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Friday, December 28, 2007

Social journalism - how to cover major events by tapping into tech tools and the communities who use them

I was just reading a thought-provoking post from Nate Ritter about covering events like fires and earthquakes which affect thousands of people, all of whom need constantly updated information.

He aggregated a pile of information during the fires in San Diego in October, bringing together twitter tweets, emails, phone calls from friends, google map mashups, TV and radio coverage, whatever was around. He posted the information on his blog, on twitter and kept pushing it out.

He subsequently proposed an interesting model which you'll see on the post, headed Ideas on How to Help People in Teams. It's a model that media outlets could (and should) adopt. All it requires is planning and a handful of tech-literate editorial types at the centre of the operation to manage and moderate.

In a nutshell he suggests:

  • set up a microsite for aggregating material (preferably pre-established so you can get cracking immediately once something kicks off, and preferably more than one -disasters sometimes come in threes)
  • include:
    • several video feeds (tv coverage, your own coverage, readers' coverage)
    • several audio feeds (radio coverage, interviews)
    • twitter stream (linked with a hashtag)
    • flickr stream (for readers' pictures)
    • google map (showing where event is, where cordons are etc)
The idea then is to promote the site as widely as possible, getting the url out on twitter, blogs etc and letting people know they can contribute.

For a mainstream news website, a microsite like this would be a great supplement to usual coverage. Some of it could be brought into the main page - pictures, say, and the main site could promote contributions to the microsite.

Increasingly, news websites are using reporters' blogs as part of their coverage of events like this, aggregating public posts and giving fast updates from the reporter on the ground, which are later fleshed out in news stories.

The Guardian, for example, covered a fire in East London in November 2007 in a blog which included video footage posted on YouTube, eye witness accounts and pics taken on the ground by the reporter writing the blog. It was very effective.

A well-run microsite could quickly become the most useful resource in town during an event like this. Great for the public, great for the media outlet, great for emergency services who could also tap into it - posting updates and safety messages.

A perfect new year's resolution: set up a microsite so it's ready to swing into action should, say, another earthquake visit upon our shaky isles.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Abu Dhabi paper copies Telegraph integrated newsroom

Martin Newlands, a former Daily Telegraph editor, talks to Sky about the layout of the integrated newsroom he's building for a new English-language paper in Abu Dhabi. "I am, frankly, ripping off the design from The Daily Telegraph," he says.

That means a hub and spoke model with a central circular table where editors meet, and desks radiating out in spokes populated by various departments - arts, pictures, news etc - which are responsible for both web and print.

Gratifying to see the model showing up in all corners of the world.

Swedish paper launches 'newspaper phone'

Dagens Nyheter has launched a mobile phone package for its readers which includes free access to the daily newspaper's website.

"This is yet another way of distributing the news," Thorbjoern Larsson, Dagens Nyheter editor-in-chief and publisher, told AFP.

DN subscribers can buy the Nokia 6120 3G phone online and sign up for a 199-kronor (US$31) monthly plan which allows them to easily surf the website by hitting a special "DN" button.

Larsson told AFP the offer was already proving popular. "After we announced the launch this morning (Wednesday Dec 19), we received so many calls that our switchboard broke down. There's a lot of interest out there," he said.

Friday, December 21, 2007

US papers are losing local ad sales; New Zealand papers are completely ignoring them

US newspapers are losing the battle for local online advertising to web-only players like Google, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Internet companies had a 43.7% share of the $8.5 billion local online-ad market in 2007, while newspaper companies had a 33.4% share, writes Emily Steel. Three years ago, newspapers had 44.1% of the local online-ad market.

"Local media companies, because they are based in the communities they serve, would seem to have an edge over internet sellers when it comes to persuading the diner or corner hardware store to take out an ad. But they have largely failed to convert that advantage into sales. Instead of tailoring their sales to local businesses, many newspaper companies initially focused on selling ads to bigger advertisers who were already buying space in their print products.

"While this strategy allowed them to quickly and cheaply create a customer base for their online ventures, it also limited their growth, because they weren't expanding their customer base.

"Many newspapers also hurt themselves by simply plopping their papers online instead of creating new websites that offered advertisers something they couldn't get in print. Meanwhile, Web companies such as Google and are growing rapidly because they have made it cheap and easy for local companies to take out ads."

