Warriors: Five Pints 14 2

Technology

The New Scientist tells us about research into Social Networks which knows when censors delete online posts:

The system was able to spot, with 85 per cent accuracy, when censorship was taking place on a wide scale. Upon detecting the resulting change in network shape, the system could be programmed to send an alert to activists or protesters, say, to warn them that the authorities were tampering with their posts.

More of this sort of thing.


People

Christine Buckley, one of the first willing to speak out about institutional abuse in Ireland recently died.

As a teenager, she tried to smuggle a letter to newspapers exposing cruelty at the orphanage but she was found out.

Her punishment was a beating by a "sadistic" nun that left her needing 100 stitches in her leg.

Vale Christine Buckley, a great woman of Ireland.


The Media

In light of more recent stories, easily broken using data alone about Australia’s shameful concentration camp on Manus Island in PNG, Andrew Elder’s piece from January on the lack of journalistic initiative on Nauru is particularly damning:

Australia detained thousands of asylum-seekers on Nauru from 2001 to 2008, and again since 2012. It had been an Australian dependency for decades: politically that ended in 1968 but economically it has never not been the case. The country has a matrilineal social system. The most popular sport on the island is Australian Rules football. Why there wasn’t at least one, just one Australian reporter, stationed there during that time, is an indictment of the initiative of Australia’s media.


Football

I loved this intriguing dissection of Steven Gerrard by Ken Earlys :

Some of those Manchester United players were better than Gerrard in some aspects…None could match Gerrard’s all-around ability, his combination of skill, athleticism, and big-game impact. Scoring goals is the most difficult thing in football. Gerrard has scored 183 for club and country, more than Giggs (181), Scholes (169) or Beckham (146).

He’s the only player to score in the final of the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup, and Champions League. He’s collected more individual Player of the Year awards than all of the Class of ’92 put together.

I’m unapologetically a Liverpool and Steven Gerrard fan, but I’d trade all those successes of his in just to see a League winners medal around his neck.

It’s time.


Entertainment

Recently the Ad hoc podcast geeked out on Blade Runner.

Yes, my first time was pan and scan on VHS too.

Highly recommended for some excellent insights, not just on the movie, but on Ridley Scott’s creative process and the technology of the time.

Our Survey Says #2: Mobile Market Share by CNET

Aside

That I’d never heard of Kantar WorldPanel ComTech until Cnet Australia published a post using their data to prove that Android was the leading Mobile OS in Australia means nothing. I’m sure they’re a great organisation delivering insightful market currency to brand owners and owners and others.

Perhaps Android is, as the Cnet Article claims and the data seems to back up, the leading OS installed on smartphones in Australia. But when the author neither links to the data he’s basing his entire article on nor the method used to derive the numbers, my suspicions are raised.

So I’ll do Mr. Hanlon’s job for him, here’s the PDF describing the results.

I’ve previously written my suspicions of surveys used to determine the market, and was criticised for inferring a valid sample was too small. However, unless I’m missing the wood for the trees on this one, it seems to me the Australian – or any other regions – data is not backed by any reference to the methodology used to derive it.

There’s plenty of journalists doing great things with data, it’s pretty sad to think that in the technology space, most of it appears to be shallow attempts at linkbait for their advertising driven site. As with any information used to write a story, something to back up the claims either from the originator or better another source would be valuable.

Otherwise, as in this case. there’s no story.

The Editorial Line – more candidates for lazy journalism

Aside

In today’s The Guardian piece on Harry Redknapp being sacked by Tottenham, the following nugget was included;

Martínez was a candidate to succeed Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool, only for the Merseyside club to appoint Brendan Rodgers.

Now it’s possible David Hytner and the Guardian Sport editorial team may know more than we do, but as far as I know Roberto Martinez neither applied for the job nor was interviewed for the position.

So why why do they persist with such misinformation?

It seems the disease is viral in newsrooms around the world.

