Thursday, 29 May 2008

A blogging tool box on Delicious

As part of a blogging workshop I have been preparing this week, I thought it would be useful to start a collection of blogging and social media tools on Delicious.

The idea is provide a continually updated repository of links that journalists in particular can use to help them make the most of the web.

Obviously there are loads that are missing at this stage, but if you have any suggestions please post a link for BloggingTools.

You can find BloggingTools on delicious here.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Back at the end of the week

I'm a bit busy at the moment finishing off chapters and preparing a blogging workshop for some World Service journalists tomorrow. Normal blogging service should be resumed later in the week...

Saturday, 24 May 2008

New Post at the Frontline

The life of a Royal Marines Wife.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Trying to make research methods exciting since October 2007 (1)

Academic research methods is not my area of speciality. But I'm told that one of the tenets of producing a good PhD thesis is the notion that your research is open to scrutiny and that the sources you use are clearly identified. This is why theses are littered with footnotes.

Today, you can scrutinise some of the sources I am using while I am doing the project, rather than waiting for something to be published. If you look at my Delicious side bar you can see what I've recently bookmarked for my research project.

Often these links are relevant to something I'm writing about at the time meaning you can follow my research in real time, (sort of), (and, yes, I can't think why you'd want to either...but in theory it does mean greater academic openness).

Or you can go to my delicious homepage for a comprehensive list of many of the key web pages that I'll be including in the research.

If you think I'm missing anything let me know!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Random off-topic post: blog profile pictures

Maybe it's just because I'm a reserved Englishman, but I'm still not sure this sort of blog profile picture is really necessary...

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Links for today: past, present, future

The real history of blogging (or not)
  • This article just confuses me. I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be funny or genuine, a bit of both, or neither. But whatever the purpose of this strange beast is, I don't go along with the central idea - that 'blogging' really began in the 16th Century - because if you think about the etymology of the word 'blogging' or 'web-logging' then really the World Wide Web needs to have been invented first.
Are you a blogging journalist?
  • University of Birmingham academic, Paul Bradshaw, wants to know how this has changed your working life so he's running a survey here.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Iraqi Blogger Killed in Baghdad

For more visit the Frontline.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Links for today: China and Searching the Web

More reaction on Twitter, Blogging and the China Earthquake

  • Death toll rises alarmingly.
  • Twitter backlash begins - it was useful but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
  • The Times reports that Chinese bloggers reckon somebody should have known this earthquake was going to happen. After all, when over a million butterflies migrate (who counted them?), frogs show up on the streets of Mianyang and 80,000 tonnes of water disappear from a (surprisingly large) 'pond', that clearly says 'earthquake imminent'.
Searching the Web - moving towards quality not quantity
  • Not content with inventing the World Wide Web (honestly, I'd have sat back and decided that sort of achievement was not likely to beaten), Sir Tim Berners-Lee and some of his friends have been given some money for a Transparent Journalism project. They're attempting to develop a way to 'source tag' news articles, which would be included in online searches. So, for example, you could filter out all news articles that weren't based on eyewitness accounts.
  • While we're on this theme, try checking out It's a search engine that attempts to search the web semantically.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Journalism: what is it now and where next?

1. Networked says Charlie Beckett
'A kind of journalism where the rigid distinctions of the past, between professional and amateur, producer and product, audience and participation, are deliberately broken down. It embraces permeability and multi-dimensionality.' (Beckett via

2. Networked says Jeff Jarvis
'“Networked journalism” takes into account the collaborative nature of journalism now: professionals and amateurs working together to get the real story, linking to each other across brands and old boundaries to share facts, questions, answers, ideas, perspectives. It recognizes the complex relationships that will make news.'

3. Never finished says Adam Tinworth
'If you were to ask a group of people what words they associate with journalism, I'd lay odds that "deadline" would be in there somewhere. But we're moving into a post-deadline age, when the publishing time is now, and then as soon as you have new information. Or a new conversation. Or a new contribution.'

4. Defined by itself says Alfred Hermida (rather cryptically)
'It is time to stop thinking about a journalism defined by the means of distribution. It is time to start thinking about a journalism defined by the journalism itself. In other words, how best to tell stories and reach audiences, using the most suitable tools across a multiplicity of platforms.'

