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Archive for October, 2009

News shortchanged

October 15, 2009 Leave a comment

A friend of mine twittered enthusiastically from Malta today:

NewsXchange conference session on political news for a younger audience. Great title: “Are we boring you?”

Yes, I had to agree, a great title, so I headed over to the NewsXchange website to see if I could find out more. Nice blurb there on the agenda, so I wanted to know more – ah, it’s happening right now, so is there a stream I could subscribe to?

No.

Maybe it’ll be available online later?

A brief look at the previous conference agendas soon put me straight.

No.

Then I saw the tag-line: “for broadcasters by broadcasters” and the penny dropped with a resounding thud.

Here we have a large room in a nice hotel in Malta filled with some of the best TV news folk in the business, but because they still have their collective old media heads stuck up their old media proverbials, the NewsXchange is reduced to being nothing more than a bunch of self-serving hot-air producers pontificating about the future of their industry behind closed doors.

No social media, no streaming, no podcasts, no blog, no tweets (bar the teaser above) – just the same old, same old.

What an opportunity missed.

Bye bye, broadcast news, it was nice knowing you.

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Also behind the curve…

October 14, 2009 Leave a comment

After yesterday’s post it was interesting to see that Al Jazeera English are not the only ones who are behind the curve on new media – Sky News, no less, have been trumpeting their latest innovation: Sky News being streamed for free on their website.

Good Lord, how have I struggled through the past few years only being able to watch BBC, ITN, CNN, MSNBC, Russia Today and Al Jazeera English, all of whom have been streaming their live output for free for years?

Cue chest thumping from the Sky News bunker:

With Sky News now available on more platforms than ever – on TV, online, on mobiles, through iphone and ipod touch apps, at train stations and on planes – there’s barely a screen in Britain now where you can’t access Sky News.

I’m always reminded at this point of the creatures Douglas Adams once described in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who had 50 arms each and so invented the under-arm deodorant before the wheel – one wonders how Sky News could ever have thought it was more important to have an iPhone application BEFORE a live free stream.

Maybe the answer can be found in Michael Woolf’s excellent takedown of old Digger Murdoch in a recent edition of Vanity Fair, which sums up everything you ever need to know about the sad attitude of old media execs to the future of media.

As for Sky News, I guess someone there is feeling really pleased with themselves this morning, and wondering whether they should go one step further, and put Sky News content into print…

Got the blog on

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

So I heard through the grapevine today that those clueless wonks at Al Jazeera English had launched a new blog section on their website. Obviously “new” is a relative term for them because the “blog” is a product of Web 2.0 and therefore already well past its sell-by date (and yes, I am aware of the irony of saying that in my own… blog).

Still, the BBC have had blogs for years, as have CNN, so I guess it was only a matter of time before Al Jazeera English copied them; which is a shame because to date, the Al Jazeera website had stood firm against the stereotypical “blog” and focused on its excellent feature writing instead, often bringing these together under a single subject or reporter name, rather than just giving them their own blog-branded new media ghetto.

One hopes that these one-day-wonders won’t replace the well-written and truly original journalism that Al Jazeera regularly put onto its website’s Focus section, but I’ll bet they do, and then try to pass it off as “convergence”.

(You can always tell when a Newspaper or a TV executive is lying about convergence, and using it to cover up cuts in spending – their lips move.)

Obviously whoever is in charge of innovation there must be on long-term sick leave because the blogs are now “the in thing” while elsewhere on the site all of their excellent comments have been shut down on both the website and their YouTube channel – so much for being the “voice of the voiceless”.

The head of common sense must also have been having an off-day because while the new blogs have been mentioned fleetingly on-air, there’s absolutely no mention of them at all on the Al Jazeera English front page to date.

Come on Al Jazeera, you can do better than this.

(Oh yes, if you want to see these wonders of the new media era, they can be found languishing at their own site – and one further observation: Why didn’t the Asia-Pacific region qualify for its own blog?)