Ada Lovelace Day

About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

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.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

Email Suw

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

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.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

Find out how a large pharma company uses dark blogs (behind the firewall) to gather and disseminate competitive intelligence material.


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All content © Kevin Anderson and/or Suw Charman

Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The First Amendment, a great welcome back

Posted by Kevin Anderson



The First Amendment, originally uploaded by Kevglobal.

I’ve left some of the details purposefully vague for reasons that I hope are obvious.

A couple of years ago, I was in Russia working with a newspaper for the Media Development Investment Fund. While there, the publisher of the newspaper asked me to speak to her daughter’s university journalism class. I love talking to students about journalism so I quickly said yes.

A few hours before I was supposed to speak, the publisher took a phone. Russians have this singular ability to express displeasure without saying words. The publisher simply said in response to whatever was being said, “Awrrooo, awwrrrooo, awwrrooo,” was all I heard in her husky alto.

She got off the phone and had a quick chat with my Russian colleague. My colleague said, “The FSB has noticed you are here.” The FSB is the Russian Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB. The students had been talking about me on vKontakte, one of Russia’s most popular social networks, and they had called the dean of the journalism school.

My colleague continued, “They say, ‘Who is this Guardian guy. Why you no tell us?’”

My colleague tried to calm me down and told me not to worry. “Don’t worry. Last time Danish guy only detained for two days,” she said. I wasn’t comforted. I didn’t really care about being detained, well much, but it was Suw’s mother’s birthday the following Sunday. Suw is very particular about birthdays, especially the not missing part of them. At the moment I was more worried about that then the FSB, which I was pretty sure wouldn’t really care that much about me. However, in an abundance of caution, I let Suw know what was happening, and I told her to put the American embassy in Moscow on speed dial.

The publisher made a phone call to someone she thought had connections to the FSB, who could smooth things over. It must have worked because a few hours later, I was at the university speaking to a packed room of students in the international journalism programme.

I gave the presentation that I had intended to give about the changing world of journalism and the opportunities open for young journalists, and then I opened up the floor to questions. A few questions in, one student asked, “If you had to choose between writing a story critical of the government and going to jail, which would you choose?”

I quickly scanned the room, with the tune “One of these things does not belong” going through head. I was looking for the FSB agents or agents. No one jumped out, but I still took a moment to think carefully of what I was about to say. I simply said that thankfully I had never had to make that decision, and in fact, in Britain, if you didn’t criticise the government, you would face criticism not from the government but from your peers.

Things went pretty smoothly after that, but near the end, one of the students asked, “Would you care to comment on the press situation in Russia?” I looked at my colleague before responding, “No,” with a bit of a laugh. The room, fortunately, laughed with me. The student persisted, and I relented. I collected my thoughts, and then I said, “I am an American, who has worked in the US and the UK. For the past seven years, I’ve worked mostly in the UK. I miss the First Amendment every single day.”

As I said a few weeks back, I have come back to the US to take up an executive editor position overseeing a couple of newspapers. The picture above is from the stairs leading up to the newsroom of the Herald-Times-Reporter in Manitowoc Wisconsin, one of the two newspapers. When I saw the First Amendment written on the wall, it was a great welcome, back to the US and back into a newsroom.

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Leveson: Should there limits to freedom of the press?

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

I am a journalist who believes deeply in the mission of journalism. Democracies need strong, independent news organisations to help maintain free societies, but as I think about whether Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations, I think of what American Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote:

Without a free press there can be no free society. That is axiomatic. However, freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of a free society. The scope and nature of the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of the press are to be viewed and applied in that

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

2012 US Election: Irritating, expensive and precious

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

This is the first US presidential election that I haven’t covered in the US since 1992, and while it hasn’t been my primarily focus this autumn, I’ve still followed the race very intently. Occasionally, I’ve even done a bit of analysis for The Guardian and also for a project for Mick Fealty of Slugger O’ Toole fame. However, after covering 2000 and 2004 for the BBC and then 2008 for The Guardian, this has definitely been watching the race from afar. 

