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Media 2.0

  • What WikiLeaks means for a government’s assault on media freedom

    What happens when a government moves to clamp down on media freedom? It might simply force journalists in that country to adopt the WikiLeaks model when it comes to publishing sensitive information.  Here's an example: The South African government recently announced a triple play to clamp down on media freedom in that country, a move which may force journalists to a model akin to WikiLeaks. Concern is mounting over the country's proposed apartheid-inspired Protection of Information Bill, which will give government sweeping powers to declare virtually any information "in the national interest" (and classify it), making it illegal for journalists...

  • The rise of eBooks and the myth of affordability

    Major drum roll from the guys at Amazon.com for their announcement that "Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books (eBooks) than hardcover books." The group went on to claim that for every 100 hardcover books sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books, and also announced that Stieg Larsson, author of the Millenium Trilogy, has sold one million Kindle books. The statistics given out by the giant online retailer don't look quite so amazing when put in proper context. In fact, quite a different story emerges that indicates the traditional publishing business is unprepared to embrace the new dynamics eBooks bring...

  • Twitter breaks news, but will it break journalism?

    Twitter's value to breaking news quickly and efficiently is beyond doubt, but the accuracy of the news being reported is far from perfect. This weekend, Twitter was abuzz with the news that South Africa’s former national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, was found guilty of both charges he was facing. But the initial buzz on Twitter was wrong, or at least not 100% accurate. At first it was reported on Twitter that he was found guilty on charges of corruption and obstruction of justice. What happened initially was that journalists reporting from the courthouse got the first tweet wrong, which meant all the retweets got...

  • Newspass: Why Google’s paywall plans may just work

    Google has been quietly testing a new paywall system for publishers it is calling “Newspass”. According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Google has been piloting the service with publishers in Italy. The search giant will apparently launch "an integrated payment system" allowing users to buy news content with just "one click". Newspass would allow publishers to use a single infrastructure for Web, mobile and tablet computers to monetise their content. Importantly, La Repubblica reports that consumers will have a single log-in across a multitude of news sites that would be flexible enough to accommodate various kinds of payments, including long-term subscriptions...

  • Interview: Helen Zille on Twitter, Facebook and why Julius Malema isn’t interesting enough to follow

    Western Cape Premier and Democratic Alliance Leader Helen Zille has taken charge of all the web has to offer; including a Facebook Page, Twitter Account and even a Flickr Pro Account for her photos. The busy politician recently made time to answer a few questions about social media as a tool for engagement, how she uses Twitter, and why she wouldn't follow ANC Youth League President Julius Malema. Memeburn: You’re one of the few politicians in South Africa that has embraced the internet and social media. What has having a Facebook and Twitter on-line presence meant for you, and has it...

  • Twenty useful tips for dissecting mobile web design

    With the current surge in popularity of smartphones and web-capable phones, increased focus has been put on designing for mobile. There are however some marked differences between designing for the web and designing for mobile. Here are some must-have tips which cut through the mystery of designing for mobile phones. Before You Start. The mobile screen is small, and instead of planning around this, many designers use that fact as an excuse to take shortcuts. You wouldn’t want a website that only takes up a third of your screen, so why do this for mobile? It is a shocking brand experience....

  • Could social networking actually be a threat to democracy?

    Most analysis about social networking tends to focus on the phenomenon's utopian qualities, but rarely take the dystopian view which focuses on its negative side effects on society. A more critical view holds that social media in fact works more against democracy rather than for it. The idealists tell us that social media is “democracy in action”, giving voice to millions and breaking down traditional information distribution channels and power structures. At the Fortune-Time-CNN...

  • Media engineer: Part hack (journalist) and part hacker (software engineer)

    Burt Herman organised a fascinating event a few weeks ago, bringing together journalists and software engineers to produce news apps for the iPad. The first ever Hacks/Hackers event produced 12 apps in just 30 hours, and a panel of judges picked the two best apps: "An iPad application to make news exciting for kids and a location-aware web application where users react to news stories about their legislators." Burt Herman is the founder of...

  • How to approach content in the digital age

    The phrase "User Generated Content" (UGC) has always been a troubled notion. At its heart it emphasises a divide between the user and the professional, with the implication that users have their place, and the professionals have theirs. Perhaps the aversion to this phrase stems from the fact that it is so simplistic. It doesn't really capture the diversity of a site's readership or community. The simple fact is: Not all readers are...

  • Dan Gillmor in Cape Town: Transparency is key

    Pics by Tino Kreutzer Dan Gillmor, author of We Media and acclaimed citizen media advocate, was in Cape Town to speak at the University of Cape Town's Business School about the publishing revolution of the digital age, also known as Citizen Media. Gillmor is co-founder of Dopplr, a social networking service that allows users to create itineraries of their travel plans and an investor in Jimmy Wales' Wikia. We know that media no longer...

  • Citizen journalism & the gatekeepers

    As the web 2.0 movement rolled on, the excitable hype mongers were already reading media’s last rites. The zealots proclaimed that the publishing model had changed, pointing to examples like Wikipedia, digg.com and the blogging movement. It’s now all about user-generated content and the wisdom of crowds, they say. The centralised gate-keeping media model is losing its relevance in favour of a decentralised model. Big Media, R.I.P. These so-called experts put used-car salespeople to...

  • Which CMS? WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal

    It's the big question. I've had the opportunity to work with all three of these Content Management Systems (CMS) in various guises, and in my view -- from a online publishing perspective -- there is a clear winner. Everyone has their favourite and there will no doubt people that vehemently disagree, but hear me out. First on to Joomla and Drupal: Both Joomla and Drupal are complex CMSes, and I've felt that these...

  • SecondLife, another graphic World Wide Web?

    At the beginning of this year I blogged about the amazing work that Adam Pasick was doing with Reuters in Second Life, the virtual 3D world. Now, here in Dublin at the IFRA conference, we were presented with another fascinating story of media doing business in SecondLife. Rowan Barnett, Editor-in-Chief of Avastar, a virtual newspaper in SecondLife, is one of the people behind this successful virtual newspaper which aims to "give the residents...

  • Social Networking is Online Publishing 2.0

    I've recently changed my mind about some of the smaller niche, trade, business-to-business websites that are on the online scene. These are often trade publications that cater for specific industries. I've realised that, if approached correctly, this type of publishing is perfectly poised to be more than just traditional content publishing, but powerful social and business networking too. Suddenly, what previously seemed like a boring, bog-standard publishing site, comes alive as a...

  • The converging media company

    Who would have thought newspapers and magazines would start producing their own radio and TV programmes? Who would have thought radio stations would become active online publishers, running popular blogs? Who would have thought the readers, viewers and listeners would rise up and start producing their own media? The world is like this because we are in an era of convergence, which is been driven by the digital age. Convergence isn’t a “tech...