Monday, May 31, 2010

Shopping

I recently took part in Manchester Open City afternoon.

The project involved photographers walking around Manchester capturing images that give the feel and look of the city.

The group I was with was given the theme of shopping and instead of trying to take photographs of shops,I decided to try and capture the downside of shopping which for me is the boredom as you drag yourself around the shops.

Out photographer guide Mark Page gave me a good tip,just shoot and see what you come up with.You can read Mark's write up of the event here

But for the moment here are some of my efforts






Israel's unprovoked attack

It is difficult to understand the motivation behind Israel's attack on the aid flotilla this morning.

For those that haven't heard the news,the Israelis decided that it would be a good idea to board the lead ship in the "peace flotilla which has been heading for Gaza carrying essential supplies from Cyprus.

The Israelis claim that they were shot at first,but the action has resulted in at least 15 deaths.

Israel has been villified over the attack with many countries calling their ambassadors in and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in Canada, having cancelled a scheduled visit to Washington on Tuesday to return to Israel.

Israel's deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon,accused the convoy of a "premeditated and outrageous provocation", describing the flotilla as an "armada of hate".

Here in Britain,William Hague has put out the following statement”I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla. Our Embassy is in urgent contact with the Israeli Government. We are asking for more information and urgent access to any UK nationals involved.

Meanwhile hundreds of activists blocked Whitehall shouting "Free Palestine" and carrying flags and banners with slogans such as "Stop Israel's War Crimes in Gaza" and "End the Criminal Siege of Gaza".

In Istanbul, 10,000 protesters gathered outside the Israeli consulate chanting "Murderous Israel you will drown in the blood you shed!"

French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned what he described as a “disproportionate use of force.”

“All light must be shed on the circumstances of this tragedy, which underlines the urgency of resuming peace talks,” Sarkozy said in a statement.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A wind down for the moment

This blog started back in the autumn of 2006.It was really a way of keeping up with the media news and gossip as I began my journalism degree at Uclan.

Well three and a half years later,it has produced a lot of contacts,led to opportunities and introduced me to many friends and concepts.

But now it will be taking a back seat as I concentrate on my two new journalistic concepts.

North West Scenes began last summer and has been on the back burner for some time but things are gearing up for it.Secondly as I wrote on this blog a couple of weeks ago,InsidetheM60 will be launching soon providing news and information for the Manchester community.

The blog will continue but not with such great frequency and will talk more about the issues of setting up two hyperlocal sites,aimed at two distinct markets.

It will be an interesting adventure and I do hope you will keep following.

Don't forget you can always find me on twitter

@nigelbarlow

@northwestscenes

@insidetheM60

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The downside of Linkedin

One of the concerns of Linkedin must surely be the easy collection of data and contacts for someone to steal.

As the register reports

An ex-employee of recruitment firm Hays has been ordered to disclose details of his profile at social networking site LinkedIn. Mark Ions set up a rival agency and is accused of using LinkedIn to steal clients. He says Hays encouraged his use of the site.


As the report continues

Hays alleges that while still an employee Ions copied and retained confidential information about clients and contacts of Hays. The firm says that Ions used that information for his own venture and that he breached his contract of employment. Hays went to the High Court in London to seek pre-action disclosure from Ions and his firm, i.e. an order to disclose information that Hays could use as the basis of a subsequent lawsuit.

Hyperlocal in Poland

Now here is a heartening news story about regional titles going hyperlocal.

It comes from Poland courtesy of Editors weblog and the village of Jano,an 850-person village in north eastern Poland.

a dozen people - mostly teenagers or over 40s - were gathering in a multi-activity meeting hall. They were listening to Igor Hrywna, a journalist at Gazeta Olsztynska, the dominant newspaper in this "Warmia-Mazury voivodship" (Varmia-Masuria). That day he left his base in the regional capital of Olsztyn to meet this group for the third time in one month. With his assistance, they are learning how to contribute to the recently launched hyperlocal website janowo.wm.pl, covering the 3,000 people "gmina" (commune) centered on Janowo, one of the smallest of the region.


Could this model work in the UK? well

Edytor is already managing 35 such hyperlocal websites, as a way to get closer also to small advertisers. In the villages, the biggest companies are often the bakery which employs only eight persons, or the hairdresser with a staff of four. "We want to reach the places where print is not profitable, asking our advertising salespersons to monetize potential markets which have been ignored until now

Grim reading for Pew's state of the media report

Pew's annual state of the media report was released yesterday and once again for followers of media statistics it doesn't make particularly good reading.

For the economics of the media industry 2009 has once again seen some quite astounding figures

1.In newspapers, ad revenue (for print and online combined) fell 26 per cent a rate of decline that was more than 50 per cent steeper than a year earlier.

and more worryingly

2.Online, advertising during the year declined for the first time since 2002, according to data from eMarketer. The firm’s updated August projections called for online ad spending to fall 4.6 per cent to $22.4 billion.

As for paywalls

The findings suggest there is a difficult hill to climb in putting content behind a pay wall. Most people graze the Web for news rather than rely on primary sources. Only about a third (35%) can even identify a favorite news website. And of those that do, only 19%3 said they would continue to visit if that site put up a pay wall.


and for those in the industry

Newspaper staffs continued to shrink in 2009. We estimate that by year’s end 5,900 more full-time newsroom jobs were lost,

As the report says,the worry now is two fold.How much of the lost revenues can be clawed back as the economy starts to recover from the recession and secondly what are the prospects for the alternative journalism projects that are springing up?

Monday, March 15, 2010

She's back


Quite unbelievable that the Daily Express has reverted to having a Diana story on its front pages.

Quoting the results of a new book,the paper reports that

chauffeur Henri Paul was not drunk when their car crashed in a Paris tunnel.
Blood samples used to verify the amount of alcohol he had consumed were taken from another corpse,

What Monday's papers are saying


According to an exclusive in the Times this morning,Labour wants to promise five guarantees in its manifesto aimed at winning over a sceptical electorate in the post-expenses world.

The party hopes to tackle voter mistrust with new legally binding rights on public services, jobs and Britain’s deficit. This is part of a “personal offer” designed to rebuild confidence with the electorate and accountability in government.


Politics on the front of the Telegraph as well as it reveals that Lord Adonis has become the first Cabinet Minister to speak out against the trade union behind the British Airways strike,a subject that also makes the front of the Guardian which reveals that

Gordon Brown has intervened personally in the British Airways industrial dispute in an attempt to avert a walkout by 12,000 cabin crew next weekend.


The Independent reports on the far-reaching conclusions on how to tackle the crime of rape which finds failures to investigate and prosecute effectively and recommends that Forensic and medical evidence should be gathered by the NHS,and not police.

The Mail reports on what is calls the betrayal of 20,000 cancer patients who says the paper have died needlessly early after being denied cancer drugs on the NHS.

What really happened on Bloody Sunday asks the Independent.


