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20 July 2006

Come and have a go if you think you're trad enough...

On the news that tory(ish)-blogger Guido Fawkes snuck into the hallowed trad media turf of the Parliamentary lobby again this week, and that this year's party conference is likely to see dedicated bloggers in the press gallery for the first time, the Guardian's Backbencher column has issued an old-school hack challenge to the new webby upstarts:

The Backbencher was pleased to hear Francis Maude reveal that Guido and his ilk will be allowed to cover the Tory conference this year. Since the bloggers v media/political establishment war has now escalated - and no, the Backbencher isn't going to make any facetious comparisons with the Middle East - she will merely wonder whether the youngish men realise what they are letting themselves in for. Can they survive the full three weeks? (She takes it the TUC isn't in their diaries.) Two hours' sleep, one deep-fried prawn and four glasses of corked semillon at a Social Market Foundation fringe, an intimate search by the men with the damp hands and 347 X-rays later, the Backbencher suspects some of them will be suffering from conference cold in their non-networked hotel room (£200 a night, five miles out of town, buses every six hours, and you'll pay your own expenses). Guys - we can't wait to meet you.

18 July 2006

Not a lot of people (want you to) know that!

irrepressible infoAmnesty are getting all new media at the moment, joining in our protest against the jailing of journalist and Yahoo! user Shi Tao, and now running a very clever campaign to disseminate bits of info that some authority somewhere has censored.

You got a site or blog? Marvellous. Join in and bung a quick snippet of code onto it (see the side bar of our blog) and it will call in a piece of genuine taboo onto your very own pages, making you a mirror site in an vast international censor-busting web ring.

A very neat idea, and one which I think will help make the UK new media community feel very grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy.


03 July 2006

[Insert your own headline here]

Very amusing piece on the clash between user comments and professional journalism by Joel Achenbach in the Washington post this weekend. He's not entirely taking the subject seriously, but does pose some interesting questions about how commenting should be used, and how far it should go before it stops being so useful.

Interactivity is an evolving process. In the future, reporters will have to have, for at least one hour a day, a reader seated at their elbow to offer helpful suggestions. Occasionally, the reader will be allowed to climb onto the reporter's lap to take charge of the keyboard. You'll start seeing interesting double bylines, such as: By John Noble Wilford and Some Guy Named Bob...

...All of this is an improvement on the old days, when journalists typically interacted only with their bosses and their sources, while pausing occasionally to read a handwritten letter from a reader who was upset that her morning paper had arrived wet.

Writing was often solitary work back then. The writer was guided not by the audience so much as by an inner voice, what might be called, at the risk of sounding pretentious, a literary or journalistic conscience. Thanks to interactivity, that conscience can now be outsourced.

Read his full article (no comments) here