Archives for November 2006

Radio Listeners Make

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Chris Vallance | 12:18 UK time, Thursday, 30 November 2006

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What if an audience made it's own radio programme? That is in essence what is happening over at Blogspiel.de a fascinating new radio programme and website produced by Deutschlandradio Kultur. Although the site is in German (which I don't speak) I've been mesmerised by the idea since it was introduced to me at a conference in Frankfurt. Here's how it works: A community of users upload audio they've made to the site, the community then rates clips and the top rated clips each week go to make a weekly 30 minute radio programme broadcast on a national network.

What's really interesting is that there's no editorial direction given to the content, and although there are some guidelines on what may be posted for legal reasons, the wishes of the community are paramount; the top rated clip always gets into the programme.

I don't speak German so it's hard for me to judge the quality of the content that results, but the producer responsible for the site said they were very happy with what users had produced, and they have more than enough content submitted each week to fill the radio programme.

This is both an example of the wisdom of crowds and of the creativity of crowds. It's a brave step by the producers, but the unfiltered nature of the programme - the fact that it is an open space must result in some truly surprising outcomes. I think, personally speaking, that the best art is always surprising.

It lacks a sophisticated tagging and search function (including geographical tags) and the ability generate custom RSS feeds of searches - add that and you would have the ability to allow users to remix audio along themes and create their own 30 minute programme. It would also be interesting to see Deutschladradio producers jump in to the community and post "seed" bits of audio that others could remix or respond too.

But what a great site. Message to Santa - I want one of these.

Show Notes: Cones, Copyright and Google Earth

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Chris Vallance | 07:07 UK time, Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Missed the show? The audio archive of the segment is here. This week we featured

Tell us what you'd like on next week's segment in the comments.

Our journey through pod history.

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Chris Vallance | 14:36 UK time, Friday, 24 November 2006

Having interviewed The Green Dragon Britain's first podcast who started podding in October 2004 I began to wonder when we on Up All Night first reported about podcasting. It turns out it was 11/10/2004 so the start of podcasting in the UK more or less coincided with our coverage of it. Here for the benefit of the Pod Historians of the future is the transcript of how we introduced the interview with Adam Curry - the presenter was World Have Your Say's Ros Atkins

Now here's a subject close to all our hearts here at Up All Night - listening to the radio. For more than a century the basics of this simple pastime haven't really changed at all - presenters like me waffle on, a transmitter beams our words across the country, and you pick us up on your radio. Admittedly you can listen on the internet and on your telly but it's still us you're listening to.But with the advent of digital technology and the explosion in use of portable mp3 players, it looks like all that could very soon change beyond all recognition.PODCASTING is the latest development... And if it catches on it could do for radio what the internet has done for print journalism... Adam Curry is the inventor of Podcasting and he told me more

And I'll post the audio once I get up the courage to delve that far back into the CD archive. I wrote the script not Ros which explains the lapses in grammar, spelling and current English usage, and yes I know the claim that Adam is the inventor of podcasting isn't right, with hindsight we should have said something like "one of the developers of etc." and given Dave Winer due credit (for a good history of podcasting see wikipedia). I also very clearly seemed to think podcasting = gadgetized radio. Most podcasters would disagree with the idea that podcasting is merely radio on the web. Certainly we were still thinking in terms of "broadcasting"; the idea that the iPod would make specialist shows with a few thousand listeners viable hadn't occured to us. As I remember we were inspired by the Wired News article proclaiming The Death of Radio. But we can't claim any firsts about podcasting our friend Clark Boyd of WGBH/BBC was actually podcasting even then - while we were and are still merely talking about it.

P.S. I've got to come clean about something daft I said in the interview with Martin of TGD - I meant to credit Dave Winer when we discussed the history of podcasting...but I always muddle his name up with Dan Gilmour...but then even more embarassingly I actually said Dave Gilmour instead. Pink Floyd invented Podcasting? My train of thought came well and truly off the rails there.