More exclusives this time in the Guardian which reveals that the income of thousands of the most senior British academics has soared over the past decade, far outstripping growth in average lecturers' pay,
Twelve years ago Lord Saville began his inquiry into one of the darkest chapters in the history of Northern Ireland. Now, £200m later, he will finally deliver his report


The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland resisted calls for his resignation yesterday reports the Times,despite admitting that he took part in meetings where the victims of a paedophile priest were forced to take a vow of silence.

There is much coverage from the Lib Dems spring conference.

Nick Clegg was forced to quell dissent from within his own ranks and fight off attempts by Labour and the Tories to woo his party yesterday,reports the Independent whilst the Guardian says that

Speaking over the heads of the party faithful, the leader encouraged wavering voters to vote "with your heart" and not dismiss the Lib Dems because the electoral maths where they lived suggested the party would not win a seat outright.


Whilst the Telegraph reports that The Liberal Democrats would be the ‘guarantor’ of the economy if the general election results in a hung Parliament,

Most of the papers report that David Beckham's world cup is over.

The former England captain wept after rupturing his Achilles tendon while playing for AC Milan last night, and told a doctor: "It's broken, it's broken."reports the Sun

According to the Mirror,Jon Venables has been transferred to a new jail to keep him safe from other prisoners.

He's now being kept in an isolation unit and guarded by a hand-picked team of 20 prison officers who are sworn to secrecy. A source said: It was getting harder to guarantee his safety where he was. No one can get at him where he is now.


Meanwhile the Mail says that pressure to sack an official who dismissed the James Bulger murder as 'unpleasant' was mounting last night.

Finally reports the Telegraph

Millions of Georgians wrongly thought their country was being invaded after a spoof prime time news broadcast showed Russian tanks heading towards the capital Tbilisi and said the president, Mikheil Saakashvili, had been killed.


adds the Guardian

For the next half an hour there were scenes of absolute panic, as the mobile network collapsed, Georgians spilled on to the streets, and friends and relatives desperately tried to reach each other and seek out information.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Student journalists are sidelined to being like ancillary press officers"

I,ve met Joseph Stashko a couple of times now.

He is a student at Uclan who along with his colleague Andy Halls is working on a new hyperlocal news site for Preston.

I wish them luck with that but on this blog post he looks at a couple of issues regarding student journalism and subjectivity but I particually liked his take on writing for the student paper

I saw time and time again editors hand out stories, almost ready made for print, just needing a few rewrites and possibly quotes. Student journalists are sidelined to being like ancillary press officers, simply reduced to moving phrases around and adding a few minor embellishments.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The distinction between the private and the professional has largely broken down online

Reuter's new handbook warns journalists not to be over reliant on social media for news gathering purposes.

Its latest guidelines warn that

Internet reporting is nothing more than applying the principles of sound journalism to the sometimes unusual situations thrown up in the virtual world. The same standards of sourcing, identification and verification apply. Apply the same precautions online that you would use in other forms of news gathering and do not use anything from the Internet that is not sourced in such a way that you can verify where it came from.


But perhaps it is this comment that is the most pertinent

The distinction between the private and the professional has largely broken down online and you should assume that your professional and personal social media activity will be treated as one no matter how hard you try to keep them separate.

Tories promise most "tech friendly government in the developed world"

The big digital news of the day is the launch of the Conservative manifesto on technology which aims to make the British government the most technology-friendly in the world to create new jobs and kickstart the recovery.

At its centre is a pledge to create the fastest high speed broadband network in Europe, helping to create 600,000 additional jobs.

Britain will become the first country in Europe to extend superfast 100 mbps broadband across most of the population. That pledge is up to 50 times faster than Labour's planned broadband network.

But the document also promises to open up government data and spending information whch according to the Tories will cut wasteful spending and also create an estimated £6 billion in additional value for the UK.

Amongst the pledges on that

1.to publish online every item of central government and Quango spending over £25,000 — including every contract in full.

2.all government tender documents for contracts worth over £10,000 via the existing Supply2Gov website. and

3.every item of local government spending over £500 — including every contract in full.

RTL writes down value of Channel 5

RTL may be satisfied with its results but the news that it has halfed the value of Channel 5 television in its blance sheet will raise worries about the state of the UK independent TV market.

The Group announced that its revenue in 2009 was down 6.3 per cent to €5,410 million with profits down 17 per cent which included restructuring costs in the UK, Germany and Greece totaling €34 million, and a significant programme write-down at Five amounting to €22 million.

According to Media Guardian,

after several years of growing its share of the UK TV ad market Channel Five's share dropped from 9.6% to 8.4%.

S4C officially recorded zero viewers on 196 of its 890 programmes.

This morning's Daily Express takes a pot shot at the Welsh broadcaster S4C.

A WELSH language television channel funded with £100million of public money showed nearly 200 programmes in the last month which were watched by no one, it was revealed yesterday
.reports the paper.adding that

A soccer show called Sgorio scored a zero with viewers when it screened highlights of European football.
Sgorio – Welsh for score – turned into a no-score draw on the night despite regularly pulling in tens of thousands of viewers on other nights.

A silver lining for Johnston Press

The latest results are out this morning for Johnston Press.

The regional newspaper publisher has reported that operating profit fell to £71.8m for the 53 weeks ended 2 January 2010 from £128.4m the year before. Revenue fell to £428m from £531.9m.

However a little bit of a silver lining as advertising revenues appear to be reversing their falling trend,as the rate of decline reduced throughout the period with the first quarter down 33.9 per cent and the final quarter was down 11.2 per cent.

According to their chief executive

The year ended with the group in a much stronger position than it began: advertising is more stable; circulation trends have improved; digital revenues are growing; our cost base has reduced significantly and we have renegotiated finance facilities for 3 years."


The compnay also confirmed that debt reduction was its biggest priority.In accordance with the provisions of its revised financing arrangements, no dividend is proposed for the year.

What Thursday's papers are saying


Many of the papers report on the case of how a father was allowed to continually rape and abuse two of his daughters over a 35-year period.

The executive summary into the case described how the family had been in contact with 28 different agencies between 1973 and 2008, and that they had been seen by more than 100 professionals including social workers, police and housing officials.says the Guardian

Slammed social services chiefs issued a grovelling apology yesterday - for letting an incest monster rape his terrified daughters for a hellish 25 years.says the Sun

whilst the Times adds

Agencies involved with the family failed to confront the man even though they strongly suspected for many years that he was the father of the girls’ seven babies, some of them born with severe genetic defects.


Both the Mail and the Express choose to lead on what they call death taxes.The former reports that

Millions of middle income families are facing a 10 per cent 'death tax' levy to pay for social care of the elderly.


The levy would be charged on all estates up to the current inheritance tax threshold of £325,000.says the Express

According to the Times,Britain’s leading criminal judges are warning that a shake-up of sentencing guidelines could push prison overcrowding to crisis levels.

To politics and the Telegraph leads with news that a fifth Labour MP is being investigated by police over his expenses,

The Metropolitan Police has begun a criminal inquiry into Harry Cohen after he claimed more than £70,000 for a “second home” while renting out his main property.
says the paper

The Independent features Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg who in an interview with the paper

will this weekend announce the four "tests" he would set for Labour and the Conservatives in return for the support of the Liberal Democrats if neither main party wins an overall majority at the general election.


