Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.
Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.
From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.
Kevin: The US Congressional Budget Office now has a blog, and they have released their estimates for H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more popularly known as Barack Obama's stimulus bill. Useful information about the fiscal impact of the proposed stimulus. Just waiting for some data-driven mashup fun. Where is the money going? What sectors of the economy? What is the impact of the US deficit?
Kevin: This is a good roundup and response to the idea floated recently that newspapers be funded by endowment. Zach Seward looks at the economic issues, which aren't trivial. He also quotes Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo who says: "In my experience, and I get criticized for saying this sometimes, at the [nonprofit] magazine that I worked for before I started TPM, the fact that our continued existence was not based on size or interest level of our readership allowed us to be cut off and not particularly in touch with what our readership had a fine interest in. I think that was not just bad in business terms, but much more importantly, bad in journalistic terms."
Kevin: Stephen Fry has seen a massive spike in his Twitter following probably due to his recent Twitter evangelism on the Jonathan Ross show. He lays down some ground rules with humour, grace and wit. This is actually a good start for house rules, at least in tone, for a range of social media services. I'll keep this handy, although it would take me years to reach his number of followers. But I will remember his pleasant greeting to his new followers: "Welcome to my twitterworld, I am delighted to have you as a follower. Let’s enjoy ourselves and to hell with those who don’t get it."
Kevin: David Westphal at the Knight Digital Media Center says: "Could newspapers and local broadcasters begin seeking philanthropic support from the civic foundations and private donors that are starting to bankroll news non-profits? It appears entirely likely. With for-profit media watching their news-gathering resources dwindle, some editors say they're open to the idea of seeking help from donors."
Kevin: I've often that there is value in helping people see the connections between things. The intersections and inter-relations are very important to understanding the big picture. I'm sure that we'll see more services like this.
Kevin: Interesting concept of pitting liberal and conservative commenters against each other, letting them set the topic and having other commenters vote on who wins. It could be a moderation nightmare, but at the moment, it seems mostly civil, but dominated by liberal commenters.
Kevin: Cory Bergman at Lost Remote has an excellent summary of the Seattle Council debate over the future of newspapers as the Seattle PI is just weeks away from possibly ceasing operations. Cory says: "The vast majority of the discussion missed the point, straying into common misconceptions and old-school thinking about journalism in a new connected world." And he quotes Tracy Record from WestSeattleBlog.com who told the council, "newspapers are a delivery model. What needs saving is journalism, not newspapers."
Kevin: I think this post slightly overstates the death of email at least from the data that it quotes. It also seem to conflate the reading of marketing emails with the use of email as a form of communication. Millenials do use email. The stats quoted in the post say it's their second most used form of communication. They just don't respond to email marketing.
Kevin: A plan to save newspapers. "Turn them into nonprofit, endowed institutions — like colleges and universities." I'm not sure about this. I think that one of the problems with newspapers is that they aren't connected with communities. Insulating them from profit-loss might make the journalism loftier but also more irrelevant. Having said, having worked for the BBC and now the Guardian, having some insulation from market fluctuations has its benefits.
Kevin: Henry Blodget of the Silicon Insider says: "George Soros just predicted that the global economic collapse could end up being worse than the Great Depression. How do we know? Because Reuters' editor in chief, David Schlesinger, Twittered the speech live from Davos. Journalism evolves!"
Kevin: You'll have to download a PDF, but it's an interesting look at Barack Obama's use of social media. "Although the Obama campaign was revolutionary in some respects, it ultimately used the same
tools that many campaigns had previously employed. However, the campaign did everything
incrementally better than its competitors." Pay special attention to the section on mobile.
Kevin: An interesting analysis (much of which I agree with) about the upcoming report by Andrew Currah from the Reuters Institute about journalism. "This report is not without value, but as an analysis of how newspapers are dealing with the transition online it doesn’t really offer an fresh insights."
Kevin: Straight shooting from Dan Gillmor who watched and blogged about the housing bubble from one of the centres of the catastrophe, California. He writes: "Our government's current operating principle seems to be bailing out people who were culpable in the financial meltdown. If so, journalists are surely entitled to billions of dollars.
Why? Journalists were grossly deficient when it came to covering the reckless behavior, sleaze and willful ignorance of fundamental economics, much of which was reasonably obvious to anyone who was paying attention, that inflated the housing and credit bubbles of the past decade."
Kevin: Tim Windsor interrogates the statement: "Newspaper revenue dollars become online pennies." He says that it's not just down to inertia from advertisers or a lack of imagination at newspapers. He also attributes the lower revenue rates to a loss of scarcity. A post worth reading the comments on as well.
Kevin: Wilson Miner talks about the progress that the EveryBlock has made in its first year. "There are lots of ways to measure how far we’ve come since that first day. We launched in three cities, and today we cover eleven cities across the U.S. We started with 37 types of data, and today we have more than 130 unique data types, with 602 different sources of news and blogs alone."
Kevin: Laura Oliver reports: "Flat Earth News author and journalist Nick Davies called upon journalists to be ‘whistleblowers on our own newsrooms’…Exposing flaws in managements’ running of newsrooms and putting state aid into the hands of journalists and not corporations would help provide a practical solution to a financial problem, he added."