If you can't beat 'em: ABC News and Now Public

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Chris Vallance | 00:33 UK time, Thursday, 23 November 2006

ABC News and the excellent citizen journalism/social news site Now Public have teamed up to gather opinions about what should happen next in Iraq. A worthy project and I think we're going to see more of this kind of collaboration as the media's enthusiasm with user generated content continues.

As Robin (Cybersoc/BBC) pointed out in his post about Oh My Newsnight collaborative ventures of this kind have the advantage that unused content doesn't sit idly in programme inboxes gathering dust and building resentment on the part of contributors. For the websites that people post to it creates an incentive for users to create and post content too. They are enhanced and promoted, and the broadcasters get the video/audio they want. It's a win-win situation in business flip-chart-speak.

But note that for mainstream broadcasters it is quality not quantity that really counts. We can't actually use 1000 or 2000 videos - we simply don't have time in our linear world. This may change if we become like YouTube..but my guess is we will simply end-up posting our content to YouTube like services, not replacing it. (see Jeff's post about CBS)

With that in mind it's worth stating my belief that small scale collaboration is just as important. With regards to Pods and Blogs I'm really gratified that I've got to know a number of the bloggers and podcasters who've contributed personally. Some of those collaborations have produced (I think) really exceptional content, and it's been fun too. Perhaps it's only working on a short weekly show that gives us this luxury but I hope it reasures those informal small scale networks and groups of bloggers and podcasters that having 20 close collaborators willing to submit stuff can be all you need if they're the right people in the right places.

Not that I'm at all critical of what Now Public are attempting here. It's one of the most significant media developments I've seen in a while and I bet there will be some compelling TV that results.

Report from Podcastcon UK 2006

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Chris Vallance | 12:56 UK time, Tuesday, 21 November 2006

podcon.jpgPodcastcon 2006 The UK's annual gathering of podcasters took place this weekend. I was part of a panel talking about Citizen Journalism. but I don't want to precis that; there were a great many citizen journalists vlogging and podding the conversation so a quick bit of Googling will probably get you the whole thing. There's also audio from the conference in this weeks Pods and Blogs radio segment and previews on John Buckley's excellent Citizen Scoop podcast

Podcastcon 2006 was the second national podcasting conference held in the UK. Part of the evolution we've witnessed in the two years or so that people have been podcasting in Britain is the development of podcasting networks and associations; bringing together different podcasts under one roof. Some of these networks have attracted significant venture capital funding and will, I think, turn out to be effective rivals to existing media. I don't think we''ll see a podcast "Blue Planet" anytime soon, but if I were the producer of a cooking show, a chat programme, a book review show or a reality TV programme I might be a little nervous. Not every show can be churned out by one or two people and a good DVcam/microphone..but quite a few can.

And the listening figures for these networks are now on a par with many mainstream outlets TV and radio. At present this collective power has been used to attract advertising and to lobby on the thorny issue of music rights, but it should also be helping podcasters create content. Simon Toon's interview with Stephen Fry was promo'ed widely across the Britcaster Community; great marketing for the book he was promoting. Communities, networks and groups of podcasters have large motivated audiences of which enlightened PR people should be taking note. So just as the BBC might secure an interview on the undestanding that it will run across it's radio and TV networks I wonder if the time isn't right for podcasters to start acting collectively to secure a few big-name guests, to get press accreditation and receive the same kind of advance notice of launches and releases that the media do. It already happens to an extent in tech and music, but in the wider PR world it could be time for people handling press to wake up to the power of joined-up podcasting.

Recording Audio on the Cheap

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Chris Vallance | 14:59 UK time, Monday, 20 November 2006

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Podcaster Paul Parkinson of Podcast User Magazine (see pic) and I put together a short guide to cheap and cheerful audio recording - you can get it via the link here (full details here) We'd love to play more audio recorded by our listeners, bloggers and podcasters on the segment, but if you've never done it before it can be a bit bewildering figuring out how to record something in good quality. Well the good news is that if you have access to a computer and more or less any kind of microphone you can plug into it (even a £1 one as we discovered in making this recording) you can get good results. So if listening to this inspires you to be creative and you want to start a podcast of your own, or just record something to run on the segment drop a note to podsandblogs@bbc.co.uk and we'll be in touch.

