Book review: Creative Disruption by Simon Waldman

Posted: August 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Journalism, web | Tags: , , | No Comments »

creative disruptionIt’s not often your boss gives you a book to read so it was with some surprise when my superior slapped a copy of Creative Disruption on my desk and wholeheartedly recommended it.

Normally I imagined work book clubs to be about discussing the latest chick-lit novel over the water cooler or a cup of instant coffee, but to have something stimulating to get my teeth into during the commute home was a welcome challenge.

Creative Disruption is an excellent book, it grabs the digital age head on and dismantles it for all to see. It pulls no punches about how the internet has transformed our lives since the early 1990s and fundamentally changed the way we do a lot of things, most of all, how we do business.
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Talk about Local Unconference 2009: oatcakes, community media and hope

Posted: October 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: blogging, conferences, Journalism, social media, web | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »
Les Cochrane, and me, chatting with Lichfield Blog at Talk About Local 09

Les Cochrane, and me, chatting with Lichfield Blog at Talk About Local 09

Went down to Stoke-on-Trent yesterday for the Talk About Local unconference. It was a gathering of local and hyper-local bloggers, some community activists, people who run community websites and people who run tools that can help community websites.

There was a great mix of people. Immediately I identified a split between people like myself who had some journalism training and were setting up, or have set up, a community blog/website for their area to act as an alternative to the local media. Others had just set it up because they wanted something different.

An unconference is a great format. You arrive, eat some Staffordshire oatcakes (amazing) and put post-its on a board about sessions you’d either like to run or see be run. These sessions are then moved around, some are merged together until a session schedule becomes clear. There’s another board to put post-its about who you would like to meet at the event and another one to put URLs of your site or others you feel are relevant.

I put a post-it up offering to run a session about Blog Preston and Blog Local, explaining how we wanted to expand the Blog Local idea with other blogs. We got mashed into a session about social media surgeries and using social media to empower communities. Read the rest of this entry »

links for 11-11-08

Posted: November 11th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: charities, web | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Some quality reading today:

Good post about charities needing to embrace social media. There’s a lot bandied around about facebook this, twitter that, but it’s sometimes overwhelming. That’s why Rachel Beer’s guide is an excellent starting point.

It hasn’t happened. But the web does provide a way for specialist shops to take hold of a market and dominate it.

New online only charity that aims to get young people to reflect their views in the media. Seems like a good idea, but as young people are ‘turned off’ from traditional media brands who says they will come back to them to comment?

Yeah! Great stuff. Any organisation that isn’t trying to understand, work with, get involved with the web and social media won’t win in the long run.

Tomorrow’s News, Tomorrow’s Journalists: If I had a million dollars to save journalism

Posted: November 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: blogging, Journalism, politics, web | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

The above was the question posed for the November debate on Tomorrow’s News, Tomorrow’s Journalists and I gave my answer as ‘I’d invest it in people’.

The post is here, or you can read it below:

First off, I’d rather have a million pounds (British Sterling) than dollars to save journalism with. But exchange rates aside, let’s get down to business.

My strategy would be to invest in people. Invest in getting journalists to do that saving. You can’t do things alone, you need a good team with good people. I’d probably shed some dead wood from the news room, maybe coax a few people to leave early and get some fresh blood in.

I’d keep the subs, but expand their role to include a lot of backroom stuff – like picture uploading, digital media production, video editing. I’d keep the print edition but I’d make it follow online’s lead. Maybe just have one good strong print edition per day, and throw everything into online.

I’d develop strong supplements based around local issues, and not be afraid of trying something new. I’d link these supplements with mini-sites online built around that issue.

I’d invest in training for my staff, I’d employ the Google technique of 10% time for my reporters. i.e. 10% to go off and cover what YOU want and what YOU think needs covering.

I’d put a bit of money towards having trainees in. Not expecting them to pay for everything. There would be a pot of money so that kids can come in and get experience, learn about being a journalist, in a good environment, and not be skint afterwards. You never know, they might even bring a good story in with them – and that’s got to be worth the money.

I’d invest in a CRM (customer relationship management) system for my newspaper, logging user comments, offering them personalised news updates, and beginning to build an idea of who my readers really are. So I know that Joe Bloggs in the North of the city responds well to this type of news. Then I have something to sell, I’ve got proof of effectiveness, readership and grabbing people’s attention.

So to sum up, good journalists, probably better paid, more of them, getting some 10% time, with a good online setup.

Does RSS need a branding exercise?

Posted: September 30th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Journalism, tools, web | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Dave Lee asked earlier today why is it that unlike other social media and web 2.0 tools RSS enjoys relatively low appreciation. It’s used by ‘early adopters’ or geek as they are otherwise known but it hasn’t tipped into the mainstream like say YouTube, Facebook or Flickr. Dave reckons it’s because of the name and that people aren’t used to ‘feeds’ and that ‘subscribing’ sounds too much like paying money.

Perhaps what RSS needs it a branding exercise to make it appeal to the masses. I suggested ‘news for you’ as a cheesey brand that a newspaper could use, but it’s along those lines – RSS provides the news that you want smack into an easily digestiable format.

Dave goes a step further and says that media outlets themselves should be creating and delivering their own RSS readers and branding these up for readers. This seems like a great idea and perhaps these RSS readers could come pre-packaged with already interesting feeds built-in. For example if I subscribed to The Guardian environment news RSS feed it might already have RSS feeds to relevant charities, NGOs, and government about environment issues. A great way of making your reader more informed about a topic.

But how to let the masses know about RSS? It needs an equivalent push to what we see in newspapers these days ‘check it online, read it online, watch it online’ is what normally accompanies any story. There needs to be advertising in both the print and online editions of media saying ‘try our own reader’, or ‘be your own reader’. The personalisation of news moves a step closer.

They could also do with embedding this great video by Common Craft explaining RSS in plain English, or produce something like it (I’d like to see The Sun’s version!): (thanks to Chris Brogan for his great post about using social media as outposts for this one)