links for 2009-07-25

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 25 July 2009
  • Not a single national appears to have picked up on this story of a 13 year old girl who went missing for 9 days...
  • Martin Clarke says, and I agree with him, that: "These monthly figures give the same weight to a random visitor who lands on a site once a month and looks at one page as one who visits loyally every day – or more – and consumes dozens of articles. British newspaper websites need to prove that we are doing more than providing free content to third-party aggregators who deliver low-value casual users. In these difficult times we have to build dedicated audiences who make a conscious effort to visit us as trusted providers of news and spend significant amounts of time engaged with our content". The interesting thing to me with these figures is that when The Sun leapt to #1, that was obviously off the back of the (totally untrue it turned out) baby-dad Alfie story. The Mail didn't have a big online exclusive like that in June, which makes this more of a leftfield leap above The Guardian and Telegraph.
  • "Each article — and, in the future, each picture and video — would go out with what The A.P. called a digital 'wrapper,' data invisible to the ordinary consumer that is intended, among other things, to maximize its ranking in Internet searches. The software would also send signals back to The A.P., letting it track use of the article across the Web". Possibly one of the most perplexing paragraphs of pseudo-scientific vapourware I've ever read.
  • "Churchgoers are not at risk of contracting swine flu if they attend Holy Communion, Thessaloniki’s Bishop Anthimos said yesterday. 'According to a scientific theory any bacteria disappear on the silver,' Anthimos said, referring to the goblet from which worshippers drink wine. According to the bishop, cutting out church attendance out of fear of contracting the H1N1 virus would be akin to 'not using spoons at home and in restaurants'".

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