Monthly Archives: July 2011

#SIPAUK2011: Links and slides from my presentation on journalism, aggregation and curation

Today I’m speaking at the Specialised Information Publishers’ Association’s UK conference on a breakout session on digital tools for editors and publishers, in a session with my erstwhile colleague Martin Stabe, now an interactive producer at

To sum it up very briefly, I was talking about curation, aggregation and the importance of transparency in online publishing.

Here are some of the links that I mentioned during the talk:

  • Ben Goldacre on why he doesn’t trust journalists that don’t link to primary sources (here, here)
  • Benoît Raphaël  of on the “Google newsroom”  - decentralising news production from a physical location and using free online tools to innovatively track trends, write analysis and use the wisdom of your audience.
  • Journal Register CEO John Paton’s excellent post of his excellent presentation at the WAN-IFRA Summit in Zurich last month. He really did reinvent the newsroom, the products and the business by putting online first and went from bankruptcy to profit by doing so. No gimmicks – he took costs out of the business, stuck print journalists’ ego with a big fork and focused on what matters.
  • Adam Tinworth on why there can be no special pleading of “our audience doesn’t get social media”.
And here are the slides:
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A week is a long time in media


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The last seven days have not been dull.

With the UK launch of Huffington Post utterly overshadowed by the on-going crisis (for once, this word is justified) at News Corporation, it’s one of those weeks where stories normally found on the media/business pages rocket their way to the front pages and the top of broadcast bulletins.

I wrote a few things on this:

– Phone hacking, journalism, transparency and why the readers are gaining power over brands - for

– News of the World closure underlines Murdoch’s desperate objective: acquire Sky at all costs - also on TMB, and

– Why we’ll miss the ‘Screws’, for, where I try to say something positive – or at least somehow balanced – about a newspaper which did have a proud tradition of investigations and exposure.

Also check out’s podcast last week on the launch of HuffPo in the UK, featuring me blathering on about why I think it’s an exciting business model and why I’m not particularly outraged by the idea of people voluntarily writing for the site without being paid.

As I say on the pod, people write for a variety of reasons that don’t involve money. It’s interesting that the people actually went out and found some bloggers who are more than happy to contribute on an irregular basis. As so often happens, @Adders makes this point far better than I could.

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Hats off to Nick Davies

News of the World

Image via Wikipedia

There’s so much coverage of the shutting down of the News of the World, including mine, but I’m not seeing anyone talking about the journalist at the heart of this story – but who comes out with his reputation and morals intact.

Nick Davies has for four years kept this story alive, ignoring every threat and denial from News International, and always trusting his sources and instincts.

News of the World editor told staff yesterday: “The Guardian was out to get us, and they got us,” almost inferring a personal vendetta. But this is business: Davies uncovers wrong-doing for a living. NOTW may have hacked as many as 4,000 phones, including missing schoolchildren and war heroes’ families.

This video chat with him is worth watching. Here’s an excerpt:

 It’s about power and the power elite and the way that the power elite tend to look after each other. I think it’s reasonable to observe that the Murdoch corporation has too much power and its’ evident in the way that the police, the Press Complaints Commission and some politicians automatically backed off and said ‘let’s not cause trouble, they might hurt us’, that they already had too much power when all this was going on on.

It seems to me highly unlikely that it’s in the interests of society as a whole to give that too powerful group yet more power.

I rather think the threat from Murdoch owning more stuff is slightly over-stated but it’s hard to argue with his analysis of the forces that were holding back the reporting of tabloid journalism’s excesses during the last few decades. Much like with MPs’ expenses, the rules or transparency have now been re-written.

Davies is scathing about the Met police, whose fear of “causing trouble with this newspaper empire” saw multiple investigations dropped, despite live evidence. “There are senior officers who must be seriously considering whether they should resign,” he says.

Oh and Davies also casually says that he’s spoken to NOTW hacks (pun intended) who in 2005 asked Glenn Mulcaire to hack the voicemails of David Cameron and George Osbourne. If Davies’s reporting on this so far is any guide, you’d be foolish to question him.

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