Recent posts in my The Times Category

January 19, 2013

The Times survey their subscribers. Digital only subscribers need not apply.

The Times is surveying subscribers in order to “improve the products and services we offer to our customers”. They’ve designed the survey in a way that excludes digital customers.

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November 21, 2012

“Making The Times digital” - Lucia Adams at Online Information

Lucia is Digital Development Editor at The Times, and at Online Information she was outlining the journey of a 200 year old newspaper publisher into multi-platform publishing. Here are my notes from the session.

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June 13, 2012

My quick opinion of the Times Opinion on Tumblr

The Times new Opinion Tumblr doesn’t signal a retreat from the paywall - if anything, it potentially raises the “value for money” that customers think they are getting.

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July 21, 2011

The Times iPhone app review - a thumbs up from me

I suspect that most blog posts about News International this week will be on another topic, but I’ve been reviewing The Times iPhone app. Here are a few of the things I’ve noticed and liked or disliked.

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July 19, 2011

“Live: Someone is dead” - how CMS software can damage the news UX

I posted a screengrab to Tumblr last night of the headline from The Times website which unfortunately managed to follow the formula “Live: Someone is dead”. I think it is the perfect example of something that wouldn’t be allowed to happen in print, but which hits a magic Venn diagram intersection of technology, editorial and information architecture allowing it to happen digitally.

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March 29, 2011

A peek behind the scenes at the design process of The Times' Eureka app at Hacks/Hackers London

At Hacks/Hackers London last week Design Editor Matt Curtis and Picture Editor Madeleine Penny from Eureka, the science magazine app from The Times, gave a brilliant presentation about how they had gone about developing it for the iPad.

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September 14, 2010

Notes from last night's Hacks/Hackers meet-up in London

Last night I went to my first London Hacks/Hackers meet-up. Since I'm technically neither a hack nor a hacker, I was a little worried that I would be rumbled as an imposter and blackballed, but I think I got away with it. Jonathan Richards and Julian Burgess of The Times were presenting "The dos and don'ts of starting to code", and Chewy was presenting a wide range of products and tips from Google.

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August 18, 2010

Lack of hyperlinks exposes the news industry's legacy workflow systems

Part of the reason that there is still a debate is due to the newspaper industry's unique legacy production systems and workflows. The only viable solution would seem to be a radical re-working of the priorities of newsrooms around the UK.

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August 4, 2010

Even in the 21st century, Sherlock still takes The Times

Given that Conan-Doyle's Sherlock Holmes was a regular reader of The Times, it was perhaps no surprise that the news website that the 21st century BBC Sherlock was using looked more than a little familiar.

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August 3, 2010

The Times and The Sunday Times learning about having 'customers' not 'readers'

I was dreading making the phone call to cancel my trial subscription to The Times' paywall, expecting to be made to jump through hoops. Instead, I was surprised by just how good the customer service was. It seems that The Times and The Sunday Times are making the transition from just having 'readers' to having 'customers'.

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August 2, 2010

Has the paywall protected AA Gill from wider criticism?

The row over AA Gill's review of Clare Balding's new show has been simmering all week, eventually reaching the front page of The Guardian on Saturday. What is intriguing is that this is the first time a Times or Sunday Times piece has been embroiled in a big controversy since the paywall was erected.
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July 26, 2010

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 19, 2010

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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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 13, 2010

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 8, 2010

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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June 2, 2010

Whitehaven shootings illustrate the Facebook 'Like' problem for news

Online coverage of the Whitehaven shootings illustrate why the Facebook 'like' button is unsuitable for generic use on all news stories.

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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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May 5, 2010

The digital general election - online design slideshow and video

During the course of the election campaign I've been making a gallery of screenshots of online news coverage, with a particular focus on the design of interactive tools and maps. I've put them together into a Flickr set, and made a short video compilation of them.

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January 29, 2010

African Cup of Nations online coverage review: Part 4 - British and American online newspapers

I started this series looking at some of the British press coverage in print of the African Cup of Nations, and today I wanted to look a little bit further at online coverage in the main papers. My impression - and this is an unscientific one - is that there has been more coverage of the tournament than in previous years. I think this is in part because it allows news organisations to gear up for covering another football...
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October 27, 2009

How to make friends and influence people in The Guardian office this morning...