6. Doesn't exist anymore says Martin Bell
'Informed journalism is taking second place to salaciously reported crime and celebrity: what I call "necro news".'

7. Too much churnalism not enough journalism says Nick Davies

8. A conversation says Dan Gillmor
‘Tomorrow’s news reporting and production will be more of a conversation or a seminar.’

9. No doubt a few other ideas will be thrown around at the Future of News conference which is being broadcast live over the next couple of days.

US milblogs

For some recent quotes and posts that have caught my eye, hop on over to my Frontline blog.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Twitter and the earthquake in China

Much excitement among new media types this morning at the ability of Twitter to provide up-to-the-minute information on the Chinese earthquake.

Earlier in the day, Rory-Cellan Jones, technology correspondent at the BBC, described twitter as an 'amazing way of tracking Chinese quake news'. In fact, he thought his discovery that the tool was not merely a 'fad for people who want to share too much of their rather dull lives' was worth a quick blog post.

Paul Bradshaw has an excellent summary post on how Twitter can be used for newsgathering with links to various other places. He suggests that this sort of crowdsourcing is far superior to some of the more traditional methods of journalism:
'How quickly would a journalist have found someone who speaks English and was affected by the quake? Or an image? '
If you really want to take advantage of this resource you'll also need:
  • Tweestscan, allowing you to search 'tweets' for key words like 'earthquake'
By all accounts, following self-confessed 'tech geek blogger', Robert Scoble, on Twitter also helps.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Quiz questions about blogging at the BBC

You won't be hearing these in the local pub quiz.

Anyone who comes up with the answer to these seemingly impossible questions will receive my eternal gratitude and a follow up interview request. (This may include the promise of a free coffee or drink of your choice.)

1. Who was the first journalist to use a blog as a source of information at the BBC; which blog did he or she use; and on what story? (I reckon that's going to prove quite tough but I didn't say it would be easy. You need to earn that coffee).

2. Who was the first person to appear anywhere on BBC output who was specifically introduced as a 'blogger'?

More blogging at the Frontline

My latest offering at the Frontline resembles my journey on the Underground yesterday: somewhat delayed but I got there in the end.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Advance warning

I fear my blogging output may become more erratic over the coming weeks. (Hence, the lack of pretty photos and any longer posts in recent times.)

This is what happens when you start another blog (new post for this coming later today) and when you really have to get on with researching and writing an erudite piece of literature that is directly relevant to the PhD.

But hopefully my blog won't reach this rather concerning state of affairs.

I'm informed by other PhD students at King's that spending several months researching an interesting topic which is totally irrelevant to your PhD thesis is a completely normal and acceptable practice (as long you get back on track at some point in three or four years).

In my case, I'd like to think I hadn't strayed too far from the target. But recently, I've got rather too involved with researching milblogging or the lack of it in the UK.

Most of my work in this area is unlikely to make the final thesis, so I need to rein myself in and focus on what I'm supposed to be doing.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Origins of Blogging at the BBC

I'm putting together some information about the early days of blogging at the BBC. Here's a collection of links if you're interested in where blogging at the BBC began.

Nick Robinson

1. The first official BBC pseudo-blog was Nick Robinson's The Campaign Today. A regularly updated diary of the 2001 General Election.

2. This led to Newslog, which specifically cited the influence of weblogs on the format...

3. ...and it became the first piece of the ever-expanding BBC Blog Network puzzle in late 2005.


1. Meanwhile BBC Scotland Interactive was leading experiments with blogs at the organisation. This is Scotblog which started in 2002. It provided interesting links to web content with a few lines of commentary. It even had an RSS feed - something Nick Robinson wasn't offering back in 2002.

2. Producers also worked with the Scottish Executive on a project encouraging Scottish Islanders to start up their own blogs. It's still going strong.

Reports and reviews of these projects considered important issues that would feed into the BBC's overall blogging strategy.

Personal Blogs

1. Away from the official BBC website, BBC journalists were keeping their own personal blogs. Stuart Hughes wrote about reporting the war in Iraq in 2003.

2. Martin Belam writes about how he discovered blogs by reading those of his BBC colleagues in the new media team. (Martin's series on these early developments is a must read for interested parties).

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The Destroyermen

Click here to read my latest post on the interesting history of US Milblog The Destroyermen at the Frontline Club.
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