Thursday, December 30, 2004

Podcasting - the BBC tell it well

It does take the BBC a while to catch up with these things, but now they have, their article is one of the most readable and accessible introductions to the trend, including some useful links to How to Podcast, and Podcast Alley. Oh, and you'll need an ipodder.

Friday, December 24, 2004

What Bloggers Can Learn From Journalists

Bloggers could better protect themselves if they took a few pages out of the reporter's notebook, says Steve Outing, as a follow-up to What journalists can learn from bloggers. While I'm at it I should mention his article on Alpha Bloggers, too.

2004 according to Google

The interactive timeline in particular is a wonderful representation of the trends of the last year.

UPDATE (1.Jan.05): eBay pulse does the same thing for items being sold (thanks to for that one).

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Monitoring trends in the blogosphere

Quoting my own posting on another blog? How self-centred. Still, saves me typing it all over again...

Citizen's media

Worth keeping an eye on for 2005: and Pegasus News. Now, I'm off to rest for the festive season and hopefully finally read We The Media...

'Bloggers, Citizen Media and Rather's Fall'

Yet another review of 2004 (that year sounds old already) which mentions the impact of blogs - only this time it's from the OJR's Mark Glaser, and so worth reading.

PS: Thanks to the posting on Micro Persuasion - a great site in itself - which pointed me to the article (which in turn was turfed up by a search on - my how the hours get whiled away...)

Another Daily Me

Shame on me for not knowing about this sooner, but is another personalised news service: this one looks at what you read and what you search for, and builds a customised news page for you (in a kind of Amazon Recommends sort of way).

This does seem better than the more arbitrary RSS feeds that can overwhelm you with the volume of new postings, so I'll be trying it to see if it does indeed live up to its promises...

Media monitoring

Thanks to for bringing left i on the news to my attention, a media monitoring blog whose posts include highlighting
"an AFP story reporting that U.S. troops in Fallujah "had orders to shoot all males of fighting age seen on the streets, armed or unarmed," a reader comments on "the fact that fighting-age males were prohibited from evacuating the city in the first place.""
( 12/21/04 18:14)

This got me thinking about why the American blogosphere seems so much more politicised than in Europe - and I think it's this: traditionally European news media has always followed a politicised model, whereas the American model has an objective model tradition (at least according to McQuail et al, 1998: 252): does this mean there therefore seems to be more of a 'need' for politicised writing in America which is not satisfied by the traditional news media?

Making your news site work for the reader

This article from Editor and Publisher about news navigation makes the welcome point that "News sites should learn from other online publishers: Links navigation is becoming less important, and search capabilities must become much more intelligent." Professional companies should devote a member of staff to search, and probably consider getting into a paid relationship with Google or to use their search technology.

For those who aren't technically proficient enough to add a search facility to their site, there's still some useful tips, including the 'less is more' rule of navigation (i.e. avoid endless navigation columns). Rollover sub-menus and section pages will help the user much more than a list of 50 options on page 1 (eight menu options is optimum, apparently, which isn't surprising given that humans' short term memory can generally only store around seven items).

Other tips include including navigation elements within the main body of the page (where most users look, according to certain studies), and focusing some attention on the design of article pages - particularly the ends of articles, where users can be left stranded.

PS: The piece is based on an interview with information architect Christina Wodtke, who seems to have a lot of interesting things to say on the subject based on a quick Google search.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What TIME learned about Blogs

Quite a cute little article by TIME which lists gives a succinct overview of the blogging medium in 2004, including blog scoops, blogs keeping news alive (,, titillating blogs (,, fake blogs (,, blog gendering, political campaigning (, and those fired because of blogs.

The Wireless: Another fad that'll never catch on

Thanks to my colleague again for this one: podcasting, a new form of broadcasting audio content, as reported by the Boston Globe. An opportunity for the rebirth of talk radio - or just another excuse to fill up your mp3 player?

PS: This posting was done using Blogger's lovely Blog This! feature (top left of screen). Bloglines has a similar feature - but how frustrating that you can only do it on Blogger's own sites...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Search engine that reads out results

It's called Speegle. Hmm.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A lengthy posting by Simon Waldman

Worth reading.

Fancy a job, blogger?

New recruitment site launched aimed at bloggers, reports Blog Herald, who also mention Here continueth the corporatisation of the blogger.

Why do gamers play?

Glasgow Caledonian University has set up the eMotion Laboratory to find out... Game makers, take note.

Yahoo to add video search

Looks like Yahoo is following in Google and Micrsoft's footsteps and looking to allow people to search for video clips (reported by CNET). Lengthy quote:

"For search providers, offering searchable video is an extremely attractive new market because it not only keeps them relevant to consumers hungry for multimedia, but it also helps them appeal to brand advertisers, which spend about $60 billion annually on commercials. Major TV advertisers are comfortable with the effects of commercials, and they're likely to wake up to Internet opportunities once on-demand video is ubiquitous.

"As a result, Yahoo, Google and others are already courting Hollywood to cinch relationships. Their courtship will be essential in building business models for video advertising, distribution and content sales--all hurdles to making multimedia search a success."