The row over defence spending continues.Lord Guthrie, the first chief of the defence staff under New Labour

last night said plans to replace the Trident nuclear missile system and build two large aircraft carriers should be abandoned and the money saved spent on alternatives more relevant to future conflicts, including a bigger army.
reports the Guardian

As the row continued in the Commons the Telegraph reports that

Gordon Brown has hit back at former military chiefs who accused him of starving the armed forces of funds when he was Chancellor, describing the criticism as "wrong" and inappropriate.


The number of billionaires has soared in the past year, and dozens of people who lost that elite status in the credit crisis have won it back as stock markets and commodities prices have rebounded.reports the Independent

The Devil is lurking in the very heart of the Roman Catholic Church reports the Telegraph.

The Vatican's chief exorcist claimed yesterday that

the assault on Pope Benedict XVI on Christmas Eve by a mentally unstable woman and the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries, were proof that the Anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See.


Finally a shock for those escaping to the Med as the Mail reports that

A rare blizzard has struck the Spanish coast and Balearic Islands in some of the worst weather seen in 50 years.
The snow storm swept in on the holiday island of Majorca after causing havoc in Barcelona, the Costa Brava and parts of the French Mediterranean coast.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Newspapers have never made money from news

“Newspapers could save a lot of money if the primary access to news was via the internet."

That's the opionion of Google's chief economist Hal Varian speaking to a workshop on the changing economics of the newspaper industry. (via Techcrunch)

He continues by saying that

“The fact of the matter is that newspapers have never made much money from news, They make money from “special interest sections on topics such as Automotive, Travel, Home & Garden, Food & Drink,, and so on.” The problem is that on the Web, other niche sites which cater to those categories are a click away, leaving the newspapers with sections which are harder to sell ads against, such as sports, news, and local.

Facebook under attack

The fallout from the Ashleigh Hall murder case is continuing this morning.As mentioned in the previous article,the Mail leads with the story that Facebook is putting children at risk' by snubbing the paedophile panic button.

Meanwhile the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is calling for social networks to adopt an online abuse reporting button.

The button was launched back in 2006 and it allows young people to report online abuse and danger straight to the police from social networks and websites.

According to the Mail,human rights laws are stopping the Government from implementing powers to force sex offenders to disclose their online identities.

There is an interesting piece on his very subject in the Independent this morning.Rhodri Marsden writes that

While websites such as Facebook usually play a passive, benign role in crimes that headlines might suggest are entirely attributable to them, this is one case where the death of a young woman was indeed caused by the ease of constructing a false Facebook identity, coupled with a tragic ignorance of the signs we should all look for, and the rules we should all follow.


The debate fuelled by the tragic consequences of the death Of Ashleigh will rumble on.

What Wednesday's papers are saying


Facebook is getting a fair amount of crititism led by the Daily Mail this morning which reports that

Facebook was accused last night of putting children at risk by snubbing the official paedophile 'panic button'.
adding that

Both the Home Secretary and the mother of murdered schoolgirl Ashleigh Hall condemned the website for refusing to implement the system.
Alan Johnson said he could not see 'any good reason' why - unlike other social networking sites - Facebook will not sign up to it.


The social networking site also make the front of the Daily Star which says that a man has spoken of his terror after he was falsely accused of being James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables on the social networking site.

27-year-old David’s Calvert's torment has been going on for five years after neighbours mistook him for the murderer because they are the same age


Meanwhile the controversy over Venables continues.The Times reports that apsychiatric report that paved the way for his release concluded that he posed a “trivial” risk to the public,

The Independent reports that the failure to rehabilitate tens of thousands of serial criminals is costing the country up to £10 billion a year,according to a report by the National Audit office

On the medical theme,the Telegraph leads with the story that doctors’ leaders have warned that Patients’ confidential medical records are being placed on a controversial NHS database without their knowledge.

doctors have accused the Government of rushing the project through, meaning that patients have had their details uploaded to the database before they have had a chance to object.
reports the paper

The Independent leads with the story that

A legal firm that had campaigned alongside the actress Joanna Lumley has been dragged into an investigation into charges levied on Gurkha veterans seeking to settle in Britain.


For the Guardian the top story is Afghnaistan and a speech to be delivered in the US by the foreign secretary, David Miliband,in which he will

urge the Afghan government to put more effort into the pursuit of peace talks amid fears that the war could be prolonged


Meanwhile many of the papers report the verdict of a coroners court which found that Special forces troops were sent to Afghanistan in unsuitable vehicles and without sufficient training and bomb-detecting kit,

Wiltshire Coroner David Masters said he would write to the Ministry of Defence to raise concerns about "theatre-wide" equipment shortages and gaps in training which led to the deaths reports the Telegraph

According to the Independent,A former head of MI5,Baroness Manningham-Buller, has accused intelligence services in the US of deliberately hiding the mistreatment of terror suspects from their British allies.

The Sun leads with the story of Macmillan nurse Sara Dale who cared for cancer-stricken wives then bedded their husbands after they died.

The attractive divorcee, 39, has been fired by hospital bosses over allegations she had three such romances.
reports the paper

According to the Telegraph,Millions of householders will have to wait until 4pm to receive their mail under a controversial new contract for postmen.

Meanwhile the Independent reports that

The threat of a national rail strike at Easter came closer yesterday as Network Rail revealed it had drawn up contingency plans to deal with a walk-out by thousands of workers.

The Mail reports on the speed camera trap on the M6 that's racing towards record £3m haul in fines.

An astonishing 5,569 motorists have been caught breaking the 50mph speed limit by the fixed cameras at roadworks at a junction of the M6 near Carlisle.


Finally the Telegraph reports that rumours that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy are both having affairs are gaining momentum in France.

The suggestion that the couple were both committing adultery first emerged on Twitter, the microblogging website. It was followed by a report in the Sunday newspaper le Journal du Dimanche.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Murdoch tells Abu Dhabi to ride the creative wind

Rupert Murdoch's attention has now turned int seems to the Middle East as today he launched an attack on the unliberal attitudes of the media.

Speaking at the the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit which opened today,the News International chairman told the conferenece that censorship is counterproductive and that the region's citizens should be free to unleash their creative talents.

the Arab world can adhere to traditions and values, while also investing in a thriving creative industry and avoiding over-regulation and hurdles that keep out foreign players.
and added

"As I speak, there is a powerful creative wind blowing through this region," he said, according to a copy of his speech. "Ride this wind and you will raise from these desert sands something extraordinary: a capital of creativity that is modern...that is global...and that is fully Arab."

The event will represents an opportunity to showcase its existing media infrastructure and outline its future plans and Murdoch's remarks make clear that the region must embrace the free market.

Scottish council's transparency on FOI requests

A local authority in the north-east of Scotland has become the first local authority in Scotland to publicise details of who is making Freedom of Information requests from it - with an estimated 40 per cent coming from the media.reports Allmedia Scotland

The authority,Moray Council has put the information for requests on its website along with its responses and performance rate which it says is currently 97 per cent.

