Directors' blog

Links, thoughts and updates from the directors of Dim Sum Digital.

Archive for May, 2009

links for 2009-05-31

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Written by sarahhartley

May 31st, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Getting offline to make sense of online


Fancy coming to my talk?

Cupcakes? Model train sets? Pizza, sushi, juggling and even unicycling?

What’s all this to do with geekery? Well at Barcamp Leeds, the digital business of the day came with its own brand of entertaining diversions.

Plenty of sessions in the now expected unconference format to delight those with an interest in coding, communication and collaboration in the digital world, but also the chance to meet up, catch up and cook up some plots and plans!

It was the first Leeds-based event I’ve attended, and the first Barcamp at which I’ve given a talk, so all new experiences here.

In brief some of the highlights in the sessions I attended;

* Check out Finding it hard to describe but think a delicious type service for Twitter. Journalistic uses which occurred to me during Tim Hastings’ session include collecting information about one particular person or subject and maybe a tool which could help when training journos on the usefulness of Twitter. Seemed a no-brainer for PR people concerned with brand reputation management too.

* Exciting new entertainments offering which will surely break out of Yorkshire in a bid for world domination – or at least beat a path down the M60 corridor. The lovely ladies behind this bribed us all with some baking too, and it worked! is in part a recommendations site but also offers some experiences the average person is unlikely to get the opportunity to discover elsewhere. They are re-thinking what “culture” is in a landscape currently dominated by listings offerings. Fresh!

* I got a bit overheated thinking about all the possibilities of this experiment, geo-locative music experiences. About to launch out of a university bunker somewhere, this is a competition winner which should prove a hit further afield. Atm, this is Leeds based for emerging artists and requires special handsets to explore – fun enough and worthwhile in itself, but it also got me thinking more about Adam Greenfield’s work on networking cities, archives of artists past explored by geo-tag, perhaps not just music, why not accessed through phones rather than a specific gadget?…..

And that’s what’s so great about events like Barcamps – they expose things that wouldn’t otherwise cross the radar. Whether it’s a student project being incubated within the safety of an academic institution or a seasoned business pro sharing some experience, these offline events give a quick adrenaline shot to the online practitioner.

Yes, there were sessions which quite honestly might as well have been delivered in Greek for all the understanding I could get, but perhaps that’s also got value in its own way. A reminder that there’s plenty going on which isn’t easily understood, that requires expertise and encouragement.

Outside of the formal sessions I had plenty of conversations about new ways of looking at news online, the inevitable moderation issue, the best way to organise these events, possibilities of collaborations down the M60 corridor or Yorkshire-wide or northern-wide – the world awaits!

In fact the only disappointing thing about the day for me was the complete lack of fellow news professionals attending, participating, engaging, or even reporting the event. If the search for new online models really is the holy grail, perhaps it would be worth following some of the pathfinders?

During my own talk about my recent work on blogs within a mainstream newspaper organisation, I made reference to the importance of participation in offline events in cementing community relationships – something confirmed for me by yesterday’s event.

All that remains is to say thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome – I’m certainly looking forward to whatever happens next!

* There’s more Flickr pix
and a Qik from me tagged #bcleeds09 as well as plenty from everyone else. I’m looking for blog links and slideshares too so feel free to point me in the right direction via the comments below.

Written by sarahhartley

May 31st, 2009 at 10:57 am

links for 2009-05-26

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  • Well we want to know if hyperlocal people in the UK are up for some sort of ‘UK Hyperlocal Alliance’ (working title) dedicated to a positive future for hyperlocal content in the UK. This isn’t an attempt to form a trade body or a union or a lobby group, just a simple web resource where we can sign up to a simple statement of intent, get in touch with each other and tell our stories.
  • Perhaps some of the reporting done up to now by for-profit papers will in future be funded by foundations or trusts. But the industry should not lose faith in the free market. When people really want or need something, they will pay for it, one way or another. If today’s publishers cannot convince their readers to do so, they will be overtaken by others that can.

Written by sarahhartley

May 26th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Community,Journalism

Tagged with , ,

links for 2009-05-25

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  • Guest blog by Danfung Dennis which explores the opportunities and challenges of conflict photojournalism today. “I am returning to Afghanistan this week to experiment with this model. I will be embedded with US forces in the Korengal Valley and hope to shoot HD video and stills, edit and produce a pieces on my macbook, encode for broadcast, web, iphone and video podcast platforms, transmit by satellite to my website and update my RSS feed, twitter, facebook, vimeo and blog platforms with regular video dispatches from the front line.”
  • What you see now is a site created for a metro daily newspaper’s online operation. That’s over.