What's the purpose of tv and radio blogs?

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Robin Hamman | 19:43 UK time, Wednesday, 15 November 2006

A couple of weeks ago Andrew Grant-Adamson, who teaches journalism at the University of Westminster, used his blog to ask "What's the Purpose of Newspaper Blogs?".

Lots of, perhaps even most, print and broadcast news/media organistions have launched blogs. Research I conducted back in August showed that 6 of the top 10 UK daily newspapers had launched journalist blogs and Grant-Adamson's survey of newspaper websites turned up dozens of examples of these:

"The raw figures gathered this afternoon are Times 40, Telegraph 32, Guardian 12, Sun 10, Mail 5, Mirror and Independent none that I could find."

Not stopping there, Grant-Adamson began analysing the number of blogs linking, according to technorati, to first The Times blogs and then to The Telegraph's.

According to Grant-Adamson, the most linked to blog at The Times is that of religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill who has 772 links from 160 blogs and a technorati rank of 15,049. Second place at the The Times is the blog of columnist David Aaronovitch who had 162 links from 90 blogs (rank: 28,569), closely followed by The Times News group blog with 202 links from 87 blogs and a rank of 29,614.

Over at The Telegraph, Grant-Adamson found that Shane Richmond's technology blog was way ahead of the pack with 658 links from 160 blogs and a technorati rank of 19,501. Second and third on the Telegraph blogs list, as ranked by technorati, are the blogs of Brussells correspondent David Rennie, with 321 links from 41 blogs (rank: 76,288) and Beijing correspondent Richard Spencer with 49 links from 33 blogs (rank: 96,051).

What does Grant-Adamson say about this?

"A check through the Technorati rankings, unsatisfactory as they are in some ways, seems to confirm the view that some bring little benefit to their papers.

Really? Do the technorati rankings of newspaper blogs really tell the story that Grant-Adamson says, that they bring "little benefit to their papers"?

First of all, I'm not entirely sure that technorati's mechanism for ranking in working properly. It seems to me, and others, that the rankings are a bit flakey, at least some of the time. [Grant-Adamson himself mentions that rankings did seem to fluctuate whilst he was doing the research]

Secondly, there are lots of other benefits to be brought through newspaper and media organisation blogs:

  • joining in, as Jeff Jarvis would say, the conversation
  • becoming a part of the culture of participation
  • bringing journalists closer to their audience, as the BBC's Nick Robinson does in the comments
  • letting the audience to, as Dan Gillmor suggests in his influential book We The Media, help investigate the story and better inform our reporting
  • making controversial editorial decisions more transparent as Helen Boaden recently did on BBC News The Editors blog
  • etc etc...
  • I'm not saying that links from blogs aren't important - they are increasingly important because of the way that google rank is determined (ever tried typing liar in?) and also because links FROM bloggers are increasingly driving web traffic - WashingtonPost.com Executive Editor Jim Brady says that one-third of the referrals washingtonpost.com gets now come through blogs (via Jeff Jarvis).

    Guardian Unlimited's Head of Editorial Development,Neil McIntosh, seems to agree with the point that simply counting the numbers may not tell the whole story and posted the following response to Grant-Adamson:

    "...not sure *counting* blogs adds much understanding as to *why* newspapers run blogs, but at Guardian Unlimited we see them as a useful way to have a dialogue with readers, and do things with the way we tell stories that we could not otherwise do. It also gets our journalists used to writing in a different way; blogging is, for me, the first form of journalism born from the web."

    Shane Richmond also responded to Grant-Adamson's research, saying that, as AG amicably summarises, the purpose of the Telegraph's blogs is about "filling more niches, unlimited by space, experimentation, interactivity and personality."

