Online Journalism (IOJ)
This website is part of the registered non-profit trust, Centre for Initiatives in Journalism's website. IOJ was launched as a separate website after a mishap; CIJ's domain name was taken over by somebody else.
Our immense faith in online journalism has led us to offer the journalism community in India and South Asia, a forum to recognise, understand, and to use new media effectively.
This website is maintained by Subhash Rai. He also moderates the forum as well.
Subhash started his online journalism career with ETOnline. After ET, he moved to indya.com as member of the news channel.
The next stop was at journalism education. The idea is to inspire aspiring journalists to understand and use online journalism techniques. Subhash, works for Frontline. He also teaches New Media at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
Narayana A, a Ford scholar, is currently away in the United Kingdom. His contribution to the development of CIJ and IOJ continues.
Other involved in this project are: Lokesh, Anand Sukumaran, Satish Nandgaonkar, Joideep Sen and Parry Ravindranathan.
IOJ, we hope, will continue to grow as a community.
Objectives of CIJ:
- Orienting journalists to tap the potential of the Internet to sharpen their professional skills and to improve their productivity in reportage and in the newsroom.
- Organising training for journalists to improve their knowledge and skills.
- To create a database, both online and offline, exclusively for the benefit of journalists
- To conduct surveys from time to time of the representation of various social groups in the profession of journalism. And to organise special training for potential journalists from socially and economically backward sections.
- To initiate media-related research, the findings of which would help serve the profession and readers.
- To bring out compendiums and booklets with useful tips for the day-to-day working of journalists.
- Sensitising journalists to explore the full potential of journalism so as to make the profession an instrument of positive socio-political and economic change.
Monday, January 08, 2007
New Media Mailing list for Brigthon Area (UK)
Highway Africa 2007
This year’s official theme is: “Quality and Professionalism in Journalism and the Media: the case for New Media.” The conference will include presentations, workshops and a keynote address.
The conference will seek to answers a number of questions including: “What technology should be available in the ideal newsroom?” and “How does technology impact on professionalism and quality?”
Blogging vrs early journalism
James Cameron (1911-1985), arguably the greatest British journalist of the last 100 years, always insisted that journalism is a craft. Now “craft” implies pride in work, integrity in dealing with customers, rites of passage, and long years of training to acquire the requisite skills/knowledge.
But that was then. Today, journalism is a “profession”. Many aspiring hacks now need a university or other accredited “qualification”, and, except in the Anglo-American world, a government issued licence to “qualify” as a journalist. The march towards professionalism began with the rise of the mass media in the latter part of the 19th century, a development made possible by the invention of the rotary printing press, cheap papermaking from wood pulp, and mass literacy.
Journalists have developed rigorous techniques for gathering, distilling and presenting information; and, to standardise these procedures and wrap them in an ethical framework, a normative model for reporting, carved in stone, was crafted: impartiality, objectivity, accuracy, transparency.
Today, this carefully constructed edifice is crumbling as the read/write web blows away the need to be a member of any such club to be able to practise journalism. A significant number of “unqualified” people are “doing journalism” without permission from anyone.
Nowadays, the word “amateur” is being deployed by media professionals to belittle the media-making efforts of bloggers and others who create media productions outside the journalism guilds. Such reporting is deemed “unreliable”, “biased”, “subjective”; they are
“unaccountable”, the facts and the sources “unverifiable”.
All of this must be puzzling to historians of the modern mass media. Consider the first newspaper in English, a translation of a Dutch coranto, printed in Amsterdam in December 1620 and exported to England. It began with an apology, a typographical error, a number of lies and disinformation. The apology appeared in the first line of
the publication: “The new tydings out of Italie are not yet com”. The error (in spelling) was in the date: “The 2. of Decemember”. The lies? The dates of many events were brought forward to make the news appear fresher than they were. The disinformation? Many news items in the Dutch edition which might have displeased the English government were not translated for the English edition out of fear that the
authorities would seize or ban the publication. Verily, a very unprofessional beginning!
And who were the “reporters” for the early periodical press? Postmasters, clergymen, sheriffs, burghers, shipping clerks, court officials, merchants, travellers. In a word, “amateurs”!
