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, 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

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

NewspaperAlum: There is life after journalism

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!

As I’ve often written here, I feel very blessed by how rich and rewarding my career has been after taking a buyout from the Guardian in 2010. I’ve travelled the world, working with journalism organisations and journalists to help them seize their digital future, and that prepared me for my current as the editor of Knowledge Bridge, a project of the Media Development Loan Fund, to help news organisations in emerging democracies make the transition to digital media. 

With all of the turmoil in the industry, I often speak with former colleagues and friends in the business who are facing

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

MailOnline’s Martin Clarke: “Ooh, look at the badger with the gun, everyone!”

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!

Index on Censorship examines the question, posed by MailOnline editor Martin Clarke, How does the Leveson Enquiry deal with the internet? But it misses the point that Clarke’s focus on the internet is simply diversionary tactics, designed to draw attention away from press conduct and point the finger at, well, it seems, pretty much everyone who’s ever used a social tool.

Said Clarke in his evidence:

Underpinning any press regulator as a statutory body effectively gives the state the power to licence newspapers and penalise ones that either do not join the body or ignore its rules. The only way

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Digital journalists: We need to build a digital ‘lifeboat’ for the burning platform

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!

As Twitter users, we all find ourselves occasionally saying: This is a > 140 character discussion and, over Friday night, I found myself in one with Dan Pacheco, a fellow digital journalist in the US whom I know by reputation but have never met. I know of Dan through some of the great work that he did at Bakersfield California developing a very excellent social media platform, Bakomatic, and the online-to-print service, Printcasting now Bookbrewer.

We got into a discussion on Twitter about the recently announced cuts at the Times-Picayune  newspaper in New Orleans. Its parent company, Newhouse Newspapers, is cutting

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Waiting for VOD: Is time running out on 24-hour news channels?

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!

For years, I’ve thought that 24-hour news channels were actually just a technical kludge. Most of the time, there just isn’t enough news to fill 24-hours so many of the channels are little more than a very expensive tape loop, with the stories running on repeat every 15-minutes on some channels. Sure, 24-hour news channels really shine during big events, during wars, elections, disasters or historic events like the Arab Spring. CNN really broke through during the first Gulf War. That being said, I remember watching the same cruise missile fired from the same frigate over and over and over.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Euan Semple at the British Library

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 night I went to Euan Semple‘s event to launch his book, Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do, at the British Library. It was the first time I’ve live-blogged an event in ages, a skill I’m going to have to polish up a bit before Le Web London in June, hence the lag in getting this up on the blog. 

The event took for form of a conversation between Richard Sambrook (RS) and Euan (ES), which I have attempted to capture as faithfully as I can, but of course much of this is paraphrasing especially the questions. 

RS: Why do people Tweet,

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

News start-ups can’t survive on ads alone

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!

Reuters Institute fellow Rasmus Kleis Nielsen has a great post on the blogs at Reuters warning European journalism start-ups to avoid surviving on advertising alone. He backs up his warning with some stark examples of start-ups who have failed due to meagre revenue they were able to earn on ads:

Advertising-supported online news production did not work for Netzeitung in Germany (which in 2009 shut down its newsroom after nine years of consecutive losses), did not work for Rue89 in France (impressive and innovative as it was, the site never broke even and was bought by the weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 2011), and is

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

News start-ups can’t survive on ads alone

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Reuters Institute fellow Rasmus Kleis Nielsen has a great post on the blogs at Reuters warning European journalism start-ups to avoid surviving on advertising alone. He backs up his warning with some stark examples of start-ups who have failed due to meagre revenue they were able to earn on ads:

Advertising-supported online news production did not work for Netzeitung in Germany (which in 2009 shut down its newsroom after nine years of consecutive losses), did not work for Rue89 in France (impressive and innovative as it was, the site never broke even and was bought by the weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 2011), and is not working for Il Post (widely considered one of the most promising startups in Italy, the site generated revenues of just 35,000 euros in its first year of operation, resulting in an operating loss of more than 150,000 euros out of a total budget of little more than 200,000 euros). Why should we expect it to work for other startups when all these widely praised ventures, and many more besides, failed to pull it off?

Ouch. Nielsen makes the broader point that the journalism start-ups are simply mimicking US models, when the US market is massive both in terms of population and ad spend compared to European markets, but he also makes some excellent points about how a glut of digital content has pushed down ad rates and kept them low. Those low rates aren’t just hitting start-ups but even established players. 

A lot of journalists are trying their hand at start-ups as they leave or are pushed out of the stable of big media. When I left The Guardian two years ago, Suw and I thought about pursuing a journalism start-up. We decided not to do it for several reasons, with the major one being, our start-up dreams were over-taken by media consultancy work. However, we thought long and hard about the revenue streams that would fund our start-up. We knew that ads alone wouldn’t cut it. 

Nielsen suggest that journalism start-ups look to how other non-content start-ups are diversifying their money mix by adding “digital subscriptions, donations, consultancy services, live events, event planning and e-commerce”. Honestly, I think for certain types of content, you could even mix consulting and content, although I know from personal experience that gets sticky. Journalism quickly meets the requirements of client confidentiality.

Regardless, if you’re launching a journalism start-up, make sure your content dreams are leavened with some thoughts of business reality. If you don’t have business planning experience, get some. Freelancers have always had to learn about marketing and the business side of journalism. It might feel a little weird at first. Just remember, you’re not working for the Man. You’re fighting for your own survival. 

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Thank you! The Oscar speech as I start my new job

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!

As I start my new job, I feel a deep sense of gratitude. I owe a lot of people a lot of thanks for their support over the last two years.

As I go back to full-time work, I first want to thank the managing director of Y Ffynhonnell, Suw, for being such a great boss. ;-) Seriously, Suw helped me navigate this leap into independence, which was truly terrifying for someone who had always held a full-time job. She has also been really supportive about my new job, although I’m sure she will miss me as a valued employee. She’ll still