Directors' blog

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

Archive for March, 2010

links for 2010-03-29

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Written by sarahhartley

March 29th, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized launched by former MEN journalist

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Former MEN journalist John Jeffay has launched an online venture to help people turn their stories into cash. The Manchester-based ex-syndication editor has teamed up with columnist Angela Epstein to launch

I caught up with John to talk about the project and have posted the interview at my journalism blog here.

Written by sarahhartley

March 24th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Former MEN journalist launches


Former MEN journalist John Jeffay has launched an online venture to help people turn their stories into cash.

The Manchester-based ex-syndication editor has teamed up with columnist Angela Epstein to launch

I caught up with John and asked him what the market was for a service like this;

“There is an insatiable appetite for “true life” stories. Look at the racks of weekly women’s magazines and you’ll get some idea of the demand. They all need a constant supply of ordinary people talking about their extraordinary experiences. At we provide people with a straightforward way to tell and sell.

“Yes, there’s money to be made, but often that’s not the sole motive. People may want to re-live an experience for many reasons: gratitude, revenge, as a warning to others, or simply because they want their moment of fame.”

The service reminded me a little of the, sadly now defunct, which offered people cash to sell images to newspapers and magazines – but John says there are important differences;

“Scoopt was very much a thing of the moment. It attempted to cash in on the citizen journalism idea that anyone with a camera and the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time could sell their pictures. The demand was limited. It failed.

“What we’re doing capitalises on a well-established market, with an almost unlimited demand. A dozen or more titles want true life stories week in, week out. And they need professional journalists to do the interviewing and writing.”

And the fee? Just how much cash is on offer for a punter who’s media-savvy enough to know they’ve got a story to sell?

“As with everything in life, it’s negotiable. But we pride ourselves on offering a good split, rather than a lump sum. So when there’s a bidding situation between rival titles, as the price goes up, so does the amount the client receives.”

Throughout the site, the pair take pains to point out that the service being offered is not PR – more of a brokerage service. So no aspiration to be Manchester’s answer to Max Clifford then?

“I think we’re unlikely to follow in Max Clifford’s footsteps. We are a news agency, finding and writing stories for magazines. PR, certainly the sort that’s made Max Clifford famous, is about managing the reputations of the rich and famous or those who suddenly find themselves caught in the full glare of the media spotlight.”

Written by sarahhartley

March 24th, 2010 at 9:46 am

links for 2010-03-23

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Written by sarahhartley

March 23rd, 2010 at 8:04 pm

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links for 2010-03-21

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Written by sarahhartley

March 21st, 2010 at 8:03 pm

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Few thoughts from Multimedia Meets Radio (#mmr10)

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What folllows are some notes and links from this week’s Multimedia Meets Radio conference in the Dutch town of Hilversum – it’s not intended as a full report, simply my take-aways.

An interesting event aimed at radio professionals and hosted in a town which gave the impression of having been a goldrush town in the era when radio was the emerging big media technology.

Some stunning remaining Deco buildings (including this former theatre I stayed at) hinted at a more glamorous era and a delegate visit to the present day Radio Netherlands Worldwide premises, still complete with sand-filled studio doors from the 1930s, was a reminder of just how enduring radio continues to be as a medium.

Being a complete radio junkie myself, it was a treat to be asked to speak there (about UGC and how The Guardian is making its news social) and have an opportunity to meet some truly passionate and forward-thinking practitioners.

Such as;