    Another interesting part of the debate has been that both The Telegraph and Guardian have made some of their usages statistics for blogs known.

    Shane Richmond, at The Telegraph, reveals that:

    "In September the blogs got 357,000 page views, almost 12,000 hits per day. We had 34 active bloggers at that time, so that equates to roughly 10,500 hits per blogger. The site isn’t even a year old yet so traffic is at a decent level. Page views have more than doubled in the last six months I’m confident that we will be able double them again in another six months."

    As for The Guardian's Comment is Free, Jeff Jarvis is loose-lipped with some figures, revealing that, as of the 16th of October, "To date, CiF has played host to 6,000 blog posts and 240,000 responses." The Guardian's reader's editor reveals even more, stating that Comment is Free had 2.7 million page impressions in June (no doubt it's higher now), equivalent to over one-third of the total PI's on the Guardian Unlimited network of sites.

    So where is all this leading me? The BBC has a lot of blogs that, thus far, have fallen beneath the radar of this debate. As the Senior Producer heading up the BBC Blogs trial, I couldn't help but start doing my own technorati searches to see how our blogs fare...

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    Are you part of Generation Next?

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    Chris Vallance | 14:48 UK time, Wednesday, 15 November 2006

    generationx_logo_205x105.jpg We'll be working with Outlook on the World Service to produce a joint programme looking at the issues that matter to members of Generation Next.. We know there are some great blogs, vlogs and podcasts created by young people out there so if you are involved in a blog, podcast or citizen media project dealing with the Generation Next age group (i.e. under 18) and are interested in getting involved in the segment do drop a line to podsandblogs@bbc.co.uk And just to be clear this isn't an effort to "get down with the kids", we're frankly far too old to have any credibility doing that, but we'd like to get some voices on the radio that we don't often hear, talking about the issues that actually matter to them NOT the issues that we think will matter to them.

    Show Notes: War, floods, folk and ukeleles

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    Chris Vallance | 04:30 UK time, Tuesday, 14 November 2006

    The archive of this week's segment is here. These show notes cover two weeks as I was in too much of a rush last week to write up proper notes.This week we featured


    The week before was solidly midterm election material in the main:

    Thoughts comments, suggestions for next week welcome, email podsandblogs@bbc.co.uk or leave a note in comments. We do read them, honest.

    The Final Curtain

    Chris Vallance | 03:38 UK time, Thursday, 9 November 2006

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    And so at pretty much the 11th hour of our visit to Washington (we decamp back to London Thursday) it looks like we may, may have a result in the midterm elections - and I'm pleased to say it looks remarkably similar to that strongly hinted at on Tuesday night. And so as our election experiment comes to a close a chance to view our final video recorded at the end of the show Tuesday. See you at the vlog Razzies (the vazzies?) next year no doubt.

    Rumsfeld Resigns

    Chris Vallance | 23:46 UK time, Wednesday, 8 November 2006

    There were many casualties of yesterday's election, and it seems that the US Secretary of Defense is another.Donald Rumsfeld has resigned and Robert Gates has been nominated as his successor. In an IM chat I asked Matt of the milblog Blackfive what he thought milbloggers would make of the choice of Robert Gates as his replacement this is what he said (and I did ask permission to quote him - I'm not quite that rude):

    me: Big news about rumsfeld eh?
    Think the milbloggers will be pleased with his replacement?
    8:40 PM Blackfive: Some are not. They know Gates as a throwback to the cold war...like Condi.
    8:41 PM Most soldiers would have liked to see Zell Miller as SecDef...
    Or joe Lieberman

    I'm a bit too busy fighting fires of a radio kind to do a round-up of milblog posts on the subject but feel free to add your reaction, or links to other milblogs, iraqi blogs on the subject here. And do you agree with Matt on the choice of successor?

