Recent posts in my The Independent Category

June 30, 2011

Toby Young, Johann Hari, “stealth edits” and article metadata

A Storify looking at the timeline of edits on Toby Young’s blog about Johann Hari yesterday, and what they tell us about “stealth edits” and article metadata

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June 28, 2011

“Just to clarify, as a mere amateur blogger, I never make direct quotes up or deliberately misattribute them”

Pride comes before a fall. In the wake of the Johann Hari affair, I boasted that as an amateur blogger I never misattribute quotes. Only, four hours later, to be notified that I had done just that the previous day...

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May 25, 2010

"Real name" comments on news websites - the up and the downside

The Times and The Independent have both made a move to only allowing people to post comments on their site using their real life identities. The theory is that it will drive up the quality of debate. In practice, I do wonder whether they will instead miss out some powerful contributions by users who rely on anonymity in order to be able to tell their stories.

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February 24, 2010

Balloons at Depeche Mode's O2 gig illustrate the difference between 'community' and 'fans'

My colleague Meg Pickard gives a great presentation about the nature of social media, and it includes a slide of three people waiting at a bus stop, with the question 'is this a community?'. At the weekend I had cause to think about the nature of being 'in a community' at Depeche Mode's O2 gig. There is no doubt that I am a big fan of Depeche, and have been for many, many years. I also visit a lot of...
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February 9, 2009

Wireframing the front page: Part 1 - The "homepage"

I've been giving a lot of thought to the way that people navigate through newspaper websites, and it has made me consider the different functions that the homepage and the front page serve. Navigation, for example, is mostly redundant on the printed front page. Occasionally a paper might have something like "Turn to Page 7" to link to the continuation of a story, or a promo for the sports section, but generally the front page functions to sell one major...
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February 8, 2009

The Independent goes Muswell Hill at least

It looks like the credit crunch is beginning to bite around Muswell Hill, and this week we lost our branch of the Fine Burger Company. That didn't deter The Independent's distribution team, however. This week, despite the country grinding to a halt under the weight of the snow, the newspapers have continued to get through to the branch. I suppose it is one way of keeping the bulk distribution numbers up for those all important ABCs. I can't help feeling,...
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February 4, 2009

Navigating newspapers: Part 5 - The 'quality press'

During the course of the last few days I've been publishing a series of posts looking at how 9 leading UK newspaper websites present their navigation to their audience. Yesterday I was looking in-depth at the layouts on the 'red top' and 'middle market' papers. Today I want to look at the online incarnations of the 'quality' press.  The Guardian One of the distinguishing features of navigation from the 'quality press' is the prominence of comment, opinion and columnists in...
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October 21, 2008

Social media: Contextual help on UK newspaper websites

So far in my observations of the use of social bookmarking links on mainstream media sites I have concentrated on the end results - the number of URLs that became popular on a service. Today I wanted to start looking at one aspect of the user interface that media sites provide, namely whether they have any 'contextual help' for users around social bookmarking. Of course, it could be convincingly argued that actually the job of 'contextual help' here is...
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May 6, 2008

'Sorry - this page cannot be found': How newspapers handle 404 errors - Part 2

A comment when I started my recent 'Newspaper Site Search Smackdown' series of posts prompted me to go and have a look at which British newspapers use sitemap.xml files. As it turned out, it was only the Daily Mail and The Scotsman which I noticed, although The Telegraph and The Mirror and Metro have them as well. It meant that I got to have a close look at the 404 error pages generated by the others. I thought it might...
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April 9, 2008

Newspaper "Site Search Smackdown": Round 2 - The Telegraph vs The Independent

I'm running a series of smackdowns between British newspaper site search engines, to test how fresh their indexing is. Yesterday, in Round 1, The Daily Mail had the edge over The Sun. The Mail had 9 of their top 10 headlines indexed and findable via search by 9am - The Sun was left in their wake with only half of their top 10 stories in their index. Today it is the turn of The Telegraph and The Independent. The...
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February 18, 2008

Reviewing The Independent's re-design for the Press Gazette

I had another piece appear in the Press Gazette a week or so a go, in their 'Expert Eye' column, looking at the recent web re-design by The Independent. I'm broadly approving of the new design, and certainly see it as a major step forward for a newspaper that earned a scathing review in my 'How Web 2.0 are British newspapers?' series last year. The site is more visually appealing, with a greater emphasis it seems on opinion and comment....
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November 12, 2007

