A pale white man shows us what journalism is

My weekly Loose Wire Service column. Is the Internet replacing journalism? It’s a question that popped up as I gazed at the blurred, distorted web-stream of a press conference from London by the founder of WikiLeaks, a website designed to “protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public”. On …

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The New Normal: Constant Flux

(This is a copy of my Loose Wire Sevice column, produced for newspapers and other print publications. Hence the lack of links.) I was reading a blog by a World Banker the other day—now there’s a phrase I wouldn’t have thought I’d use a few years ago—about our old favorite in this column: Twitter. Now …

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SideWiki’s Wish Fulfilment

A piece in today’s Guardian attracted my attention–“SideWiki Changes Everything”—as I thought, perhaps, it might shed new light on Google’s browser sidebar that allows anyone to add comments to a website whether or not the website owner wants them to. The piece calls the evolution of SideWiki a “seminal moment”. The column itself, however, is …

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Journalists Citing Wikipedia: Rarely an Option

Reuters has just published its handbook online. A smart move (declaration of interest: I’ve done some training work for Reuters. I’ve got my old dog-eared copy on a shelf nearby.) I posted (approvingly, but without comment) a retweet from Nieman pointing out that Reuters generally forbids quoting from Wikipedia: Online information sources which rely on …

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Clint, Veganism, and Maligning the Net

Great interview in the International Herald Tribune/NYT with Clint Eastwood, but once again, it’s old media slagging off new media and ending up looking the worse for it. The interviewer, presumably, asks Clint to confirm that he’s a vegan. Turns out he’s not.  Apparently the writer did his research on Wikipedia, because that’s what he …

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Wifitising: Great Idea, or Daft and Dangerous?

WiFi has become a commodity, something we expect to be able to find, but marketers are slowly waking up to its potential to get the message out—by renaming the service. But is it such a good idea? A Dutch company, according to Adrants, has started changing the name of its WiFi service continually—both to promote …

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Updater Fever

I sometimes wonder what software companies—Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, they’re all the same—want from their customers. I spend enough time with novice users to know how confusing using computer software can be. Especially online: It’s a scary world out there (they’re right to be scared) but these companies, which should know better, make it more …

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Is New Media Ready for Old Media?

I’m very excited by the fact that newspapers are beginning to carry content from the top five or so Web 2.0/tech sites. These blogs (the word no longer seems apt for what they do; Vindu Goel calls them ‘news sources’) have really evolved in the past three years and the quality of their coverage, particularly …

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Babylon? Oh So 1999

I used to think that small programs that sat in your computer’s memory and could be accessed quickly by a keystroke were the future, but nowadays I’m not sure that’s true. At least, they’ve got to be real careful. If they’re not, they end up looking and behaving dangerously like adware. An example that steers …

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