The Council currently receives more than 500 FOI requests each year.

Liverpool's MP's given a platform

News of a great new initiative from the Liverpool Daily Post in the run up to the general election.

It has launched Liverpool Party Central tasked with the role of getting the city's candidates blogging.

According to How do media

MPs have been given direct access to the site via a content management system, so the blogs aren’t moderated editorially by Echo or Post staff


Now isn't that a good idea

Visiter helps out Southports Library

Praise indeed for the Southport Visiter which has stepped in to provide a temporary home for the town's Library.

Hold the front page reports that

Southport Library faced a lengthy closure as a result of a £15m refurbishment, sparking a furious reaction from residents and a 7,000-signature petition.

Latest survey shows online revenues to overtake print

This morning's FT carries news of one of the latest surveys of advertising spend from America which predicts that

US online advertising and marketing spending will overtake print this year as traditional media spending continues to decline,


According to the survey by Outsell

Online spending is forecast to rise 9.6 per cent to $119.6bn, while print spending will fall 3 per cent to $111.5bn, according to a survey of 1,000 advertisers by Outsell, a publishing research company.



and Chuck Richard,its Vice President and Lead Analyst was quoted as saying that

“Advertisers are directing dollars toward the channels which generate the most qualified leads and most effective branding. As they emerge from the recession, they need more accountability, and they’re spreading their spending over a widening set of options,

What Tuesday's papers are saying


Mothers betrayed says the headline in the Sun as it refers to the latest on the Jon Venables story and yesterday's news that a convicted rapist was given a 35-year sentence for killing girl he met on a social networking site.

As he began a 35-year jail term last night, it emerged Ashleigh was one of the 6,000 friends - ALL women - he was in contact with through TEN social networking sites.says the paper

Whilst the Mirror reports that Peter Chapman murdered 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall after police failed to lock him up for an arson attack weeks earlier.

According to the Independent,

Police officers also raised the possibility that he was responsible for other, unsolved, sex crimes. But the revelation that he was on the sex offenders' register at the time of the offence – which happened in October 2009 – has raised questions about how, while supposedly being monitored by the police, he was able to use the internet to find a victim for an even more horrific attack.


Who's your child talking to on Facebook tonight? asks the Mail

But back to the Jon Venables story and the Sun claims that he came under suspicion of having child porn only after a member of the public realised who he was,

The person became angry and blew the 27-year-old's cover - forcing cops to pluck Venables to safety.


Meanwhile the Times reports that Jack Straw signalled a major inquiry into the supervision of Jon Venables last night as he rejected pleas to disclose why the child killer was back in custody.

It leads with its latest opinion poll which shows that Labour and the Conservatives are neck and neck in the marginal seats that will determine the outcome of the general election,

The poll shows that the switch of voters from Labour to the Tories is about 1.5 to 2 points higher in the battleground seats than nationally


The true scale of how violent crime has grown under Labour has been disclosed by Whitehall officials. reports the Telegraph.According to the paper

The study, by the independent House of Commons Library, shows violence against the person increased from 618,417 to 887,942 last year.


The Guardian leads with rather a political twist.It reports that

The former US president George Bush has made a direct plea to David Cameron to support the Northern Ireland peace process, amid widespread concern in the US about the Tories' new electoral pact with the Ulster Unionists.


The latest from the Chilcott inquiry and the Independent reports that

Sir Bill Jeffrey, head civil servant at the MoD since 2005, told the Iraq inquiry that problems persisted within the department because of the growing costs of operations overseas and as a result of spending restrictions placed on it by Mr Brown shortly after the March 2003 invasion.


According to the Telegraph,Royal Mail has been accused of buying off postal workers ahead of the general election by agreeing an inflation-busting pay deal which will see postmen working less for more money.

One of the results of the deal according to the Guardian will be the ending of the restrictions of delivering junk mail and the paper predicts a deluge.

The Express reports that owners of dogs will be forced to fork out up to £600 a year for insurance under new Labour plans to tackle so-called “devil dogs”.

The Independent reports from the high-rise flats where a Russian family jumped to their deaths which it says are, for many, the last stop before deportation.

According to the Mail

the family of three asylum seekers tied themselves together with rope before jumping 200ft to their deaths when their application to stay in Britain was rejected.

The Times reports that

Fabio Capello was dismayed to discover that England’s preparations for the World Cup finals had been undermined yet again last night after conversations involving players and coaching staff were secretly recorded.


Finally staying with football,the Guardian reveals that Britain is to give 42m condoms to South Africa in response to a request for an extra billion as part of an HIV prevention drive before the World Cup, the government will announce today.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Thompson too dominant says Hunt

More conjecture on what will happen to the BBC if the Tories win the next election comes from this mornings Indy.

Media editor Ian Burrell interviews shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who tells the paper that Director General

Mr Thompson was too dominant within the corporation and suggested that the director general should face greater internal scrutiny on whether he was worth his annual remuneration package of £834,000.

If editorial oversight comes at a premium, investigative journalism is simply out of reach for most publications.

In the current online-only business model, true investigative journalism is unsustainable.

That's according to The Business Insider who out went and practiced some true investigative journalism in a story about Facebook.via the Editorialist

The problem with online is that

pages need to be made every day. Who's going to turn over pageviews while all your reporters are off doing stories that -- while immensely helpful to your publication's reputation and brand -- eventually don't pay off in terms of pageviews?

Telegraph claims MOD will censor war reports in the run up to the election

Allegations in the papers this morning that the MOD is planning a gag on the media reporting bad news from Afghanistan ahead of the general election.

The Telegraph leads with the story that

British journalists and TV crews are to be banned from the Afghan front line once a date for the election has been set, while senior officers will be prohibited from making public speeches and talking to reporters
. adding that according to a memo leaked to the paper

MoD websites will also be “cleansed” of any “non-factual” material including anything containing troops’ opinions of the war


I sincerely hope that this is a non story

What Monday's papers are saying


The Independent leads with the story that Labour has been accused of rushing through huge contracts before the election to safeguard the party's 'pet projects'.According to the report it is spending up to £11b

to prevent its pet projects being scrapped by an incoming Conservative government.


There is plenty of other political specualtion.The Times says that a Conservative government could find itself at war with police chiefs amid accusations that some are too close to the Labour Party.The paper has seen a Tory briefing document which attacks the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which represents the 350 most senior officers in England and Wales.

Meanwhile the Guardian continues to chase Lord Ashcroft.It leads with the story that Lord Mandelson,in a highly personal attack,said that

Ashcroft had Cameron "by the balls", the affair showed Cameron was "too weak to pick a fight with his own party" and the Tories were "fundamentally unchanged".


The Telegraph claims that The Ministry of Defence has been accused of ordering a “truth blackout” over the war in Afghanistan amid warnings it is attempting to “bury bad news” during the election campaign.

The elections in Iraq get a fair amount of coverage.