The Editorial Line – Electricity Prices in NSW

Some great examples of journalism not allowing facts to get in the way of a good story or the editorial line in the past 24 hours, here’s one from ABC News Radio.
A story on this years NSW electricity hikes was led and ended stating categorically that they were being mostly caused by the dreaded Carbon Tax. This despite the interviewee in the piece repeating his organisations previous guidance that the Carbon Tax was contributing to only part of the increase.
The journalist narrowly focused her interest on the impact of the Carbon Tax on electricity prices, but the piece contained not a mention of the tax changes introduced to help offset potential price increases due to the Carbon Price. Perhaps the embarrassment of sticking so rigidly to talking points from the federal opposition was the reason the interview has not been published at the ABC News Radio site.
The representative from Energy Networks Australia went into great detail on infrastructure investment required of them in recent years to simply meet 40 hours per annum peak demand. The surprise the host showed when this was raised seems to indicate that she doesn’t live in NSW and is unaware there have been year on year increases of around 20% here over the past 5 years to fund that investment.
Which makes me speculate there will be a follow up on the reasons for the recent electricity price rises. One where the editorial team at ABC News Radio Drive will do some research into the nonsense of making electricity transmission infrastructure capable of managing 1 in every 150 day peak loads as if they occurred every day. Someone this week compared that effort to building all roads to be 12 lanes wide so that no one would have to drive at 3km for a few minutes in peak hour.
Assuming of course the ABC editorial line, which in June may require every discussion to include a Carbon Tax angle, allows for this before July 1 when the new electricity pricing comes into force. Conveniently in line with the introduction of Carbon Pricing.
It’s one thing, after all for commercial interests to tell half the story in order to attract listeners, viewers and readers. It’s a whole other when a non-commerical entity misinforms their listeners so as to toe the editorial line.

Is AP forgetting simple rules by restricting retweets?

Associated Press (AP) thinks their staff shouldn’t be allowed to retweet on twitter due to the high risk of their journalists being perceived as biased. Perhaps rather than issuing unnecessarily strict social media rules to their well educated writers, the AP might consider some other rules common to any journalist.

An article by Caitlin Johnston in the American Journalism Review exploring AP’s instruction to writers not to retweet on twitter was shared into my tweetstream yesterday:

Retweets are an endorsement says Caitlin Johnston in the American Journalism Review

My immediate reaction reading the content of the tweet and the first lines of the article was Ms. Johnston didn’t ‘have a clue’ and I wasn’t afraid to retweet with that as my commentary.

Reading the article in more detail, I know now Johnston was, in fact, going about her job by producing an extremely fair and balanced piece on the entire topic of retweeting and how it is perceived by various sections of the Media Industry.

She explores those retweeting rules recently issued by AP to their Journalists, including quoting AP’s standard’s editor, Tom Kent, as saying: “…by simply retweeting the information the journalist could be suggesting that he or she endorses it.”

Which, if you think about what happens when you retweet on Twitter, is akin to a scenario where I would say to someone: “so and so thinks xyz about abc” and that person then tells another it was I who thinks “xyz about abc”.

One of my favourite bloggers on the topic of Journalism and writing in general, Bill Bennett, also wrote today on Craig Silverman’s eight simple rules for accurate journalism. Bill quotes Mr. Silverman’s first rule as being:

 “Initial, mistaken information will be retweeted more than any subsequent correction”.

At first glance it seems this rule is backing up AP’s banning of retweets by staff, yet his article also teaches us “Failure sucks but instructs”.

Compared with the reaction AP might receive if one of their staff retweeted something controversial, my transgression against Johnston probably disappeared beneath most radars. I am however intending to use my failure to instruct myself  that “Verification before dissemination” is all important. If I can do that, then I’m sure AP could also respond to negative situations caused by a misplaced retweet with some relevant coaching and guidance for their staff.

Silverman’s last rule; “It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup”, needs also to be remembered in the context of any perceived failure. Circling the wagons often presumes further guilt by your the readers. The AP might consider that correcting the record and coaching their staff is a much more efficient response. It’s likely your readers will reward you and your writer will likely be happier too.

I can’t finish without issuing my own correction, despite Silverman’s guidance about them, and apologise to Caitlin Johnston for my reaction on Twitter. I thought her piece was actually excellent and will heartily retweet it as an endorsement.

