Tag Archives: Charles Arthur

Media release: Study finds 13% of Google searches include journalist photo bylines

More than one in 10 Google UK search results includes at least one journalist photo and bio byline, according to a study by search and social analytics company Searchmetrics.

The study looked at the top 100 search results from 1 million keywords and found that 13 per cent included journalist bios and pictures for the author of articles.

Getting a photo and bio displayed in search results requires a journalist to have a Google+ account and their profile to be linked with news stories (instructions on how to do this are here).

UK writers in the top 20 include Charles Arthur, the Guardian’s technology editor, and Edward Chester, reviews editor at TrustedReviews.com.

US journalists dominate the top 20, “meaning UK journalists and publications are missing out on increased visibility, traffic and potential advertising revenue”, according to a release from Searchmetrics.

The author profile feature, known as authorship markup, is something that Google has been rolling out since the end of last year. It includes author profile information with a thumbnail image and links.

The release states:

Journalists and bloggers who write about technology, medical and food topics are among those that are most visible in author profile integrations according to the study by search and social analytics company, Searchmetrics, which analysed Google UK search results relating to one million popular keywords.

Marcus Tober, founder and chief technology officer of Searchmetrics said in a statement:

More writers from US-based sites are appearing in the top 20 because authors generally need to have a profile on the Google+ social network to be displayed in author integrations – and we assume more writers for US sites are on Google+ and also Google has possibly encouraged some US sites to set up their articles for author integrations.

It was surprising to see more than one in ten of the results tested are showing author integrations because this is still a new feature – it’s much higher than I expected.

Searchmetrics top 20 authors with picture and bio bylines

Author, Writes for (includes), Topic, Page 1 integrations*, Total integrations**

  1. Elaine Lemm , NYT, About.com, Food, 581, 1,989
  2. Dr. Melissa Stöppler, WebMDNetwork, Medical, 545, 1,412
  3. Diana Rattray, About.com, Food, 530, 1,529
  4. Tim Fisher, About.com, Technology, 472, 1,897
  5. Alison Doyle, About.com, Job search, 438, 1,442
  6. Dr. William Shiel, WebMDNetwork, Medical,  403, 866
  7. Dr. Ben Wedro, MDDirect.org, Medical, 328, 877
  8. Dr. John Cunha, WebMDNetwork, Medical, 328, 790
  9. Bradley Mitchell, About.com, Technology, 321, 1,363
  10. Cathy Wong, About.com, Alt Medicine,  316, 839
  11. Stephanie Jaworski, JoyofBaking.com, Food, 307, 1,005
  12. Laura Porter, Visit Britain, About.com, Travel, 281, 1,929
  13. Edward Chester, TrustedReviews.com, Technology, 264, 733
  14. Luke Westaway, CNET UK, Technology, 254, 1,292
  15. Gordon Laing, Cameralabs.com, Photography, 248 , 1,200
  16. Charles Arthur, Guardian, Technology, 218, 1,271
  17. Laura K. Lawless, French, About.com, Languages, 218, 705
  18. Hubertus Keil, Alicante-Spain.com, Travel, 214, 1,070
  19. Adam Pash, Lifehacker, Lifestyle/Tech, 204, 1,311
  20. Richard Trenholm, CNET UK, Technology, 200, 1,931


*The number of times a writer appears in author profile integrations displayed on the first page of Google.co.uk search results in Searchmetrics’s study
**The total number of times a writer appears in author profile integrations displayed in Google.co.uk search results in Searchmetrics’s study

#DataJourn: Royal Mail cracks down on unofficial postcode database

A campaign to release UK postcode data that is currently the commercial preserve of the Royal Mail (prices at this link) has been gathering pace for a while. And not so long ago in July, someone uploaded a set to Wikileaks.

How useful was this, some wondered: the Guardian’s Charles Arthur, for example.

In an era of grassroots, crowd-sourced accountability journalism, this could be a powerful tool for journalists and online developers when creating geo-data based applications and investigations.

But the unofficial release made this a little hard to assess. After all, the data goes out of date very fast, so unless someone kept leaking it, it wouldn’t be all that helpful. Furthermore it would be in defiance of the Royal Mail’s copyright, so would be legally risky to use.

At the forefront of the ‘Free Our Postcodes’ campaign is Earnest Marples, the site named after the British postmaster general who introduced the postcode. Marples is otherwise known as Harry Metcalfe and Richard Pope, who – without disclosing their source – opened an API which could power sites such as PlanningAlerts.com and Jobcentre Pro Plus.

“We’re doing the same as everyone’s being doing for years, but just being open about it,” they said at the time of launch earlier this year.

But now they have closed the service. Last week they received cease and desist letters from the Royal Mail demanding that they stop publishing information from the database (see letters on their blog).

“We are not in a position to mount an effective legal challenge against the Royal Mail’s demands and therefore have closed the ErnestMarples.com API, effective immediately,” Harry Metcalfe told Journalism.co.uk.