    What will come is a more user-friendly site created to reflect the fast-paced, edgy nature of the Internet age.

Written by sarahhartley

May 25th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Au revoir to Craig ‘Clay’ McGinty!


So we waved goodbye to Craig McGinty this morning – if tweeting a last 140 character message of encouragement can be classed as waving.

There’s been a few occasions to say farewell to one of Manchester’s best-known (and liked) digital journalists recently – mostly involving mind-bending levels of alcohol – but this morning’s little tweetings were a sober affair.

With his car and dog packed, Craig is setting off to do what so many claim to want to do, but so few are ever brave enough to.

Driving into France for a new life armed with the tools of his trade – laptop, contacts, blog, charm and guile.

I can’t remember when I first met Craig – I think it was probably a Digital Editors’ Network session – but whenever it was, he quickly became a valued and trusted contact and friend.

When we set up Manchester’s Social Media Cafe, he was a great supporter of it and hosted one of the most lively sessions we’ve had to date about blogging and advertising -  coming to our assistance when we realised the budgets probably wouldn’t stretch to Clay Shirky!

It will be fascinating to see how This French Life develops from here on in and I know Craig won’t be a stranger, despite the distances – he is after all, connected.

All the best!

Written by sarahhartley

May 25th, 2009 at 10:06 am

links for 2009-05-22

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Written by sarahhartley

May 22nd, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

links for 2009-05-20

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  • Finding the rights means to create and protect value will require collaboration throughout news enterprises. It is not something that journalists can leave to management. Journalists and managers alike will need to develop collaboration skills and create social relations that make it possible. Journalists will also need to acquire entrepreneurial and innovation skills that makes it possible for them to lead change rather than merely respond to it.
  • It is the first of small, halting steps of the military joining the stream, which is important if they’re to adapt to the Web as it evolves.
    There is, however, always that nasty lag. While putting out a daily tweet is an enormous step in the right direction, they’re lagging a few years behind reaching out to the opinion-making set in the West, which is already familiar (and in many cases already bored) with rote social networking technologies.

Written by sarahhartley

May 20th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Bloggers in demand from brands


Whatever you blog about, chances are you’ve been approached recently by a big brand looking for coverage.

And although I’ve heard about this happening across the city, it isn’t just a Manchester thing – witness the Midlands based mom blogger Linda Jones’ recent Disney-funded trip exclusively for bloggers.

Such a non-press press trip for a major holiday company would have been unthinkable just a few years ago and is a clear example of a shift in marketing strategy that I’ve a feeling we will see more of going forward – afterall what better way to engage with a well-defined target audience than through niche publications such as blogs?

(I have contacted the Disney press office to ask what made them decide to handle the trip in this way and to see how they will gauge its success. Hopefully a comment will be forthcoming.)

It’s an issue that has promoted some interesting conversations in recent weeks about the ethics of taking freebies in return for words. It’s an issue which journalists previously had to deal with – a fine line between product trial and advertorial. (Although, as I’ve posted on here previously, for some reason press trips to exotic locations often seem to skip happily under the radar!)

As there’s no guidelines on these sort of issues (and long may that remain the case), it’s a matter for each individual blogger to develop their own ‘code of conduct’ . I’m regularly asked to try out food products and have developed these rules of engagement;

1. The relationship is fully disclosed in the blog post – the company that has provided the product named plus the fact the product was supplied for free.

2. If I don’t like, think it’s poor, over-priced or whatever – I say so. Just because it’s free, doesn’t buy support or favour.

I’d be interested to hear any thoughts on these, or from any other blogger who has attempted to draw up their own personal code of conduct in these matters.

It’s a topic that’s currently under discussion within the Manchester Bloggers group – join us on Facebook here.

A PR company is hoping to sponsor a future meet up in return for being able to engage directly with bloggers who have a music based audience – isn’t that what used to happen with press briefings for entertainment journos? Changing world indeed!

But proving the tried and trusted inducmenets are still the best in the new world, free alcohol is the offer for bloggers at  what is being billed as a “blog launch”  for the Cutting Room Experiment happening on Thursday evening at 6-7:30 at the Bay Horse, Manchester. Read more about that inititiative on The Manchizzle blog here.

Written by sarahhartley

May 20th, 2009 at 10:39 am

links for 2009-05-18

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Written by sarahhartley

May 18th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Links from Futuresonic

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Written by sarahhartley

May 17th, 2009 at 8:01 pm