You’re not a journalist, you just sell Newspapers

Former News of the World editor Paul McMullan admitted to Steve Coogan they published dross in order to fund real invesitgations. Are Fairfax also compromising themselves with their equal reliance on clicks, eyeballs and advertisers driven by linkbait like today’s Steve Jobs “story” by Julian Lee?

I finally caught up with the ABC’s Four Corners Hackgate show “Bad News this week.

Bad News

By Reporter Sarah Ferguson and Producer Michael Doyle For more than five years Rupert Murdoch and his most trusted executives told the world that a rogue reporter and a rogue private detective were responsible for hacking phones for the News of the World.

I found myself offended by Paul McMullan while watching. I couldn’t figure out why (and before you say it, it wasn’t because of that hideous scar he seems to have developed on his face in the past few weeks). So I searched his name and came up with this:

Appreciate the need for a broad church of knowledge #4Corners but Paul Mcmullan? Insider yes? Defender? Absolutely. http://t.co/cn0kPj7
franksting
August 30, 2011

Didn’t you just want to hear it was Steve Coogan, a victim of Murdoch’s Minions and #hackgate, who left that scar on his face?

Anyway, #hackgate has been done over, but Four Corners has a lot to answer for. Keeping me up late last night meant I got to see the Midnight drop of stories on to some of the local “news” sites.
Among them a piece on the hideously misnamed SMH.com.au. When Fairfax decided to use the well regarded Sydney Morning Herald branding as the brand for their online presence, who knew that one day the result would be akin to the New York Times using the entire content of the New York Post for their website.
Even when Mike van Niekerk from Fairfax celebrated their intentions to dumb down their offerings some years ago on Mediawatch, I wasn’t fully aware of how bad it would get:

But I digress, we already know the articles of Journalism at Fairfax have become few and far between in recent years. There’s been plenty written illustrating that in recent years (Google and Crikey are your friend if you want to find them).

This morning was all about their ex-Marketing editor, the fact Steve Jobs still attracts headlines and it’s cheap to drive hits to your site if you recycle old stories about Apple.
It was expected journalism failures would look for any Steve Jobs angle to drive clicks. The SMH connects his resignation to…
franksting
August 30, 2011
…Apple’s “toxic” products. If coal miners who strip the land & pollute water got this type of negative coverage, there’d be uproar.
franksting
August 30, 2011

Its pretty clear after all Jobs only abandoned Apple because they and they alone are responsible for our addiction to shiny things. Not to mention the pain and suffering Apple alone cause at Chinese Manufacturing and in the Jungles of the Congo where they mine rare earth metals for Mobile circuitry.

But the objective of the piece wasn’t to do any research or any journalism, it was clearly just

As Steve Coogan said about Paul McMullan: “You aren’t a journalist, you just sell newspapers”: http://t.co/cn0kPj7
franksting
August 30, 2011

So my advice to Fairfax is, rather than publishing such navel gazing idiocy, better:

If @brandstand and his ilk like to soul search their “addiction” to “shiny things”, can’t they take it to their own blog or turn Luddite?
franksting
August 30, 2011

and

If Fairfax are serious about investigating the impact our addiction to “shiny things” has on the world, they’d be spending $ on a one.
franksting
August 30, 2011

One where they would send journalists to the manufacturing hubs, the mining centres and the supply chains. I’m sure Greenpeace or other NGO’s in the space would be happy to partner with them.

But that costs money and while it’s been investigated, won’t drive them clicks. And more importantly it’ll probably scare off some of their advertisers.

Banners asking Michael Dell to clean up toxics

The hull of the new Rainbow Warrior III on dry ground at the Fassmer Shipyard in Berne. The ship is being prepared to be lifted into the water. The Rainbow Warrior is Greenpeace’s first purpose-built vessel, and will be officially launched in… Read more > The Greenpeace airship A.E.
Which as even Paul McMullan knows, modern media can’t do without
Advertisers Begin Abandoning ‘News of the World’ Over Allegations the Paper Had Hacked Milly Dowler’s Cell Phone | Adweek

Two businesses are reportedly reviewing their advertising relationships with the British tabloid News of the World in response to revelations that newspaper had hacked the cell phone of a missing 13-year-old girl who would later be found murdered.  The energy firm Npower became the first business to comment on the new round of allegations, a