Then there's New Zealand's papers, many of which don't run online ads at all. In fact, do a quick search of APN titles, say Hawke's Bay today and the Bay of Plenty Times - and there are no ads. None. And the 'advertise with us' link is all about advertising in the newspapers.

Flip over to Fairfax, say the Manawatu Evening Standard and the Timaru Herald, and you will see some ads, albeit national ads for airlines and online clothing stores.

These, I think, are a new addition and a good sign. It shows Fairfax is starting to take notice of its regional websites which have for a long time looked rather unloved. APN's still do. Both, however, have a long way to go.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A whale of a story, innovatively told

The Whale Hunt is a breath of fresh air in online storytelling. It's a winning trinity of interesting subject matter, compelling photographs and slick, innovative presentation.

Its creator, Jonathan Harris, stayed with a family of eskimos in Alaska in May 2007. He documented his trip - from packing his bags in New York through the hunting and killing of two whales - in more than 3,000 pictures (taken at 5-minute intervals).

I thought I'd look at just a couple of pics and move on. I ended up riveted. Didn't even bother turning on the captions, the pictures did such a good job. Who knew whale guts would be so compelling?

The pictures are greatly helped by the stylish packaging and some cool tools for finding your way around. Not everyone is going to sit through the whole thing in one go, but it's slick enough to warrant repeat visits. Not to be missed.

Facebook campaigns must be witty, says Newsnight's Paul Mason

BBC Newsnight's Paul Mason talks to Beat Blogging about Newsnight's exploits on Facebook, his blogging experience and more.

"Me and my editor, Peter Barron, have the view that you've got to be on everything and try everything.

"It's got to be guerilla-ist and full of zeitgeist and very witty otherwise nobody is interested."

It's a good read.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A moving bio pic

Have a look at Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire's bio picture (it's a moving experience).

Keep it short is the golden rule for video

Give users a list of videos and they'll choose the 4-minute version, and bail after just two minutes of streaming, according to Brightcove chief Jeremy Allaire who was speaking to Silicon Alley Insider.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Definition of the day - blog carnival

Blog carnival
According to Wikipedia "a blog carnival is a type of blog event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks links to other blog articles on the particular topic".

The Carnival of Journalism is an example, bringing UK journalism bloggers Adrian Monck, Paul Bradshaw and Andy Dickinson together, among others.

There goes another one (a journalist reinvents himself)

He's not the first, and far from the last, but Seattle Times editor-at-large Mike Fancher 'gets it':

"The Internet has flung the gates open. People are increasingly serving as reporters and editors for themselves and others. Exercising their own news judgment. Telling their own stories in their own voices, " he writes in a post announcing his next move in journalism.

Mr Fancher is retiring from The Seattle Times and setting up a blog on

Finding stories on Facebook

From another Beat Blogging post comes Venture Beat reporter Eric Eldon's explanation of how he uses Facebook to find stories. Kicks in around halfway down. Well worth a read.

Nice bit of advice from Eric. He says reporters "have to look around and figure out where their readers are online. If people are on MySpace - go there. If they are on a random forum, that's where you have to be. You can't just think like a reporter, you have to think like you are part of the community. You are not cut off from the rest of the world."

Well said.

I'm not a reporter anymore so haven't tried finding stories on social networks. Have you? If so, let us know, I'd be really interested to learn how you're going about it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Beat blogging - reporters build social networks

Beat Blogging is an experiment under way in the US that does pretty much what it says on the tin - a dozen or so reporters are using blogs and social networks to develop their beat. The Beat Bloggers' progress is being documented for the rest of us to follow.

It's a collaborative effort involving 13 news organisations plus, Jay Rosen's site dedicated to exploring the potential of open source reporting and crowdsourcing. (Other projects include Assignment Zero with Wired magazine, which recently wound down, and Off The Bus with Huffington Post.)

Reporters' blogs are often an extension of their published stories - points or paragraphs that had to be cut by the subs - or a place to publish stories or odds and ends that never made the paper.

This is different. This is a conscious effort to use the blog as a way of furthering stories, to bring social networks into reporting and facilitate public conversations with readers and experts around issues in the reporter's beat.

The participants are varied and they're going about the project in quite different ways. Some want total openness with the more people participating the merrier. Others want a private but robust community of contacts and experts. Some are using Google Groups as a starting point, others are looking at Blogger, Facebook and Ning.