Here I use “amateur” in the noble, Corinthian sense—someone or an activity motivated by love.
The differences between 17th century amateur reporters and
21st century citizen journalists go beyond stark polarities. The
former were contributors to the new media of their age but over whose
operation, growth and development they had no influence or control;
their 21st century counterparts, on the other hand, are contributors
to a new media which they themselves are creating.
This new media is not about the production of news, it is about self-expression. It is
about participating in defining and shaping the information/communication environments in which we live. An entire generation—call them the digital natives or the new Corinthians—is creating an open, collaborative, networked communications infrastructure in opposition to the closed, top down, hierarchical traditional media organisations which have dominated the media universe since the 19t century.
Demanding that these digital natives adhere to old methods of discovering and learning about the world won’t do. They’re crafting their own methods, thank you very much. Ten years ago Slashdot, Kuro5hin and others pioneered peer-to-peer coverage of technology. Stories gained credibility through the trust and reputation of peers.
Digg has added collaborative filtering via powerful algorithms; Del.icio.us lets you organise the world via shared social taxonomies. Even some of the backend functions of the news business have been socialised: Wikipedia for reference, Answers.com for expert sources, Flickr for pictures.
It is hard for a mature, long-dominant culture to make radical changes to its ideology and practice. And that’s why many newspaper groups still cling to the command and control model even as their businesses head for the butchers and their customers “head into the cemetery”. Bold and adventurous though he is, Rupert Murdoch has only chosen co-optation (buying the number one social networking service MySpace); however, full embrace of the new world is a revolutionary step, a rupture in the old order. Anyone doubting the difficulty of such a move need only look at the upheavals and dislocations being experienced by the UK’s Telegraph group as it
re-engineers it news gathering/reporting processes towards a networked
The momentum of change is with the new Corinthians. The open source ethos and method of work/production, which began in the periphery with collaborative software development, is moving to centre stage by way of the blogging revolution and open standards in web services. In tagging, syndication, ranking and bookmarking we have the rudiments of a peer-to-peer trust, reputation and recommendation system well suited to self-regulating collaborative networks. These could be takenas analogous, but not identical to, the “checks and balances” of traditional journalism, but we shouldn’t belabour the points ofdifference too much.
In mainstream media “editorial authority” is concentrated in the hands of a single, all-powerful person whereas in social media it is distributed among many voices. This could be seen as a weakness and critics point to it as the Achilles heel of Web journalism. Yet in many instances, the networked world, e.g. the blogosphere, has proven to be much better (and quicker) at correcting errors, falsity, lies
and distortions than the mainstream media.
As the number of people who participate in open, collaborative, networked communications increases, the veracity of messages will improve and the need for corporate gatekeepers and standards-setters will decrease. Will we all become Corinthians then?
Copyright 2006 Milverton Wallace
Milverton Wallace founded and ran the annual NetMedia conference and the European Online Journalism Awards when he was a journalism lecturer at City University London, 1995/2003.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
daylife : the human- and computer-aggregated news site
Now we can all set the news agenda
The Prime Minister has backed an Iraqi investigation into how illicit footage of Saddam Hussein's execution became public. David Cameron found the pictures "frankly pretty grisly", and Ofcom has launched an inquiry into their use by broadcasters. But, for new-media enthusiasts, the fact that amateur film from a mobile telephone set the global news agenda shows citizen journalism has come of age.
From the moment the explicit footage appeared on Anwarweb.net, traditional editorial processes were redundant. No editor decided who could witness this tawdry spectacle. Questions of taste were left to viewers as the shaky but powerful images spread via the file-sharing websites YouTube, Google Video and Revver. Traditional broadcasters and newspapers were confronted with the biggest story yet to emerge from what Americans call "participatory media", television editors term "user-generated content", and participants define as the era of citizen journalism.
New technology had already accelerated and extended news-gathering. The most memorable images of the 7 July London bombings were taken by members of the public. Footage shot in smoke-filled Underground carriages and the iconic picture of the wreckage of the No 30 bus in Tavistock Square provided the BBC with 50 images within an hour. ITN received more than a dozen video clips.