Kevin: The US government collects and publishes mountains of data that are easily used for these types of visualisations. The Obama administration will release most of the content from WhiteHouse.gov under public domain and licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. I wonder whether this will drive even more open data publication by the US government.
Kevin: "The Washington Post today is launching Who Runs Gov, a site primarily made up of a database of personalities in the United States government. If you're looking for info on your state's senator or representative, or details about a cabinet or high-ranking military official, it looks like the site could be a valuable resource." It's a wiki running on MindTouch. Edits will not go live until approved by Washington Post staff.
Kevin: The UK National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear suggested at the Oxford Media Conference that content aggregators should be subject to levies. Laura Oliver of Journalism.co.uk reports: "Dear said the union is opposed to state aid for local media and the relaxation of local media regulation rules, but would consider introducing a levy for those who ‘do not produce content, but live off the back of those who do’."
I collect media stories here on Strange Attractor. Would I be subject to such a levy?
Kevin: Daniel X. O'Neil of Everyblock.com says: "Today President Obama issued two eloquent orders with the following subject lines: "Freedom of Information Act" and "Transparency and Open Government". Published on the first full day of his presidency, they constitute a sweeping manifesto about how he wants to govern at the Federal level. Those leading municipal government in this country– mayors, commissioners, and department heads– would do well to read closely. Change is coming."
Kevin: A very interesting look at some of the social media elements in Barack Obama's campaign. Lots of good figures showing the difference in use and also of uptake by Obama and McCain supporters. I do believe that Obama's outreach helped ensure that his young supporters went to the polls. And in North Carolina and Indiana, voters under 30 were decisive in the result.
Kevin: H/T to my Guardian colleague Jack Schofield, who says: "Would like to see some UK examples of twitmapping.)" Some really interesting trends in this map showing network of Twitters in US Congress. There are more Republicans than Democrats, which is surprising seeing the attention that Obama and the Dems got for their digital efforts in the last election.
Kevin: h/t to markemedia on Delicious. "Twitter is becoming an important source of Internet traffic for many sites, and the amount of traffic it sends to other websites has increased 30-fold over the last 12 months. Almost 10% of Twitter’s downstream traffic goes to News and Media websites, and BBC News is currently the seventh most popular site visited after Twitter. A further 17.6% of traffic goes to entertainment websites, while 14.6% goes to social networks, 6.6% to blogs and 4.5% to online retailers. As a source of traffic Twitter is still in its infancy, but it is becoming more important every day. A number of news sites, blogs, and video and picture websites already rely on Twitter for a significant amount of their traffic."
Kevin: Mitch Ratcliffe at ZDNet breaks down the economics of 'great journalism' and comes up with the figure of $180,000 to support a great journalist, a journalist who is doing original reporting. It's an interesting read. When I read posts like this, I'd like to see a breakdown of staffing positions and roles in journalism organisations. He also looks at other ways to support these journalists including fees from readers. There will be a lot of talk about this in 2009 as more news organisations fail.
Kevin: Mathew Ingram, who has been the communities editor at The Globe and Mail in Toronto, has a new job with the Nieman Journalism Lab. He writes: "To many people, this may seem like a terrible time to be a newspaper journalist. After all, newspapers are closing up shop, shutting down their print editions, filing for bankruptcy, and generally sliding deeper and deeper into irrelevance, aren’t they? Well, yes and no. Yes, a major newspaper — the Christian Science Monitor — recently decided to stop printing a daily edition, and yes, Tribune Co. has filed for bankruptcy, saddled by billions of dollars in debt. Other papers are struggling financially as well, including the venerable New York Times. Does all of this fill me with gloom? Not at all." Congratulations Mathew.
Kevin: Tip of the Hat to crew at The Bivings Report for passing this along. The New York Times policy on Facebook and social networking, whether using them for personal use or reporting, is interesting. The reality is that personal and professional lines are less clear cut than they once were.
Kevin: Sarah Granger writes: "Whitehouse.gov did actually receive a facelift near the end of the Bush administration; no longer was the blog neglected and the site flat. Although it had held videos and audio feeds for a while, finally it seemed like a website worthy of 2008. But when the switch was flipped to by the Obama administration, it took on a whole new look. Welcome to open source government and a new era of government engagement online."
Kevin: Barack Obama's Technology, Innovation and Government Reform team talk about how they were working to remake government and governance using technology. It's worth watching regardless of the business you're in.
Kevin: You can have a bit of play with the GeoEye inauguration satellite image. "This satellite image of the National Mall was taken on Inauguration Day at 11:19 a.m. Click and drag to pan around the image. Use the buttons below the image or the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out."
TimeSpace one of those things that I do wonder who will use this and whether it was promoted enough on the front page. I like it, but I am always keen to see if this is something that appeals to a wider audience. I do believe that the geo-tagging elements that they have added have a wider application. The inauguration really highlighted a lot of new ways of showing this historic event. I’ll be interested to see what projects were one-offs and which ones have staying power.
President Barack Obama has already begun his first day in office, but it’s interesting to look back at his transition, which has won praise in Washington as one of the most organised and disciplined in history. During his transition, he launched a website, change.gov to not only outline his policies but also to seek input. This video is worth watching. Technology and change is challenging for any organisation whether you’re in the business of governing a country or running a news service. Obama’s Technology, Innovation and Government Reform talk about how they faced these challenges.