Friday, 30 January 2009

BBC takes control of rogue Twitter feed

I was a bit confused earlier on this evening when I noticed one of the BBC News Twitter feeds I follow became Not_BBC.

I asked around my virtual office and Ilicco Elia, head of Mobile, Reuters Europe, (@Ilicco) usefully told me that the BBC News feed was a fake being run by a Twitter squatter. (He pointed to this blog post from a few days back).

The fake feed looked pretty genuine as it linked to BBC News articles and did little else. But the squatter was ousted when Gary Williams (@sputnik101) received a reply from the feed.

Williams had tweeted:
"@BBC You are an absolute DISGRACE for refusing to air the Disaster Emergencies Committee’s Gaza appeal:"
He was more than a little surprised when he got this tweet coming back in his direction from 'the BBC':
"@sputnik101 so are you :p".
Jem Stone, one of the BBC's Future Media gurus, describes how the BBC contacted Twitter to claim the feed after they had become aware of the incident. You can find a couple of comments from Jem on the 14sandwiches blog.

Twitter sorted it all out pretty pronto and the BBC have now taken control of the feed.

Rest assured: is genuine. And by way of celebration the BBC twitterers took the opportunity to point out some other BBC twitter feeds that are also real.

The question is: who's now been pressed into action at the Corporation to run the feed?

Update: The answer, at least for the time being, is in the comments...

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Academic reading 1: US j-blogs back in 2005

Not much blogging recently. Sometimes you just have to close down a load of tabs and write some of your PhD. 10,290 odd words on this chapter so far and up to around 35,000 in total.

Been doing some more academic reading on blogging and journalism. Thought I'd stick some of that on the blog. So here's the first bite-sized, non-blog style summary.

Jane B Singer, 2005, The Political J-blogger: Normalising a new media form to fit old norms and practices.

Singer’s study of US political journalism-blogs or ‘j-blogs’ in 2004 argues that at this stage journalists were ‘normalising the blog as a component, and in some ways an enhancement of traditional journalism norms and practices’.

Journalists were still operating as gatekeepers on blogs.

They rarely allowed comments from readers on blogs; tended to link to existing, and established mainstream media sites creating ‘a sort of online echo chamber of mass-mediated political views’; and retained an emphasis on a vertical relationship between journalist and user, rather than positioning themselves as a participant in a conversation.

Full article here. (Requires Athens or institutional password).

Monday, 19 January 2009

Liveblogging Barack Obama's Inauguration speech

The National Post in Canada are planning to. I'm sure others will be too.

Like Time magazine.

Maybe the Guardian will liveblog it. After all, Oliver Burkeman blogged George Bush's 'farewell', so why not Obama's 'hello'?

On Saturday Obama travelled in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln. And I wonder what the former president would have made of liveblogging? I reckon his great debates with senator Stephen Douglas would have made a cracking set of live blogs. Less confident he'd have been so happy with live updates of the progress of the American Civil War though.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Realising Paul Mason's worst fears

The other day BBC journalist Paul Mason was talking about blogging at the National Union of Journalists. He still thinks the skills on offer in professional newsrooms are important to journalism in the future. And that 'pyjama bloggers' can't replicate them.

Unsurprisingly, there was some feedback to this comment. This was former colleague Kevin Anderson on Twitter:
"@craigmcginty Paul Mason using 'pyjama blogger' line? Paul embraced blogging at the BBC when I was there. Sad. No peer review in blogging?"
Paul later clarified his comments:
"Because the interview was for the union website it took a lot of things for granted. Those of you who know my work will know I am not anti-blogging: I am pro it - and I mean real blogging not the ersatz blogs the BBC lets us do. But I reject the theory that social media will simply destroy journalism; and that skill and status and above all income (!) cannot be defended in a world of easy-to-use technology. I certainly don’t dismiss bloggers. However I think their limitations are being exposed, just as journalists’ limitations are."
And indeed, Paul Mason's use of blogging to cover the G8 summit in 2005 helped people at the BBC understand how a blog could be a valuable journalistic outlet.

Today, I've been poring over blogging at the BBC in 2005 as part of a doctoral paper due to be published (if anyone fancies it) in 2010 and came across Paul's assessment of his G8 blog.

He concludes using his own emphasis:
"On that note, the blog takes a break. It will be left up here in perpetuity to be pored over by academics. Indeed I will hold a competition for a spoof doctoral media studies paper on this blog, published in 2020. Send entries in to the email address: 500 word summaries only. Soon the BBC will get its head round what to do about blogging. I hope this has helped."
So he was ten years too late but not too far wrong. Though I'm hoping my paper won't be a spoof.

