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Posts from the ‘General Discussions’ Category

The Sun on Sunday: Review

Today, after last week’s official announcement, the first edition of The Sun to be published on Sunday finally hit the newsstand. However, amidst all the fanfare, The Sun on Sunday is a rather bland offering, with a soft focus, which fails to deliver anything new or different for readers.

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Stephen Fry scoops two awards at the NTAs

Stephen Fry was the big winner at the National Television Awards tonight winning two awards.

Fry not only received the Best Documentary award for his series Stephen Fry in America, but also took home the Special Recognition award for services to television.

On hearing the news Fry said: “I really am completely staggered by this, I had no idea this was going to happen.

“I have the highest possible belief in television at its best. I think of it as the nation’s fireplace, about which we can gather together and be lit by its light and warmed by its heat.

“It can make us feel better about each other. And it can make us feel better about ourselves.”

Doctor Who also won two awards Best Drama and Best Drama Performance for David Tennant who bowed out of the sci-fi hit on New Years Day.

Other winners include Gavin and Stacey, Loose Women and The X Factor – with Ant and Dec also taking away two gongs.

The night also saw the return of Jedward who performed alongside Vanilla Ice, while fellow X Factor star and show winner Joe McElderry performed Don’t Stop Believing.

The awards now in their 15th year were hosted by Dermot O’Leary at the O2 Arena in London.

Wired magazine launches in the UK – But is it really plugged in?

wired1

The eagerly anticipated re-launch (a previous attempt failed fourteen years ago) of Wired, the magazine about what’s next, hit UK stores last week, but was some what of a disappointment.

Whilst launching a new magazine in an economic downturn, particularly one which failed to capture the interest of UK readers first time around, is some what questionable, Wired’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t feel that new or innovative.

Although there are some interesting articles like: ‘How the iPlayer saved the BBC’ and ‘Your life is a number’ a large majority of the magazine is pictorial. The magazine is full of sexy shots of new technology, including 3 double page spreads of circuit boards and wiring and 10 pages of speakers and other musical equipment, with very little copy to support it. This unfortunately just comes across as porn for geeks rather than supporting the magazine’s strap-line – ‘the future as it happens’.

In many ways this is the root of Wired’s problem. It doesn’t appear to be practicing what it is preaching, or at the very least, not in the way the reader expects. A magazine is hardly the format for getting up to speed with the latest developments in technology and innovative engineering. Monthly magazines prepare content months in advance, so if Wired’s statement is that it delivers – ‘the future as it happens’ – it’s arguments and stories can hardly be as groundbreaking as they claim, if they are only confined to a monthly publication rather than a constantly updated website, fully rooted in Web 2.0.

New Editor David Rowan told  The Guardian “There are quite a lot of magazines in Britain doing products, with girls in bikinis with iPhones. That wasn’t us.” He added that what Wired UK aims to do “is not fluff or bullshit: its data”. That may be so but the result is a large number of pieces which fail to capitalise on their content, most notably an interview with Twitter CEO Evan Williams.

Despite all this though, Wired does show potential. Its website has a number of original stories uploaded daily and the concept of informing the masses about the changing nature of the web and technology has a lot of scope. However its focus and the way in which this data is packaged needs addressing. In basic terms the magazine tries to hard to cram in to much at the expense of detail. Whilst graphically stunning throughout, it is this which distracts and confuses the reader. For Wired to work it needs to simplify its message and design and focus more on copy, so that reader doesn’t feel robbed or left out of the loop, which Wired is clearly trying to bring the reader into.

In conclusion, whilst the model appears to work in the US, since launching in 1993, it would seem that Wired would have benefited from taking the Maxim approach, investing solely in its online counterpart.

Reporting the G20 Protests in Central London – the benefits of using Web 2.0

For an aspiring journalist last week’s G20 protests outside the Bank of England highlighted the benefits of Web 2.0 for the reporter superbly.

Social Media came into its own throughout the entirety of the protest. The Guardian, The Times and the BBC all had reporters posting on Twitter and other mediums.

Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity, equipped with my Nokia N95 I headed down to capture the action. Once I arrived I instantly found myself catapulted into a crowd swarming with journalists armed with recording devices, cameras and mobile phones. It was astonishing to see such an army of people all trying to capture the moment with portable devices, whilst camera crews struggled to gain a prominent position amongst the restless crowds.

