Sarah Hartley

Archive for August, 2009

links for 2009-08-31

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August 31st, 2009 at 8:03 pm

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links for 2009-08-30

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August 30th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

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links for 2009-08-29

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August 29th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

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links for 2009-08-28

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August 28th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

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Is your newspaper too sexy for its council?

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For anyone following the ongoing row over council ‘newspapers’, this week has brought out issues which get to the heart of the matter.

Leaving the question of revenue aside for a while, the argument essentially goes like this;

The editors: We provide fair, accurate and, most importantly, unbiased coverage of what goes on in the local corridors of power.
Peter Barron’s column admitting to feeling a “warm glow” on reading about the Cornish county council scrapping its free monthly magazine summarises well.

The councillors: Local papers don’t provide a suitable level of coverage and are only interested in knocking stories.
Darlington councillor Nick Wallis’ broadside on the “one-eyed nature of the local press” sums this view up neatly.

But what of the readers? Are they getting the important information on decisions taken in their names in town halls across the country – from either source?

Some of the responses to Roy Greenslade’s article on the subject make for uncomfortable reading:

“I agree with Roy in theory, but in practice my local paper is unreadable and full of syndicated crap.

“And incidentally, the ‘pillar of democracy’ argument rings a tad hollow when you have five local papers and the press desk at council meetings is still sometimes empty,”

“I don’t buy my own local newspaper in this part of London because it’s very downmarket – it hasn’t responded at all to the changing demographic of the area”.

etc. etc. you get the picture and as HoldTheFrontPage has also pointed out to me, there’s more comments in the same vein on their posting here.

Which has left me wondering what the truth of the situation is. Personally I’d consider it a serious attack on democracy if the idea of ‘matter of record’ ends up becoming too unsexy to be worthwhile in the very publications we rely on to be our eyes and ears in the community.

Previously the bedrock of any local paper’s coverage, it would be interesting to know how many pages the average local paper now devotes to such reporting and what measures are in place to ensure it isn’t now put at risk by diminishing resources and office-bound reporting staff.

Maybe the power of the interwebs could be harnessed to carry out a snapshot survey of exactly what council coverage is currently being published in local papers.

A survey could work in the manner of a meme, with bloggers across the UK picking one day (or week if the enthusiasm for this is there) and looking at their local paper to quantify how many page leads, picture stories, single columns etc. deal with local authority decisions.

If you’d like to join me on something like this, let me know via the comments below.

Written by sarahhartley

August 28th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

links for 2009-08-27

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  • Johnston Press' website recorded 2,172,598 unique users in the first six months of 2009, up 8.1 per cent from the previous reporting period, the last six months of 2008, according to the numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

    Manchester Evening News website, manchestereveningnews.co.uk, was the second most popular website with 1,062,693 unique users on average during the first six months of the year, although it saw its unique users fall by 5.8 per cent compared to June to December 2008.

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August 27th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

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links for 2009-08-25

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  • For consumers, we will be their essential connection to community life — news, information, commerce, social life. Like many Internet users turn first to Google, whatever their need, we want Eastern Iowans to turn first to Gazette Communications, whatever their need. For businesses, we will be their essential connection to customers, often making the sale and collecting the
  • What is the single most important change that has to be implemented in your newspaper over the next year? Responses to this question varied greatly, but could be considered to fit into two broad themes: developing staff and systems to implement multimedia news operations, and developing management that can effectively streamline operations for greater efficiency.
  • About the Marine Traffic project
    This web site is part of an academic, open, community-based project. It is dedicated in collecting and presenting data which are exploited in research areas, such as:
    - Study of marine telecommunications in respect of efficiency and propagation parameters
    - Simulation of vessel movements in order to contribute to the safety of navigation and to cope with critical incidents
    - Interactive information systems design
    - Design of databases providing real-time information
  • The goal, say the officers behind the effort, is to tap more experience and advice from battle-tested soldiers rather than relying on the specialists within the Army’s array of colleges and research centers who have traditionally written the manuals.
  • More than a half billion people use online social networks, posting vast amounts of information about themselves to share with online friends and colleagues. A new study co-authored by a researcher at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has found that the practices of many popular social networking sites typically make that personal information available to companies that track Web users' browsing habits and allow them to link anonymous browsing habits to specific people. The study, presented recently in Barcelona at the Workshop on Online Social Networks, part of the annual conference of the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communications, is the first to describe a mechanism that tracking sites could use to directly link browsing habits to specific individuals.
  • There are 13 root servers that control a major element the internet. But is there a secret 14th server that controls them all?

    Our production research into nations, the web, censorship and control have uncovered a theory posited by internet governance scholar Professor Ang Peng Hwa that

    '…there is a "hidden server" that reportedly controls the other 13 servers from a secret location in the U.S. He suggests U.S. manipulations of the master server caused the Iraqi .iq domain name to disappear during the 2003 U.S. invasion, thus crashing the entire Iraqi internet.'

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August 25th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

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links for 2009-08-24

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Written by sarahhartley

August 24th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

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links for 2009-08-23

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  • "I like the idea of Twitter’s Geolocation API in theory and there’s no way to stop location services from developing, especially as they can be so useful in so many ways. It just seems that the way most people use Twitter is at odds with location sharing.
    Still, people’s attitudes change over time – maybe in twenty years’ time we’ll all be constantly transmitting our locations as a matter of course and the idea of personal privacy will be dead forever. We’ve no way of knowing if that will happen but it will be an interesting ride finding out. "
  • Downstairs it is building an internet café/office where reporters and the public will mingle. “If the community is involved in our coverage, frankly, it will improve the quality of our coverage,” said Matt Kraner, president of the new venture. “They stay engaged. It’s critical to improving the overall coverage.”

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August 23rd, 2009 at 8:03 pm

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links for 2009-08-22

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  • As usual what was printed does not truly reflect what was said. For example at the end, its writen that there are things you couldn't do in London such as hold meetings in the bar. Well actually no, I said there's lots you can not do in London such as host external usergroups from around the region in our bar and meeting rooms after hours. The picture isn't too bad, but I did think there were many better ones which reflected Manchester better that a tatty billboard with club flyers over it. We did shoot pictures inside the bars on deansgate locks but instead they picked that one. in Anyway its done and I'm left feeling that lack of trust again for mainstream media.

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August 22nd, 2009 at 8:01 pm

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