Bomb blasts and grenade fire failed to deter millions of Iraqis from voting yesterday in an election crucial to the country’s fragile young democracy. says the Times in its lead story whilst Robert Fisk writing in the Independent describes how Once again, a nation walks through fire to give the West its 'democracy'

According to the Guardian meanwhile

The government will attempt today to have a case about torture heard entirely behind closed doors in a move that some lawyers say would extend secrecy to a new area of hearings, overriding ancient principles of English law.


The Mail devotes its front page to the Jon Venables case as it reveals the horror image drawn by Venables just weeks before he killed James Bulger

The Sun meanwhile claims that on a scale of 1-5,Venables' porn images rate 4.According to the paper

Cops seized a laptop after a search at the home of the 27-year-old, who was freed with a new identity after serving time for the murder of James.


Cut spending now is the headline in the Telegraph as it reports that the country’s leading business organisations will warn today that the future of the economy is in jeopardy unless public spending cuts begin within months.

On the same theme the Times reports that Alistair Darling is at loggerheads with business leaders because of his perceived “leisurely” approach to the final Budget before the election.

A crazed man hacked his mother-in-law to death after flying in to Britain to hunt his estranged wife - armed with a "torture kit".reports the Sun

The Express claims that 1000's of prisoners who can’t find work in jail are claiming millions of pounds of tax- payers’ money in unemployment and sickness benefits.

Finally according to MI5 files released today,Cycling tours by Hitler Youth groups and Nazi attempts to establish close links with the Boy Scout movement caused a security panic in prewar Britain.

Whilst the Mail is concerned that we aren't getting enough sleep

The average person sleeps for just over six hours a night, well below the traditionally recommended eight hours.



The Guardian reports that

Police officers were alerted to monitor German students on bicycle holidays in the late 1930s as they stopped at schools, Rotary clubs, factories and church services.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

What the Sunday's are saying


According to the Sunday Times,damning reports on the state of the NHS, suppressed by the government, will reveal a neglect of patients’ needs

The harsh verdict on the state of the NHS, after a spending splurge under Labour between 2000 and 2008, raises worrying questions about the future quality of the health service as budgets are squeezed. says the paper

Meanwhile the Sunday Telegraph says that millions of pounds promised for respite breaks for carers has been mis-spent and diverted to plug NHS deficits,adding that

Ministers pledged £150 million to allow those looking after sick, infirm and elderly relatives short periods away from their duties, to prevent them reaching "breaking point".


As Gordon Brown visits Afghnanistan,the Independent repports that

Hundreds of soft-skinned "snatch" Land Rovers of the type implicated in the deaths of at least 36 British troops over the past decade are finally to be phased out after a bitter five-year campaign.


The Sunday Times reports that Britain's special forces have suffered the worst blow to their fighting strength since the second world war, with 80 members killed or crippled in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile the Observer reports that

Gordon Brown was embroiled in a furious row when former prime minister John Major accused him of using British troops as a "party political prop" on a surprise visit to thank soldiers in Afghanistan. Major condemned Brown's decision and said he had orchestrated a "cynically-timed political stunt".


It leads with an exclusive claiming that senior City financiers allied to the wealthy consortium planning a takeover of Manchester United claim Sir Alex Ferguson is supporting the controversial bid.

The Telegraph meanwhile says that the imposition of VAT on groceries is being actively considered by Whitehall officials as a radical means of reducing the national deficit.

So politically-sensitive is the move that all the talks are occurring "under the radar", according to retail industry insiders.
says the paper

Meanwhile according to the Mail on Sunday,o of the Camerons' closest friends, senior Tory MP Ed Vaizey, raises the extraordinary possibility that Samantha Cameron could vote for Labour in a film to be broadcast tomorrow.

The story of Jon Venebles continues to dominate.According to the Sunday Mirror,James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables was sent back to jail on suspicion of child porn offences,

The Observer reports that it has been told that Venables had descended into a "persistent state of self-disclosure" in which he felt compelled to tell others his real identity in the months before his return to prison,

The week's other big story gets a lot of pages.According to the Independent,The Lord Ashcroft affair is causing deep divisions at the heart of David Cameron's inner circle,

According to the Telegraph,The key civil servant who oversaw the terms on which Lord Ashcroft took up his seat in the House of Lords,Sir Hayden Phillips, said yesterday that the Tory peer had done nothing illegal.

However the Observer says that questions were raised over whether the Queen and the former prime minister, Tony Blair, had granted him a peerage under false pretences.

The News of the World reveals that Jade Goody has made certain her playboy widower Jack Tweed wasn't left a penny of her £3million fortune.

Despite naming him as a beneficiary - which saved more than £1million in inheritance tax - tragic Jade's carefully written deathbed will ensures the 22-year-old nightclub promoter can't touch any of the cash she salted away for her two precious sons.


Finally the Independent dedicates its front page to the 100th International Women's Day tomorrow reporting that

Just 19.5 per cent of the MPs in Britain are women; a record so poor that it puts the UK 69th in the world for our proportion of female parliamentarians – behind Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Testing the boundaries


Yesterday's wrap around cover for the LA Times certainly came close to the boundaries of what is advertsising.

It featured the face of Johnny Depp in the film Alice in Wonderland superimposed over what looks like the usual front page complete with masthead.

According to the New York Times

The top editor of The Times, Russ Stanton, and several of his deputies vigorously opposed the ad before it was published, but they were overruled by the paper’s business executives, according to people with direct knowledge of the dispute, who were granted anonymity to discuss private conversations.

What Saturday's papers are saying


Gordon Brown's appearence before the Chilcott committee is the main subject for some of the papers.

The Times
claims that

Former commanders accused Gordon Brown of deliberately misleading the Iraq inquiry after he blamed the military for failing properly to equip the Armed Forces for war.
and according to Admiral Lord Boyce

“He’s dissembling, he’s being disingenuous. It’s just not the case that the Ministry of Defence was given everything it needed


The day Gordon Brown came clean on Iraq is the headline in the Guardian as it reports that he told the Chilcot inquiry that Tony Blair did 'everything properly' and rejected criticisms over equipment

Meanwhile the Independent reports that

Iraqis go to the polls tomorrow in an election which has led to increased tensions between the country's three main communities after a fierce campaign in which some candidates were banned as former supporters of Saddam Hussein's party.

The other story of the day continues to rumble on.The Telegraph reports that Jack Straw has agreed to meet with James Bulger’s mother to discuss the return to prison of Jon Venables, one of her son's killers.

Meanwhile the Mail reveals that Jon Venables worked for years as a nightclub bouncer despite his violent past

His bosses had no idea he was one of the country's most notorious killers and were happy to hand him the responsibility for ejecting troublemakers from a series of venues.


The Sun claims that Jon Venables was thrown back in jail over an allegation that he committed a sickening sex crime,

Whilst the Mirror says the 27-year-old hit the nightclubs to get smashed on cider and cocktails while snorting cocaine and popping ecstasy pills.

The Independent leads with the story that Bob Geldof and the Band Aid trust are to report the BBC to the broadcasting regulator Ofcom over a World Service report that millions of pounds raised for famine victims in Ethiopia in 1985 were actually spent on weapons.

