July 2010 Archives

July 30, 2010

Sherlock rebooted online as well as on screen

The BBC's new series 'Sherlock' has some interesting online activity associated with it, as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have not just arrived on screen in the 21st century, they have 21st century websites too.

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EuroIA 2010 update

This year's EuroIA conference in Paris is getting closer, and registrations have now opened. There are early bird discounts available until August 6th, and Eric Reiss tells us that uptake is 100% up on this time last year. Space is limited, so I urge you get registered soon.

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July 29, 2010

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Mediatique's BBC Trust research raises more questions about the lack of a BBC iPhone app Public Value Test

Without wanting to become a single subject blog this week, I wanted to return to the topic of the BBC Trust decision not to carry out a full Public Value Test into the BBC's entry into the smartphone apps market. One thing I will give the Trust praise for is, that like the Governors before them, they make their research documents public. I've had a little time to study the report they commissioned from Mediatique, and I wanted to pick up on a few points it contained.

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July 28, 2010

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Would the Mail Online be better off ditching some print-based Daily Mail content?

In a recent piece about the success of Mail Online, Peter Preston argued that it didn't matter if the online version of a newspaper had different brand values and served a different audience from the print edition. I'm not so sure. The Mai's website is hugely successful, but being forced to carry all of the print content does seem to lead to a constant series of awkward moments and juxtapositions online.

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July 27, 2010

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Preserving the Guardian's digital World Cup archives

Last week I blogged about The Guardian's "Wall of World Cup" archive display, where the information and library team had put together print outs of Manchester Guardian and Guardian coverage of World Cup finals from 1950 up to 2006. It made me wonder if you could do the same thing with our digital content. The answer is "sort of".

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July 26, 2010

BBC BASIC Breakfast

BBC Breakfast gave me a laugh out loud moment this morning, when as part of a package about 'cyber-crime', they had an Executive Director from the Open University typing in everybody's first BASIC program into a vintage computer.

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Should the BBC have entered the iTunes store without a full Public Value Test?

Last week the BBC Trust gave permission for the BBC to launch applications into the iTunes store. As someone who has worked on The Guardian's competing iPhone app, and given the fragile state of the news industry business model, I couldn't help but be disappointed that the BBC Trust did not put the proposal through a full Public Value Test.

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July 23, 2010

"The story for complexity": Tyler Tate at London IA

At the last London IA evening, one of our speakers was Tyler Tate. He was addressing the issue of complexity in user interfaces, and making a forceful argument that neither simple nor complex were inherently or morally good or bad, but that the key to a usable UX was having the right level of complexity for the task at hand.

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July 22, 2010

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Marking some mark-up changes to guardian.co.uk

The Guardian's front-end development team have been making some interesting changes to our HTML templates, incorporating microformats, HTML5 elements, and building a whole new way of presenting our picture galleries.

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July 21, 2010

Flipboard: Great app, but is it yet another way for publishers not to get paid?

Personalised social magazine Flipboard for the iPad is a compelling proposition for the consumer - assembling a collection of content based on what has been discussed and shared in your social network. However, due to the way it re-packages content, is it just yet another opportunity for content producers not to get paid for their work?

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If you think the ethics of 'death knock' journalists are bad, you should see comment spammers

One of links doing the rounds on Twitter today is Roy Greenslade's blog post about "The death knock", talking about Chris Wheal's experience of being on the receiving end of journalist behaviour after a tragedy in the family. It is a sobering story that gets right at the heart of the ethics of behaviour on our industry. But if you think the ethics of journalism leave something to be desired, you should see the ethics of comment spammers...

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The Guardian's "Wall of World Cup Archives"

Throughout the course of this summer's World Cup, at The Guardian we had a display of archive coverage of the tournament up in the newsroom. Put together by Richard Nelsson and his library and archives team, it covered the years 1950 to 2006, and showed how the design of the newspaper and the nature of sports reporting had changed over the decades.

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July 20, 2010

Could the BBC News redesign be the saviour of newspapers?

In amongst the criticisms of the new BBC News website, there are several people suggesting that the new design is tempting them to start buying a physical newspaper again. Could the BBC News redesign be the saviour of newspapers?