...use the nice new Oystercard wallet that The Times were giving away outside Kings Cross station last night....
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October 26, 2009

Live-blogging the BNP on Question Time across the web

Live-blogging the BNP on Question Time
A look at how newspapers and political blogs covered Nick Griffin's BBC appearance online.

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October 22, 2009

Times 7am offer short-changed by odd marketing short-code?

If you've been on the tube in London recently, you'll probably have noticed a big marketing push by The Times going on at the moment. One of the components is an opportunity to get the paper delivered to your door before 7am if you live within the M25 area. One thing I noticed about the campaign - they have an easy to remember URL for the offer: There is also a SMS shortcode, which asks you to send the...
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August 11, 2009

"Bang Bang" - What B.A. Robertson can teach the news industry about the price of scarcity

With varying announcements about potential future paid-for-content models from the FT and News International titles, there has been a resurgence in the debate about getting people to pay for visiting newspaper websites. Malcolm Coles yesterday wrote a great blog post looking at ways that News International could succeed in monetising their content. I think it addresses a lot of issues and niche content that does exist, that the naysayers of the 'information wants to be free' crowd tend to sweep...
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May 28, 2009

Newspapers on the go - The Times and The Telegraph

Back in March The Guardian launched a specifically formatted mobile version of the site at At the time I thought it might be worth having a quick poke around to see what other newspapers in the UK were doing with their sites in the mobile space. Since then it seems that I've been at so many different digital media and journalism events or gigs that I never got round to blogging about what I saw. Here are some of...
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February 13, 2009

Wireframing the front page: Part 4 - The Times

This week I've been looking at various ways of comparing the newspaper printed front page with their online equivalents. Yesterday I looked closely at the Daily Mail and the Mail Online, and today I want to look at The Times.  The Times We can see a big contrast here between The Times print and web incarnations. 72% of the surface area of the printed front page is given over to carrying stories. By contrast, only a quarter of the online...
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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 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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July 6, 2008

Invading copyright is just a game for The Times

The Times had an online feature at the weekend celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the Space Invaders game that did so much to popularise electronic arcade gaming when I was a youngster. Embedded in the feature was a widget allowing you to replay your wasted youth. This is, of course, the forward thinking kind of use of multimedia on newspaper websites that I would usually be full of praise for. There was just one teensy problem. The opening screen of...
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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 11, 2008

Newspaper "Site Search Smackdown": Round 4 - The Daily Express vs The Times

I'm running a series of smackdowns between British newspaper site search engines, to test how fresh their indexing is. The Daily Mail triumphed over The Sun in Round 1, and in Round 2, The Independent emerged victorious over The Telegraph, getting a perfect 10 out of 10 in the process. Yesterday was a low scoring Round 3, with The Guardian just edging out The Mirror, by 7 points to 6. Today I'll be finishing off the inter-newspaper contests with...
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March 31, 2008

Google hijacks traffic from newspaper site search

There has been a controversy over the last couple of weeks about Google's introduction of 'Search in search' boxes. For some large web properties who appear at #1 for their brand name, Google has been adding a search box underneath their listing, allowing users to refine their search to get results for just the one domain. Amazon and Flickr are a couple of examples of where this has been introduced, although Amazon seem to have got the feature squashed. I...
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January 20, 2008

The ripples of the Zahopoulos scandal reach The Times

I mentioned last week the Zahopoulos scandal - or Maximougate as people keep calling it here. There have been fresh developments in Greece daily. Last weekend a Sunday paper published some still images from the sex DVD that allegedly features the Culture Mininstry official Christos Zahopoulus, who tried to commit suicide before Christmas. Now, the two owners of the paper in question - Proto Thema - have fallen out over allegations that one of them was promised that, if the...
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November 23, 2007

Not qualifying for Euro2008 - as it happened in Greece

I already had one Euro2008 slap in the face when UEFA didn't grant me any tickets to return to Salzburg to watch a couple of games staged in a place where, this time last year, I was living. And then there was the Croatia game. The comedy of errors here in Crete was nowhere near as bad as Scott Carson's competitive debut, but I thought I should share. According to the Athens News, Greek channel ΝΕΤ were showing the...
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November 15, 2007