Deciding not to cross the police barrier, I positioned myself right behind the police line adjacent to Royal Bank of Scotland. Managing to secure a prime view of the action I set about capturing video and pictures whilst posting updates to my Twitter account. However it wasn’t long before these tools came into their own, as the crowds grew hostile and violence set in.

G20 Protests get Hostile

Having joined Qik, moments before departing City University I began streaming video of the action for my fellow course mates immediately. My efforts quickly attracted viewers, with many more viewing the footage since. Videos of the days action are available here. I was amazed how easy it was to generate original content from the ground, which I was able to post direct to my blog.

Having the power to produce instant content like this is invaluable. The more people that produce content the bigger the picture the audience gets of what is happening. The only trouble then is keeping up with the updates and highlighting what is legitimate.

As the day unfolded it became clear how powerful the role of citizen journalism is, and how crucial tools like Twitter are becoming in reporting events live from the ground. In many ways this was the first real test for Twitter. Visitors to The Guardian, The Times and the BBC websites where all exposed to rolling coverage from the likes of Paul Lewis who were posting live up to the minute information from the Square Mile. It was certainly the first time the site has been used at such length to describe the events of a major news event.

As newspaper ABC’s continue to fall, the Web 2.0 model online is becoming much more appealing. Whilst every media outlet in the UK descended on the Square Mile that afternoon to report on the violence and the attacks on Royal Bank of Scotland the fact that I was also posting pictures to Twit Pic direct from my phone via text and sending updates direct to my Twitter followers, highlights the necessity of news organisations and journalists to find the best ways of packaging and distributing this date to the public. Content in this form is not unique, it is expected, but it is how this presented to the reader which attracts attention. My attempts where relatively small scale, but the fact that was able to do so raises concerns about what is next. There is only so far citizen journalists can go though.

However if increasing numbers of people are able to generate this content cheaply and people are able to access it for free, what is the future for the linear news article or straight news report. Is there still a demand for the news in this format?

G20 Arrest

Speaking on Media Talk this week Janine Gibson, editor of guardian.co.uk, described the use of Twitter and Google Mapping as: “The best way of telling the story.. it’s an an incredibly useful way to show the users what is happening in different pockets of London. Twitter has a very simple function, which becomes perfect for saying – What can you see? What are you doing? It becomes really useful because what your representing is all the strands of the story.

“Even with broadcast cameras on a story like that, you only see one linear thing at a time. This was not a linear narrative story, you’ve got pockets of different temperatures you need to take, lots of different narratives to bring together and there is something something fantastic about being able to see all those strands simultaneously and work your way through which represents what it is.”

If nothing else, last week demonstates that social media and Web 2.0 are the future for reporting, however despite Robin Hamman discussing here the new technologies and opportunities for covering events like the G20 protests, if more and more people take up these tools, what can be said for the future of journalists and the news organisations they work for?

Weird Wacky News (WWN)

Amidst the onslaught of depressing news gracing the front pages over the past few weeks I thought I’d seek out some more lighter quirkier stories. My daily source or media and entertainment Digital Spy has recently started posting odd news and some of them make interesting reading.

Man writes away his tears  

Mr Anting showing off his unique skill

Mr Anting showing off his unique skill

A Japanese man has perfected the ability to write calligraphy using water squirted from his own eyes.

Ru Anting, 56 discovered the talent while swimming in a local river as a boy.

He said: “Sometimes I would swallow water while swimming, and once I accidentally discovered the water I swallowed could be shot out through my eyes.”

Mr Antig revealed his amazing gift to China News.

More on this story……here and here 

Brave dog in fire rescue

Leo the dog plays firefighter

Leo the dog plays firefighter

A dare-devil dog who risked his own life to protect four kittens from a house fire in Melbourne, Australia has been hailed as a hero.

The plucky pooch Leo tested the courageous skills of firefighters as they were forced to dodge fallen power line to rescue him and his feline companions.

All the animals had to be resuscitated following the rescue but are no reported to be safe and well.

Watch the video below.

When lightning strikes!

The cows laying dead after the storm

Tragic Fate: The cows laying dead after the storm

A lightning bolt killed 52 cows when it struck the northern Uruguayan state of San Jose.

Meterologist Fernando Torena said he was not surprised a single lightning bolt had killed the black and brown cows (pictured), stating that cows often crowd around fences to seek protection from bad weather. He called it “very bad luck”.

The report was published in Newspaper El Paris. The photograph was released by the San Jose Police.

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