“We’re very disappointed that Royal Mail have chosen to take this course. The service was supporting numerous socially useful applications such as Healthwhere, JobcentreProPlus.com and PlanningAlerts.com. We very much hope that the Royal Mail will work with us to find a solution that allows us to continue to operate.”

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We have not asked anyone to close down a website. We have simply asked a third party to stop allowing unauthorised access to Royal Mail data, in contravention of our intellectual property rights.”

#FollowJourn @charlesarthur/technology editor

#FollowJourn: Charles Arthur

Who? Technology editor at the Guardian.

What? Arthur was previously technology editor at the Independent, writing about technology, science and the environment before going freelance. Now he edits the Guardian’s weekly technology supplement and site. 

Where? @charlesarthur and www.charlesarthur.com

Contact? Via Twitter or his blog.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura [at] journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

MediaGuardian: ‘Technology journalists are the ones to watch’

In this morning’s MediaGuardian, technology journalist Charles Arthur says that technology journalists are the pioneers of new gadgets, and the ones in the industry to keep an eye on:

“[I]f you want to find out how you’re going to be working in a few years’ time, watch the technology journalists.

“[The BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones] tends to be in the forefront of trying new technologies – from email to the web to Skype to cloud computing to iPhones to Facebook to Twitter.”

Full article at this link,,,

Tapping/hacking/blagging – the terminology

Media reports refer to both ‘phone tapping’ and ‘phone hacking’ when discussing the Guardian’s investigation into the use of private investigators by News International journalists.

But what exactly were the PI activities alleged to have taken place at the request of journalists?

Phone hacking. This is the term the Guardian uses in its reports, which includes a number of alleged activities. It reported: “Hacking into messages on mobile phones is covered by the same law which now regulates phone tapping and other forms of covert information-gathering, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, known as RIPA.” There is no public interest defence for breaking this law. Activities alleged by the Guardian include:

  • Hacking into mobile phone voicemail accounts, the crime NOTW journalist Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were convicted for in 2007.
  • Illegal hacking ‘into the mobile phone messages of numerous public ­figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills’.

Guardian tech editor Charles Arthur describes how, in further detail at this link, voicemail hacking can be done very simply – via the four digit pin code.

  • However, new methods could now be in use by PIs (no specific allegations made). Arthur quotes a senior security analyst at McAfee: ‘a number of products [are] out there which claim that they will let you listen to someone’s mobile conversations, forward their SMSs and tell you the numbers they have dialled’.
  • In addition, Arthur reports, ‘it might be feasible to clone the connection between a Bluetooth headset and phone so an eavesdropper could connect to the phone while its owner was briefly out of earshot. A hacker could get numbers and contact information’.

Phone tapping. Assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, John Yates, in his statement yesterday, referred to the Mulcaire and Goodman case. He said:

  • “Our inquiries found that these two men had the ability to illegally intercept mobile phone voice mails, commonly known as phone tapping.”

However, the term ‘tapping’ can also indicate other kinds of interception of communications systems e.g wire tapping / obtaining post. In this BBC Q&A from 2006 it is stated that there are three ways a mobile phone can be tapped:

“This can be done either at the handset, or during the conversation – which is illegal and very expensive – or through the mobile phone company which connects the device.”

Blagging. The Guardian reports that this could include obtaining access to confidential databases, such as telephone accounts, bank records and information held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, which is covered by a different law, the 1998 Data Protection Act: “Section 55 makes it an offence to gain unauthorised access to such data, punishable by a fine. However, unlike RIPA, this offence carries a public interest defence.” luxembourg freeport

The Guardian reports on a series of ‘dark arts’ methods used by PIs, including:

  • Obtaining ex-directory landlines, tax records, social security files, bank statements, mobile numbers, people’s addresses or people’s phone bills and medical records.
  • Conning BT, the DVLA, mobile phone companies and other organisations into handing over private details.

Essential journalism links for students

This list is doing the rounds under the headline 100 Best Blogs for Journalism Students… and we’re not on it. Nope, not even a smidgeon of link-love for poor old Journalism.co.uk there.

The BachelorsDegreeOnline site appears to be part of e-Learners.com, but it’s not clear who put the list together. Despite their omission of our content and their rather odd descriptions (e.g: Adrian Monck: ‘Adrian Monck writes this blog about how we inform ourselves and why we do it’), we admit it is a pretty comprehensive list; excellent people and organisations we feature on the site, our blog roll and Best of Blogs mix – including many UK-based ones. There were also ones we hadn’t come across before.

