Wednesday 30 July 2014, 10:27
In another in our series on innovation, we asked news entrepreneur Jasper Westaway for a follow-up to the blog he wrote for our recent conference The Revival of Local Journalism. Here he describes how he came to start his business, and how he approaches innovation in a tech start-up.
Exmouth Borders Facebook page The local newspaper is a product. It’s not a great product. It never was a great product. But it was the product that could be delivered within the constraints of the technology and resources available.
That product is now coming to the end of its lifecycle. In the five years to 2014, UK regional newspaper revenue contracted at an annual rate of 9%, down to £2.2bn. This is only the start of the transformation of local news.
Fortunately, if you exercise the right discipline there are enormous opportunities for creating amazing, innovative new products within local news. This is the story of how my most recent company, Borders, has evolved over the past year.
Within 48 hours of selling my oneDrum business to Yammer in April 2012, I was thinking about my next business. Start-ups are a drug, and I mean that in a broadly negative way. The purchase of Yammer by Microsoft two...
Tuesday 29 July 2014, 10:08
It took years to reach an agreement on how much freelance journalists in Italy should be paid. But the approved law, heralded as a milestone by the government and the national union of journalists (FNSI) - the only substantial organisation for journalists - disappointed freelancers and external contributors as well as the National Order of Journalists (ODG), the state-approved organisation which regulates Italian journalism.
The discontent burst into flames with a street protest in Rome on 8 July, along with the launch of a Twitter attack under the hashtag #stopfnsi. In an online petition on Change.org, journalists asked for the withdrawal of the law and the resignation of the union's president. The organisation Youth Press Italia announced the cancellation of this year's Youth Media Days, a popular annual festival dedicated to young journalists in Naples. But without success.
The new law called “fair salary” (equo compenso) establishes a minimum wage for radio, video, print and web journalists who are members of the ODG but work without regular contracts. It states, for example, that a minimum of 144 articles of at least 1,600 characters each, written during...
Monday 28 July 2014, 11:13
Charles Miller tries the Freefly MÅvi M10 Technology means there are always things you can do that once weren’t possible.
Take Steadicam, a brand that’s been so successful since its launch in 1976 that its name has defined a category. It’s a great way to get tracking shots without tracks.
The drawback with Steadicam is that it’s a big, heavy rig whose operation is a specialised job. You don’t just want a professional camera operator; you probably need a specialised Steadicam operator.
So I was surprised to see an invite from the BBC’s Production Services team for programme-makers to come and see how self-shooters could get the same kind of shots by operating a new piece of kit for themselves.
It’s the Freefly Mōvi M10 - a motorised rig which fits around the Canon C300 camera that a lot of BBC producer/directors are using.
It works by using fast-responding motors to compensate for the wobbles you get in handheld camera shots. The results, as I found in my first try with the kit, are impressively smooth.
For self-shooting factual programme-makers, it’s ideal for walking pieces to camera (as long as you can get someone to check that your backward walk is safe and...
Friday 25 July 2014, 09:30
A change to the Russian TV landscape? A new Russian law banning advertisements on pay TV appears aimed at further tightening the Kremlin's grip on the country's key media. But it is also set to wreak havoc on large parts of the TV industry.
The amendments to the law on TV advertising came like a bolt from the blue. First tabled by little-known MP Igor Zotov on 24 June, they raced through four readings in the two houses of parliament in less than three weeks.
They were signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on 22 July and come into force on 1 January.
Introducing the legislation, Zotov said...
Thursday 24 July 2014, 09:11
Golfers, like most other sports stars, have fully embraced the social media world - star players like Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Ian Poulter have millions of followers each on Twitter and Facebook. But not only was this year’s Open Championship, won gloriously by the young man from Northern Ireland, the most ‘social’ in history, it was also the most ‘digital’.
Three years ago at the tournament at Royal St George’s mobile phones were banned. At this year’s Open at Hoylake, the crusty upholder of the game’s traditions, the R&A, which runs golf, made a world-first foray into...
Wednesday 23 July 2014, 10:02
Book review: Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet, by Andrew Blum
If you spend much of your working and home life online, maybe a summer break, stepping away from updates and emails, is a chance to learn how what you take for granted every day actually happens.
For instance, where is the internet?
In ‘the cloud’? Even in pre-cloud days we were already thinking about ‘uploading’ and ‘downloading’, which also subliminally suggested a kind of celestial home for our bits.
In reality, of course, there is no ‘up’ or ‘down’ involved. And there’s no cloud either. In fact...
Tuesday 22 July 2014, 16:13
Indian election celebrations. Earlier this year I blogged about the first editorial experiments that BBC News was about to conduct using instant-messaging platforms. Since then it’s been a busy few months in which we have developed and run pilots on WhatsApp and WeChat for the Indian elections, on BBM for the BBC Hausa service in Nigeria, and Mxit during the South Africa elections.
We were the first major news organisation to try out editorial content on these platforms, so we were very much venturing into unchartered waters. Rather than setting targets for subscribers or audience reach...
Monday 21 July 2014, 10:55
WSJ website commemorating the anniversary of WWI The way the conflict is described - 'The Great War,' 'The war to end all wars' - underlines its enormity, and it seems to defy description. The huge wealth of resources on the web meanwhile makes coming up with anything innovative seem incredibly difficult. Just a couple of clicks away are interviews conducted with war veterans in the 1970s and 1980s. More recently, their descendants have spoken of their remembrances at length and submitted images and memorabilia through social media.
These were the thorny issues facing half a dozen editors and...
Friday 18 July 2014, 10:47
The first of an occasional series about innovation looks at how the BBC is experimenting with making its programme content the basis of e-books
Anya Saunders While tech-related innovation is usually associated with small start-ups, big organisations need to innovate too - either to develop new products or to start working in areas that are new to them.
It was the latter challenge that faced the BBC when it began to focus on the growing market in e-books. How would its television programmes translate into this new medium? And should the BBC be developing e-books as a new platform for original...
Wednesday 16 July 2014, 12:56
A quiet day at the European Parliament In a previous post, I looked at how the new anti-establishement blocs of MEPs elected to the European parliament are forming themselves into formal and informal groups.
Here I’ll profile the parties themselves (with the exception of UKIP, about which there is already plenty of information elsewhere on the BBC).
The top three anti-establishment parties in the new parliament are as follows (for details of the groups they belong to, see my previous post):
UKIP (UK): 24 MEPs (EFDD Group)
Front National (France): 23 MEPs (NI group)
5 Star Movement (Italy): 17...