Paul - Thanks for leaving it up by the way.

"What will the role of the journalist be in ten years time?" Your guess is as good as mine.

Yesterday, I gave a talk to some journalists at the BBC about the impact of new media on journalism.

One of the questions I was asked was: "What will the role of the journalist be in ten years time?"

I didn't give a particularly good answer. (Certainly, nothing of note to put on the blog!)

I haven't thought about it much and to be honest, I'm not sure of the value of spending too long thinking about what will happen that far ahead. Here's the BBC website ten years ago. We've come a long way since then. I'm not sure many people could have predicted it.

The enquirer isn't the only one who wants to know what the future of journalism will be though. (I've already been to some 'future of journalism' conferences; I'm sure I'll go to more in the future.)

She pointed out that she felt more journalism involved "facilitating" other people's work. By which she meant receiving information and processing contributions from the people formerly known as the audience.

I wonder if this trend will continue. If it does the two concept audience-journalist divide will continue to crumble to the point where it may no longer be at all meaningful. The question: 'who is the journalist?', might be a more interesting question than: 'what is journalism?', (though the two are obviously related).

P.S. If you have a crystal ball, you can gaze in there now and stick the answer in the comments, or go old-school and send me a postcard.

Friday, 9 January 2009

More 'Gaza media coverage' on the soon to be improved Frontline Blog

I've got a couple of other bits on Gaza up on the Frontline blog.

One post on War 2.0 and another about discrepancies in the figures the Israelis are giving out on the number of rockets being fired into Gaza.

The latter was picked up by The Guardian's live Gaza blog.

Incidentally, the Frontline blog is currently undergoing a makeover and I'm hoping that very soon you'll be able to bask in the shiny new glow of the updated blog.

From my point of view, it should mean blogging will be much more straightforward. I'm looking forward to being liberated from the blogging dark ages where moving photos involves coding in the phrase 'align="right"', (by hand), and resizing means taking out a calculator.

(Maybe one day I'll look back at these days with a sense of nostalgia. But probably not.)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Gaza media coverage - the BBC and blogs

If you regularly plod through the content of this blog you'll get the score by now.

I imagine some of you might be bored of clicking through to another website, but then Google has built something of an empire on this concept so it can't be so bad.

The post on this topic is here.

Twitter blog

Twitter facts is a blog that does exactly what it says on the tin.

You can even find out the state of the Twittersphere in Malaysia. If you want to. I'm not sure why you would want to. But you might. And it's there for you, if you do.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Gaza media coverage - alternative voices and blogs

Part two of an unintended series on Gaza media coverage on the Frontline blog.

This post was sparked by a commenter who pointed out that the media often end up recycling the same old Israeli voices.

I've also linked to a few blogs which might provide an alternative perspective and dug out a BBC Editor's blog post from the archive. (If anyone knows where I can get some virtual dust for my delicious account, let me know).

Monday, 5 January 2009

Gaza media coverage - the propaganda war

I've put up a post synthesising a few bits and pieces about Gaza and media coverage on my Frontline blog.

Friday, 2 January 2009

BBC and blogs in December (last month's reading this year)

Happy New Year!

Back at work then, though blogging will still be sporadic while I await delivery of a new laptop. (These efforts were in vain). Some undergraduate essays on the Experience of War are keeping me entertained in the mean time.

Just been catching up on some reading. Here's what I've found...
  • I got a great comment on my piece about the end of Island Blogging which is better than the post itself because it's written by an Island blogger. The Island bloggers have a new website here.
  • The BBC World Have Your Say blog asks readers what they want to see on the blog. And explain why they've been deleting some comments recently.
  • The BBC Blog network has another new blog called 'Journalism Labs'. In it's first post it publishes the results of an experiment with Apture linking on the BBC website. This E-Consultancy website claims the BBC still doesn't know how to link out.
  • BBC News blogs guru Giles Wilson defends the BBC against accusations in the Daily Mail that the BBC's blogs do not conform to the organisation's high journalistic ideals. There are some interesting comments here as well representing a wide range of views on the Corporation's blog offering.
  • Kevin Marsh at the BBC's College of Journalism tells us what he's learnt this year. Among other things, he learnt that the BBC was blogging without realising it:
"We did a lot of work in the middle of the year around how organisations use networking to support learning. It was good work, but it overlooked one thing; BBC journalists were already sharing learning, links and intelligence like crazy - millions of transactions a day amongst the 8,000 or so journalists. They were writing stuff that was in every respect blogging ... it's just that no-one called it that."
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