Live Blog II – Media140

[2:40] So, last minute decision, I’m at Media140; “London’s First Microblogging Event”. You can watch the livestream here.

Pat Kane up first – he’s theplayethic on twitter, a journo, thinker, lovely man and the singer in Hue And Cry.

[2:47] Pat: “I’m trying to show how quotidian the practice of journalism becomes in this new media space.

Journalists should be comforters of the afflicted and afflicters of the comfortable” – [wasn’t that supposed to be Jesus??? ]

uses of Twitter for mainstream journos-

  • beat reporting. Real-time, geo-location,
  • sharing of actual content – photos/video/short reporting,
  • a helpful enlightener of the contex
  • adds sociability and searchability – a great way to find people, who want to be found.
  • It’s not a challenge, it’s an enrichment
  • can you help?” – really fast feedback/enrichment.
  • direction to longer form journalism. Twitter becomes your ‘portable research group’ for the working writer.

Tough Questions

  • Who verifies these flows of info? (reference to post-modern ‘truth criticism’)
  • What’s the value in claiming Authority?
  • How collaborative and distributed are journalists willing to be about their process? [Pat’s brilliant – this is great stuff – a very smart man, go and read his book!]
  • Can we break out of “140”? [must sent Pat a link to WordPress’ new P2 theme]

[3:00] Pat talking about Hue and Cry’s business model – “use what is ubiquitous to drive people to what is scarce

twitter/google/etc make news ubiquitous. If that’s the case, what is scarce in journalism? Twitter ubiquitizes news. Murdoch’s plan is defeatist. The authority of trad news can be a value added, but they’ll have to think cleverly about commoditizing it. EG Mon-Fri you’re the web-news thing, and at weekends, the paper version is sellable…

[3:11] Onto the 1st Panel – (list of contribs here)

Q: How much will twitter and microblogging change the way breaking news is sourced globally by news orgs?

A: not really worth repeating so far. Twitter’s great, twitter’s crap, blah blah.

Nick Halstead: “It’s about anyone using tech to put up the information, for the news sites to interpret and present” (my precis)

The web is moving into real time.”
News has been real time for years, it’s called ‘live broadcasting’. WE have a new way of publishing data, but we still need authority and checks. You trust people to do it right, but because something’s possible, that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do

Bill Thompson: “we need to step back and look at not what twitter tells us, but what real time news tells us about the way we work – and it does mean that sometimes we go to press before we’re certain. So how do we integrate these tools in a reputable way?”

Mike Butcher: “we’re putting a lot of trust in one platform (twitter) – and it’s not working right now. If we put so much of our news gathering onto one platform, that’s a serious danger.”

Darren Waters: “The BBC can’t rely on one external platform for distribution. We’re still grappling with how we as BBC journos use twitter, as it collides with the BBC code. Davos tweets were being 2nd checked before being posted. We haven’t cracked it in terms of our editorial policy.”

Bill Thompson: “I’m an external voice, I have a disclaimer… But for those who work in the Beeb, doesn’t personal tweeting undermine the veil of objectivity that journalists are supposed to be, because we share our lives on twitter?”

Darren Waters: “one of the great things about twitter is that sharing of information. Common sense caution is required in sharing info. Can you hold opinions and be objective as a journo? yes you can.”

Advice for sourcing news:

