Tag Archives: Flickr stream

Notes from an award-winning blog: the Brit who scooped the European prize

Last week Etan Smallman won the first ever European blogging conference, the European Journalism Centre’s ‘Th!nk About It’ competition.  Etan blogs at studentjournalist.wordpress.com. Photos from the finale can be viewed on his Flickr stream at this link.

For a country that is sneered at by almost all of its European neighbours for its remote, aloof and imperious attitude towards the European Union, I, a humble Brit, was pretty proud (not say totally shocked) to be crowned the winner of the first ever European blogging competition at its finale in Rotterdam this week.

What’s more, I was by no means the only Brit to triumph at the awards ceremony of ‘Th!nk About It,’ a competition that aimed to get young people talking about the European elections that took place to almost no other fanfare at all earlier this month. In all, four out of the five British participants took home awards – not bad for a country that was derided as ‘ignorant’ at the very same event.

When I sent off a brief email in December to apply to take part in the first project of its kind – a pan-European contest that I dubbed ‘the blogging world’s Eurovision song contest’ – I had very little idea of what I was letting myself in for. Five months, and 39 self-penned blog posts later, to my surprise and delight, I have won the entire competition, beating 80 other competitors from all 27 EU member states – and collecting a top of the range Mac laptop for my efforts.

In January, we all assembled in Brussels for a free trip to meet each other and launch the contest – organised by the European Journalism Centre (EJC), and part funded by the European Commission. They weren’t doing things by halves, with speakers including the BBC’s venerated Europe editor, Mark Mardell, and the FT’s Brussels bureau chief, Tony Barber.

Four-and-a-bit months on in Rotterdam, there was a mood of celebration. Wilfried Rütten, director of the EJC, said that the competition had achieved so much, he was embarrassed by its success. The EJC said it did not have any expectations at the outset and that the project had helped engage young people in European politics.

But aside from the back-slapping and self-congratulatory Euro-love on display in Rotterdam, how successful has the project actually been? This is where it gets tricky. The hard numbers are certainly impressive; these are a few that have been bandied about:

  • Nearly 600 blog posts
  • 2,316 comments
  • Around 5,000 trackbacks from external websites
  • Over 2.7m hits
  • 14,000 Google links

However, the original figure of 81 bloggers taking part is actually one of the most damning. Despite a higher than 1 in 3 chance of coming away with a prize (ranging from iPhones to laptops and Flip cameras) – and two free trips on offer – a significant minority lost interest as soon as they returned to their home countries. Is that a desperate indictment of the EU and its ability to relate to its citizens? I’m inclined to conclude that it is more of a comment on the level of interest and commitment shown by some, who failed even to complete the minimum of one blog post per month to remain in the competition.

Turnout at the EU elections was horrendously low; but even the most ardent new media enthusiasts would be unlikely to claim that blogging should have changed that. A more important question is how many people from outside the Euro bubble actually popped their ear up against out blogging wall. My fear is that we were just an echo chamber; albeit a large, active and impressively innovative one.

However, compared to numerous EU inititatives in the new media arena, Th!nk About It was a roaring success. Its 2.7m or so hits in four months compare extremely favourably to the EU’s public flop of a European television station, EUTube, which notched up a dismal 2.2m viewers in the two years since its launch.

Charlie Beckett, director of media think tank POLIS, criticised the project several months ago: “Irrelevant of new media, I don’t think it is fair to expect bloggers talking in different languages in different media markets to cross boundaries and change political climates,” he said.

That is perhaps true, but nonetheless, actually getting representatives from every EU country talking together – and about the EU, of all things – is undoubtedly an ambitious start. And it does seem that this is only the start, as a quick glance at the current website will attest.

The site has undergone a quick re-brand since the awards ceremony, and the competition is now branded: ‘Round #1’. This could be just the beginning…

Inside the Guardian’s new newsroom

The Guardian has begun its move into new offices at Kings Place, London, today.

The images below, which are courtesy of Guardian Inside blogger Paul Carvill, show the inside of the new premises – for more, see Paul’s Flickr stream.

(Hopefully we’ll get invited for a nose around ourselves in not too long…)

Mumbai online: the attacks reported live (updating)

A look at where the news has unfolded. Please post additional links below. Journalism.co.uk will add in more links as they are spotted.

Washington-based blogger and social media expert, Gaurav Mishra talks to Journalism.co.uk in an interview published on the main page.

One of the few on-the-ground user-generated content examples, Vinu’s Flickr stream (screen grab above). Slide show below:

How it has been reported:

Photography:

  • Flickr users such as Vinu, have uploaded pictures from the scene (images: all rights reserved).
  • A Flickr search such as this one, brings up images from Mumbai, although many are reproduced from a few sources. People have also taken pictures of the television news coverage.
  • But before you re-publish your finds beware: an advanced search which filters pictures by copyright and only shows up images opened up under Creative Commons, limits the results.

Blogs:

Breaking news:

Social Media:

Microblogging:

Mapping:

Video:

  • The Google video seach is here. YouTube videos are mainly limited to broadcast footage, with one user even filming the TV reports, for those without access to live television coverage. YouTube videos seem to be all second-hand broadcasts from mainstream media.

Timelines:

  • Dipity timeline here:

Campaigns / Aid:

US elections: the best of the rest on the web

For those that have been under a rock/on Mars for the last year, the next President of the United States will be decided tonight, giving news organisations another opportunity to flaunt their interactive, live reporting and user-generated wares as the votes unfold.

We’ve already covered Sky News’ election coverage and BBC News’ live online plans, but here’s our round-up of some of the best projects out there – open up twenty browser tabs, sit back and enjoy:

  • NYTimes.com: the paper has set up a political ‘word train’ visualising how readers are feeling. It’ll update with new answers every 30 minutes (thanks to @matthewbuckland for the link). Elsewhere the site’s homepage is dominated by election coverage, with plenty of images and video – making use of the new video player – and a pop-up results widget.
  • Twitter Vote Report: the microblogging tool has been harnessed by a network of volunteers to map voters’ experiences at the polls. Tweets tagged with waiting times (e.g. #wait 120 for a 120 minute delay) are plotted creating a rapidly updating map of problems. Could be a great service for local newspapers in the states to provide:

  • Yahoo: created a one-stop shop, US election microsite drawing together all of its features, including forums, Yahoo Answers, AP and Politico stories and aggregated content from external news sites, a Flickr stream of photos and options to set up news alerts on the candidates.
  • Hubdub: the just-for-fun news prediction site is carrying an election forecast map, which it claims is based on ’51 underlying prediction markets that respond in real-time to breaking news’. Users can view forecasts state-by-state to help them decided where to place their Hubdub dollars when predicting the outcome of questions such as ‘Who will win the 2008 US Presidential Election?’ and ‘What will be the margin of victory in the state of Ohio?’

That’s not enough, I hear you cry. You want more? Well, over at paidContent:UK, Robert Andrews has wrapped up the online coverage from the UK’s newspapers, while Online Journalism Blog chieftain Paul Bradshaw has an extensive list of online activities.

This is only the tip of the iceberg – any other great coverage, tools or websites that need a mention, let us know below.