It strikes me as timely to ponder this, from British essayist and lexicographer Samuel Johnson: What is written without effort is, in general, read without pleasure.
Is it just me, or do you find in your organisation that people expect websites to mushroom by magic, as if little elves were at work while you slept? I’ve lost count of how many newsrooms I’ve come across which rely on the efforts of a single, young, overworked web editor to monitor and update their website 24 hours a day, seven days a week (impossible, of course, they just do their best Monday to Friday and hope nothing breaks on the weekend to make them look like muppets).
Every now and then I get an urge to create a Facebook group or something to campaign to bring back Dougal Stevenson. He was a TV newsreader in my youth, one of several with similar qualities. Dougal Stevenson didn’t smile and joke with an attractive sidekick to let me know when the story was light, or grimace to let me know the story was serious, or banter with a cheeky weather presenter or get matey with the sports guy (and pretend to know about sport).
I got a bit of a reality check at the GIMD journalism conference I attended recently, in several ways. The conference was held in Bali and its scope included ethics, minorities and reporting in conflict zones. I spoke, briefly, about how the internet is profoundly changing the delivery of news, how people find and keep up to date with news, who gathers news and how.
It’s not every day you find a joke about split infinitives in the opening sentences of a novel. But Peter O’Donnell provided just that when he transformed Modesty Blaise (think Emma Peel combined with Lara Croft) from a cartoon character into a full-flesh master criminal turned special agent extraordinaire in the opening book of a series.
Every day’s a good day for some Web2.0 for beginners from Common Craft. So here’s RSS feeds in Plain English.
Dith Pran, the photojournalist who survived and documented the devastation wrought by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and whose story is told in the movie The Killing Fields, has died in New York.
I got back last night from a really productive week in Wellington meeting people and attending Webstock, a conference for web designers but universally relevant. A big thank-you to the organisers: the event was well-run, aside from highly patchy wi-fi, and turned out to be an engaging, useful and enjoyable couple of days.
Via Virtual Economics comes a memorable cartoon about balance in journalism.