In true web 2.0 self-promotional style, here are our own links which any future list-compilers might like to consider as helpful links for journalism students:

And here are some blogs/sites also left off the list which immediately spring to mind as important reading for any (particularly UK-based) journalism students:


  • Crikey.com: news from down under that’s not Murdoch, or Fairfax produced.
  • Press Review Blog (a Media Standards Trust project) – it’s a newbie, but already in the favourites.
  • StinkyJournalism: it’s passionate and has produced many high-profile stories


  • CurryBet – Martin Belam’s links are canny, and provocative and break down the division between tech and journalism.
  • Malcolm Coles – for SEO tips and off-the-beaten track spottings.
  • Dave Lee – facilitating conversations journalists could never have had in the days before blogs.
  • Marc Vallee – photography freedom issues from the protest frontline.
  • FleetStreetBlues: an anonymous industry insider with jobs, witty titbits and a healthy dose of online cynicism.
  • Sarah Hartley previously as above, now with more online strategy thrown in.
  • Charles Arthur – for lively debate on PR strategy, among other things

Writing this has only brought home further the realisation that omissions are par for the course with list-compilation, but it does inspire us to do our own 101 essential links for global online journalists – trainees or otherwise. We’d also like to make our list inclusive of material that is useful for, but not necessarily about, journalists: MySociety for example.

Add suggestions below, via @journalismnews or drop judith at journalism.co.uk an email.

Charles Arthur: ‘The long tail of blogging is dying’

Arthur picks up on a trend made apparent by anecdotal evidence and research, and Technorati data on the Guardian’s own blogs, that the long tail of blogging is dying as bloggers turn to different, easier platforms.

So are blogs being replaced – and by what?

“Facebook’s success is built on the ease of doing everything in one place. (Search tools can’t index it to see who’s talking about what, which may be a benefit or a failing.) Twitter offers instant content and reaction. Writing a blog post is a lot harder than posting a status update, putting a funny link on someone’s wall, or tweeting. People are still reading blogs, and other content. But for the creation of amateur content, their heyday for the wider population has, I think, already passed. The short head of blogging thrives. Its long tail, though, has lapsed into desuetude,” writes Arthur.

Full post at this link…

Charles Arthur: There’s room for both the Davids and the Goliaths

The Guardian’s technology editor shares his thoughts on the current process vs product; blogger vs MSM discussions, sparked by a critical NYTimes’ piece about technology blogs.

Charles Arthur describes his own epiphany, made when he stepped back to ask himself why he disagreed with Jeff Jarvis’ view. While it offends him ‘in some visceral fashion to think of publishing stuff that I really believe isn’t correct,’ there’s room for different players to make different rules for themselves and live alongside each other, he says.

Full post at this link…

Fallout from Jarvis’ ‘perfection vs beta culture’ post

Jay Rosen, said that yesterday’s New York Times’ piece on the ‘truth-be-damned approach’ of Tech blogging ‘did not bother’ him.

Not so for fellow NY journalism professor, Jeff Jarvis. His Buzzmachine post on ‘Product v. process journalism: The myth of perfection v. beta culture’ is currently doing the link rounds and has sparked a number of debates. For example:

  • A Twitter row between Jarvis and the editor of the Sunday Business section of New York Times, Tim O’Brien: Blogger here; MSM here.
  • A response from the Guardian’s Tech editor Charles Arthur, in regards to a criticism of UK tech reporting. One commenter, Wessell van Rensberg, remarked underneath Jarvis’ post: “I live in the UK and the Guardian’s weekly tech edition is paltry in terms of its tech coverage. Both in terms of scope and quality.”

Arthur responds:

“Flattered, I’m sure. Haven’t noticed your name in the letters pointing out what you think we should be covering; don’t know if you’ve commented on our many blogs (Tech, Games, PDA) that cover tech. We do have lots of insightful commenters (which I think is what you mean instead of ‘commentators’.)

“Hard to know quite what you want. For instance: TCrunch says Apple is going to buy Twitter. As soon as possible I point out, on the Guardian blog, why that’s absolutely not happening. It turns out it isn’t happening. Which is more useful?

“And I’ll also point out that when TCrunch does get it wrong, such as on Last.fm ‘passing data to the RIAA’ – a story denied by all sides, where it would be illegal for Last to pass the data (UK data protection act forbids) – TC deletes comments pointing that out. Do you really trust it?”

Now, might there be room for a response on that point? Come on, TechCrunch fight your corner!

Journalism.co.uk is quite enjoying its ringside view, but – on a side point – is there a neater way of viewing Twitter debates, than the links suggested by Jay Rosen?

TBC at high noon? Telegraph-Guardian spats

The latest ‘Twackdown’ seems unlikely to be the end of the Telegraph-Guardian or, to be absolutely fair, Guardian-Telegraph frictions.

After all, in just under an hour we’ll know who is top of the ABCe pops for this month…

So, this week’s Twitterfall spat from Malcolm Coles: ‘That Shane Richmond / Charles Arthur Twackdown in full’.

Guardian technology editor Charles Arthur has the last word [to date] in a comment beneath the post: “I’d only point out that this was a far more multidimensional discussion than this portrays.”

Another row a’brewing with this? The Guardian reports ‘anger’ at the Telegraph over Guido’s Spectator article.

(And while we’re on Guido, it’s interesting to note that Guido himself was in the Guardian building this weekvia Jon Slattery)

Update: In the March 2009 ABCe audit, as released at midday, the Telegraph tops the table of six national newspaper titles with the highest number of unique users, followed in second place by the Guardian.