Kent Fisher, for example, who is an education reporter with the Dallas Morning News, is setting up a blog as a means to broadcast to his contacts and his main goal is to get more stories and better reporting.

Brad Wolverton of the Higher Education Chronicle is using Google Groups as a starting point and wants to encourage lots of conversation about his beat. A rival reporter already wants to join, and he raises the interesting question of where a blogbeat reporter draws the line - does he protect his scoops or prioritise an open, public conversation online?

Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle is setting up a blog with nine sub-blogs, all on specific science subjects and each led by two scientists and a motivated lay person. He wanted to give the scientists a direct voice, and aims to link from his blog to the sub-blogs as they become relevant to the day's news agenda.

They're several weeks into this now and already there's plenty to read on Great place to drop in from time to time and get ideas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Google's knols square off against Wikipedia

This is interesting. Google has started inviting experts to write authoritative articles, called knols (units of knowledge), in an initiative destined to go head to head with Wikipedia.

Of particular interest for journalists is an emphasis on the article's author - whose picture and bio will be prominently displayed, as you can see in this example:

Knowing who wrote an article will in many cases make it an acceptable, attributable information source - something inherently problematic with Wikipedia, whose articles have multiple authors, none of whom are prominently displayed.

In addition, the author retains editorial control over the knol - others can suggest edits but only the author can make them. Google will not take any editorial role.

Authors can choose to run ads on the knol and take a share of the revenue - which again separates the project from Wikipedia where all authors contribute for free.

Google's Udi Mander, VP of Engineering, says "The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors' names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors -but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted. We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content.

"A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read."

Not all knols will be equal once they're opened up to all-comers, of course, but those created by reputable authors - industry experts, academics and so on - will no doubt quickly prove useful.

Whether it will exacerbate the existing trend towards 'Google' journalism - story research done online with nary a phone call to check facts and get supporting quotes - remains to be seen.

There's plenty of chatter about the impact on Wikipedia and whether the project's a step too far on Google's part. Duncan Riley's post on Tech Crunch is as good a place to start as any.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How to cure magazine addiction - become a subscriber

Why is it that favourite magazines become so unappealing once you've subscribed to them?

They always seem to end up in a reproachful plastic-wrapped pile in a corner. Yet just a month or two earlier I couldn't wait to get to the newsagent to pick up the latest edition.

Is it misjudged appetite - ie thinking you read the magazine every week when in fact you only read it once a month and thus quickly get inundated?

Or is it familiarity breeds contempt?

Whatever it is, I hope it doesn't apply to holiday books. I've just ordered a pile and have a suspicion that my eyes are bigger than my reading capacity.

Santa's more or less assured me I'll be getting Wikinomics in a week or so along with The Wisdom of Crowds. But then I went and ordered a few more for good measure: Everything is Miscellaneous, Glut and The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Here's hoping they're readably written, if you know what I mean, else I'll be starting the new year with a reproachful pile of paperbacks by my bed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Independent and Independent on Sunday merge business desks

The Guardian reports that the UK's Independent and its sister Sunday title the Independent on Sunday are merging their business desks into a seven-day operation. Shouldn't be difficult finding room around the desk for everyone, the Sunday was down to one staff business reporter anyway.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and online business desks merging.

The appeal of a seven-day operation is clear: pool your precious resources and co-ordinate your story coverage across print and web titles. The execution, however, is tricky.

Sunday editors are understandably reticent to let go of the secrecy and spirit of competition that traditionally exists between a Sunday and its Daily stablemate. Competition fosters ingenuity, after all, and no one wants to risk losing their page one splash to wagging tongues, especially when it's a Daily section editor who gets wind of it and steals a march on Friday night.

Nor does anyone want to risk a ratings dive by messing with the chemistry behind the distinct tone that sets the Sunday apart.

Then there's the men and women in the reporting pools and subbing teams who don't necessarily thrill to the prospect of changing work schedules.

That said, it's hard to see how publishers can do anything but move towards seven-day operations in the current climate. From a backend point of view it makes sense - they often already share a building, a website, an IT department, a content management system, marketing department, print site, and canteen. Why not subs and reporters?

Some moonlight on sister titles anyway and/or work for competitors. And there's no inherent difference in requisite skills, only a need for good editorial managers giving clear direction to their reporters and subs.

