Tag: Journalist

Compact, concise, connected – why Birmingham (Post) must change

Above Marc Reeves sums up why The Birmingham Post must change. After 150 years as a broadsheet, he told tonight’s launch party that nothing this radical has yet happened to the paper. The loss of the Saturday edition and the change to stapled tabloid size are the the most visible changes, but to my mind the most important ones are happening elsewhere.

They will be found in the new relationships being forged online (and in the real world) that will see reporters change from people with contacts into people with real relationships. It is something that Marc and Jo Geary (and others at the paper) have been experiencing for many months.

The curious thing though is appreciating the scale of the operation at the new Fort Dunlop HQ for the Post and sister papers.  500 jobs is a huge amount to support in a changing world with business models breaking by the day. By that measure this is just the start of a communications revolution which will take brains, courage and flexibility to survive.

So lets take a moment to be proud.

Here in Birmingham the Post is changing fast to find new ways to understand how those business models will be framed.  Channel 4 has come here with 4IP to do the same. Hello Digital is looking to help us get digital faster. Independents from small companies to community groups and local bloggers are learning faster than almost anyone.

We are gaining great pleasure from plunging ourselves into solving one the key problems of the start of the 21st century.

Birmingham is learning to break and remake the rules all over again.

Other Reactions:

Editors Weblog.

PaidContent “We cannot carry on as we are”

Birmingham Post Cartoonist retires (I remember Bert Hackett from work experience and being at school with his daughter).

Grovesmedia:  “a tentative thumbs up for now”.

D’log,   Steve Bowbrick muses on whether we could nationalise newspapers, and Mark Steadman.

What is a Birmingham Blogger doing at the Tory Party Conference?

Tory women in heels

That’s what I kept asking myself, and I wasn’t alone. Other members of the Birmingham bloggers’ group who’d registered to cover the conference were also considering what they might write, if they should right anything. Why were they there?

I know why I was there. Because I was invited.

It a huge occasion and I’m delighted I went. One blogger has described this invitation to local web folk as a charm offensive. Well charmed I have been. Partly by the warm and relaxed welcome from Rishi Saha, the Conservative’s head of social media, but also by the sheer scale and energy of the event. It is the first conference in Birmingham I’ve found with such a huge fringe. Events leach into the rest of the city centre. One massive conversation, much of it in very high heels.

It is also the only conference where it is not just up to us as a city to make a good impression. Sure we need to be our normal hospitable self, but equally the Tories need to make a good impression on us.

I’ve been to Conservative party conferences before as a BBC political reporter. I’ve covered huge events in Birmingham – notably the G8 conference. That was easy. I knew my job was to tell the overall story – the mainstream consensus. If possible I should also find an exclusive something – but that something still had to satisfy a mass audience – or rather the editors who judge what interests that audience. This time it was harder.

Then it dawned on me why a blogger should got to any political party conference: to write about the things they normally write about.

My niche is that curious overlap between active citizenship, citizen journalism, social media, mainstream journalism and local government.

It is a mishmash of a place and any party conference is riddled with material that fits my normal area of interest. Oddly this only occurred to me late this afternoon.

Tis the fringe stupid: Bloggers are perfectly suited to one particular part of a major conference – the fringe. It is there the fit happens, the wider the range of blogging interests present the greater the depth of coverage we will get from these events.

So tomorrow I’ll be back to share a story or two and hopefully they will be the things my normal readers want to to read.

technorati tags:

This is a no brainer for the UK.

Free Debates is an important democratic movement. They are demanding that a condition of a network getting to screen presidential debates is that they make the material available with open source/creative commons licensing, so it can be rehashed and mashed etc.

It is a great idea and any public sector broadcaster like channel 4, ITV, BBC  here in the uk should be delighted to make the resources available for what could be a blossoming of political engagement. So David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg just imagine citzenship lessons where people are mashing video of political debates.

This is their open letter to Barack Obama and John McCain:

Dear Senator McCain and Senator Obama,

We are a coalition of people and organizations across the ideological spectrum asking you to make this year’s presidential debates more “of the people” than ever before by bringing them more fully into the Internet age.