That process of witnesses sending pictures to conventional media outlets matured five months later when the Buncefield oil depot in Hertfordshire exploded. The first still picture reached the BBC minutes after the initial blast and was followed four minutes later by video footage from a mobile phone. Some young "citizen journalists" took risks conventional ones would not. Told that their close up footage was wobbly, they returned to shoot more.
But images from events such as Buncefield, and the tornado that hit Kensal Rise, north-west London, last month, posed few dilemmas for editors.
"The question used to be whether the pictures might be a hoax and how they could be validated," says Stephen Jukes, head of the School of Media at Bournemouth University and former head of global news at Reuters. "That dilemma began to change when video images of Ken Bigley [the hostage murdered in Iraq] appeared on the internet. Editors questioned whether they should give his captors the oxygen of publicity. Many thought showing video of him was pandering to extremists. When Margaret Hassan was taken hostage, less footage was shown of her under stress."
With the Saddam images, new-wave unmediated journalism proved that freelance citizen images can dictate, not merely influence, the news agenda.
"At the time of 7/7, sites such as YouTube did not have much power," says Mr Jukes. "Now young people live by them and you cannot put that genie back in the bottle. User-generated content has taken off and that poses new challenges."
Top among them last week was how to publish and broadcast graphic images of Saddam's last seconds that were already available on computer screens.
"The most significant thing is that the footage was shot in the first place," says Peter Horrocks, head of television news at the BBC. "That video completely subverted the official version that the execution was dignified and that Saddam was treated humanely."
That has not stopped Ofcom launching an investigation into UK broadcasters' coverage. It has received 30 complaints about the video and audio footage of the former Iraqi dictator being mocked on the gallows by his executioners. A handful relate to Sky News, ITV1 and Channel 4, but 11 of them object to coverage on BBC1 and a further eight to News 24.
Mr Horrocks is unrepentant. "We decided to show the noose around the neck on News 24 but not on BBC1 at a time when children might be watching. We decided in advance that we would not show the moment of death. No mainstream broadcaster has used the moment when the trap door opened. We are not planning to reuse the images filmed immediately before the drop. We will use the preamble, but not the same range of pictures."
But despite ruling some images too graphic for future use, Mr Horrocks denies his decision to show them last week was influenced by the knowledge that millions of licence payers were watching them online. "It was a big step to see aspects of a public execution on British television, but the editorial issue was about images of violence and the public appetite for that. At no stage did I say, 'So many people have seen this online that we should show it too.'"
Others admit they were influenced to exceed normal limits on taste and decency by the millions linking to the images of Saddam filmed through the railings of the scaffold. "Several of us used images we might otherwise have kept off the front page," says one quality newspaper executive, "because we were persuaded that readers had chosen to look at worse ones online."
Until it was copied from website to website, broadcasters in Britain and America showed official footage that stopped when the noose was placed around the former dictator's neck. Afterwards the hand-held images with their accompanying soundtrack of savage taunting became ubiquitous. Steve Capus, president of NBC News, told The New York Times: "I want to do this with a measure of taste, but I don't want to stand in the way of history."
On this occasion the first draft was written by an Iraqi government official with a mobile telephone. His motives may have been sectarian or financial but through the increasingly power-ful medium of user-generated content he has done the world a favour.
"There is a question about whether the images are ghoulish and in appalling taste," says Bournemouth University's Mr Jukes. "But the person who took the images has highlighted something shocking. Without them we would not have seen the atrocious way it happened."
Mainstream media had already recognised the potential of citizen journalism. Newspapers, magazines and broadcasters invite us to fill their airtime or pages via sites such as BBC News Interactive's "yourpics" facility, the Five News website ("At least £100 plus your name on air") and The Sun's unambiguous "We want videos as well as your great stories and pics." Now illicit images of the sordid death of Saddam Hussein have seen citizen journalism define the editorial agenda for traditional media around the world. What might we know if a mobile telephone had been on the grassy knoll in Dallas in November 1963?
PEJ to Launch the News Coverage Index
The Index examines some four dozen news outlets in real time to determine what is being covered and what is not—a broad sense of the American news agenda. The findings are then released in a weekly report that features an Index of the top stories, a narrative analyzing the twists, turns, and trajectory of the coverage, and a breakdown of the differences among media sectors.
