Author Archives: Judith Townend

David Higgerson: ‘The dangers of data talk’

While David Higgerson, head of multimedia at Trinity Mirror Regionals, welcomes the government’s open data initiatives, he raises a few concerns on his blog, asking how long it is going to flow, for example.

While I’m sure the Tories have little intention of suddenly closing down data access in the future, there are signs that levels of data collection may reduce in the future.

Take, for example, the announcement this week that the number of health targets will be reduced. On one hand, it’s a quick headline to announce a reduction in red tape, but it also means that less data will be collected.

Full post at this link…

RCFP: Media organisations get involved in ‘hot news’ case

Earlier this week we reported on a ‘hot news’ ruling from March 2010, in which Barclays, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley won a victory in the federal district court, resting on the “hot news” doctrine, that stops republication of the companies’ stock recommendations by the site

Here’s an update from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, stating that a number of media organisations have filed a ‘friend of the court’ brief for the appeal (not in support of any party):

More than a dozen media organizations are urging a federal appeals court to recognise that “hot news” misappropriation claims are an important legal remedy to protect news organizations’ content from internet aggregators that do not conduct original reporting.

Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post are among the organizations that joined a friend-of-the-court brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City (2nd Cir.) in the case Barclays Capital v.

Full story at the link…

BBC Sport: Journalist claims she was slapped by Algerian footballer

A journalist has claimed that she was slapped by the Algeria footballer Rafik Saifi, after his team was knocked out of the World Cup after losing to the US, the BBC reports. The journalist who works for the Algerian newspaper Competition said she would complain to Fifa and the police.

Full story at this link…

How new Fourwhere maps plotting Foursquare, Yelp and Gowalla could be useful for journalists

Fourwhere, a location-based search service, first launched a few months ago with data from geolocation gaming service Foursquare. Now it has developed its service to also include data from other location services, Yelp and Gowalla.

The mapping service, launched at the SXSW technology conference in Austin, now has arrangements with Foursquare and Gowalla to allow extra access to information, and says it’s in discussions with Yelp for unrestricted access to its platform.

Fourwhere says it can match different service updates on the same venue, even if the services are not using a standardised naming or location convention. Following the latest update, Cnet’s Josh Lowensohn pointed out a few of the glitches, but also said:

Despite the current shortcomings, I really like the idea of having one place that aggregates not only the tips from these sites, but, more importantly, the check-ins. When done right, and given a sense of time, Fourwhere could prove itself as a very powerful tool for showing what’s hot and what’s not based on a much larger group of users than any of the three services could offer on their own.

I asked Sysomos, the social media monitoring and analytics company behind Fourwhere, how the service would be useful to journalists.

“Fourwhere will make it easy for journalists to see what is going on at certain locations,” says community manager Sheldon Levine. It can provide insight as to what’s going on from the people actually there, he says.

“It can even help them search out locations where something interesting is happening and with story ideas by seeing where people in their markets are, and what they are talking about while there.

“Fourwhere will help connect all kinds of users, from those on the ground to, say journalists, making it easier for everyone to see what’s going on around them.”

I’ve taken a grab to show how it looks for the area around the office in Brighton. Admittedly, some of the updates are out of date by several months, but that’s probably due to low level user-activity. I was briefly excited by the promise of free beer at a local pub, before realising someone had made the comment six months ago.

But, imagine a lot more people were using these services in a concentrated area, with more regular updates. It’s not just the comments: as Paul Bradshaw commented in a post about Foursquare, location based services give you an extra layer of information: frequency of visits etc.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Fourwhere, and on Twitter’s development of Twitter Places, which will also be integrated with Foursquare and Gowalla.

As more people embrace these location-based services and use them more creatively, the more useful they could become for journalists.

On Friday, at’s news:rewired event Yelp’s head of European community management, Miriam Warren, will be talking about mobile and the development of Yelp’s online review service.

Yelp, which now attracts over 32 million monthly unique visitors to its online reviews, has recently developed new version of the Yelp iPhone app: when a user checks-in to a combination of businesses, they will be able to earn “Yelp Badges”. More details at this link.

Publishers who offer similar review or local information services might be interested to see what and how Yelp is developing, while news journalists might consider how they could use Yelp and other location-based products to feed their stories and make contacts.

