4 new things on Guardian.co.uk this week(-ish)
It has been a very busy couple of weeks at Guardian Towers, with the release of linked data into our API, an evening event discussing "Search at The Guardian", a packed news agenda, and lots of other interesting initiatives and launches. Here are four that caught my eye:
A new 'Info' section
The corporate information / help / miscellaneous / other section of a website is always of necessity a little dull, but I'm pleased that we've had a long overdue revamp of this type of content on Guardian.co.uk. A new front page (featuring Matthew Weaver's bike) brings it all together, and we've got all the content into the new CMS and away from the old R1 templates for the first time.
I wrote a couple of pages myself, which were thankfully subbed into proper English, including a section on how search engines work, in which I was pleased to be able to reference Vannevar Bush's concept of the Memex and the genius of Professor Karen Spärk Jones.
Blogging and commenting guidelines
On the new info site, the thing that seemed to grab the most attention externally was the publication of our journalist blogging and commenting guidelines. I believe they are a very succinct description of the kind of 'rules of engagement' that would have helped the Washington Post recently.
And probably a little bit more useful as skills for journalists today than the ability to open an email attachment.
Be the Chancellor cuts interactive
I saw Alastair Dant talking at Hacks/Hackers on Wednesday, and during the early part of the week I saw how much pressure he was under to get his slides finished and deliver a brilliant interactive that allowed Guardian readers to explore the different ways that they could implement the cuts imposed by the coalition government.
It sparked a good discussion below the line - including a couple of people bemoaning that it was a superficial way to treat the issue, as if it had been the only thing on Guardian.co.uk looking at the issue of cuts. Still, the person who pointed out that co-opting the chancellor's trust fund into the equation was a missing option may have had a point...
(And I do still intend to publish my notes from Alastair's talk as soon as I get a chance to collate them)
Cutswatch in Leeds
Cutswatch in Leeds is doing, to my mind, three interesting things. Firstly it is one of the first fruits of the 'Special Projects Editor' role held by Paul Lewis. Secondly it is experimenting with using Ushahidi. And thirdly it is tapping into the network and contacts built up by our Guardian Local blog in Leeds over the last year or so. Having spent a good few months working on the local blogs project last year, I was genuinely thrilled to see John Baron getting a byline in print in the paper, and a partnership taking his local beat reporting into the national arena.