  • Audioboo CEO Mark Rock, who gave a live demo during his talk but also, in effect, plenty of other live demos by interviewing anything that squeaked! Check out his full output here which includes a brief chat over lunch with me about councils’ access for those who wish to tweet meetings. Couple of news breaks – although audioboo is best known for its iPhone app, it will soon be available for Nokia and Android plus, there’s a nifty looking desktop app now in use which I’ll certainly be trying out soon.
  • Freelance radio producer Kate Arkless Gray reminded everyone just how evocative audio can be with a presentation about the award-winning Save Our Sounds interactive map produced for the World Service. From the exotic to the humdrum, the sounds which capture just a glimpse of what every part of the world might sound like it just delightful. It’s a simple concept of crowd-sourcing clips and placing them on a map which you can see here. Although there’s some remarkable sounds (such as the ice break in Antarctica) it’s irresistible to look closer to home where I found the sound of the trams leaving St Peter’s in Manchester as well as a white van’s horn alarm from a car park in North Yorkshire.
  • Apple, in a presentation which seemed intended to create as much intrigue as possible, gave a demo of the new site tools for publishers which will effectively give them greater control over the way their content is presented. The way they packaged their presentation with “confidential”, wouldn’t reveal any surnames on name tags, came equipped with their own mic packs and refused to speak about “the future” made the two presenters as interesting to watch as what they had to say.
  • Update: 17.56: Just spotted that Justin King has uploaded the slides he did of the crowdsourced top ten social media tips too. See them here; Any more? come on in…..
  • The BBC’s Mark Friend gave a very detailed presentation about various aspects of his work, but the most interesting point for me came out of his use of examples of unofficial mashups such as the addition of a slideshow to a Stoke football audio and the comedy show visuals embedded below. I’ve spoken and blogged on this before I know, but it fascinates me to see how the BBC reacts to the sort of activity where its content is uncoupled from the original context in this way. [youtube=]Previously I’ve pondered that the BBC maybe just tolerated this sort of thing, turned a corporate blind eye rather than come the heavy-handed authoritarian.
    But there was something in Friend’s descriptions, and obvious enthusiasm, that is making me think again. OK, the Beeb can never realistically stop people doing this, and they can even facilitate it in a more controlled way with projects such as R&D, but perhaps it really rather enjoys what people get up to with the content. After all, is the corporation’s credibility damaged by it in any way? Or could it actually be enhanced?

I wasn’t at all of the sessions at MMR10, so if you’ve also blogged from there, please do feel free to share links below.

links for 2010-03-14

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Written by sarahhartley

March 14th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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links for 2010-03-12

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Written by sarahhartley

March 12th, 2010 at 8:03 pm

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Radio show features blogger’s Twitter ban

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The case of the blogger who’s been excluded from reporting live from Tameside Council has now been the focus of local radio attention.

Tameside Radio featured the case of Liam Billington (TamesideEye), which I first blogged about at The Guardian on Monday, and have released the following three audio clips – first Liam, then director of the think-tank POLIS, Charlie Beckett gives his reaction, followed by a statement read out on behalf of the council.

1. Twitter – Liam Billington

2. Charlie Beckett’s reaction

3. Tameside Council state their position ………and say they are now considering Liam’s request to tweet.
Broadcaster Andy Hoyle reads the Council’s statement.

As soon as I hear the outcome of that request, I’ll share it here although the wider issue which still stands here is whether the council (or any council) has the right to stop anyone tweeting from a public meeting.

Written by sarahhartley

March 11th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Tameside Council’s Twitter response


As I’ve blogged at The Guardian today, Tameside Council has started an ‘accreditation’ system for professional journalists who apply to tweet from council meetings.

In the interests of transparency, the full text of the questions I asked and the council’s reply are posted below;

Inquiry to the council first submitted March 1;

I’m looking at how journalists are using Twitter to cover council meetings and am told that you don’t allow this at present. I’d be grateful if you’d give me a little further information on this;

  • First, and most importantly, is it true that the council has banned the use of Twitter during council meetings?

If so,

  • Is this for journalists? Councillors? Members of the public?
  • Does the restriction only apply to Twitter – i.e. can other forms of instant messaging, micro-blogging still be used.
  • What’s the reason for the ban and on what grounds is it made?
  • What steps will be taken to enforce the ban?
  • The reply from the council sent on March 5:

    The Council does not have a specific policy concerning twitter at its meetings but follows the legislation governing the conduct of Council meetings and in particular the recording and transmitting of meetings which are set out in Section 100 (A)(7) of the Local Government Act 1972. Below is a link to relevant part of 1972 Act:

    Under the 1972 Act there is no right to attend a council meeting and make a transmission of the meeting whilst it is taking place, or to make recordings of any meeting, this applies to all Local Authorities.  Therefore the Council is obliged to consider specific requests to use media such as ‘twitter’. Following requests the Council has authorised the Manchester Evening News, Tameside Advertiser and Tameside Reporter to use twitter in each of the Council meetings they have requested to do so, as duly accredited representatives of the press, as defined in the Local Government Act 1972.  Examples of the ‘twitter’ which has taken place at Tameside Council meetings are at the following links:

    As you can see the Council allows the use of ‘twitter’ during Council meetings by duly accredited representatives of the press as part of its commitment to increasing involvement in the democratic process.  Given that the Council does allow duly accredited representatives of the press to use twitter to cover Council meetings I have not addressed your further questions which are based on the assumption that the Council has banned the use of ‘twitter’.

    I’d be interested to hear if any other bloggers have encountered similar issues with access to public meetings.

Written by sarahhartley

March 8th, 2010 at 2:48 pm