A co-ordinated approach to coverage takes care of the internal story thieves and sensible house rules about blabbing can take care of the rest (along with judicious use of privileges in the content management system to restrict visibility of sensitive stories and limit story handling to those in the direct chain).

Papers could always turn to their web editors for a few tips: news websites have largely been seven-day operations from the get-go.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All organised. No, wait, everything's changed again...

Damn this fast-paced changing world we live in. No sooner do I reorganise my bookmarks with tags that make sense now, as opposed to tags that made sense 12 months ago, than another parcel of new terms come along.

There I was dithering over where citizen journalism overlaps with community and ugc (user generated content), and where wiki journalism fits in, when up pops pro-am (here's an interesting case study that I'd like to spend some more time on) and crowdsourcing. I'd just got the hang of blogs/forums/wikis when along came curation.

Before I had bookmarks, now social bookmarks. There were social networks, now networks. I used to tag things with online, web, online journalism, new media and the like - how quaint! Now, everything's presumed to be online/web unless otherwise specified.

Organising information and links is of growing need and interest to me. Not just me, surely. It's becoming a daily necessity for most of us - how to bookmark those great sites we've stumbled upon or StumbleUpon-ed (and actually find them later), aggregate those brilliant blogs we love to read, file away those little gems of interest - a quote here, a link there, a brilliant idea here and here and there.

I use Jumptags at the moment for bookmarking sites, although I maintain my account and bookmark there too, and I use StumbleUpon bookmarks, YouTube favourites, Bloglines for aggregating, Notepad for brilliant ideas, my inbox for copious email updates and, increasingly, TiddlyWikis for ideas, research notes, magpie collections and much, much more.

I'd like to think I'm fairly well organised. But truth be told I often just career about the place on whims. See a link, follow it. See another, follow that. Where was I? Oh yeah, I was supposed to be cleaning up my inbox. Back I go. See a link, follow it. See another, follow that. Where was I? Oh yeah, reading up on wikis/networks/business models for content delivery/curation.....

Is anyone getting any work done anymore?

What are newspapers for now that websites deliver the news?

Jack Shafer of Slate is another who's finding the news a little stale in his papers, partly because he, like most media folk, reads news online all day. In a blog post (well worth a read) a while back he asked the question: what are newspapers for now that websites are delivering the news?

He too talked about newspapers being good for the big read, and for 'flow reading'. But he makes another point that I like:

"As good as the Web is at keeping apace with the current, it isn't very good at telling me when my news tank is full. The final editions of well-edited newspapers still do a better job of conveying the most vital news than does a browsing of the Web. It gives readers a yardstick with which to measure the news before they dive in.

"If I had just 10 minutes to catch up on what's happening, I'd rather fan through the paper pages of the Times and Post than click my favorite sites. For decades, the Wall Street Journal has kept its busy readers abreast of the day's most important stories with its Page One "What's News" column. The idea is ripe for adaptation by other newspapers. (Sidebar: I really like the way the Times Reader measures news consumption.)

"I'd like to see newspapers do a better job signaling via text or layout whether pieces contain new news, terrific insight and interpretation, or just more of the same old bollocks that I can get elsewhere, presumably the Web."

Reuters signs revenue-share deal to supply business news to IHT

Reuters has done a deal to supply business news to the International Herald Tribune and share ad revenue from the business pages - print and online - rather than charge a subscription fee. The pages will be co-branded.

It's an example of how agencies are experimenting with new business models now that news is freely available on the web. AP has restructured its pricing around a core service with options to add on services and buy individual stories - a move away from the blunt buy-the-lot subscription packages.

It seems a good fit for the IHT, which is a composite publication anyway, and the revenue-share model is likely to hold broader appeal.

Jeff Jarvis likes the deal and sees it as a model for regional newspapers to free up resources from their business pages, which he says are 'universally bad' anyway, and get on with what they do best - local stories. And why stop at business, he asks. "Why couldn’t ESPN provide them with national sports? People magazine with celebrity news? Prevention with health news. And so on and so on with brands and content from Consumer Reports to TMZ.

"It also makes sense for chains to centralize the editing and production of commodity news. This is more than syndication: buying a piece of content. This is a form of outsourcing — you take care of that so I don’t have do (and so I can concentrate on my real value — hint: local)."

