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  • Blogs vs traditional media: the Iraq issue

    During the first panel discussion of the We Media conference in London a delegate at the conference whose name I didn’t catch stood up and made a very interesting comment. He says he works for a newspaper and that it was his job to review Iraqi blogs for the paper he works for to source stories and comment. He said that ever since he started doing this, he began "losing trust in newspapers" because he found that the Iraqi blogs were saying something completely different to what the mainstream media were saying. He highlighted the fact that some major...

  • Hats off to Media24’s tabloids

    Ingo Capraro, Editor of the relatively new tabloid, Die Son in South Africa gave us a talk on the successes of the paper. Die Son is part of the powerful Media24/Naspers group – the biggest media player in Africa. Die Son editor gave us a presentation on the newspaper’s successes. It is a tabloid unashamedly covering sex, scandal and has its own page three girl. There was a fair amount of criticism about what the paper was doing. Not sure what the fuss is about. Clearly the newspaper is serving a market and doing it successfully. Like the Daily Sun,...

  • Who’s running the show at newspapers?

    Dr Peter Mwesige, Acting Head, Mass Communication Department, Makerere University and Former Executive Editor Monitor Publications in Uganda delivered an interesting speech on “African quality journalism”. He emphasised that if we treat the media “like any other business”, we distort the principles of journalism. He noted that there obviously needs to be a healthy mix with regards to the drive for profitability and good journalism, but that the drive for profitability seems to be affecting the craft of journalism. He’s right. Mwesige noted that product development at media houses is often driven by advertising and marketing departments rather than...

  • The blog phenomenon

    When Gutenberg invented the printing press, he freed the publishers. But when the World Wide Web was pioneered by Tim Berners-Lee, it was said that the readers were now freed. The age of the internet has given unprecedented power to the reader by creating one of the most democratic and accessible forms of publishing yet – the blog. The internet -- and more specifically blogging on the internet -- means that ordinary readers more than ever before are themselves turning into publishers and journalists. (more…)

  • The great convergence sideshow

    It's always been cheap and easy to publish on the web. Big professional, online publishers share the same medium as small-time, personal homepages. Online publishers typically publish at a lower cost than newspapers or magazines, making it an affordable option for shoestring publishers and budding entrepreneurs. It's why they are in the web business in the first place. (more…)

  • Surviving the great dot.con

    As Google embraces the stock exchange, many dot.com kids are rubbing their hands with glee at what could signal a return of the good times. Matthew Buckland has been through dot.boom and dot.bomb and spent lots on expensive therapy to forget it all, but here he reminisces. (more…)

  • Shuttleworth returns to the source

    Nothing gets a dedicated techie hotter under the collar than a discussion about Microsoft and its software monopoly. Another subject that will get them talking is the subject of open source software. Open source is in many ways the antithesis of what Microsoft and many software companies have been pursuing over the years. It’s a revolutionary movement and philosophy worldwide that ensures computer programs, such as word processors or spreadsheets, can be used by you, shared by you with others, and even modified by you at no cost and then re-sold by you to others. (more…)

  • Open source in SA

    Something pretty revolutionary is going down in a dusty patch of Limpopo province. It involves billionaire and Africa’s first Astronaut Mark Shuttleworth, a multi-national technology company and the government. Shuttleworth is so passionate about it, he says it could rocket South Africa into the future: “We are on the cusp of a new era. This is the future of IT.” (more…)

  • The internet goes from free to fee

    The internet goes from free to fee By Matthew Buckland If only the internet had been invented by a businessman. It’s a common lament of internet publishers who are buckling and wheezing under the financial strain of running unprofitable websites. These are the web publishers who somehow managed to survive the dotcom crash by the silicon of their circuit boards, but have struggled to find solid business models -- this despite bringing in huge audiences that even eclipse many profitable, advertising-rich print publications. But the big question for online publishers is: How to make money out of their huge readerships? (more…)

  • Dotcom dating dollars

    When the internet arrived, people screamed let’s make lots of money. This new, interactive medium had the ability to deliver content to audiences in innovative ways and make money at the same time. Content would suck readers in, went the theory, and communities would form around these content genres. E-commerce areas would then be built around relevant content and wham bam thank you Ram, your community interacts and you have dotcom dollars. (more…)

  • War of the web

    As United States and British forces push through Iraq towards Baghdad, another kind of war is in progress: a battle between TV, radio, newspapers and websites to be the first to bring their audience breaking news on Iraq. Never before has a war been covered in such pervasive and explicit detail and on so many media platforms. Readers are getting the news via more mediums, in more forms and faster than ever before. (more…)

  • Netocracy

    If Karl Marx were alive today this is the book he would have written. This is the bold, if not slightly ambitious, claim of Swedish authors Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist. For Marx, society’s power politics, ideology and social dynamics are shaped by the economy, most notably in modern times by capitalism. In the Swedish authors’ new book, Netocracy, they pick up where Marx left off and take a good, long, hard look at the world today and pose the questions: what is a the major economic driving force of today and the future and how will society change as...

  • Why we love and hate Google

    net savvy Why we love and hate Google Local online publishers need to keep an eye on Google Publishers love and hate the world’s biggest search engine. Google is getting bigger and scarier everyday, or as Wired magazine puts it, going from “guerrilla startup to 800-pound gorilla”. Now that Google appears to be making a beeline for this continent, local publishers need to keep an eye on the search monster’s movements. Google stunned the country by quietly launching google.co.za. It has now just launched Google News South Africa. (more…)

  • Revenge of the amateurs

    Now South Africa has its own citizen journalism offering via Johnnic’s commendable reporter.co.za One of the first images of the Asian Tsunami crisis came from a Nordic tourist stuck on a rooftop in Phuket who MMSed it to a major news website, where it was immediately published. During the London bombings we saw grainy underground footage via evacuees’ cellphones. Here at home, e.TV recently received footage of shackfires in Cape Town via cellphone video, prompting the station to ask questions and do a short insert on the “citizen journalism” phenomenon. (more…)

  • Web 2.0 a Poo Sandwich?

    net savvy Web 2.0 a Poo Sandwich? Some say “Web 2.0” is just the latest meaningless buzzword in a long list of internet hyperbole. But Matthew Buckland argues that such labels can be useful. A well-known blogger wrote that whenever he hears the phrase “Web 2.0” he feels a little bit stupider for the rest of the day. Critics have dismissed the term as the latest meaningless, hyperbolic obfuscation to hit the internet and get people all excited over nothing. If anything demonstrates just how much scepticism there is, it’s the particularly vicious criticism from popular UK technology site The...