How accessible are Britain's online newspapers? Part 5 - The Independent

Last week I started a series of posts testing British newspaper websites against various accessibility standards and issues. So far I've looked at The Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and The Guardian. Today it is the turn of The Independent. Text resize The Independent appears to be almost almost alone amongst the major newspapers in the UK in having a stylesheet 'widget' on the page to allow users to adjust the size of the text that they are viewing...
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July 28, 2007

A tour of Tour De France news sites - Abandons: CNN, The Times and The Independent

Since my exposure to live coverage of the Tour De France in Greece has been restricted to occasionally popping down to a nearby bar which shows Eurosport on satellite, I've mostly been following the now drugs-tainted 2007 edition on the internet. This week I've been reviewing the sites that I have been using, and have so far looked at the official site, state and semi-state broadcasters France 24 and The BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and Eurosport's online partnership with...
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June 12, 2007

The Independent's confusing use of timestamps

Whilst doing the research for my lengthy series about the "Web 2.0" features on British newspaper websites, I came across quite a few quirks on them that didn't fit into the main set of articles, but that I wanted to point out anyway. The Independent's site didn't get a good review from me - particularly their blogs - and there was another thing I found bewildering about their technical implementation - their use of time-stamps. On articles on The Independent's...
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May 1, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: How Web 2.0 is The Independent?

Over the last week-and-a-bit I've been studying how British newspapers have adopted so-called Web 2.0 technologies and services on their websites - things like RSS feeds, blogs, user generated comments, and social bookmarking widgets. So far I've looked at The Express, The Times, The Mirror, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Today I want to look at The Independent, a paper that has recently been much criticised for their lack of investment in their web site and adopting a cautious...
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May 11, 2005

Listening to iPods can make you deaf

A wonderfully sensationalist front page splash from the Standard today to point out what man has known since the invention of the headphones, that listening to music loudly for a long time damages your hearing.    It wasn't quite clear from the article what was so product specific about this type of hearing damage to warrant billboards proclaiming "IPOD HEALTH ALERT". Maybe the Standard knows that the AAC compression recommended by Apple emits additional ear-destroying sonic frequencies which other mp3...
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March 21, 2005

The Independent on Sunday's sense of fair play

Yesterday The Independent on Sunday led with a story claiming "Howard stirs race row with attack on Gypsies", citing: an advertisement on page 8 of this newspaper Having been happy to take the party's money and run the advert, in what I am sure must have been a total coincidence caused by the layout of other stories in the paper, the continuation of the front page story ended up on page 9. Which just happened to mean that the full-page...
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February 11, 2005

Here is the news you may have missed

A very sharp front page from The Independent today. Although not as dry as the Bristol Evening Post's take on yesterdays events: Tetbury Man To Wed...
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July 14, 2004

London Phone Codes "Change"

Today's print Daily Mail screams that London is getting its umpteenth telephone code in so many years. Using digit graphics in case you don't get the point. As has been admirably pointed out by 2lmc amongst others, the London code hasn't changed - and Ofcom themselves were pretty clear about that being the case. It remains the three digits 020. When the code changed last time it was just that for convenience all the exchange numbers started with a 7...
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January 20, 2004

When lack of standards compliance makes the news

Yesterday I noticed a feature in The Independent which had escaped my attention before - "Sport On The Internet" by Andy Oldfield. Shamelessly it was the word "blogging" that attracted my eye. He was examining the presence of the World Rally Championship and Rugby League World Sevens on the web. Along the way he took in Motorsport Mayhem from the Blogging Network, praising the concept, but questioning the potential popularity of the pricing model. And observing that: "...many blogs...
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October 15, 2003

Sky's the limit for the tabloid Independent

A little bit of The Independent's editorial grabbed me today - "Sky's the limit" - for two reasons. Firstly, it was one of those articles that was happily kicking a TV channel for falling viewer share without looking into some of the underlying market reasons. But the bit that got my attention most was their listing of the channels "BBC 1, 2, 3 and 4". It was the first time I have noticed them listed in UK media print...
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