Vive les blogs
: I”m listening to the BBC’s Up All Night now, before going on, and they’re talking about just this.
: It’s not only podcasters who are using Skype for interviews, the BBC is… because it offers higher quality than a plain old phone line.
I’m going to be on the BBC’s Up All Night sometime Monday night to blather on blogs and in the process of setting up, Kevin Anderson said they use Skype because it’s so good. From his emails:
Yes, we’re using Skype heavily. We recently conducted an interview with Mr Behi, an Iranian blogger, via Skype. It’s very useful for us in that repressive governments can’t block it due to its distributed nature. And seeing as on a good connection, it’s a full 44Khz signal, it’s just below the quality of the very expensive ISDN broadcast equipment we have.
Last week, I also picked up a copy of Focus, the German news magazine with a cover on “internet telephony for all,” including Skype. I’m amazed that VOIP is a cover story. But then, why shouldn’t it be: It’s exploding the old networks and old ways.
How to share
: The BBC is offering discounts to freelancers for courses on how to do TV. The Beeb has been, perhaps, the most generous big-media operation — with its expertise — when it comes to training people how to do what they do. As has been reported previously, they are also looking at starting a journalism school.
Distributed reporting assignment desk: The transparency test
: This would be a great assignment for a distributed army of citizen reporters:
The Toronto Star sent reporters from across Canada into government offices to try to get documents to which citizens are entitled.
If somebody would organize it, that would be a good idea for bloggers to swarm the government across the country to see just how transparent it is: What if we all went to our own town halls, county offices, and/or state governments to request, say:
: Expense accounts of elected officials.
: Spending records on any given program (e.g., what cars government buys… when it should be buying Hyundais).
: School class size or testing performance.
: Crime statistics.
Then we could all post our reports with a standard tag — e.g., transparency test — that could be aggregated via Technorati and PubSub.
A news organization could be good at organizing such a distributed effort, because they could publicize the effort and set the standards and edit the results into a good story. But you don’t need a news organization to handle this; anyone could. It’s just that newspapers and TV news operations would be smart to try projects such as this as a way to expand their newsgathering.
Here’s what the Star found:
Canadians seeking basic government information about class sizes, restaurant safety or police complaints are up against a culture of secrecy, a national audit of openness shows.
In the country’s first-ever practical test of transparency, reporters visited city halls, police forces, school boards and federal government offices across Canada to test how bureaucrats administer laws protecting the public’s right to government information. They found a confusing patchwork of policies across the country.
Officials handed over records to just one in every three requesters who came in person. The rest remained locked tight in government filing cabinets as applicants were told they had to file time-consuming ó and often expensive ó formal requests under provincial or federal access laws.
[via Bill Doskoch]
: In the comments, Larry Borsato corrects me to say this was a project across many papers in Canada. Could have just as easily have been across many citizens.
: Not sure why, but Howard Kurtz devotes part of his Washington Post column today to this very blog. I’m flattered and too egotistical to be too embarrassed.
(Just to clarify one thing about About, not that anyone should care: I’ll be working as a consultant, part-time, and not on staff and that’s how I can continue to blog. And, yes, I tweaked the deal at first but obviously signed onto the vision of it as a platform for distributed media, because that’s why I’m there and, having met the staff, I’m happy as a clam in cocktail sauce.)
And here’s my son’s blog.
: OH, AND… If anybody’s in D.C. and can save a copy of the Style section, I’d be grateful to see it in print. As I said: I’m an egotist and I may be blogboy now but I’m not so jaded I don’t like seeing my name in print.
Vacation in Maine!
: My wonderful sister has a wonderful riverfront home in Bath, Maine available for rental during the summer. Details:
Beautifully restored 100-year-old Saltbox on Kennebec in Bath; open-concept living room, dining and kitchen plus study (two sleepers); second floor two bedrooms, large bathroom; wrap-around deck; lawn down to dock and water. Available June 18 – October 29. High season (July 2 ñ August 31) $1200 per week; Off season $950 per week.
Go here for pictures and contact information.