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We're hiring web people at The Guardian

There are currently some job adverts out for people to join the Guardian News & Media technology and web design teams. We are looking for a product manager, software developers, and a couple of light-to-middleweight web designers. Applications close on July 30th 2010.

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July 19, 2010

The Daily Mail: Campaigning against AND 'giving away' digital radios

The Daily Mail has been a vocal critic of digital radio switchover, but is currently promoting a digital radio giveaway. There is no problem with 'clear blue water' between editorial lines and commercial initiatives, but some of the signposting of the offer online is leading to some awkward juxtapositions.

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George Brock subverts The Times paywall by 'stealing' his own article

George Brock has posted a review on his blog that was commissioned and paid for by The Times in order to circumvent the paywall effect. At The Guardian, thanks to the Open Platform API, he would have been free to republish the content he'd written for the paper at will.

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"Visual note-taking": Eva-Lotta Lamm at London IA

At the last London IA mini-conference, Eva-Lotta Lamm reprised her fantastic talk about visual note-taking, complete with tea-stain sketch drawing exercises and a figure drawing lesson.

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July 16, 2010

Nic Newman, Emily Bell and Peter Barron discuss "#UKelection2010, mainstream media and the role of the internet"

This week Google in London hosted the launch of a study paper by ex-BBC News strategist and journalist Nic Newman entitled "#UKelection2010, mainstream media and the role of the internet: how social and digital media affected the business of politics and journalism". As well as NIc, the evening featured Emily Bell and Peter Barron discussing the findings of the report.

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July 15, 2010

Some Guardian links you may have missed...

Whilst I've been busy having a blogging holiday, watching the World Cup, and fixing up the server that powers currybetdotnet, lots of things happened on the web that I would normally link to. Here is a quick summary of some things of note on The Guardian site that I would have pointed to.

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July 14, 2010

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BBC News redesign: Watching the feedback in real-time

Watching feedback to today's redesign of the BBC News website is another example of how the real-time web is speeding up and changing the product development lifecycle.

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July 13, 2010

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Why I care about the racism of the Daily Express

A furious man jabbing at his newspaper in anger in Walthamstow market today reminded me why I care about the accuracy of our press - and despise the racism of today's Daily Express front page.

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Not being on the net doesn't equal not being read

With a circulation in excess of 500,000, it isn't true to say that just because the paywall has cut off a stream of social media links, that the star columnists of The Times are not being read.

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July 12, 2010

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The 'digital election' and the diminishing role of the 'gatekeeper'

The 2010 General Election did not deliver the 'Internet election' in the way that some pundits predicted. However, the rise of social media tools, particularly those used to counter the more established broadcasting methods of delivering party messages, illustrated again the diminishing power of traditional media 'gatekeepers'.

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Pundits and predictions...the World Cup according to the English press

To celebrate the end of the World Cup, I've made a short video which shows English newspaper front pages going from declaring that England had an "E.A.S.Y." draw, to saying that the players have let their country down. Along the way, it seems like a psychic octopus was outperforming the nation's football pundits. And none of them offered to resign either...

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July 9, 2010

Why tone and context are crucial to better newspaper website comment threads

There has been a lot of debate bubbling away about how to encourage better behaviour in newspaper website comment threads. One of the reasons for poor community behaviour is the fact that a lot of the signals about the tone and context of a newspaper article are lost when they are placed online.

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July 8, 2010

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Saying no to the paywall doesn't mean saying yes to another online newspaper

A lot of media commentators seem to assume that users unwilling to pay for The Times online will simply start reading another newspaper website. Actually, some of them may stop visiting 'newspaper' websites altogether, and the ABCe figures the industry uses as a benchmark won't tell us where they've gone.

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July 7, 2010

5 years on - how the BBC homepage covered the 7/7 London bombings

When suicide bombers attacked the London Underground 5 years ago, I was in charge of the technical delivery of the BBC homepage. During the course of the day I kept a record of how the page was used to convey information to Londoners, setting record levels of streaming media usage in the process.

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