Friday 27 February 2009

Krishnan Guru-Murthy: Twittering is not checked by editors at Channel 4

In an interview with conducted on Twitter, Channel 4 News presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, admitted the microblogging tool is not checked by editors:
"@journalism_live and twitter is not overseen by an editor - so there are potential problems. blogs are checked before publication #ch4"
I can't believe all the BBC's twitterers are double-checked either. Clearly no one ran a 'second pair of eyes' over this recent effort from Peter Horrocks.

But imagine the volume of new editorial work that would be created if everything had to be placed under the nose of an editor. And it's hardly worth mentioning the obvious fact that such procedures would render using Twitter in any meaningful way virtually impossible.

I think journalists are just going to have to take individual responsibility.

As Guru-Murthy had said earlier in the interview: "I
can't see any real problems, as long as you apply all your normal standards and rules".

All very well in theory, in practice it might not be so straightforward. Twitter is a fast-paced conversational tool; making a serious mistake is far from inconceivable.

When asked if he would be interested in writing a blog Guru-Murthy said:
"not right now. I think i'm better suited to twitter! a blog is hard work - and i write a daily email when on #ch4"

Thursday 26 February 2009

Blogging takes prize of place.

The longlist for the Orwell Prize for blogging has been announced.

And off the back of it, there was a little piece on the Today programme on Radio 4 earlier (scroll down to 0847) discussing whether blog writing has become as respected as novel writing or journalism.

Wednesday 25 February 2009


On 9th February, I suggested newsrooms might have giant screens with Twitscoop or Tweetdeck or another Twitter client.

On 11th February, Marcus Warren took this photo of the Telegraph's newsroom which I believe shows a giant screen running Twitterfall:

Probably just a coincidence, eh?

All change on the blogging front

My shiny new Frontline blog is finally up and running:

You can check it out here.

My latest post is about how the Israeli Defence Force used social media during the recent conflict in Gaza.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

What should the BBC do with Twitter?

An insight into the debate courtesy of the recent BeebCamp2 conference.

Includes discussion of risks, opportunities, audience levels, what value Twitter adds, hashtags, engagement or automation, who should Twitter at the BBC, and why Mark Thompson might not make the best Twitterer.

(Tis a real shame I missed BeebCamp2. But not too much of a shame given how good my holiday was.)

Wednesday 11 February 2009

BBC is all-a-twitter

Apparently Twitter's gone mainstream.

I'm not sure who decides when something has gone mainstream and how they decide, but anyway, the Wall Street Journal people think its their job and they say October 2008.

That's probably a bit early for the UK, but the BBC have no doubt helped in this respect with various mentions of Twitter on their output and general interest in how the Corporation is using this increasingly popular microblogging tool.

Not everyone's got the hang of it. Here's the BBC's Peter Horrocks, who, according to the Sun, made a 'Twitt' of himself (ha ha...not...ahem....not one of their best is it), by inadvertently publishing the results of a couple of job appointments.

Radio listeners appear to have been particularly exposed to Twitter talk. Jonathan Ross is on there; Radio Five live had a ten minute discussion on it one afternoon; there was a rant about Twitter on Fighting Talk the other Saturday morning; the News Quiz on Radio 4 did something on it; the Today programme are using it...I could go on.

This radio listener wasn't overly impressed. And a few other people are wondering whether the BBC might be spending too much time talking about tweeting.

After all, Twitter is a commercial enterprise and the BBC's Darren Waters is worried that 'if Twitter gets any more mentions on the BBC, we'll be accused of bias'. (Accusing the BBC of bias is something of an everyday occurence mind you. Here's the latest on the BBC's Middle East coverage for example).

Maybe the answer is for the BBC to make their own Twitter service. Although this will inevitably lead to further criticism that the Corporation is trying to takeover UK webspace. And at the moment, the BBC seems to be focussing on getting their own presence on Twitter in order.

Monday 9 February 2009

Future of the newsroom - giant screens showing Twitscoop

If you go into any newsroom you'll see TVs. I'm told these are not merely there for journalists who want to sneakily catch up on the cricket at the lunchtime, but so the newsroom can monitor breaking news and their rivals' output.

Obviously these TVs are still useful for doing the latter, but for the former surely Twitter or a place like Twitscoop is the place to be.

How long will it be before someone rigs up a giant screen in a newsroom with Twitscoop on it? Or perhaps even better, why not plug Twitscoop into Tweetdeck and then set up several other feeds searching for the top stories of the day and stick all that on your giant screen? (You may wish to use several smaller screens depending on the layout of your office and available resources.)

That way the whole newsroom can monitor breaking news at a glance. We all know that for certain stories - like earthquakes - Twitter is faster and it's a great citizen journalism/crowdsourced supplement to the press wires.

I would get that done as a matter of urgency if I was in charge of a newsroom. But I'm not.

Thursday 5 February 2009

Live debate from the Frontline Club: Gaza - Missiles and Messages

Live TV : Ustream
A debate on media coverage of the conflict in Gaza including contributions from:

Jonathan Miller (C4)
Alan Fisher
(Al Jazeera)
Harriet Sherwood (The Guardian)
Ruthie Blum Leibowitz (The Jerusalem Post) via Skype
Lior Ben Dor (Israeli affairs specialist)

Location: The Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 2QJ

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Simon Jenkins on financial crisis: 'I'm glad it was Robert, not a blog that did what happened to Northern Rock"

Just finished watching the Treasury select committee on the media's role in the financial crisis.

It was a good display by the assembled journalists* though they might have had a harder time had they been grilling each other. And I was disappointed by the lack of discussion about Robert Peston's blog and indeed Alphaville, the FT's blog.

There was this nugget on blogging from Simon Jenkins. For context, Jenkins was describing how those involved in reporting this story were acting in a considered way in the public interest. He denied there was any reckless journalism going on here, though suggested a hypothetical situation where there might be. He concluded:

"I think one of the virtues, if I may say, of established news media organisations is they are, to a certain extent, trained to be responsible. I’m much more worried about the blogosphere. Anything could go out. I’m glad it was Robert, not a blog that did what happened to Northern Rock."

Yes...thank goodness Robert wasn't writing a blog, then he might suddenly have become a reckless journalist spouting all sorts....hang on. Sorry. Is it just me or was Robert's blog actually quite an important factor in all this. After all, Robert was using his blog to break a number of stories during the crisis. Or maybe I'm mistaken. Does Robert's blog exist outside the blogosphere and nobody's told me?

In fact, I was rather hoping the committee might actually really quiz Robert Peston on his blog and the editorial process behind blogging. How did it differ, if at all, from the stuff he was doing on TV and radio? Did the same standards apply? Where was he blogging? Did every last word he wrote get double-checked? What if any difference did reader comments make to the story? Etc and so forth.

But they didn't. Opportunity lost.

*Robert Peston, BBC; Alex Brummer, Daily Mail; Lionel Barber, FT; Simon Randall, Telegraph & Sky; and Simon Jenkins, Guardian.

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