How accessible are Britain's online newspapers? Part 8 - The Times

I've been looking at how accessible British newspaper websites are, testing the most popular online papers against a set of criteria. So far I've looked at the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Guardian, Independent, The Sun and The Telegraph. Today, I'm looking at the accessibility of The Times website. Text resize The Times, along with The Mirror and The Guardian was one of only 3 out of the 8 newspapers I tested who allowed users to resize their text...
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October 17, 2007

Telegraph nails England Rugby World Cup Final colours to their mast(head)

By the time Saturday comes around, I suspect you won't be able to move in England for printed supplements about the England teams appearance in the Rugby World Cup Final in Paris. In the meantime, the war for the nation's patriotic attention is being played out online. Even with the distraction of this afternoon's crunch Euro2008 qualifier against Russia in a different type of football, most of the newspapers online have lots of Rugby World Cup features, and 'Rugby'...
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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 27, 2007

Times Online WBLG oddity

Whilst I was doing my recent survey of the Web 2.0 features on British newspaper websites I spotted one or two quirks which I wanted to highlight. The Times has a very curious approach to putting titles to their blog feeds. For some reason, as well as the bizarre CSS in their recent redesign, it seems someone decided they needed to append 'WBLG' to the title of every weblog. Occasionally I spotted the odd variation where weblog was written out...
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June 1, 2007

Who benefits financially from the Madeleine McCann publicity juggernaut?

I noticed towards the end of this week that, alongside the rumours of journalist frolics in Portugal whilst following the Madeleine McCann case, a couple of columnists have broken rank with the default position of their newspaper. Today on The Time's site Stefanie Marsh has been called "a very lonely, sad, selfish person" for her piece "I confess: I have not been agonising about Madeleine". There has been disquiet expressed in the Telegraph, and yesterday it was Amanda Platell...
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May 4, 2007

The Times RSS feeds are broken

When I reviewed The Times web site the other week, I was generally complimentary about it, and the site's overall provision of RSS feeds, even if I was a little bit unhappy that they were not using the standard orange RSS icon. However, my qualms about the blue "Newsfeed" logo are nothing compared to something I discovered this afternoon when doing some more research on newspaper RSS feeds. The Times RSS feeds are broken. Badly. I don't know whether this...
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April 24, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: How Web 2.0 is The Times?

I've been doing a survey of British newspaper websites, looking at the extent to which they have incorporated and promote the clutch of technologies that power the Web 2.0 concept - things like RSS feeds, social bookmarking widgets, and blogging platforms. Yesterday I started the series with a look at the Daily Express, and today I want to look at another newspaper that recently redesigned their online presence, The Times. RSS feeds The Times, like the Daily Express, is...
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March 5, 2005

Don't talk to me anymore!

It hasn't been the easiest of months for the BBC's online communities. Late last month it was announced that a swathe of the message boards on the drama and entertainment areas of the site were to be closed. It prompted an outcry amongst the users which even graced the pages of The Times: They are members of one of the country's most clandestine communities. Predominantly female and in many cases highly educated, they have gathered - unbeknown even to their...
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January 10, 2005

William Rees-Mogg in The Times on Jerry Springer and Muslims

William Rees-Mogg wrote an opinion piece on the "Jerry Springer furoreTM" in The Times today, which includes his belief that the production breaks the current law on blasphemy: The Director-General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, is quoted as saying: "I'm a practising Christian but there is nothing in this I perceive to be blasphemous." As the second act shows Eve fondling Jesus's genitals, while Jesus suffers from an infantile complex and is dressed in nappies, most people would take a...
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January 30, 2004

BBC staff place advert in The Telegraph

The Times are reporting the collection raised by BBC staff today to place an advert in tomorrow's edition of The Telegraph after what has happened to the corporation this week. According to The Times the text for the advert reads: "Greg Dyke stood for brave, independent BBC journalism that was fearless in its search for the truth. We are resolute that the BBC should not step back from its determination to investigate the facts in pursuit of the truth....
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