It looks like RSS will play a part, and one interest for bloggers is, "the system could be used to allow people to aggregate video feeds on a personalized Web page, for example."

More standards from W3C

CNET reports "The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) on Wednesday released Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume One, an ex post facto conceptual blueprint of the Web that it's pushing as a practical guide for designers of Web software. [...] Subjects covered in the document include how the Web links documents to one another, how it scales to large numbers of surfers, and design pitfalls to avoid."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My new search engine friendly URL

As if to make a point about writing for the net, I have dropped this blog's previously too-ambiguous name and plumped for the much more browser-friendly O-Journalism. I would have gone for the even plainer Online Journalism but it was already taken (and as for e-journalism, well the days of putting an 'e-' in front of everything are better left behind). This also represents a certain narrowing of focus, although I will still comment on other online developments that inevitably impact on online journalism.

For more along these lines see this article in the Search Engine Journal, which talks about search engine friendly URLs, albeit with more of an emphasis on archived postings. Now to update my search engine listings...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Making a good magazine cover which Dylan Jones goes over what makes a good magazine cover, including the excellent tips:
  • Never promise what you can't deliver
  • Never ask a question on the cover
  • Cover lines can never be too big
  • Cover words need to make sense.
Personally, my three favourite cover line words were "FREE", "NEW" and "SEX". Sadly, I never got much chance to use the third.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Always check your sources

A salutary lesson in checking your sources when using blogs concerns some American blogs "being used as proxies for campaigns". And on the subject of unreliable sources, you can also add the BBC being hoaxed by a spoof website, and financial websites being fooled by a hoax press release.

More blog promotion tips

This time from Search Engine Journal on search engine-friendly URLs and search engine optimisation.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Shh! I'm trying to watch the phone

Movie trailers on the web? Big deal. How about an entire film on your mobile phone? According to this article, that's just what's happening with "Rok Sako To Rok Lo", an Indian production which you can also watch on the big screen. Of course this could just be a publicity stunt and they really don't expect anyone to sit in front of their phone for a couple of hours, but that would be cynical...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

How To Blog For Fun & Profit

While I begin to summarise my own thoughts on what makes a good blog, how to define blogs and so forth, check out this man's advice, which some useful areas of focus.

Blog awards

And the winner for best awards title goes to... The BOBs!

More prosaically known as the Deutsche Welle International Blog Award 2004, the BOBs (Best Of [the] Blogs) have been announced with a raft of categories and an impressively global array of winners, with Best Blog going to a Chinese site, which had an innovative way of getting around the fact that you can't talk about human rights in the country, and Best Journalistic Blog: English going to the more famous Lawrence Lessig. Silver prize winner Editor:Myself is a bit more interesting, written by the Iranian-born Hossein Derakhshan about his home country.

PS: For another blog awards check out the rather ugly-looking Weblog 2004 Awards, which includes a rather bizarre vote based on the blogosphere ecosystem.

Or you can check out the Bafta Interactive Awards, with the BBC leading the nominations, according to the, erm, BBC.

Update (9Dec04): Yet another blog award is announced by A Fistful of Euros.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Waldman starts another blog

Good to see that Simon Waldman, who runs Guardian Online - one of the few excellent examples of online journalism in Britain - has started a new blog. Consider this the first step of me buttering him up as I seek to enlist his support in my research into the medium...

The blogger backlash has already begun

While blog may be word of the year in some quarters, recent days have seen bloggers described in less than flattering terms: in America, CNET reports NBC news anchor, Tom Brokaw,
"compared blogger criticism of Dan Rather's "60 Minutes II" report on President Bush's military service record to a "political jihad." Brokaw's designated successor, Brian Williams, also appears less than enamored of the blogosphere. During a recent panel discussion organized by Time Magazine to discuss candidates for Person of the Year, Williams suggested bloggers were "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem."

Meanwhile, in Australia, The Blog Herald reports:
"political gossip site has slammed bloggers in an section of its subscriber email of 2 Dec (second edition) with this reference in relation to the proposed Australian Blogging Conference “Four-eyed nerds from everywhere will be converging on Melbourne in February for the 2005 Australian Blogging Conference. Losers, lepers and social misfits who have previously only been able to interact with the world through the safety of their blog spots will come out into the light to meet their brethren face-to-face for the first time. What will happen? Only time will tell.”

Rather helpfully, the report then suggests sharing your thoughts with Crikey editor Stephen Mayne at

Promoting your blog

My eyes are stinging from another afternoon spent exploring the world of blogs - this time blog promotion. Thanks to this article in the Search Engine Journal I finally embarked on the epic journey of submitting my blog to a raft of blog search engines: Daypop; Blog Catalog; Feedster; Ice Rocket; Bloogz; Blogstreet; Blogwise; Blog Search Engine; Blogarama; Blog Rankings; Blogexplosion;Weblog Link Directory; WorldGlobe of Blogs, and thanks to the poster who suggested BlogDigger. The process surprisingly was much easier than when it comes to listing on general search engines.