    Join our Mid Term Election Coverage

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    Chris Vallance | 22:30 UK time, Tuesday, 7 November 2006

    midtermssam_small.gifThe Polls are almost closed and we want your help. David Adesnik and Amanda Terkel will be blogging here, but you can join in too. Instant Message us at podallnight (msm,hotmail.co.uk, AIM, and yahoo or 343646794 on ICQ). You can email us to at upallnight@bbc.co.uk. We'll blog the best messages and emails or you can leave a message in the comments.
    UPDATE: A big thanks to all our guests. As ever on an election night where timings and topics change there were some we intended to call and didn't and some we tried to call but couldn't get through to. Thanks to all who offered to help us out.

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    Take a tour of the DC Bureau.

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    Chris Vallance | 19:12 UK time, Tuesday, 7 November 2006

    insideDC.jpgIf you want to know that the inside of the BBC Washington Bureau looks like click here. It's a peculiar experience being vlogged as you are talking about vloggies. Again if you get some footage of the election that you've put on your blog or on a video sharing site drop a note in the comments.

    The state of New York State

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    Chris Vallance | 17:44 UK time, Tuesday, 7 November 2006

    Blogger Kristin Gorski sent us these observations on politics in New York State. Apart from anything else I love her description of life where she lives, I almost feel like I've been there myself

    New York state has vast urban and rural areas, is proud of its cultural mix, and is the adopted home of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary (the junior New York Senator). Its politics are as intense, complex, and interesting as the New Yorkers who live here. Bedroom communities populate much of where I live in Westchester County, which lies just north of New York City and borders on its most northern borough, the Bronx. It is also home to White Plains, its largest major city. During mid-autumn weekends, suburban residents visit farms in the county's northern part to go apple picking. Just south of us, New York City's urban beat goes on, pulsing still from its recent Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. While there is much contrast between New York state's city and country, it is an overwhelmingly Democratic state and is unified on many important local and national issues.

    And you can read the rest at Kristin's excellent blog Writenowisgood

    Abortion as an Issue in South Dakota

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    Chris Vallance | 17:36 UK time, Tuesday, 7 November 2006

    Brian who has a great interest in US politics sent us this analysis of what's happening in South Dakota.

    When I lived in South Dakota before coming to the UK I found the politics of the State to be very interesting. George McGovern who was the Democratic Presidential Candidate 1972 who ran against Nixon and Tom Daschle another Democratic who lead the Senate both came from South Dakota. A State that has produced two national Democrat leaders will lead anyone to believe that the State was not a conservative Republican State. Unfortunately anyone who believes that is wrong. South Dakota has not voted for a Democrat Presidential candidate since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson ran. Currently the Republican Governor has signed into law a law outlawing all abortions except in the case where the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother and the law also makes it illegal for women to cross state lines to get an abortion. Enough people are in disagreement with the law and have petitioned the State Government to put the law to the vote of the people Referred Law 6.

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    A View from Omaha

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    Chris Vallance | 17:28 UK time, Tuesday, 7 November 2006

    omaha.jpgCitizen Reporter Don Shennum in Nebraska sent us this personal view of the race:

    Nebraska is a very conservative state, with small-town values still driving many political and social views in the state. In 2004, Bush won this state with 66% of the vote. Ben Nelson, an independent-leaning Democrat, votes closer with Bush's platform than with the Democratic platform. The fact that he is aligned with Bush on several important issues is how he has been able to get elected in this conservative state. Pete Ricketts,an ultra-conservative millionaire, has funded his campaign all by himself(12 million dollars invested). The Republican Party was not going to pump any money into the Nebraska race, as a Nelson victory would not necessarily hurt the Republican agenda in Congress. When Ricketts won the primary election, the Republican Party realized that they would not have to spend much money in Nebraska, as Ricketts will finance it himself. The goal of Ricketts is of course, to win, but the goal of the Republican Party is to make Nelson and the Democratic Party spend as much money as possible in order to be re-elected. The more money spent in Nebraska by the Democrats, the less they have to spend elsewhere.