The initiative is an attempt to provide an empirical basis for cataloguing and understanding what a wide swath of media offer the American public at a time of growing debate about the press’ influence, standards and economic foundation.
The outlets studied come from the five main sectors of mainstream media—print, network TV, cable, online, and radio. They include evening and morning network news, several hours of daytime and prime time cable news each day, newspapers from around the country, the top online news sites, and radio, including headlines, long form programs and talk. In all, the Index sample includes 48 outlets (35 each week-day with some rotation), every Sunday through Friday.
In the weeks that follow, PEJ will also unveil a series of secondary indices, including People in the News; a Talk Show Index from cable and radio programming; and a Blogger Index examining the content of the blogosphere and analyzing how it compares with that of the mainstream media.
The unprecedented scope and size of the media universe captured and coded will also serve as a foundation for an expanded number of more detailed studies PEJ plans to produce.
The News Coverage Index was designed by PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel and Deputy Director Amy Mitchell and an advisory team of nine academic and commercial researchers over the course of two years. It required the creation of proprietary software and a new website.
The index report is written by PEJ Associate Director Mark Jurkowitz, former press critic of the Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix. The coding team, which will work 24 hours behind the news cycle, includes eight professional coders. They work with a coding administrator, Paul Hitlin, and a supervising research methodologist, Hong Ji.
The News Coverage Index will also be paired with a new expanded News Interest Index by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which is led by Andrew Kohut. The Center will analyze the public’s response to the stories identified in the News Coverage Index.
These twin indices of what the media are covering, and how the public is responding will offer an unprecedented pair of tools to understand the degree to which journalists and citizens are in sync—or in disagreement—over what constitutes important news.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Moreover products are trusted by hundreds of leading organizations to deliver real-time current awareness and actionable news intelligence that drives informed business decisions.
Corporations use Moreover's technology solutions to stay competitive and increase their margins. Today's quickly evolving business environment requires that companies have the right information, all the time, to spot market opportunities, track industry developments and react quickly to announcements. Ultimately, Moreover helps every employee make better and faster decisions to stay ahead of the competition.
Moreover Technologies is a fully-owned subsidiary of VeriSign, Inc.
Changing the Nature of Content Distribution
Moreover has brought about a monumental shift in the nature of the distribution of news content. This shift effects the way news is delivered, used and purchased. Until Moreover, syndication rights were required to redistribute news content.
Unlike traditional content syndicators that resell proprietary information, Moreover's sophisticated technology continually scours the Internet to capture and distribute breaking news and business information from thousands of qualified, handpicked sources – including websites, weblogs and broadcast video and audio feeds.
Web Standards Pioneer
Moreover is a co-author of the RSS 1.0 standard and has been an outspoken proponent of XML ever since its founding in 1998. Moreover's flagship product, the CI-Metabase, is possibly the world’s largest XML database. This commitment to Web standards means that all of its products are extremely easy to integrate into other applications.
Friday, January 05, 2007
The Future of BBC
background to article at http://www.economist.com/background/displayBackground.cfm?story_id=8495029
full article go to http://www.economist.com/world/britain/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8495029
Rivals battle for connected world
On Sunday Bill Gates will open the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas with a speech focusing on Microsoft's role in the connected world.
The digital home and the move to a high definition age will dominate the agenda at CES, say analysts.
On Tuesday in San Francisco, Apple boss Steve Jobs will address Mac devotees.
Devices which move digital content around the home - from PC to PC and to TVs, hi-fis and other products - have been available for some years but the digital living room battleground is still to be won.
Companies such as Netgear, D-Link, HP and Intel are all expected to unveil new products at CES which make it easier to hook up the digital home and share content such as films and music.
Apple will not be physically present but will cast a huge shadow over the show
JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg
These companies have allied themselves with Microsoft's vision of connectivity and on Sunday evening Mr Gates will deliver the opening keynote of CES and is expected once again to concentrate on the themes of digital content in the home and beyond.