Some things haven’t changed, or really have got much worse. The permanent campaign that began back in the Clinton era

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Whither hyperlocal? Still in search of sustainability

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

During this period of disruption and transition, we journalists wring our hands about any number of things, and I suppose the thing I do genuinely worry about is local news. I’m not alone, and it’s spawned a huge number of hyperlocal experiments. At the risk of sounding pessimistic, most of these experiments have failed to develop into sustainable models for the future. At SXSW in the US, they had a panel looking called the “Hyperlocal Hoax: Where’s the Holy Grail?” The intro to the panel said:

Over the last decade, so called “Hyperlocal” websites, apps and services have been “the

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Ada Lovelace Day 2012 fundraiser and events

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

Ada Lovelace Day, the international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering & maths that I launched in 2009, has gone from strength to strength in the last three years. I’ve been amazed at how much support it’s garnered and how much enthusiasm there is for it.

This year, it has become really clear to me that there’s a lot more that I could do with Ada Lovelace Day, if only we had a bit of cash to pay for it. Since its inception, Ada Lovelace Day has been run entirely by volunteers and by partnering with organisations like

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Digital first: We need to inspire change not just fear

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

Last week, the Journal Register Company announced their second bankruptcy in three years and I said on Twitter that I worried that digital first, as a strategy rather than the name of JRC’s parent company, was losing any positive connotation for journalists.

Like a similar comment I made about Advance/Newhouse Newspapers digital first strategy in cutting its print production days, my thoughts on the matter have a lot more nuance

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Digital advertising does pay, just not for newspapers, yet

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

Last week, WAN-IFRA said what many of us in digital journalism have known for a while, that we’re losing the battle for attention. They said that digital news audiences lack the same “intensity” of print audiences. Put simply, digital audiences are less loyal and spend less time with each digital news source. WAN-IFRA CEO Christoph Riess has put the problem this way:

We are not losing readers, we are losing readership. Our industry challenge is engagement. Because someone is a subscriber does not make him a loyalist.

Several people in the industry have been trying to raise the alarm for

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

A data first digital strategy?

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

Every once and a while reading comments on a good blog is rewarded. I’m an avid reader of Alan Mutter’s Reflections of a Newsosaur. His recent post on Big Data is well worth reading.

To date, publishers have applied the same business model to everything from print and the web to the latest mobile and social platforms: Build the biggest possible audience.

This approach, unfortunately, is exactly at odds with the point of Big Data, whose goal is to connect individuals with information specifically tailored to them.

The quicker Big Data applications develop, the faster the large but un-targetable audiences traditionally delivered

Friday, July 20th, 2012

US humourist skewers newspaper industry

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

Editor & Publisher interviewed US humourist and syndicated newspaper columnist Dave Berry after he won 2013 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement award, and the interview was excerpted on the blog Newspaper Death Watch. When asked why newspapers have cut down on their humour columns, Berry responded:

Newspapers have had a consistent problem over the past 30 to 40 years that whenever they are offered two options, they always pick the one that is more boring and less desirable to readers.

Personally, I attribute the modern failure of newspapers to English majors. We let our business be run by English majors, but

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Leveson: Freedom of expression and the press are different rights

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Strange Attractor has now permanently moved to charman-anderson.com. Please pop over there to to read and comment on the full version of this post. Thank you!

Professor Chris Frost, the Head of Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University, has testified before the Leveson inquiry “in in his role as Chairman of the National Union of Journalists Ethics Council, alongside NUJ General Secretary, Michelle Stanistreet”, and I think he raised a point that is important not only with respect to the press corruption scandal in Britain but also in a lot of other debates that we’re currently having in terms of rights and responsibilities in democratic societies. I’ve heard a number of times recently people confuse freedom of the press with freedom of speech or of expression. These are