Tag Archives: the Guardian.co.uk

The only place you’ll find mention of newspaper phone hacking on the Sun website…

On the Sun Online’s discussion board Barton71 reports (via the BBC):

“Rupert Murdoch’s News Group paid £1m in court costs after its journalists were accused of involvement in phone tapping to get stories, it has been claimed”.



But it might not stay around long, given the fate of the My Sun discussion at this link:

(hat-tip @littlerichardjohn in the Guardian.co.uk comments):


Google captures some of it here:


Polly Toynbee apologises for ‘crass’ plane crash analogy via Twitter

@PollyToynbee’s first tweet is an apology for a comment piece in which the Guardian journalist made a comparison between Gordon Brown and a crashing plane. This is the first paragraph of her piece for the Guardian on June 4:

“Another engine breaks away from Gordon Brown’s fuselage, and the damage done looks set to bring him crashing out of the sky. Even if he can judder on, the injury done will diminish him further. Which other engines may now break away too? Those who would bring him down say the prime minister is beyond repair. The party faces a terrible choice it can no longer avoid.”

Commenters raised questions about the metaphor used, given this week’s Air France disaster. As Jon Slattery noted on his blog, one Comment is Free user, ‘ShamelessWords’, complained:

“Are there no editors working at the Guardian tonight? This opening line, in light of the Air France tragedy this week, is astounding! It is beyond belief that this was written and then published, without anyone realising that the words are in extremely poor taste. What an insult to all those families grieving for loved ones. I hope they don’t see this article.The offending phrases need to be retracted and a quick apology is needed.”

Matt Seaton, the Guardian.co.uk Comment is Free editor, confirms in the comments that Polly Toynbee has apologised for the analogy via Twitter: “As many users have observed, the plane crash metaphor in the first paragraph has an unfortunate ring. Sorry Polly hasn’t been here herself, but she has twittered an apology.”

@PollyToynbee tweeted this morning:

“My sincere apologies for ‘plane crash’ Gordon Brown analogy in Guardian piece yesterday. Utterly crass and insensitive, mea culpa.”

Guardian seeks independent producer for football podcast

The Guardian is searching for a new independent producer for its Football Weekly podcast.

According to an announcement via the Radio Academy, the application process for producing Football Weekly and Football Weekly Extra for the 2008/9 season is now open.

“After two really successful seasons working with production companies that shared the Guardian.co.uk vision and helped establish the programmes as the UK’s leading football podcast brand, we’re looking to build on the great work already done. We want to increase the reach and profile of the shows, and continue to be the net’s number one destination for football podcasts,” said Matt Wells, the Guardian’s head of audio, in the statement.

In January Wells told an industry gathering that the podcast was downloaded 80-100,000 times a week.

Guardian wins top sports award with multimedia coverage

The Guardian scooped the coveted sports coverage of the year award at last night’s Sports Industry Awards.

Other contenders for the award included the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and The Times, with the Guardian chosen for displaying ‘synergy between multi-platforms.’

Highlights were said to include online and print coverage of Steve McClaren’s sacking, with rolling news, comment and audio on the web.

Technology such as Hawk Eye graphics used during cricket coverage last summer was also praised.

The award follows the relaunch of the Guardian.co.uk sports section last month as part of the ongoing site revamp.

Why the front page is still relevant

When the incremental overhaul of the Guardian.co.uk enveloped the site’s homepage earlier this year there was much talk of the growing irrelevance of newspaper websites having a ‘front’.

Why a front when so many readers/users/visitors/viewers come in though the side door of search and RSS feeds?

Jeff Jarvis quoted figures that as few as 20 per cent of daily visitors get to see it.

Search engine optimisation – that’s the key isn’t it? With ubiquitous navigation from all parts of the site? Yes, truly it’s important. But is that the case for every user of a newspaper website?

Well, up to a point, Sir – as Mr Salter might say.

Let’s take that magic 20 per cent (I have to apologise for not knowing what this figure actually relates to, but I’ll use it as a starting point rather than a crux). Why would a fifth of daily users want to go in via the front door?

Perhaps they’re not fans of the Google hegemony, so avoid its referrals like the plague? Or not tech-savvy enough to master RSS feeds? Or pretty-much only want news from a single perspective, so rely on just one site as ‘the news’?

But what if accessing the news for them wasn’t as simple as scanning NewsFire or banging a search term into Google and quickly scanning a dozen or so relevant links?

What if navigating all the non-uniform sites linked to from Google News was a cripplingly slow nightmare?

What if the architecture of the sites they visit is as relevant – if not more relevant – than the slant those sites put on the news?

Well, if you’re a blind or partially sighted internet user that’s pretty much how it works.

Over the course of this week Journalism.co.uk is running a series of reports looking at difficulties blind and partially sighted users have accessing leading UK national newspaper websites.

To this end we asked a number of volunteers to show us, first-hand, the common problems they face. During our assessments the value of a homepage became strikingly obvious.

Our volunteers tended to start their internet news searches from the homepage of a favoured news site, rather than a search engine.

Our principal volunteer John Allnutt told us that he tended to glean his news from the BBC News site as it had simple navigation that he was used to using and its accessibility information was easily available.

Nothing so strange in that. Most people have favourites. But the tendency to surf differing sources of news isn’t common, we found, amongst those with visual impairment.

It became clear that once a user had got used to the unique and sometimes esoteric navigation of a news site, using screen reading technology, then logic prevailed. It’s easier and quicker to just go to the site where you know all the idiosyncrasies and curios, rather than getting stuck in the frustrating hamster-wheel of figuring out the complexities of other sites.

Furthermore, many news sites don’t have standardised design throughout, making it harder still to jump into a certain section and expect it to be laid out and navigable in the same way as the rest of the site. Easier then just to enter through the home page and to use that as the fulcrum to all your movements around the site.

Our observation isn’t just limited to the individuals we worked with on the project.

Trenton Moss, director of Web Credible, a web usability and accessibility consultancy that helped us in the early part of the project, told us that this is a common phenomenon.

Blind and visually impaired individuals will continue to use these sites in spite of their flaws he told us, perfecting use of the imperfect navigation of a single or a few sites from the homepage to access news online.

There is no ubiquity of design that would allow the blind and visually impaired user to easily float between news sites and utilise search engines as the easy and quick route to news they want.

Ubiquitous design across a range of news websites isn’t something that’s likely to happen soon, if ever.

It’s because of this that front pages remain important as a point of entry for navigation and an easily accessible summation of all that is important.