The interesting problem came with Ice Rocket, which refused to list my site because it was not an RSS feed. Now this prompted a visit to the Blogger Help pages on syndication - specifically about getting RSS to work. Are you thrilled? Read on...

Here I learn that Blogger, which does provide an atom feed (this page explains that bit of jargon), requires you to pay to have an RSS feed. To its credit Blogger does point you towards FeedBurner, which allows you to make your feed work in any reader by creating a new page: in my case, this one - although I could have simply used So, now I have an RSS feed page and am listed for all the world to ignore. (Actually, this turned out to be far from the case. In the 24 hours since I did this, the number of people viewing my profile rose from 4 to 16.)

So, I now have even more lovely badges on my site and a whole new collection of blog discussion sites to visit: Blogdiscussion and BloggerTalk being just two. It's good to talk.

UPDATE (13 June 05): Now also added to Blogdigger and Feedmap.
UPDATE 2 (20 July 05): Now also added to Britblog.

Most people use broadband

One of the biggest restrictions on web design and online journalism has always been connection speeds of the user - so it's amazing to read new figures from ACNielsen NetRatings that in the last year broadband has more than doubled in the past year to over 11 million (report in PDF here).

The Guardian quotes ACNielsen's European internet analyst, Gabrielle Prior, as saying: "Twelve months ago high-speed internet users made up less than one quarter of the audience. Now they are more than 50% and we expect this number to keep growing."

It goes on to identify broadcasters and record labels as those likely to take advantage of the new opportunities - but it also means more fleixibility for the interactive journalist too.

'Blog' word of the year (yawn)

It took the BBC a day to catch up with a story I read a dozen times on my RSS feeds: that 'blog' has been chosen as the top word of 2004 by US dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster. Personally I think 'cicada', coming in at no.6, is far more interesting, while 'chav' for me still wins the battle in the UK, as defined by the publishers of the Oxford Dictionary.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Read a murder suspect's blog

That's the upshot of this posting on The Blog Herald regarding Rachelle Waterman, a 16 year old Live Journal blogger of Ketchikan, Alaska, who has been charged with 1st degree murder following the killing of her mother:
"Her last post to her blog (since removed) indicated that her mother had been murdered and the police were about to seize her computer, however she gave no indication of her role in the conspiracy."
What's most eerie about this is the fact that you can still access her blog and - it being in diary style - gain an idea of her life, her thoughts, and so on. Delving deeper, you can read her profile, and even access listed friends such as bobtheshoe. Of course there's a huge ethical issue here of prejudicing the judicial process, but since when has that stopped some journalists?

Essential analysis of the blogging trend

Very useful article from Foreign Policy (I prefer the printable version) about the blogging phenomenon, with some useful facts, history and analysis. Sample soundbite: "If the first Gulf War introduced the world to the “CNN effect,” then the second Gulf War was blogging’s coming out party".

Also useful is a footnote list of leading blogs in various areas, which I'll quote at length:

"Jeff Jarvis’s “BuzzMachine” is the single best source for information on the global expansion of the blogosphere. University of California, Berkeley, economist Brad DeLong (“Brad DeLong’s Semi-Daily Journal”) is perhaps the most influential economics blogger, while Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok comment on microeconomic theory and the globalization of culture at “Marginal Revolution.” The group weblog “Oxblog” has won serious media attention for its campaign promoting an assertive U.S. foreign policy supporting human rights and democracy.

"Blog coverage varies throughout the world. Although Salam Pax paved the way for Iraqi bloggers, he has stopped blogging himself, and only around 70 Iraqi blogs have picked up where he left off. Among the more prominent: “Iraq: The Model” and “Baghdad Burning,” which respectively support and oppose the U.S. military intervention. Western Europe has a sizeable number of blogs, especially in Britain, with the right-wing “Edge of England’s Sword” and the pro-war leftist “Harry’s Place.” “Slugger O’Toole” covers the Northern Ireland beat, while “A Fistful of Euros” seeks to provide an overview of Western European politics. Elsewhere, “BlogAfrica” syndicates blogs from across that continent, while “Living in China” offers an expatriate perspective on Chinese politics and society. Last is the blog of Japanese tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Joi Ito (“Joi Ito’s Web”). He reportedly visits 190 blogs regularly and averages five hours a day reading and writing blogs."

Is Google colluding with Chinese censorship?

That's the accusation levelled by Reporters Without Borders (original report here), says the BBC. For their part, Google says it's looking into the issue, while the article does point out that "Google does not link to news sources which are inaccessible from within China as this would result in broken links".

Equally interesting, perhaps, is that while browsing the Reporters Without Borders site I came across this very interesting Internet Under Surveillance report. Use the menu on the right of the text to access analyses, and reports on individual countries. The UK, for example, is assessed here - its situation, apparently, is "middling". The section on a filtered internet is also particularly useful in the context of the Google story.

Interactive Fiction finalists

The results of the Interactive Fiction competition are in, says Zonk on Slashdot, who recommends Luminous Horizon, Blue Chairs, All Things Devours, Magocracy, and Murder at the Aero Club. Given the close relationship between interactive fiction and online journalism, it might be interesting to see how some of the ideas might be transposed from one to the other.