Hmm. Might have to chew on that for a while.

Sure, much of business reporting is straightforward and commodity reports do lend themselves to outsourcing. It's not an unnatural progression from what newspapers already do, namely buy in data and graft local reports onto wire-based stories. And the advantages of centralising production are obvious - APN has already taken the plunge in NZ by outsourcing its subbing operations to Pagemasters.

So, on the upside you save on costs and free up a couple of reporters to do more and better local work (your only unique selling point in this era of free-global-news-on-the-web). If the delivery mechanism's good you might even free up a web editor, a sub-editor and a page-twiddler from edition control.

On the downside, there'd be a temptation for managers to lay off, rather than free up reporters as the pressure to cut costs grinds on. Then there's the risk of unspeakable blandness permeating news pages (isn't it already, I ask you say) and a diminishing pool of reporters who have the specialist knowledge and skills required to cover a particular area.

Fresh to your letterbox … warmed over news

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that newspapers seem increasingly filled with warmed over news. In fact, I know I’m not alone because I’ve had a few conversations with colleagues in the media lately who feel the same way.

Like others who work in the media, I’m an abnormal reader in that I consume more news than most – I trawl through websites during the day, have a news ticker across the top of my screen and use an aggregator to haul in news and blogs of interest.

Even so, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen stories in the paper (or on the TV news for that matter) that I’d read online a few days ago, if not a few weeks. And more often than not, the story hasn’t moved along at all and there’s no new pictures, graphics or comment to hold my interest in it.

News editors used to be able to sit on stories they’d read on the wires or seen in trade mags and pull them out when they were stuck for a filler on page 5.

That’s because editors knew that newspaper readers never saw the wires nor read many trade mags so the stories would seem fresh when they showed up in the paper days or weeks later.

Note to editors – THOSE DAYS ARE OVER!

Everything’s online now – wire copy, trade mags, everything. So if you’ve already read it, chances are so has your audience. Not only have they read the story, they’ve blogged about it, answered a poll question and watched a mash-up of the video on YouTube.

So, what are newspapers to do now that websites have dished up the day's news long before the paper gets put to bed at night?

They have to move the story on. I don’t mean whip up another leg to the story out of nothing. I mean hunt down fresh voices, explain the detail in an easy-to-read graphic that would look rubbish on my 14” computer screen and, most importantly, offer up context and analysis from industry insiders and experts who can help me make sense of the story and how it affects me.

Analysis was always the newspaper’s strong point. It should remain so. Newspapers can still do detailed analysis better than TV and radio and can lay out big reads more appealingly than can be done online. And for the stories that don't require detailed analysis? Well, at the very least make sure the story's not three days old.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Does radio need pictures?

The BBC is running a story about the need for pictures to accompany audio. It points out that people growing up now have different expectations than people who grew up pre-internet - namely that they expect to see something on the sharp little screen their internet device comes with.

They've got a point. I already find it deflating to click on an audio link and land on a blank page with a small control strip in the middle or, worse, those swirly psychedelic patterns.

The question is, though, what images do you put with radio? A themed podcast could likely be matched with a captioned slide show. But radio?

Sure, radio news could be matched with key images from the broadcast, suitably headlined and captioned. But as the article asks, what about an interview with a politician? They're likely to mug for the camera if you throw a webcam into a radio studio and you'd lose the focus that radio usually brings to interviews. Then there's the fact most radio studios are pretty dull to look at.

Roger Mosey, director of BBC Sport, sums it up nicely: "
Sometimes when people are talking about what they might do, they are in danger of inventing television."

In the meantime I'd rather dispense with landing pages for audio links and use a widget that sits in a corner or sidebar. At least there wouldn't be any expectation of visuals to go with the audio and I'd be able to carry on working without being diverted to a lame landing page.

The widget would display what you're listening to, maybe a single headshot of host/interviewee/artist, links to more information about the interviewee/artist/topic, 'I like this'/I don't like this' buttons, social bookmark buttons, what's up next, further listings, links to the source site, and control buttons.

Friday, December 7, 2007

LA Times launches Readers' Representative blog

The LA Times has launched a Readers' Representative blog which responds to readers' questions about how it covers stories and why - both on a general level and on specific stories.

Essentially, letters and emails which would previously have been responded to individually and privately by reporters and other staff are now publicly answered on the blog where other readers can see the issues and comment on them.