  • BT: “plugging into twitter is like being a seismologist. The ripples in the ground tell you something is happening but don’t tell you what. Twitter is not the journalism, it’s the sensor. I let the information all flow over me. I’m the seismologist looking for things ,but I don’t believe it until verified. It lets me know where to go. Research can begin on twitter, but it must never end on twitter, just like Wikipedia
  • “twitter’s just a great tool for communicating – talk, share, interact.
  • Nick Halstead: “real time news has been headline grabbing, in the US, and various services are tracking it. including google. You can search for trending news stories. Use keywords, then look for the story. It’s not just about real time, but also relevancy.
  • Darren Waters: “google have been shaken up by the effect of twitter, how it brings the real time web to people with more relevance. They’re thinking now in terms of milisecconds. You need to separate the personal from the structural. We follow trends in news, structurally. Personally, we follow those people who are relevant as people, following who they follow
  • Mike Butcher: “We have no checks and balances at techcrunch [no shit] (descends into tedious nonsense) …we use whatever tools appear. Tech journos are at the cutting edge [yawn] I use blah blah (lists obvious set of tools). There’s an issue of getting stuff out as quickly as possible, and our readers will fact check us. We know we’ll get called out by our readers. We go for it, like breaking news, or we going to be behind.
  • Darren Waters: “If you let your audience fact check, why not let them just write the site? where’s the quality? There’s only so many times you can be wrong before your audience leaves… “

[3:35] Questions from the floor – not really all that interesting (sorry for editing to this degree, I just can’t be bothered to type a lot of this stuff…)

[I’m amazed by the similarities in the circular nonsense talked about the future of journalism compared to the future of music]

Sleepydog – “microblogging joins content to conversation – one AND many. The story + bigger conversation, brings them together.” [YAY Toby!!!]

[twitter is/isn’t journalism. yadda yadda Twitter is words on a screen, ordered in a certain way. It’s a data-set, the usage is a cultural construct, or a series of cultural constructs. Enough with the semantic reductionism]

and with that, it’s coffee time… after that, I’m heading home to teach. Short but sweet. 🙂

7 Replies to “Live Blog II – Media140”

  1. Nice to read this back after watching you create it next to me today.

    Shame there was not time to include the panel cock-fight! Looks as though you have noted the take-away essentials here though.

  2. thanks J,

    it was such a different experience from Monday – partly because I was sat with people I wanted to discuss all the stuff with – would’ve been really interesting to be watching it on a screen in a press room with you and Sizemore etc, where we could’ve discussed it as it went along without disrupting anything, and also shared the task of documenting our thoughts…

    With the panel discussion, I just didn’t find the arguments being put forward in the spat interesting enough to be worth writing down… I guess that makes me more of an op-ed style writer than a proper journo in this case? 🙂

    But I did really like Pat’s Keynote – will probably go back and watch that again on the video stream.

    Was a delight to see you, just too short as always..

  3. Thanks again, Steve. It was interesting watching the Twitter chat, but this was really useful to ground the birdsong. The content behind the conversation, as I’m sure Toby would have it.

    It randomly occurs to me that a tweet always says one of two things: “Look at me!” or “Look at that”. A quality tweeter, like a good conversationalist, will strike a balance between the two. The journos just need to filter one from the other and they have their attentionometer.

  4. Hey Steve,

    Thanks so much for this summary – was great to read after having to duck out early and missing most of the ‘meat’ of the conference. (Would have loved to hear more about that ‘spat’ though: now I’m intrigued..!)

    Just wanted to ask: do you use a specific tool/software for liveblogging or did you just insert the times yourself?

    Would love to try this myself next time – kind of beats live twittering as you end up with such great notes!

    Jemima x

  5. thanks for your coverage, we will be posting out the video from the event later this week – so you should be able to see some of the days events – we recorded most of the event in HD and also may have an audio podcast too.


  6. Hi Jemima,

    The ‘spat’ was just a fairly dull professional contrarian attempting to derail what was otherwise a useful discussion, and pushing some very smart people onto the defensive. I think the video is archived if you want to see exactly what happened 🙂

    As for the time stamp stuff – I just type them in as I remember – am going to look for a time stamp plug-in, or camino-shortcut for it, as it may save me some time.

    But yes, it’s great to get home and have my notes already typed up. It’s a fun process filtering the conversation as they go along – you end up praying for a dull bit so you can catch the typing up to the conversation!

    Another tool I found via Kate Day who was blogging it for the Telegraph was – great for archiving short comments and thoughts and pulling other people’s tweets in for context. Well worth a look… x

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