Election fever in the Telegraph which says that plans that could lead to the closure of hundreds of hospital wards are being drawn up but will not be made public until after the general election,

Meanwhile the Times continues to persue Lord Ashcroft as it claims the Tory Party’s last general election campaign was partly financed with a £750,000 loan from an offshore haven

As in the Guardian which reports that the Conservative party deputy chairman is accused of providing loans of more than $5m to the disgraced former premier of the Turks and Caicos, Michael Misick, through the local bank Ashcroft controls. According to his opponents, he "ought to have been aware that Mr Misick was corrupt".

Record numbers of the over-55s want to move abroad because they are fed up with Britain's soaring crime rates, its creaking economy and the rotten weather.
reports the Mail

The weather makes the front of the Express as well as it reports that the Met Office is to stop making ­seasonal forecasts after coming under fire for getting everything wrong.

The Guardian reports the increasing row between Turkey and the US as the former has threatened to downgrade its strategic relationship with the US amid nationalist anger over a vote in the US Congress that defined the mass killings of Armenians during the first world war as genocide.

The mother of a five-year-old British boy abducted at gunpoint in Pakistan has made an impassioned plea to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to save her son as the kidnappers’ silence raises fears for his safety. reports the Times

According to the Telegraph his denied that it was an "inside job" involving people connected with members of his own family.

More football revelations in the Sun as it shows pictures of Man United's Patrice Evra gets a kiss from a leggy blonde in a budget hotel at nearly 2am and in the Mirror on th night that John Terry tried to bed me

Finally reports the Telegraph,a German tabloid has advised Greeks to adopt a more Germanic work ethic – by rising earlier and working harder – in order to solve the country's financial crisis.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Trinity to continue with cost focus as advertisng revenues continue to fall

Results out this morning for Trinity Mirror confirm the continued impact of the advertising downturn on local papers.

Reporting its 2009 preliminary results,the company reported a 41 per cent drop in profits down to £72.7m, from £124.2m, with revenues down 11.8 per cent.

The group announced that its total costs had been reduced by over £60m with £40m of that being down to what it termed structural reorganisation.

It expects advertising revenues,already showing upward trends towards the end of last year, to improve in the current year.

Its chief executive Sly Bailey says that the board anticipates a satisfactory performance in 2010 whilst recognising the economic difficulties,and promised to keep the focus on cost cutting.

IPL live on ITV

Quite an unexpected cricketing coup for ITV.

The Independent station has just announced that it has picked up the rights to the IPL and ITV4 will be showing 59 of 60 live matches over 45 days.

There is a fair chance that it secured the rights for a nominal sum after the collapse of Setanta last year.

The tournument,the richest cricketing festival in the world is already being show on You Tube.

It all begins on the 12th March

Journalists should engage in conversation

When i first started this blog around the end of 2006,so many of the tags were to do with citizen journalism and user generated content.

The words seem to have fallen in to disuse in recent times sometimes maybe unfairly.

Kellie Maddox reports on the comments of the Editorial Development Director at RBI, a big B2B magazine and website publisher in the UK,Karl Schneider.

The benefits of UGC – aside from the obvious financial benefits of UGC (lots of content at little cost), Karl emphasised how important ‘community’ engagement around a website is in the production of UGC. He also pointed out that there was no set model of UGC that would work for users across the board – depending on the publication/topic, different groups respond differently when engaging with media products. He said, in order to understand users’ motivation to produce content, we should identify common threads e.g. why do users respond to that? In what way do they respond?


Ht-Suw Charman-Anderson

Is it more invasive just because some of us don't have a press pass

An interesting prespective over at Media Shift which asks if journalist's photos from Haiti are an invasion of Privacy.

Michelle May,who has just returned from the country says that

a rumor is circulating among volunteers that we should remove any photos of our time at the hospital from Facebook and other websites, unless we had received permission to take photographs.


This ethical debate is inspired by the ability of anyone to easily create and distribute media such as photos, videos or blog posts. Professional media have long been training their cameras and mikes on the victims of natural disasters, but now anyone can do it, too. Is it more invasive just because some of us don't have a press pass?

What Thursday's papers are saying


Lord Ashcroft,what did Jon Venables do, and the death of Michael Foot are the main themes this morning.

According to the Telegraph,Jack Straw has said that it is not in the public interest to disclose why the killer of James Bulger, was sent back to jail despite the Home Secretary saying that people have a right to know.

A theme taken up by the Express which reports that

Government officials have slapped a worldwide injunction on disclosure of any details about murderer Jon Venables breaching the terms of his release.


The Sun leads with a report that the father of murdered toddler James Bulger last night led demands for the TRUTH about killer Jon Venables' return to jail.

Acording to the Mail though,he was sent back to jail after a workplace brawl,

The 27-year-old was said to have been recalled to prison after 'flipping' and attacking a work colleague.


Meanwhile according to the Mirror,hislife has descended into one of drug abuse and brushes with the law since he left jail nine years ago.

The 27-year-old began snorting cocaine and popping ecstasy pills while throwing himself into his local night club scene.


Both the Independent and the Guardian turn up the heat on the events surrounding Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft kept William Hague in the dark for years about his controversial tax status, the shadow Foreign Secretary admitted last night as new details about the peer's donations to the party emerged.
reports the former.

Hague's disclosure put pressure on himself and the party to explain why they have repeatedly evaded questions about the matter in a succession of recent interviews.
says the Guardian

The Times leads with the story that the families of troops who were killed in poorly protected Land Rovers have urged the Iraq inquiry to challenge Gordon Brown tomorrow on his funding of frontline forces.

The death of Michael Foot at the age of 96 is covered in most of the papers

Baroness Thatcher, who faced Mr Foot in many fiery clashes across the despatch box in the House of Commons, said she was "very sorry to hear the news" of his death. says the Telegraph

His legacy is significant says the Independent

Not many British politicians have been more reviled than the donkey-jacket wearing, unpatriotic, election-losing Foot. And yet there was not the faintest edge of ancient grudge in any of the generous tributes paid to the former Labour Party leader yesterday from across the political spectrum.


An incorrigible rebel, the former Labour leader failed politically but always followed his mighty heart is how the Guardian describes his legacy.

The Times reports that cChildren’s heart surgery has been suspended at one of the country’s leading cardiac centres,The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, after four patients died during operations.

According to the Mail,Headteachers will be forced to list children as young as five on school 'hate registers' over everyday playground insults.

Meanwhile according to the Telegraph,

Traditionalist bishops and peers fear that vicars could be taken to court and accused of discrimination if they turn down requests to hold civil partnerships on religious premises.


News from America and the Guaradian reports that Republicans have rejected Barack Obama's offer of compromise over his health reform bill and prepared for one of the biggest battles of recent US political history

The Times says that the president has declared for the first time yesterday that he was prepared to steamroller his troubled health reform legislation through Congress with only Democratic support

According to the Independent

The prospects for the first negotiations involving Israel and the moderate Palestinian leadership for over a year have increased after the nations of the Arab League gave qualified support to a US proposal for indirect talks between both sides.


Finally Maddie is back in the news.The Sun carries pictures of ittle girl's rag doll whichcould have been given to Madeleine McCann by those who snatched her.