Microsoft has partnered with a number of companies around the world - including BT in the UK - to help deliver video content via the net, called IPTV, and to offer a platform for sharing content built around its new operating system, Vista.
Analyst Michael Gartenberg, Jupiter research director, said: "I expect a strong push from Microsoft relating to Vista.
The networked home is such a complicated technology
Sean Wargo, Consumer Electronics Association
"This will also likely be Bill Gates' final CES. It will be his swan song and I expect a lot of nostalgia during the evening."
He added: "Apple will not be physically present, but will cast a huge shadow over the show."
In fact, there may well be a mass exodus from CES on Monday night to San Francisco ahead of Apple chief executive Steve Jobs giving his keynote speech.
"Apple has gone from being just another computer manufacturer to being a critical part of the consumer electronics industry," said Mr Gartenberg.
Apple is tipped to give more details about its iTV device, which shares video and other digital content around the home; a key part of its digital home strategy.
Analyst Sean Wargo said: "The networked home is such a complicated technology - you've got networking infrastructure that needs to be in place, you need devices that can tie into that network and you need content.
"Each year there has been developments in one or all of these areas. The latest development has been around the interface you use to interact or manage that content."
With Apple choosing its own path in San Francisco and many companies in Las Vegas securely attached to Microsoft's vision for the digital home, with Vista at the centre of plans, there are two key rival strategies for the future emerging.
More than 140,000 people will attend CES, swarming over more than three million square feet of conference halls, housing the latest digital devices and gadgets
Mr Wargo, director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association, the organiser of CES, said: "One of the other major themes of this year is the services and content that feed the networked home."
Mr Wargo said the drive for higher resolutions and "beyond hi-def" displays, cameras and games consoles would be the stars of the show.
"High definition TV is driving industry growth now - in the US we are going through a massive display upgrade cycle.
"We're seeing unprecedented volume of TV selling through retail right now. It's pushing that market to new heights. It is now the single biggest product category."
Mr Gartenberg said the focus of CES would be the ongoing move from analogue to digital lives, both in the domestic and business worlds.
"There will be a lot of stuff related to the digital home - especially for people who have problems with building and managing these huge content libraries of video, music and photos."
Mr Wargo said next generation DVD would certainly be part of the buzz of the show. A lot of people I would expect would be talking about the two formats and whether they will persist for a considerable amount of time."
Blu-ray and HD-DVD are rival and incompatible high definition DVD formats and have a number of different backers.
Sony is the flag-bearer for Blu-ray while Toshiba and Microsoft are firmly in the HD-DVD camp.
Mr Wargo said: "Attendees will be looking for signs of one format pulling ahead of the other or if both formats can coexist."
The battle may be altered following the news that Korean giant LG is to announce a DVD player which can play both formats.
The appearance of Yahoo and Google at last year's show reflected the rising importance of content and services to the digital home and Mr Wargo said he expected 2007 to be no different.
"We are seeing two fronts maturing - the hardware and operating system that will control this system and the content that will feed it.
"There's a story of how the online community is emerging as a potential competitor to the cable, satellite and packaged media industry.
The fact that Walt Disney and CBS are giving keynotes tell the story of how this market place is really growing beyond the boundaries of hardware and moving into content and software."
Future technology at the Consumer Electronics Show 2007
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/05 08:28:51 GMT
© BBC MMVII
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
$100 laptop project launches 2007
The scheme is hoping to put low-cost computers into the hands of people in developing countries.
Ultimately the project's backers hope the machines could sell for as little as $100 (£55).
The first countries to sign up to buying the machine include Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan and Thailand.
The so-called XO machine is being pioneered by Nicholas Negroponte, who launched the project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab in 2004.
Test machines are expected to reach children in February as the project builds towards a more formal launch.
Mr Negroponte told the Associated Press news agency that three more African countries might sign on in the next two weeks.
The laptop is powered by a 366-megahertz processor from Advanced Micro Devices and has built-in wireless networking
It has no hard disk drive and instead uses 512 MB of flash memory, and has two USB ports to which more storage could be attached.
"I have to laugh when people refer to XO as a weak or crippled machine and how kids should get a "real' one"," Mr Negroponte told AP.