It's not a huge leap forward in redefining the reader-publisher relationship - the paper still defines the conversation because it chooses what gets posted in the blog - but it's a start.

Issues posted so far include how the paper chooses its cartoons, why it publishes the addresses of homes where historic crimes occurred "to the detriment of the current residents of those homes" and why the food critic buys and eats $250 restaurant pizzas when they are out of most people's reach and not "things we might actually want to try".

I can't see much sign of readers diving in to comment but it's early days and you have to know the blog is there because, while it's listed on the Blogs page, it's not currently signposted from elsewhere, or at least not from the homepage.

The blog is anchored by the paper's Reader's Representative, Jamie Gold, and features "Q&A - readers'
questions and staffers' answers on how The Times covers stories; Ask a Staffer - a chance to get the story behind the story from reporters, photographers and editors; Whatever Happened To - where readers can ask for updates on past stories; and Grammar Critiques."

The latter will be a godsend for those dedicated readers who take it upon themselves to keep newspapers on the straight and narrow over split infinitives and acronym usage.

There's an annoying glitch where the click-through from the abstract dumps you at the bottom of the story page instead of the top, which will no doubt get ironed out.

But overall the page is user friendly, has some good links to staff lists, ombudsmen and FAQs on things like ethics, accuracy and how page one stories are chosen, and will likely prove useful for motivated readers who want to know more about how the paper works and who to get in touch with.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Newspapers make themselves at home on Facebook

It doesn't seem that long ago that newspapers' involvement with social networks like Facebook and Bebo was restricted to tutting over how much time some of their employees spent sending messages and updating their status during work hours.

Now newspapers have their own Facebook profiles, run campaigns on Facebook and, more importantly, are figuring out more and better ways of getting their content into the personal space of Facebook users and, all going well, luring them back to their websites (rather than hoping Facebook users will rock up to their websites under their own steam).

The New York Times has lifted Most Emailed Articles from its site and made them available as a Facebook App. It displays cleanly on the page and fits well with the minimal Facebook aesthetic. A nice feature is that you can click on a headline and read a summary before deciding whether you can be bothered clicking through to the full article. I love this. It means I can read what I know I'm interested in rather than having to spend time clicking through to the site to find out whether or not I'm interested.

They have a daily news quiz too which opens inside your Facebook page. It's nicely done and links back to the site - required if you're not a daily reader and want to do some research so you can impress your friends with a 100% score - but of limited appeal for those in a hurry.

The Washington Post has a great Facebook App called News Tracker which lets you choose what kinds of stories appear on your page by defining the search - news, business, media, technology, politics etc. The tracker then displays relevant stories in the Washington Post - and in other publications. Smart. It also gives you a breaking news feed and a Hot News Topics tag cloud.

There are plenty of other examples of newspapers making themselves at home on Facebook, such as The Sun's and The Daily Telegraph's Fantasy Football apps and EU referendum campaigns and the growing number of Facebook groups dedicated to newspapers and their causes.

You might ask why I wanted news on my Facebook profile at all. I didn't, particularly, and like many things at the moment I signed up more in a spirit of discovery than in response to a recognised need. But now that it's there, I like it.

I like reading news about the US and international news with a US perspective and I used to make mental notes to myself to go and visit sites like the NY Times and Washington Post from time to time. Now I don't have to make mental notes, I naturally come across them on my Facebook profile and dive in when I see something of interest.

I don't want all the world's newspapers running feeds on my Facebook profile, however. Just like I don't want everyone's news ticker running across my desktop (I do have the BBC's) nor all the world's widgets on my desktop. And I never get round to reading everything piling up in my inbox let alone in Bloglines which I tend to load up like a plate at a buffet - eyes bigger than stomach.

In fact, I've no idea ultimately how I'm going to manage the growing pile of news and information out there that I I'd like to plug into my brain. I guess the way I manage it will evolve as the way it's being delivered does.

Guardian gives users clippings file

The Guardian has added a feature where registered users can keep a clippings file on the site (it replaces their Saved Stories feature).

The clippings file has its own url. You can link to it and don't have to be signed in to see it so you can share the link with anyone. You get an RSS for it as well.

I noticed they're calling RSS a Webfeed, which I like. Much more intuitive. I hope it catches on.