links for 2009-05-12

  • Good primer from Susan Getgood
  • Why and how does the mobile phone play a role in activism in Africa? What makes it be different from other forms of activism? And what are the potentials and challenges behind it?

    I tried answering these questions two weeks ago at the Medien Jour Fix, an interesting German network around communication and development, organized by MICT. I presented the latest developments around mobile phones in Africa, which did not seem to have been that much noticed in Germany. In most of presentations the radio played a key role as an instrument for media work.

    I had mused before about potential future trends of mobile activism, but this time I highlighted the differences between the all-purpose-tool, its different uses and its implications. I was curious to do such a presentation on ICT for development in front of a German audience, which was widely mixed with delegates from media, NGOs and scientists.

    I uploaded my presentation here

  • "Brian Boyer will be News Applications Editor for the Tribune, heading up a small team responsible for "a wide variety of data-driven web applications to visualize data and present investigative stories online." Bill Adee, editor of digital media for the Tribune, was responsible for hiring Boyer. In an email interview last week, he provided more details…"
  • The 2008 biennial news consumption survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds four distinct segments in today's news audience: Integrators (23% of the public); Net-Newsers (13%); Traditionalists – the oldest (median age: 52) and largest news segment (46% of the public); and the Disengaged (14%) who stand out for their low levels of interest in the news and news consumption.

    Net-Newsers are the youngest of the news user segments (median age: 35). Net-Newsers not only rely primarily on the internet for news, they are leading the way in using new web features and other technologies. Nearly twice as many regularly watch news clips on the internet as regularly watch nightly network news broadcasts (30% vs. 18%). They underscore the challenges facing traditional news outlets. Fewer than half (47%) watch television news on a typical day. Twice as many read an online newspaper than a printed newspaper on a typical day (17% vs. 8%), while 10% read both.

  • "Survey questions leave a lot to chance, because the respondents can decide (without saying so out loud) that the sports they follow on are not “news,” or the weather they check every morning on Weather Underground is not “news.” And yet a person who reports watching the local TV news every night might be doing so primarily to see the local weather forecast! When we ask someone whether she “follows the news,” do we really know how she interprets that word, news?"
  • "Several coffee shops set to open next month in the Czech Republic plan to offer more than the usual array of cafe services. As they sip their drinks, visitors will also be able to surf the Web, get help in building social networking profiles or even chat with reporters working right next door putting together their local newspapers.

    "The newsrooms-cum-cafes are part of a new venture in so-called hyperlocal journalism, which aims to reconnect newspapers with readers and advertisers by focusing on neighborhood concerns at a neighborhood level: think garbage collection schedules, not Group of 7 diplomacy.

    "Hyperlocal publications have been springing up across Europe and North America as newspapers seek a formula for survival. But the Czech plan, the project of PPF Group, an investment firm, goes unusually far in its goal of weaving journalists into the communities they serve."

  • An Amsterdam based holding company called PPF and the Paris based World Association of Newspapers are funding a fascinating project that will launch 30 different websites covering hyperlocal news throughout the Czech Republic. Google will provide technical training and the sites will run AdSense in exchange. In order to maximize contact with the local community, the project has hired 90 mostly young reporters who will work out of offices with public coffee and internet shops built into the facilities.

    "…Why not have web specialists offer training to more old fashioned news organizations in order to create a more compelling product? …Be it through subscriptions, micropayments or advertising, this whole historic dilemma of the death of newspapers, local news and investigative reporting sure seems like it would be a different scenario if the news producers just made a more compelling product."

  • "Accessible from the “Get Books” button in Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone app, the new site opens pages in the Safari browser, giving users the ability to make one-click purchases of the Kindle Store’s 280,000 books without using an in-application downloading mechanism. Notably, Apple has announced “In-App Purchasing” as an iPhone OS 3.0 developer tool for adding content to apps, with Apple taking a 30% cut of any sales handled in this matter; the use of Safari appears to be a workaround to enable easy purchasing without Apple revenue sharing."
  • "I'm sure Dave Winer would suggest a better way of doing this, but I'm not a geek and still wanted to collect all of Dave's and Jay Rosen's podcasts on "rebooting the news" in one view. Subscribing to the RSS feed of Scripting News ( helps but shows all of Dave's other posts as well. So here comes…"

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