"Trust me, I will give up my real one very soon and use only XO. It will be far better, in many new and important ways."
The computer runs on a cut-down version of the open source Linux operating system and has been designed to work differently to a Microsoft Windows or Apple machine from a usability perspective.
Instead of information being stored along the organising principle of folders and a desktop, users of the XO machine are encouraged to work on an electronic journal, a log of everything the user has done on the laptop.
The machine comes with a web browser, word processor and RSS reader, for accessing the web feeds that so many sites now offer.
"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint," Mr Negroponte said.
"I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing, not running office automation tools."
The new user interface, known as Sugar, has been praised by some of the observers of the One Laptop Per Child project.
It doesn't feel like Linux. It doesn't feel like Windows. It doesn't feel like Apple," said Wayan Vota, who launched the OLPCNews.com blog and is also director of Geekcorps, an organisation that facilitates technology volunteers in developing countries.
"I'm just impressed they built a new (user interface) that is different and hopefully better than anything we have today," he said.
But he added: "Granted, I'm not a child. I don't know if it's going to be intuitive to children."
Trial versions of the operating system in development can be downloaded to be tested out by technically-minded computer users around the world.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Web users driving change in 2007
There is little doubt that 2006 was the year that web users started to flex their muscle.
Although everyone is familiar with web giants such as Google, Yahoo and Amazon, the last 12 months have shown that their reign at the top is perhaps not going to last forever.
In 2006 it was YouTube, MySpace, Bebo, Facebook and many other social sites that grabbed the headlines.
The focus on users and online communities will continue in 2007 said Kathy Johnson from Consort Partners - a Silicon Valley-based firm that advises start-ups targeting the so-called Web 2.0 space.
The big trend among hot web companies will be the "actualisation of personalisation" she says. By that mouthful she means web firms will find a way to mine the information generated when net communities spring up.
For instance, she says, although web shops such as Amazon make recommendations about new books, CDs, DVDs or gadgets you might like based on what you have bought, few people trust these as they are not entirely sure how they are generated.
And, she said, the recommendations made by net retailers were often not very accurate.
People were much more likely to trust recommendations that come from an online interest group they had joined, she said.
"That's why all the companies are talking reputation management and melding it with personalisation so when you get recommendations you can trust them," she said.
Ms Johnson said start-ups such as music community sites Last.fm and Mog were leading the way but she had seen many more being founded along similar lines.
Mix and match
For serial entrepreneur Philippe Courtot, 2007 promises to be a year of big changes for the broader technology industry which will also be set in motion by greater use of web technology.
The ease and speed with which web programs can be put together is driving more and more businesses to question how they create the software they use to keep their organisations running.
"You cannot keep on developing software the old ways," said Mr Courtot who is founder and chairman of online security firm Qualys. "The costs of distribution and support are higher and higher and the customers are less and less satisfied."
Instead of buying a licence for a program and developing applications themselves, companies will move in great numbers towards firms offering software as a service via the web browser. "It's going to be much more visible than it has at any other time," he said.
As customers start to dry up he predicted a wave of mergers and acquisitions as old-fashioned software firms consume each other to stay in business.
"There's going to be huge consolidation," he said.
For Dr Martin Illsley, director of the European research labs for tech consultancy Accenture, 2007 will also be a big year for personal technology - in particular the mobile phone.
As the numbers of handsets bearing cameras reaches a crucial point they will start to make possible all kinds of unforeseen changes - ones that businesses may struggle to cope with.
"Camera phones will allow customers to communicate with businesses via pictures in addition to phone and e-mail," he said.
"Consumers will be able to complain more easily by snapping the offending incident or object," he said.
For businesses the downside is the weight of evidence that customers can amass about faulty goods or shoddy service. However, he said, smart firms will find a way to use the information being generated and which may be impossible to capture any other way.
Also in 2007 he expects other technologies, in particular robots and wireless sensor nets, to start to weave themselves into everyday life.
As the component costs of these devices fall they are much more likely to be used everyday, he said.
"New generations of service robots will not be very intelligent but will provide cheap help for a range of tasks such as packing, cleaning, checking and basic assistance," he said.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/01 00:27:51 GMT
© BBC MMVII