Specifically, we ask you to embrace these two “open debate” principles for the 2008 debates:

  1. The presidential debates are for the benefit of the public. Therefore, the right to speak about the debates ought to be “owned” by the public, not controlled by the media.
  2. During the primaries, a large coalition asked that media companies release rights to presidential debate video to ensure that key moments can be legally blogged about, shared on YouTube, or otherwise shared without fear of legal repercussion.CNN, ABC, and NBC agreed to release video rights. But one media company threatened legal action against Senator McCain for using a debate clip to spread a message. Such control over political speech is inconsistent with our democracy.

    We therefore call upon both candidates to commit to a principle that whenever you debate publicly, the raw footage of that debate will be dedicated to the public domain. Those in charge of the video feed should be directed to make it free for anyone to use.

  3. “Town hall” Internet questions should be chosen by the people, not solely by the media.
  4. The two campaigns recently said of the October 7 debate, “In the spirit of the Town Hall, all questions will come from the audience (or Internet), and not the moderator.” We agree with the spirit of this statement. In order to ensure that the Internet portion of this debate is true bottom-up democracy, the format needs to allow the public to help select the questions in addition to asking them.This cycle’s YouTube debates were a milestone for Internet participation in presidential debates. But they put too much discretion in the hands of gatekeepers. Many of the questions chosen by TV producers were considered gimmicky and not hard-hitting enough, and never would have bubbled up on their own.

    This “bubble up” idea is the essence of the Internet as we know it. The best ideas rise to the top, and the wisdom of crowds prevails. We’d propose debate organizers utilize existing bubble-up voting technology and choose Internet questions from the top 25 that bubbled up. We ask you to instruct the October 7 debate planners to use bubble-up technology in this fashion.

    This is a historic election. The signers of this letter don’t agree on every issue. But we do agree that in order for Americans to make the best decision for president, we need open debates that are “of the people” in the ways described above. You have the power to make that happen, and we ask you to do so.

    Thank you for your willingness to take these ideas to heart. If you have any questions, please contact: OpenDebateCoalition@gmail.com


    Lawrence Lessig; Professor, Stanford Law School, Founder, Center for Internet and Society

    Glenn Reynolds; Professor, University of Tennessee Law, and founder of Instapundit.com blog

    Craig Newmark; Founder, Craigslist

    Jimmy Wales; Founder, Wikipedia

    David Kralik; Director of Internet Strategy, Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions

    Eli Pariser; Executive Director, MoveOn.org Political Action

    Adam Green; Director of Strategic Campaigns, MoveOn.org Political Action

    Mindy Finn; Republican strategist, former Mitt Romney Online Director

    Patrick Ruffini; Republican consultant, Former Republican National Committee eCampaign Director

    Arianna Huffington; Founder, Huffington Post

    Markos Moulitsas; Founder, DailyKos.com

    Jon Henke; New media consultant, including for Fred Thompson, George Allen, and Senate Republican Caucus

    Mike Krempasky; Co-Founder of RedState.com

    Matt Stoller; Founder/Editor, OpenLeft.com

    James Rucker; Executive Director, ColorOfChange.org

    Robert Greenwald; President, BraveNewFilms

    Kim Gandy; President, National Organization for Women

    Carl Pope; Executive Director, Sierra Club

    Micah Sifry; Co-Founder, Personal Democracy Forum and TechPresident.com

    Shari Steele; Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Josh Silver; Executive Director, Free Press

    Carl Malamud; Founder, Public.Resource.Org

    Roger Hickey; Co-Director, Campaign for America’s Future

Quality newspaper video from the Birmingham Mail:


Why do I like this?

Static shots well framed with thought for the lighting. Simple story, well told by one voice, someone we can relate to. No poor voice over from someone who didn’t get into the BBC because they couldn’t broadcast and equally no tacky script riddled with newspaper cliches, the sort of things no one would ever say.  Timeless. Finally it gives the pictures a little room to breathe.

So, Birmingham Mail, very well done.

Update:  from a comment below (source verified) this wasn’t made by the Birmingham Mail, but provided for them by MG.  The Mail has put it up on their youtube channel without telling us that this is provided by a pr company.  They haven’t even used the text beside the video to clarify things. Why would a newspaper be so careless about the boundary between what pr people do and what journalists do?

So, Birmingham Mail, very poor.