Author Archives: Oliver Luft

About Oliver Luft

Oliver Luft was news editor of from 2006-8.

Belgian newspaper group to take European Commission to court again after its first challenge over news aggregator fails

Belgian newspaper group Copiepresse – yes, the one that’s in that legal wrangle with Google – is about to re-enter a copyright battle with a second online publisher – this time it’s the European Commission.

Copiepresse will attempt to sue the EC for a second time after it had its copyright infringement case against the EC’s news aggregation services NewsBrief and NewsExplorer thrown out by a Belgian court.

The group took the case on the same grounds as its Google case, that the use of the material without newspapers’ permission was an infringement of their copyright.

According to, Belgian press reports said the case was thrown out of the Court of Seizures in Belgium after a report produced for the court backed the Commission and because there was a jurisdictional problem with the case. Iy added that the group would not appeal against the throwing out of the case but would re-submit it to Belgium’s civil court.

McClatchy editor sets up public wiki for discussions about innovation across the group

US newspaper company McClatchy has set up a public wiki to act as an ‘online repository of ideas’ where its journalists and others can discuss innovation ideas for the group.

The wiki is called McClatchy Next and has been set up by Howard Weaver, vice president for news at McClatchy.

“It’s a wiki, the same basic format as the infinitely editable Wikipedia, intended as a way to collect ideas, argue about them and save information and reference points in ways we can all easily share and retrieve,” he wrote in the first entry on the wiki.

“If it works, it will be a more coherent version of the comments I very much appreciate at my blog – better organized, easier to follow, more accessible.”

Digg launches recommendation engine

Digg is launching a new recommendation engine – offering a first play with the new technology to a random sample of Digg users to test this week.

The beta device will analyse users past ‘Digging’ activity to uncover other users and content that may be of interest to them.

Digg intends to roll out the technology later on in the week to all users.

“The Recommendation Engine is a cool way to discover new content on Digg. Now that there are more than 16,000 stories submitted to the Upcoming section every day, it’s difficult to sort through everything to find the best content,” Digg founder Kevin Rose wrote on his blog.

“The Recommendation Engine uses your past digging activity to identify what we call Diggers Like You (who you can see on the right hand nav) to suggest stories you might like.”

Washington City Paper: WaPo mulling new politics site?

According to a report from the US, the Washington Post is mulling whether or not to launch a niche political news website that could run alongside its current offering.

A report by the Washington City Paper claims leading lights at the paper are discussing a ‘brand-new, semi-autonomous site that would package the Postâ

Times: Trinity Mirror shares suffer record 28 per cent fall

Trinity Mirror shares suffered a record one-day fall yesterday after the newspaper publisher admitted that advertising at the Daily Mirror and its sister titles had collapsed by between 12 per cent and 14 per cent in May and June.

Shares in newspaper group Trinity Mirror plunged 28 per cent yesterday after it said profits would be 10 per cent lower than expected.

Telegraph: Man sues friend over fake Facebook profile

A businessman is suing an old schoolfriend allegeding the friend created a fake profile of him on the social networking site Facebook.

Mathew Firsht, 38, is seeking damages from Grant Raphael at the High Court, claiming that the profile contained personal details and false information about his sexual orientation and political views.

links for 2008-07-01

Everyblock launches in two new cities

Hyperlocal news mapping site Everyblock has launched in two new cities in the US.

Charlotte and Philadelphia join Chicago, New York and San Francisco as cities mapped by the site.

Adrian Holovaty, founder of local crime news site, launched Everyblock at the start of the year as a destination where users could search for civic information and news items by address, postcode or neighbourhood on an interactive map.

Holovaty started the site with a £550,000 grant awarded by last year’s Knight News Challenge competition.

In addition to the public information already found on the city maps the new sites will add extra layers of content.

The Charlotte map will include library information, updating listings with new titles available locally and chart all local 911 calls to the police and ‘significant police events’ in the city.

The location of series crimes will charted on the Philadelphia map along with areas mentioned by the local authority’s Streets and Services agenda bodies.

Any area of Charlotte mentioned in city council meeting minutes or zoning minutes will be charted on that map.

“We’re analyzing the text of these meeting minutes/agendas for all locations referenced therein,” wrote Holovaty.

“If the city council or rules committee mentions something near you, you’ll see it on your EveryBlock page.”

The AP ‘beginning to fracture’ as members form collectives, reduce reliance

The Wall Street Journal wrote this week that the 162-year-old Associated Press (AP) is ‘beginning to fracture’ as the newspaper business in the US breaks up.

The AP last week announced a new set of ‘wire’ tools and cash back options to sweeten newspaper clients that are becoming disenchanted with the fees it demands and its increasing focus providing news and information packages for web publishing and non-traditional customers like Google and Yahoo.

However, its members have already started to seek alternatives to the AP for syndicating their stories and picking up relevant content for their publications from other news providers. detailed in April how eight of the largest newspapers in the US state of Ohio had begun bypassing the AP and forged an alliance to share their top stories.

The Columbus Dispatch, The Toledo Blade, the Cincinnati Enquirer, The Akron Beacon Journal, The Plain Dealer are amongst newspapers making up the membership of the Ohio News Organization (with the unfortunate acronym, OHNO).

Rather than relying to the Associated Press to decide at the end of each news day whether or not to distribute their stories, the papers now post content to private website – accessible only to those eight newsrooms – from which partner organisations will be able to select pieces to use and publish while the stories are still hot.

But it seems that OHNO is not alone in taking this kind of stance against the AP. According to the WSJ piece, Five Montana newspapers owned by the newspaper concern Lee Enterprises have also begun sharing content. In addition, editors in Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana have inquired about how the Ohio cooperative works.

links for 2008-06-30