According to the paper

The cuddly plaything was among evidence suggesting Maddie was held at a remote house - but Portuguese cops abandoned the line of inquiry.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Inside the M60 -A Manifesto


Hyperlocal is the thing now and for the past couple of months,myself and fellow Manchester journalist Louise Bolotin have been working on the concept of a new hyperlocal project for Manchester.

Going under the title of Inside the M60 will be a local hyperlocal site supplying relevant news and information to the community of Greater Manchester with the expressed purpose of giving a voice to the opinions of the disenfranchised community.

Inside the M60 will fill a niche created by the failures of local journalism, taking advantage of the low entry and running costs of the today’s media platforms and fully utilising the tools of modern journalism.

It will address the issues of concern to the general population of the city, scrutinising the policies of local government and other public and private bodies within the city but also unafraid to tackle even the smallest issues that affect the population of Greater Manchester.

We both firmly believe that as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the country stands on the cusp of dramatic social and economic changes. The causes and consequences of the financial crisis of 2007-08 have yet to be resolved, there are massive social issues to address and our lifestyles need to adapt to the pressing environmental issues threatening the planet.

Next year’s elections will see the country make a choice for the future as distinct as those made in 1945 and 1979.

There will be a focus on community, with whoever wins the next election pledging to initiate community action driving change upwards.

This coincides with the collapse of local journalism as the newspaper industry has failed to respond to the challenges of the internet and the decline of advertising.

As a result of cost-cutting measures, local papers have by nature become more insular, relying more and more on “churnalism” and breaking that crucial relationship with their readership and their customers, the advertisers.

There are, therefore, opportunities for niche journalism projects with a small cost base that take advantage of the low cost of entry and can act as the voice for these communities.

At the same time, there are many communities that have become essentially disenfranchised from their city and society in general. Voting in local and national elections is at an all-time low, reflecting both apathy for the political system (for example, exasperation with this year’s parliamentary expenses scandal) and a consensus that “my vote has little or no effect”.

There exist communities where three generations have effectively slipped out of the work ethic, living on benefits as a matter of course and creating almost an underclass of society that exists in parallel to the economy.

In Manchester, the poorest communities live almost within shouting distance of the bright lights and investment of the city centre and yet have little or nothing in common with it. At the same time, technology has become alien to them and they are in danger of being on the wrong side of an increasing digital divide.

Keep reading this blog for more announcements and ways in which you can take part

What Wednesday's papers are saying


One of the killers of James Bulger is back in prison and the tabloids this morning cover the story intensely.

Jon Venables, now 27, was locked up after breaching his parole. Depending on the reasons for the recall, he could now be facing a life sentence.says the Mail

He broke strict rules which include a ban on him contacting his fellow murderer Robert Thompson or the Bulger family
.says the Sun adding that

The mother of murdered James said last night that Venables' arrest was "justice" for her son.


Laurence Lee – Venables’ solicitor at his trial – said he was “shocked”.
He said: “If someone said to me that one of James Bulger’s killers had been returned to prison I’d have put a lot of money on it not being Jon, because he was by unanimous agreement the less evil of the two.”
reports the Mirror

The row over Lord Ashcroft continues.According to the Guardian,revenue investigators were last night facing demands to launch an inquiry into the tax status of Lord Ashcroft,

whilst the Independent reports that

William Hague has come under pressure to explain why he stretched his powers as Tory leader "to the very limits" in 2000 by begging Tony Blair to ensure that Lord Ashcroft was granted a peerage.


According to the Times,

Senior Tories expressed growing unease over the Lord Ashcroft tax saga as new evidence emerged to contradict the billionaire donor’s account of how he became a peer.


Events at the BBC are the main subject for the Telegraph.Acording to the paper,it will be forced to disclose its stars’ pay under a Conservative government as the centrepiece of measures to cut the cost of the public broadcaster.

The Sun reports that up to 600 jobs will be cut, with the £600million saved going into "quality" programming but adds that

last night 52 per cent of viewers insisted the cuts are NOT enough, and only 12 per cent said the BBC should increase the licence fee instead.


Whilst television matters also dominate many of the other papers.The Independent reports that

General elections will be transformed by an historic agreement reached last night under which Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will face questions from voters in three 90-minute live television debates.


The Mail chooses to concentrate on the fact that it will take place in near silence after the broadcasters were forced to agree to a ban on clapping.

According to a joint study by the Guardian and the thinktank Civitas.

More than a third of NHS primary healthcare trusts, which fund hospitals in England, are running deficits that have led to a cutback in surgical operations and seen calls to close casualty departments,


Many of the papers report that South African President Jacob Zuma has urged the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe if progress is to be made in resolving Zimbabwe's political crisis.

The Mail follows up its lead story from yesterday as it reveals the gang of teens that stalks the streets around 'arson death' home

Last night neighbours pointed the finger at the notorious Overslade Crew, a gang of about 30 teenagers who have been known to set fires and smash bottles around Rugby, in Warwickshire.


Finally ahead of tonight's England friendly the Times reports the comments of their manager who has blamed the off-field problems that have threatened to undermine England’s World Cup hopes on the vast wealth accumulated by many of his players.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Why I am not lamenting 6Music but why I worry about local news

So the news is out.

The BBC's Mark Thompson has announced plans to scale back its £3.5bn a year operations,pledging to the public that the corporation with its guaranteed licence fee income, did not “try to do everything”.

So what won't it be doing? Well it will slash its radio budget by closing the digital radio stations 6Music and Asian Network.It will reduce by around a quarter its budget for running online operations and will pledge a new cap of spending for 2.5 per cent of the licence fee on overseas acquisitions and 9 per cent on sports rights.

It has also pledged to bring its overheads into line from around 12 per cent of the licence fee to 9 per cent

The middle classes are up in arms about 6Music.Quite frankly I have never listened to it,so don't share the twitterati clamour about defacing the memory of John Peel.Anyone surely Radio 1 is the place for breaching the barriers of new music.

I am more concerned about why there isn't such a clamour for the closing of the Asian network.

I am also concerned that the corporation has not addressed other areas where it is playing on a lopsided arena,notably its magazine arm and its acquisition of Lonely planet magazine last year.

As for the website,I also have worries.Which information is going and who will fill it.The BBC for all its critics supplies news and information which commercial operations are unwilling or unable to provide.

It says it will allow local papers to develop local services but I worry.Local websites, it says

" will be refocused, meanwhile, to carry only news, sport, weather, travel and local knowledge content.


Whether this gives an opportunity to those of us who want to serve the hyperlocal market remains to be seen.Maybe a sweetener would be to give us some of the license fee that they will save?

The rush to go online

A survey of of magazine web sites by the Columbia Journalism Review has shown that there are varying standards between the print and online editions of many magazines.

In particular,over nearly 60 per cent of respondents admitted to either less or no copy editing online as well as less vigorous fact checking and no indication to readers that mistakes had been made.

There was also evidence that decison making structues for online sites varied dramatically with people working for the print side expected to work online without being given adequate training in writing for the web.

