Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The power of Twitter

Twitter once again showed what it can do as a news gathering source today, and proved it's not just a 'celebrity' application. Following 'tweets' about the plane crash in Holland helped me find not only someone at the scene @nipp, but also photos being taken and uploaded to the site, almost 10 to 15 minutes before they were uploaded on to the BBC website, usually one of the first sites to have images.

Not only this but following @nipp provided a series of updates, on what was happening on the scene live, before anything else was on a major news website, like these two updates: "I'm seeing a lot of ambulances and emergency heli's. It looks like the situation is under control, relatively" and "Again, the planes lookes like its in multiple pieces. With over a hundred people on board, that can't be good." (sic).

Furthermore both the BBC (via @ruskin147) and Channel 4 (via @channel4news), were messaging @nipp and asking him if he would contact them so they could speak to him. Indeed, C4's Twitterer simply asked its followers if they knew of someone on the scene and no doubt was directed to @nipp. He was then interviewed and it's on their website now. The Mumbai terrorist attacks, the plane crash in the Hudson and now this event, have all been covered by Twitter, with images coming in more quickly to an application site, TwitPic, faster than major media outlets.

When I was on my course blogging and so forth was consistently mentioned as the future of journalism, and most often as the 'death of the journalist', but it isn't/wasn't. It's a new writing outlet (not even new now), one that is open to everyone, and one that journalists need to engage with and use, and now do on almost every site of note, but not the end of journalism, just a new branch.

If I was coming into the media, giving talks on it, looking to the future etc, the impact of Twitter, especially its potential as a news gathering source for quotes, pictures and news, would be the thing I would focus on as the
latest media development, and a far more interesting one too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

More marathon related news

I recently featured on the Justgiving website with some of my 'top fundraising tips' and will, at a future date, be the subject to a short Q&A on why I want to run the marathon and so on. I'll link to it when it's live. Please sponsor me if you can! Use the fancy widgit on the right hand side at the top to do so!

Friday, February 13, 2009

500+ twits together

I went to the LDN:Twestival last night. I'll write more in time, but for now, you can read a blog about it on the Guardian (not by me), complete with a photo in which I am visible. Proof I was indeed there.

Update as promised: Well now if you go on that blog there are many comments, 90% very negative, complaining about the event, the people who attended (i.e. presuming them to all be various forms of insults), and moaning about the Guardian, or Telegraph, covering the event.

Here are some sample criticisms. "the photos don't help the PR whatever angle. the first looks like an end of year uni do in the student union bar" - How do you make a photo of hundreds of people standing around talking not look like a "student union bar" - if that's how you choose to place the reference?

"The only reason for this total non-event being reported must be down to some connection between PR and someone on the Guardian staff payroll. Buck your ideas up, editors. You're starting to look distinctly C4 in attention to fatuous inanities."

Of course this one opens a massive debate about 'what is news'. My argument would be that, as an organised event, one of hundreds that happened across the globe, organised through a website that is rapidly becoming one of the most popular sites on the internet, that has almost raised $1 million for a charity is definitely news. Whether or not you are interested in it doesn't mean it isn't news. If you don't get it, like it, fine, but why such anger?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pressing issues

There's been some debate about the usefulness of the Press Complaint Commission recently, such as the case against here, and for here. Thanks to the ever-useful Twitter I found a very interesting article here agreeing that the PCC is broken with reference to a recent story on the Daily Mail website. It's a good point very well made.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Newspaper opinions

This blog started, years ago when on the Cardiff course - where I've just been back (see two posts down) - and here is an interesting article in the Guardian about opinions on newspapers from young people across the globe. When on our course we heard a lot about the future of print - and so it seems do the current lot - and it's still here and still moving into new areas. It is exciting isn't it?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Classical music

I went to the Royal Festival Hall to see the Royal Philarmonia Orchestra today, with free tickets through my place of employment (hey, perks!), and it was very enjoyable, and, shall we say, cultured.

Certainly a spectacular sight to see all those bows moving in unison, creating such a natural sound too, and waiting to see when, in a 46 minute piece, the two men "playing" the giant symbols and bass drum will be called upon. Not very often is the answer.

However, I still can't shake that sense I'm just waiting for the dramatic moments in-between all the, well, noodling that takes place as the pieces meander on. I have no knowledge of this music beyond the basic and my opinion on 400 years of classical music is pretty irrelevant but that's just what I thought.

Nevertheless, very enjoyable anyway.

Passing on knowledge

Friday saw an escape from London for the relative quiet of Cardiff to impart what wisdom 16 months of real world journalism have taught me on the current student of the post-graduate magazine option at JOMEC.

Although strange to be back in the old "mag lab", it was nonetheless enjoyable to be able to offer some tips and knowledge on what I have learnt, which focused mainly on business journalism, freelancing, and a few things on C.V.s and interviews.

Having had many speakers when I was on the course, some good, some bad, some indifferent, I tried to make sure I was honest and realistic about things, and that, like anything and everything, there are positives, negatives and moments of surrealism, to the journalistic profession, but that the course they are on does equip them to be able to handle all that is thrown at them. I should know, I do almost every single aspect of what I was taught, including page design, subbing, coverline writing, feature and news writing, the use of CMS, and, yes, blogging.

There's no denying the current job market is slim to non-existent, but I at least hope they took the fact that they are on one of, if not the, best journalism courses in the UK as some solace in their future endeavours.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

History worth saving

Bletchley Park needs saving. You can read why here. And sign the petition here.

A twitter poem

Forgot to blog this: Channel 4's Twitter asked for 120 or fewer character poems about Wendy Cope's claim we don't need a poet laurette laureate. Heroically, mine was chosen, among about 15 others, for special mention on their website. Two years of creative writing at Cardiff coming in handy! Third fom bottom here (with a nod to Private Eye).

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snow joke

So much nonsense talked about the snow and Britain's inability to cope with it: "third world country" "other countries don't have this problem etc" and in London people saying, "The tube runs underground! Why is it closed?!" - Of course, many reasons why the tube was so affected, one of the most obvious being, of course, how do the tube drivers get to work if they can't travel because other transports is down - as this tube driver wrote here: Why London closes when there is snow

Secondly, if the government did spend millions waiting for the once-every-18-years occassion when snow did cause one/two days of problems, there would be outrage that they were wasting tax payers money that could be spent elsewhere, on the off chance one day may mean no buses could run.

I like the snow.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Born to run / Keep on the running / Run DMC

Yes, running etc. This morning I braved the freezing winds of the northern ice lands of Watford to take part in the annual half-marathon along this course. This is all part of my training for the London marathon and it was the longest distance I've run since training started. I managed to finish in 1:49 15 which I was very pleased with: Results are now up: came 1080th from 1958. Which is pleasing.

Over the last mile it snowed which made it feel all dramatic and epic like, but it didn't last very long: the snow I mean. The goodie bag only had one piece of food in it, which was a bit poor, but we did get a nice tee shirt and a bottle of Gatorade, which I discovered on the way round, is much better than water for giving you some extra energy. Also, trying to take a small paper cup from someone and drink it while you run is difficult: it's a skill in itself.

It was a nice route, out among the the fields and hills of outer London, into the countryside, and over the M25 and with round 2,000 runners taking part you were surrounded by fellow runners, all puffing and wheezing away, which was great for keeping you going.

Anyways, if you've read this far, and know me / have money / do charity / are an eccentric millionaire it would be wonderful if you could sponsor me on my way to this goal of running the marathon and raising £1,800 for the NSPCC. You only have to click here and fill in a few forms.

Go on, you know you want to.

This is a cool website: write your own bus slogan, here's mine: