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30 January 2006

Ringing Emily's bell

Methinks Ms Bell's Guardian comments indicate just how much education of staffers and editors actually is needed.

If Ms Bell understood the issues, she would understand the Code. Her piece also, to my mind, indicates that she is more than a little out of touch with the PCC code, which The Guardian should observe.

Witn/less contributors, by the way, are just one example of the genus. Bloggers are another. So are journal-ists; those who keep diaries online. Samuel Pepys must be spinning. "Personal journalists" is yet another description that can be found in print. I think my current total of different sub-species is about a dozen. I'm trying to pull together a proposal so David Attenborough can fully document this particular form of wildlife.

Ms Bell misrepresents the WC Code of Practice. Bloggers are covered by the clauses that re-iterated the NUJ Code of Conduct, the PCC and similar codes that call for "fact" and "speculation" to be clearly identified. That should be all.

Syndication is permitted entirely, as long as appropriate payments are made. Rights are mentioned in the NUJ Code of Practice, not copyright, because journalists have more rights in their work than just copyright.

If publishers want to undermine their credibility with a "Wiki" approach, then they are free to do so. Like so much blogging, the concept is already discredited and does not deserve to be taken seriously. Publishers and editors who mistakenly believe a future lies with "product" that no one can believe, or should believe, have a right to a slow and painful death, it is just a pity that we have to be taken along with them.

Regular readers of Ms Bell's column should not be surprised by her comments.

I came away from last week's Roundtable event feeling very old. Apart from Bill Hagerty, I think I may well have been the oldest there. The largely young contingent representing The Guardian did not seem to have seen a broader picture, or the "fanzine revolution" of the 70s, when Letraset and cheap photocopying caused many similar concerns as those we are seeing today. Their (lack of ) appreciation of history and their proximity to what they are doing worries me.

If anyone saw my response to the blog of the event, I was also very concerned about being reported in a way that a "proper" journalist would never have been allowed to do.

Which brings me to the question of how much do I believe The Guardian? The answer to that is far less than I used to. Does anyone else think that credibility is an issue?

Excuse me, but I have to go and buy another couple of tons of salt; I've been going through a lot recently.

(c) Adam Christie 2006; All rights reserved

Emily Bell's verdict

Here's what she wrote in today's mediaGuardian about the code of practice for citizen journalists:

"The intention, for instance, at the heart of the NUJ's proposed code is to protect a differentiation between the professional journalist and the amateur.

"What it actually does is to potentially tie the hands of those who employ journalists to the benefit of those who do not. Wholesale adoption of the code would lead to: no blogs with free comments on them run by established media organisations; no picture streams or video footage from viewers and readers on news channels and websites; and no ability for mainstream news media to experiment with "wikis" or community-built sites. It would, of course, be far too expensive."


Would anyone like to comment on that?!

11 January 2006

All the people, so many people...

Interesting topic for a NMK event next month. "Situations Pretty Vacant" is going to be looking at the shortage of skilled staff as the hyped second digital boom allegedly gets underway. It seems to be difficult to entice seasoned trad media staff over to the "new" side, possibly because of the lack of clear parallel roles in some cases, but also maybe because of the lack of career progression, particularly in smaller enterprises. Another suggestion is that the package offered just isn't good enough - something we've seen in some parts of the industry, where online staff seem to get much less respect, and in many cases less pay, than their trad counterparts, and crossing the divide is seen as a move away from 'proper journalism'. Anyway more on this from NMK here.

04 January 2006

Happy New Year

And starting 2006 on an optimistic note, here's a piece from the Beeb, rounding up the ways in which citizen media found its feet in 2005, and giving some pointers on how it could enhance traditional media in '06. Hope everyone had a good break, and good luck for the coming year!