Posts from September 30, 2003

BBC’s nevermind

BBC’s nevermind
: Well, it seemed to good to be true. Now it appears it’s not true. Remember when the BBC was going to open up all its archives online? Well, Rafat Ali reports that they’re not doing that.

Firstly, right now the process is going through a jumble of lawyers, mainly due to copyright issues. It is likely to be in that stage for some time. Secondly, BBC will not open up all of its archives online…it says it will only open up content which is deemed to be otherwise unprofitable or non-commercial. Now who’s to decide that? Well presumably, another battery of lawyers and supposed independent firms like KPMG, for sure. For all you know, it might end up just being educational programs.

On another front, DRM issues will be a big hurdle…I asked Gambino about whether users outside of UK will be able to access Creative Archives, and she said they won’t.

The People’s Network

The People’s Network
: We keep looking at the impact of the Internet, weblogs, and audience content [does anybody have a better term for that, by the way?] on print media. But Terry Heaton [via Lost Remote] writes that all this will have huge impact on TV as more people get the tools of big media in their hands (See also Jay Rosen’s reference to Michael Rosenblum of TVDojo, a service that teaches people how to create high-quality video.)

column“>Heaton writes:

And for broadcasters to succeed, I believe we need to reinvent ourselves as multimedia distribution and production companies. The creation and transmission of video, formerly the sole purview of TV, is now spread over a wide variety of technologies. (Even television production itself has changed – what used to require many people can now be done by one.) …

And the biggest online competition a TV station faces downstream is not the other guy across town with the antenna. It’s the local newspaper. Incoming Associated Press chief, Tom Curley, says the A.P. will be working hard to turn newspapers into broadcasters by providing video for them to use online….

Video News On Demand (VNOD) will be the way people get their video news in a Postmodern world. The news wars of the 21st century will be online…

By denying the reality of the Internet, TV stations are abdicating their position as the purveyors of video news in the community. This is a death sentence for local television, because local news is the only video niche that cannot be filled from afar. And disruptive technologies may even change that! In some big markets, cable companies have had success doing local news, and I think the next player in this game will be satellite TV. The economics make sense, for video journalism is a lot less expensive to create these days than many think.

Right. Anybody will be able to create video, just as anybody can write online. (See also vlogs.)

Blogs, good for the grass

Blogs, good for the grass
: Scott Moore, head of, lauds blogs:

I think online weblogs actually help the online news business quite a bit. Weblogs are just another factor in the constantly increasing pace of the news cycle. Weblogs by their nature are referential; they certainly almost always point out a new development, the blogger is riffing on something that

Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast
: When the Observer’s man in America left, he wrote a simplistic screed against the country he allegedly covered.

Now compare that with the farewell piece from Telegraph D.C. bureau chief Toby Harnden [via Andrew Sullivan]:

Despite their many differences, and the divisions over the 2000 election that still linger, they believe in the idea, the ideal, almost the emotion, that is the United States.

This patriotism is based not on blind nationalism but on the embrace of universal values – freedom and democracy – that bind together a disparate people…

Americans had little choice but to rise to the challenge September 11 presented. But acting decisively has stirred the embers of anti-Americanism – among other governments and elites at least. Even more dangerous is the rise of “counter-Americanism”, the doctrine that the United States has to be stopped, its goals frustrated and a counter-balance created.

Yet it is worth recognising the self-evident truth that America is a force for tremendous good in the world. Opposing it means opposing the universal values that Europeans first exported.


: Too much news is useless. I don’t mean it’s not important, but it’s useless in our daily lives.

News is rarely judged on that scale: useful vs. important. I think it’s a scale we should use more — a scale that will matter more as more people come online and reshape their definition of news.

Too often, useful news is belittled as “service,” a perjorative in some halls of journalism. But the truth is, when I’m looking for a new cell phone — and I am — Gizmodo is filled with useful — and thus, to me, important — news. In the community sites I work with, when a local ballet school announces that the tutus are in, that’s news; it’s both useful and important to a bunch of little ballerinas.

So now judge the debate about whether bloggers and community bloggers will create news. They will. But it will often be news of a different definition. When somebody gets that new Treo 600 phone I’ve been panting after and tells me what they really think of it, that will be terribly important news to me. When a blogger in my town tells me something stupid happening on the planning board that’s going to affect my property, that’s news to me (and I heard that news the other night from a guy I then convinced to blog — for the paper had not reported this news).

: So now look at the good questions Jay Rosen asks in his Merrill Brown interview (see post below):

Is journalism as a profession ready to open itself to ideas coming at it from the new horizon? Is it open to the people who are not journalists and who suddenly have more information power? Does journalism value its own intellectual capital?…

But the radically new thing is that the people at home can be producers of content. This seems to me a different puzzle, and trickier. You could have your eye on new competitors in the industry, and overlook entirely that the industry itself has competitors: the great volunteer army of content providers emerging on the Web. You can tell yourself,