Tag Archives: director of digital content

#Digital Britain: Ten good links

Yesterday it arrived: the final version of the Digital Britain report. Landline users among us will have to sacrifice around three lattes a year to meet the 50p a month levy for the Next Generation Fund.

Director of digital content for Guardian News & Media, Emily Bell, asked, via Twitter, for two words to sum it up other than ‘colossal disappointment’. An advanced Twitter search showed these responses from her followers: ‘as expected,’  ‘damp squib,’ ‘disappointingly colossal,’ ‘wasted chance’ and ‘too cautious’. However, Bell is now worried she might have been ‘too negative’ in her reaction – but that could just be her going soft, she says.

Ten good links*:

  • 2. ThinkBroadband’s summary. It’s clear and rectifies misunderstandings that might arise from second-hand summaries of the report.
  • 5. PageFlakes page with related links for Digital Britain content: including video, Twitter and blog searches.
  • 7. The BBC opposes top-slicing of the licence fee for independent news consortia, stated by the Trust’s chair Michael Lyons in a BBC press release.

*with an extra two, for luck.

FT’s Gapper’s response to Guardian’s Emily Bell’s response to John Gapper’s ‘cut-and-pasting’ (or aggregating) comment

John Gapper’s column on FT.com asks whether it is time for the Ochs-Sulzberger family to sell the New York Times. No, Gapper says: “They would be crazy to cap their run of poorly timed transactions by selling in the trough of the recession, amid mayhem in the industry.”

As part of the commentary he also makes this claim:

“Meanwhile, it [the New York Times] produces more original stories than most rivals put together. The UK’s Guardian is another paper that has built a global brand from what was a regional paper, but it relies more on cut-and-pasting (or aggregating) from others.”

Emily Bell, director of digital content at Guardian.co.uk responds in the comments: “It is a pity an interesting piece was spoiled by such a sloppy and inaccurate piece of reporting,” she says. We have reproduced an extract from her lengthy comment below (yes, cut and pasted):

“John, in your column you asset [sic] that the Guardian has grown its online audience primarily by aggregating and cutting and pasting other people’s stories. This is demonstrably not true. If you look at our site on any given day (www.guardian.co.uk), you will I am sure find stories which are either from a wire feed (rather as the FT uses) or which reporters have picked up from other sources, again as does the BBC, FT, Times , even sometime the hallowed NYT. But this is not the core of what we do and it is certainly not how we have grown our audience…”

“(…)We have built our traffic on a higher investment in original multimedia journalism than most if not all of our peers. We have an active policy NOT to routinely aggregate high-grossing showbusiness, celebrity or ‘weird’ stories from elsewhere, which is common practice among some newspaper websites.”

And Gapper quickly responds (Journalism.co.uk wonders what is happening to journalism: shouldn’t they be in the pub by now on a Friday evening?):

“In fact, I don’t assert that. What I wrote was:

“”Meanwhile, it [the NYT] produces more original stories than most rivals put together. The UK’s Guardian is another paper that has built a global brand from what was a regional paper, but it relies more on cut-and-pasting (or aggregating) from others.”

“So I am comparing the Guardian’s ratio with that of the NYT, not claiming that the Guardian contains more aggregated than original content. I do not believe the latter, and would not write it.”

AOP 2008: At yesterday’s digital sweetshop – best of the rest

It was all a bit kids in a sweetshop at yesterday’s AOP Digital Publishing Summit, if we forget all the problems with wifi, of course.

The main aim, for most attendees, In all likelihood, was to talk to all the people they know in online life, but rarely get the chance to talk to in person – over coffee (and odd looking cake/pastries) and lunch during the day, and drinks in the evening.

The programme ranged from panels to energetic speakers with a broad range of digital publishing topics covered – though perhaps not as much new discussion was initiated as some participants hoped, despite Peter Bale from Microsoft attempt to get some answers from YouTube’s Jonathan Gillespie.

A few additional highlights to add to our coverage so far:

Emily’s Bell’s vision for Guardian’s international reach: In the panel introducing ‘the digital pioneers,’ Bell, director of digital content for Guardian News & Media, said the group sees now as a ‘uniquely’ timed opportunity for the brand to expand internationally – and to do so before their rivals do.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk afterwards, Bell elaborated on her example of the Economist’s well-established grasp of the international market.  Although it happened for the Economist over a 20-year period, she told me that a similar endeavour in 2008 is ‘compressed’ by the web.

Bell also pointed out during the panel that the Chinese words for ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’ are one and the same (I tried to keep that in mind as my laptop charger physically broke and the wifi went down).

The Guardian’s move stateside was also referred to by Saul Klein, partner of Index Ventures and moderator of later panel ‘Growing in the Digital World’.

Quoting Simon Waldman, Guardian Media Group’s director of digital strategy and development (and Emily Bell’s boss), Klein said the Guardian’s acquisition of ContentNext was ‘well set up to exploit’. Waldman explained how moves like that prepared the group for a US audience.

The ‘Unlocking the mobile internet’ panel: In the spirit of the thing, TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher gave out his mobile number for questions before probing the panel on their respective views on mobile internet’s future.

Is 2009 the year of mobile? Melissa Goodwin, controller of mobile at ITV says not: “I don’t think it’s next year, I’m hoping it’s 2010.”

“We just want to give you anything you may want,” she said of ITV’s mobile strategy, though she admitted that building advertising revenue was very much an ongoing issue.

Goodwin also revealed that consumers can look forward to Friends Reunited on two iPhone applications in the first part of next year, as reported in more depth over at PaidContent.

Stefano Maruzzi, president of CondeNet International, on outlining Conde’s digital development: As reported over at MediaGuardian and PaidContent, CondeNet, the online arm of Conde Nast, has got lots of ideas about lots of things:

  • Rolling out a Wired website worldwide (and in different languages, he told PaidContent)
  • Keeping Tatler’s online presence minimal
  • Engaging with the iPod user audience

Guardian.co.uk adds ‘clippings’ bookmarking feature


Guardian.co.uk has added a bookmarking feature to that allows users to ‘clip’ stories they have read on the site and create profile pages so that others can read their recommended stories.

The clippings file allows readers to store links to articles and other content for later reference and also export the whole lot as an RSS feed.

image of guardian website

Users can clip an article by clicking the scissor icon that has been add to the tool bar.

As an example, Guardian director of digital content Emily Bell published her clippings on the site.