Thursday 11 December 2008

More Twitter conventions would have aided Mumbai coverage

I've stuck this up on my Frontline blog, because it's been a while...

Monday 8 December 2008

Research Update

My laptop's gone down.

At first I wondered whether it had been a victim of the Home Office's security machine, which I went through last week, but apparently laptops pass safely through here all the time.

So I'm not sure what caused this rather frustrating sudden loss of power, but not being able to switch the thing on is a fairly fundamental problem.

I have made a couple of (amateur) efforts to fix it. It's not the power supply or the battery. And the old favourite - unscrew everything, take it apart, fiddle, and put it together again (twice) - didn't provide a permanent solution either.

Fortunately, I managed to salvage my work before it went under.

In the meantime, I'm borrowing a friend's laptop, but it takes so much longer to do everything when you don't have your bookmarks, etc.

Research progress has slowed.

Tuesday 2 December 2008

BBC to close Island Blogging community project

Five years ago, BBC Scotland started a little-known project called 'Island Blogging' in conjunction with the Scottish government.

In this post former BBC journalist, Martin Belam describes the venture:
"'Island Blogging' was a project to provide a platform for isolated communities on some Scottish islands to share their voices with the nation at large....The Scottish Executive had conducted a programme of giving families on the island computers and narrowband internet connections. The BBC then provided a blogging platform."
Several days ago, BBC Scotland announced that it would be closing down Island Blogging in January 2009:
"As that digital literacy grew, and the blogosphere in general developed, it has become very easy to set up blogs elsewhere across the web.

Your concerns about Island Blogging’s technical limitations, House Rules and Terms and Conditions have been noted. At the same time, your patience and support has been greatly appreciated as problems with the blogging engine and spam filter recurred with increasing severity.

In short, five years on, it has become apparent that the site does not best serve your needs and that the technology has reached the end of its natural life."
BBC Scotland has suggested that the community of bloggers continues blogging on other platforms and also encourages website users to contribute to 'revitalised BBC Local sites'.

Numerous bloggers expressed their sadness at the closure of the project:
"What can I say, I have met some really good friends on IB, even before we settled here, I cannot believe the BBC are pulling the plug on us."

"I think Island Blogging was a stunning idea. Everyone who lives in these truly unique places suddenly had their own voice which could not be shouted over by those in the mainland."
It's an interesting one because there is much discussion within various parts of the BBC about the Corporation's role in developing communities and encouraging online literacy and skills.

It seems with the closure of this project, a place where a small number of BBC licence fee payers could upload blogs on the BBC website, and the end of World Have Your Say's external comment moderation experiment, that the BBC is retaining very direct control over what appears on its webspace.

This is in contrast to organisations like the Telegraph (My Telegraph) and Sky (Sky Community) where website users have been provided with a space to write and upload their own blogs.

Rather than closing projects like Island Blogging, should the BBC be expanding them?

Monday 1 December 2008

Links for today: acronyms - BBC, FoJ, RICU.

  • Paul Bradshaw has got some great notes from day one of last week's Future of Journalism Conference. (I might get some of mine up at some point. I have more on the first day than the second because I abandoned ship to go and watch the World Online Team updating the live text commentary on Mumbai. Or I might just collate my Twitter Feed. Thing is, I have too many things I want to do all at the same, so I might just admit defeat and pack it all in for Christmas.)
  • Andy Dickinson uses Dipity to highlight some key online media landmarks. I'm inspired and might make my own timeline in the near future. (Or I might just pack it all in...)
  • I might put up some stuff soon on Mumbai on my Frontline blog. (But again...) What I have done is write a couple of posts about RICU, the government's counter terrorism communications unit. Here's the second one on whether and how they are trying to influence the media.
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