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    Blogging the Segment

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    Chris Vallance | 01:56 UK time, Tuesday, 7 November 2006

    Wifi - wahoo so I can bllog the segment as it happens from the DC Bureau. Send an IM to podallnight and well post them here (sensible ones that is!)
    UPDATE: ABC News in an odd place because its the 2AM abc news ordinarily we replay the midnight edition.
    UPDATEII: Well that was a shame. The tape playout system in DC is a bit different from the one in Television Centre and it decided to through a wobbly just before Omar from Alive in Baghdad spoke. I think we must have run through every tape in the vault before we got to the first one.

    Alive in Baghdad

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    Chris Vallance | 14:59 UK time, Sunday, 5 November 2006

    Alive in Baghdad swept the vloggies showing there's more net video than bedroom webcams, there is serious content here obtained at great risk to the contributors. The difficulty of their task in video blogging Iraq was recently pointed out by a recentt Channel 4 documentary, blogger and journalist Treasure of Baghdad links to this. Although no-one would pretend that English language Iraqi bloggers are a representative sample of the entire population, the blogs do give you a flavour of life "in the red zone". I've recently started looking at Where Date Palms Grow a fascinating blog, his recent posts filled with the terror of his daily life.

    The Oscars of Vlog

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    Chris Vallance | 00:24 UK time, Sunday, 5 November 2006

    It's the Vloggies tonight, the Oscars of internet video, and we certainly hope to speak to the MC of the event Irina Slutsky on Pods and Blogs - she is herself the subject of a vlog. And if you can't wait Robert Scoble is blogging the whole thing. Of course, well be pushing hard to get UAN's own vloggers nominated next year

    A View from a Wisconsin Farm

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    Chris Vallance | 22:02 UK time, Saturday, 4 November 2006

    hansonsfarm_150.jpgIf our last citizen reporter upset a few stereotypes about Repubicans then our next disproves the not uncommon European prejudice that an American who lives anywhere remotely rural must be a cultural conservative. Across the US on election day there will be votes on single issues from the death penalty to gay marriage. Here blogger Steve Hanson who lives on a farm near Menomonie Wisconsin "with his wife Lorelei and a menagerie of animal friends" kindly gave us his take on two initiatives in Wisconsin - there's more on this and other issues on his blog Uppitywisconsin The picture is from the locality, it must be a beautiful place this autumn.

    "Wisconsin voters are not only being faced with voting for elected offices in the Nov. 7 election, but are also being asked to vote on two referenda. These referenda (one to prohibit gay marriage and one to re-instate the death penalty) are on the ballot primarily in an attempt to bring out conservative voters to the polls. State constitutions throughout the US have been amended in the past few years to prohibit marriage of same-sex couples. Currently 43 states define marriage as between one man and one woman, and 19 states have voted in constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage. There have also been several attempts to pass a federal constitutional amendment on the subject to prevent individual states from legalizing gay marriage. In Wisconsin there has been a very vocal demand to prohibit gay marriage, and a constitutional amendment has passed the state legislature, and will be voted on in this election. Since this has already passed the legislature, this is a binding amendment - if it passes in the vote, it will become part of the state constitution.
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    An Interview with PJNet

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    Chris Vallance | 02:17 UK time, Saturday, 4 November 2006

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    Readers might be interested in PJNet run by journalism Professor Leonard Witt (see picture). There's an interview about our aim to involve more Citizen Reporters in Up All Night's coverage of the Midterms and it seems a good point to remind people that its not too late to get involved. If you are interested in helping us with our coverage read this blog post then get in touch. We're particularly keen to hear from Republican leaning voters who seem a little under-represented at the moment.

    On the Other Side of Clark County

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    Chris Vallance | 01:51 UK time, Saturday, 4 November 2006

    jim.jpgHow does the race look to Americans in Britain? That's the perspective from one of our Citizen Reporters. Jim is an American currently living in England though his familiy are from Ohio. Jim himself makes an intersting point about what it does and doesn't mean to be on the political right. I think his description is very different from that found in the mainstream media over here.