The survey also found a number of advantages in using Independent web editors.They was a correlation between their use and profitablity as well as a tendency to use dedicated web staff.

Interestingly most publications didn't distinguish between selling advertising online and for print.

Although those involved with magazines and their Web sites have varying levels of knowledge and sophistication about their métier, it’s fair to say that the proprietors of these sites don’t, for the most part, know what one another is doing, that there are no generally accepted standards or practices, that each Web site is making it up as it goes along, that it is like the wild west out there.

Seperating fact from fiction

Since the dawn of reporting,journalists have come under scrutiny for how much of their copy is fact or fiction.

Today's Independent looks at the story of Ryszard Kapuscinski where yesterday,

a biography was published in Kapuscinski's native Poland which portrays much of his work as invention. Kapuscinski – Non Fiction, by the Polish journalist Artur Domoslavski, says he "consciously built on his status as a legend" and "extended the boundaries of reportage far into the realm of literature".


Ryszard Kapuscinski who died in 2007,dedicated forty years of his career to Africa and became famous for books, such as The Emperor (1978), on the fall of t Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Another Day of Life (1976), a closely observed account of the collapse of Portuguese colonialism in Angola, .
Domoslavski says that the journalist famed for books such as The Soccer War and Imperium never met Guevara and many other figures he claimed to have known as a globetrotting reporter. His claims that he narrowly escaped death by firing squad are dismissed as fantasy; his insistence that his father was a prisoner of war in Russia, a lie.

How far we have come -Part 2-the net ends that directional tyranny

News is no longer just a report. It's a conversation, a broad process in which many people contribute to varying degrees.


The words of Steve Yelvington who continues to push the idea of participatory journalism.

As he says

This is not new, but rather a restoration of normalcy that was disrupted by Gutenberg and Marconi. We humans evolved in tribes, and we digest news and information by sharing it and talking about it with our friends and family. The one-way flow that is characteristic of print and electronic broadcasting is at odds with our nature. The Internet ends that directional tyranny.

Remember how far the web has allowed us to come

A great article from Tech Flash which is entitled a world without newspapers.(H-t Sarah Hartley

It looks at print's increasingly fractious relationship with technology and some of its consequences,including thatWeb journalism is fast becoming the dominant form of news media and that nothing is ever final online.

However this for me is its most important contribution

The Internet has democratized media by shifting power from institutions to individuals.


It's worth a read just to remember how far technology has allowed us to come

The media world has evolved from a top down, command and control model into a complex ecosystem of mainstream media, blogs and user-generated content. It was once relatively clear where news came from (your local paper), when it would arrive (each morning) and who was the messenger (the longtime beat reporter).
and adds

Today, the news can come from anywhere, anybody, anytime. News, gossip, and rumor move instantly through the Web—often without the benefit of an editor attempting to separate fact from fiction. One important scoop can turn an obscure blogger into an influencer virtually overnight.

Dyke turns on Thompson

As the BBC prepares outline its strategic plans for the future which despite rumours of closures and job losses,could see an extra £600m diverted into programme-making,its Director general comes under fire from a former holder of the office.

Greg Dyke accused his successor of being overpaid and out of touch with his staff,

According to the Guardian,he

said the BBC's programming was "in pretty good shape" but the way management was handling the reshaping of the corporation had failed staff.


adding

It is a good job, and Mark earns more than twice what I earned when I was doing it. The staff are whingeing. Mark is doing some great things, but he is not taking them with him."

What Tuesday's papers are saying


Lord Ashcroft and the pound are under attack this morning.

The unanswered questions says the Independent,which include On what grounds was Lord Ashcroft's non-dom status granted? and How can a British citizen who claims to be a permanent resident of the UK gain non-domicile tax status?

Whilst the Guardian reports that the Conservative leadership was facing fresh demands to reveal what they knew about the tax status of Lord Ashcroft.

Meanwhile the Times says that he struck a private deal ten years ago to save himself tax on his overseas income,

Other papers from the right choose to focus on the pound which says the Telegraph fell sharply on Monday as financial markets took fright at the growing possibility of a hung parliament.

The Guardian describes how

In frenetic morning trading, sterling at one stage dropped by more than four cents against the dollar to a nine-month low of below $1.48, but rallied slightly to end the day 2.5 cents down.


Whilst the Express says that holidaymakes and shoppers were dealt a severe blow yesterday as the pound tumbled to a 10-month low and experts warned that sterling was “staring into the abyss”.

The pound wont be helped by the latest opinion poll in the Indy which suggests that Labour would have 17 more seats than the Tories in a hung parliament.

The Mail leads with the story of an elderly couple were killed in a suspected arson attack after they challenged yobs terrorising their sheltered housing complex,

Albert and Kath Adams, both 77, died after a gang set fire to a mobility scooter in their porch.


10,000 troops have been deployed on the streets of Chile to enforce a military curfew and crack down on looting following Saturday's massive earthquake. reports the Telegraph

Whilst the Times reports from the coastal town of Constitución,where

“The sea came and covered everything. It was 30 metres high. There were two waves. When we saw the sea coming in, everybody ran. I climbed up the hill.”


Meanwhile the Independent says that four Britons were reported missing last night by a website for surfers in the resort of Pichilemu, including Scottish couple Kirsty Duff and Dave Sandercock.

There is a great deal of coverage of the appearance of Phil Jones in front of a parliamentary inquiry.He says the Guardian

admitted he had sent "awful emails" but said he expected to be cleared of accusations that he tried to pervert the scientific process.


Whilst another appearance this time in the Hague also gets headlines.

Radovan Karadzic has answered genocide charges for the first time since the Bosnian War with a claim he fought a "just and holy" war against Muslim extremists.
reports the Telegraph

According to the Times,the Yorkshire ripper,Peter Sutcliffe

was wrongly convicted of murder and may be safe for release less than 30 years after admitting killing 13 women, medical evidence presented to the High Court concluded yesterday.


The death of BBC presenter Kristian Digby is widely reported.

The To Buy Or Not To Buy host, 32, is thought to have suffocated while starving himself of oxygen for a thrill.says the Sun

More from the BBC in the Guardian which reports that its former director general Greg Dyke,has said his successor is overpaid and out of touch with his staff,

The Yorkshire Ripper returns to the headlines.According to the Mail,Peter Sutcliffe is using taxpayers' money in an attempt to win his freedom.

The Times reports that one of Peter Sutcliffe’s psychiatrists believes the paranoid schizophrenic killer may now be safe for release

Yesterday was the day in which 11 year old find out which school they will be attending next Septemeber and the Telegraph reports that half of children in some areas have been rejected from their preferred secondary school amid fierce competition for the most sought-after places.

Finally the Independent reports from Warsaw where free round-the-clock concerts are being held to mark the composer Chopin's 200th birthday.

You could have heard jazz star Grazyna Auguscik as she improvised over Chopin melodies, or an unknown young pianist playing nocturnes at 3am to curled-up couples and solitary night-owls. Nearly 300 musicians signed up to play at "The Longest Birthday", the idea for which came from the doubt surrounding the composer's actual date of birth.