Treasury reaches out to hyperlocal sites for Budget coverage

For today’s Budget, HM Treasury is making an effort to talk directly to local news bloggers about potential coverage.

As VentnorBlog, based in the Isle of Wight, reports:

…Rather than just rely on ‘traditional’ media, they [HM Treasury] want to innovate and extend their reach to distribute the information as widely as possible. They want VentnorBlog to help Island readers understand the details as soon as it’s been announced.

Information will be available on the Treasury’s website after the Chancellor’s announcements, but the department will also issue some bloggers with regional press notices and resources at the same time it goes to the news wires.

The Treasury asked hyperlocal publisher and trainer Will Perrin to put them in touch with some leading local blogs. Perrin told that the Treasury’s interest is a “good thing” that will “no doubt be experimental for both parties”. “It’s a real challenge for a national institution to localise their message, but you have to start somewhere.”

MediaShift: How financial firms are clashing with online news aggregation services

PBS MediaShift takes a look at financial firms and the competition they face from online financial news aggregations services.

In some cases, these online services have obtained and disseminated the firms’ most closely held, time-sensitive and valuable information product: the daily stock recommendations generated by their financial analysts.

Legal battles have been fought by these companies, and earlier this year Barclays, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley won a victory in the federal district court, resting on the “hot news” doctrine, that stops republication of the companies’ stock recommendations by

This case about the hot news doctrine has now itself become “hot news.”

Full post at this link… France Telecom interested in Le Monde’s digital operations

The SFN blog has a quick round-up on the latest in the consortia fight for the French newspaper, Le Monde:

The two potential buyers are France Telecom subsidiary Orange, as well as a consortium led by Pierre Berge, ex-partner of late fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, AFP reported. The paper said earlier that it needs as much as €100 million to pay off debts and survive in the tough times.

And this snippet from FT indicates where France Telecom sees Le Monde’s potential:

[F]rance Telecom has stressed that its interest in Le Monde lies in the title’s digital operations and synergies between its website and those of Le Nouvel Obs and Prisa, which owns El Pais, the Spanish daily.

Full article at this link (registration required)

Guardian commends Chris Huhne for speaking out over NOTW phone hacking

Readers of the Guardian website may have noticed its coverage of cabinet minister Chris Huhne’s affair was rather quieter than that of its rivals over the weekend. Its report on Sunday said:

Some commentators questioned whether Huhne was targeted because he had previously spoken out against the News of the World, one of the papers to print snatched photographs of him and his mistress. Last year, Huhne wrote a comment piece for the Guardian demanding an inquiry into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal,saying: “It strikes at the heart of the privacy any individual can expect in a civilised society.”

Today, in its editorial the Guardian praises Huhne for speaking out against phone hacking at News of the World (following the newspaper’s own scoop) last year.

He has made some powerful enemies by being an MP unafraid to speak frankly and directly about notorious abuses of power. For the past year he has spoken out against the phone-hacking that occurred at the News of the World under Andy Coulson’s editorship and Rupert Murdoch‘s ownership. There have been few MPs so vociferous in condemning the possible collusion by our intelligence services in the torture of Britons abroad. Who knows who has put Mr Huhne under surveillance? Or what circumstances led Mr Murdoch’s snoopers to be in the right place at the right time? Yet an independent, forthright politician is cut down, as others before him. Public life ought to be able to accommodate such people as Mr Huhne, who brings to politics a deep interest in economics, social policy and the environment. But who, watching his example, would want to follow?

For further discussion of media coverage and privacy issues see Charlie Beckett’s blog: Twitter, India Knight and Chris Huhne: the end of discretion?

CNN drops Associated Press in favour of its own ‘distinctive’ content

CNN has announced that it will no longer use content (stories, video and photographs) from the Associated Press (AP), “ending a business relationship that had been in place since the cable network’s inception”.

Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, said in a memo to employees that the decision to discontinue the network’s use of the wire service was part of a strategy to “more fully leverage CNN’s global newsgathering investments.”

“We will no longer use AP materials or services,” Walton wrote. “The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own.”

It is to use Reuters to supplement its breaking news coverage. While cutting the deal with AP will save CNN money, Walton claimed it was only “partly a business decision”.

Full announcement at this link…