    Politics is war by other means in Clark County, Ohio. In 2004, the Guardian chose my home county for a letter-writing campaign to nudge voters to vote for John Kerry. It's a strange thing, having the world's attention drawn to your hometown to watch how you vote. But the Guardian's campaign quickly fell to background noise compared to the daily political saturation bombing that flowed through all the media outlets. Campaigning was non-stop with daily visits from all the major party figures. And their entourages. And their motorcades.

    My family was at ground zero, and lived to tell the tale.The political divide cuts right down the middle of my family. My siblings and I represent 4 points on the political spectrum. My mom grew up in a blue collar union town: Detroit. She is a Democrat. Her views are so far left that she considers many Democrats to be sellouts. My sister is a left-leaning swing voter. She absolutely loves being an Ohioan, and she's sensitive to the loss of 128 Ohio soldiers killed in Iraq. My brother and I occupy the political right. I'd say close to center, but I suppose it depends on the issue. And what is it that persuades us? We're not FOR prayer in schools, or AGAINST stem cell research. We're not FOR a constitutional ban on abortion, or AGAINST gay marriage.....

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    Putting it all together in Allentown PA

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    Chris Vallance | 19:35 UK time, Thursday, 2 November 2006

    morningcall_small.jpg
    This is our venture into quad-media reporting if you count this blog. Howard and Rhod broadcast from The Morning Call in Allentown PA. If you click here you can read the day's headline. Click here to hear the audio. Click here to watch the video OK the video's are a bit of a comic diversion really, but the radio is compelling. It's a slice of life you wouldn't get anywhere else.

    Election Night Blogging

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    Chris Vallance | 18:56 UK time, Thursday, 2 November 2006

    Amanda1.jpg
    Election night we'll be live blogging proceedings. David Adesnik of Oxblog will be providing commentary from a right of centre perspective and Amanda Terkel of Think Progress (see picture) will be blogging from a left of centre perspective. Here's Amanda's bio, David will be sending his along soon:

    Amanda Terkel is a Research Associate at the Center for American Progress. Amanda was formerly the Center’s Special Assistant for Strategic Planning. Her past positions have been with the Office of Senator Charles E. Schumer, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and the Office of the Inspector General in the Office of Personnel Management. She graduated from Colgate University magna cum laude with honors in political science and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa

    Naturally we'll want you to contribute too. I'll have IM running so you'll be able to instant message the programme at podallnight (aol, msm, and yahoo) and we'll put some of the best comments on the website.

    A Report From Nebraska

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    Chris Vallance | 21:07 UK time, Wednesday, 1 November 2006


    We've asked you to help us with our coverage and this personal account of the race in Nebraska by one of our Citizen Reporters Lindsay O'Brien really gives a flavour of a place:

    lindsay.JPGNebraska's third district is part of what is often called "The Heart
    of America." In the American psyche, this place embodies the American
    ideal - family farms homesteaded on wide open spaces, small close-knit
    communities, and unwavering patriotism. Unfortunatly, this way of
    life is fading quickly. Family farms and ranches are finding it
    harder and harder to compete with corporate farms, and are quickly
    going under. Job opportunities have become scarce in small
    communities, and many young people who go off to university in the
    larger towns and cities often never come back. Some of the United
    States poorest counties are in Nebraska's 3rd congressional district,
    and with poverty comes familial and social breakdown. It seems as if
    the unwavering patriotism is being questioned now as well.

    Technorati Profile : : : : :

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    Simple and Effective Web TV

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    Chris Vallance | 15:45 UK time, Wednesday, 1 November 2006

    bloggingheads.gifFor a while now radio people have known that entry into their business has been broken wide open by the ease with which ordinary people, bloggers and podcasters can record and edit audio. Now looking at BloggingHeads.tv it's clear that the same is happening to some kinds of television. While bloggers and vloggers won't be producing The Blue Planet anytime soon, this simple and direct piece of TV is easily a match for those Sunday morning politics shows. If you have an interest in US politics you'll love the recent debates.

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