Food for thought on a Sunday

"Oh, I don't read HER. It's not that I don't like her, it's just that she makes me think too much," a journalist friend told me back when I had just graduated from City.

He'd been in news reporting for a decade or more already by then, while I, even though I'd started my media career as a columnist when I was 18, had done precious little of day-to-day news reporting.

And I must admit I found his statement absurd: how can an a writer make you think too much? Isn't it always a good thing if a writer makes you think a lot? Since then I've come to appreciate, albeit very reluctantly, that at least it's perfectly possible to get so busy you don't have time to read writers that make you think a lot - which is a pity, a big loss and detrimental in the long run if you keep running out of time to do so.

These last few weeks I have been too busy with work to do much of this kind of reading - not too busy to read and think, but too busy to really contemplate all the things I'd like to, so here's a few posts that I'd really like, and will return to, to contemplate some more:



Could I have my RSS as I take my coffee, please? (or why I missed that Telegraph story)

I take my coffee straight: it's one of those instant fixes I'm rather dependent on having available whenever I need it, which, seeing that I work for clients in very different time zones, can be at any hour of the day or night. I do wish those RSS-feeds I'm interested in was available the same way.

Actually, they might very well be: I could have created something a lot more tailor-made than just using a newsreader (still on Bloglines, though I know I should switch) to subscribe to news- and blog feeds on media/tech/business and keywords, but why won't media companies make it easier to find their stories?

Take The Times for instance: they have a good media editor, but no media feed the last time I checked (a while ago. NB: see update below). Or the fact that The Telegraph published a story on David Oddson last night, but didn't bother tagging it as "media", at least it wasn't in my Telegraph media feed this morning, so I only discovered their article by checking my RSS-feed from Roy Greenslade after I'd published my own post on this (I first found the story on Icelandreview after someone googled Morgunbladid and ended up on my blog , which made me do the same to see what was up - Icelandic media being something I've followed for several years).

Actually, I know how easy it is in some CMSs, like Escenic, to not put a story in all the categories it should be in, and I'm also aware that, with Twitter, many people have moved away from using RSS alltogether. I still use it though, in addition to Twitter, to find stories: I still think RSS is the best way to find stories proactively online and to get a good overview of what's being written - and either my newsreader has a major problem, or media companies mess up their feeds all the time. There was a week+ this summer my subscription threw up no stories from The Media Guardian - like, I actually had to visit the site, there's not many sites I'd do that for, to get updates;-) - and I've also had the same problem with The Telegraph's muddled media section (muddled because they mix media with telecoms, cable and wireless).

Also, I no longer get the Observer's media feed until Monday, or sometimes Tuesday, whereas I used to get it just after midnight on Sundays (back when "web first" was a pioneering idea?). And this whole idea of mixing the feed of Sunday business sections with the rest of the week, as at least the Indy and Observer do, seems very odd to me as Sunday newspapers used to be something entirely different than weekday newspapers: different weekday business sections always carried much of the same stories regardless of the newspaper, so subcribing to them all feels close to redundant, whereas Sundays used to aspire to create their very own mix of background/analysis and stories they had chased up/uncovered themselves.

If that was still the case - and I'm not contesting that it is, but my perspective is muddled by relying on RSS only and me no longer living in London - I'd pay for the Sundays rather than the weekday papers. Mind you, I'm speaking only of the UK here, in places like Norway business news sites, such as Dagens Naeringsliv, have even been known to send their whole car sections into their media section feed.

Now, I know I should probably move on to create my own tailor-made feed via Yahoo Pipes or similar, but in these days, where paid content and the question of how news sites may successfully charge their readers, this strikes me as one thing that I, as and expert reader, might actually be willing to pay for: to get the news in my RSS-reader instantly - my experience with Yahoo Pipes is also that there's often a delay - and "unpolluted": only the real stuff, please (or, as a friend often puts it: why ruin perfectly good coffee with milk and sugar). Many news sites muddle their media feeds with other feeds, I assume to bring up the volume, but I'd much rather have e.g. media and technology as seperate feeds so I can prioritise better.

However, I'm very aware I belong to a minority of readers who these days only matter in the link economy. Also, I appologise if this post has been mired with household slang: it's one of those rants I usually censor myself from writing, but any input on how I should best set up my newsfeed would also be welcome. I'm not as much of a techie as I'd like to be though: I accomplish most things I bend my mind to, but my mind is frequently overstretched on the workday treadmill of incesscant deadlines...   

Update 01.10 16:30 CET: Joanna Geary kindly made sure The Times got a separate RSS-feed for its media section yesterday, and I quite forgot to update this post until now in the rush of everything. It has of course duly been added to my newsreader and to this new Twingly channel on journalism and media (in beta) I've been playing around with (I've started adding some of my favourite  UK and Scandinavian media feeds to it, leave a comment, email me or DM me on Twitter, I'm @KristineLowe, if you want an invite).

Using the social web: an introduction to distributed conversations and the benefits of beat blogging

If you've followed this blog for a while you will have heard me muse on many of these issues before, but these are my notes, in a more coherent form than I had them jotted down, for the talk I gave on Saturday, which was just to set the stage for our seminar on using the social web.

I opened the talk by showing Day of the Long Tail, as it's still one of the best flicks I know for depicting the new media landscape, which I believe presents us both with opportunities and challenges.


Now, I certainly don't believe that getting on the blogging bandwagon is the (only) answer to mainstream media's many challenges, or that all journalists necessarily should blog, but I do think that journalists ignore the social web, and the many tools it offers to do better journalism more effectively, at their peril, simply because other people easily will out compete us at our own game by using these tools - and inability, or lack of will, to use these tools will effectivley will render us impotent and irrelevant in this brave new media world of ours.

Tuning into the virtual pub

It used to be that what was said in the pub stayed in the pub unless some intermediary, such as a journalist, reported it, or someone tipped off a news desk. Today we don't need any such intermediaries, anyone who's there can blog or tweet about it, upload video and photos to say You Tube and Flickr etc. The upside of that development is that I, due to permalinks being searchable, can sit in my office chair and tap into thousands of virtual conversations, even monitor every time people write soup online, or perhaps more conducive for my trade, News Corp. Better still, I can set up agents that do this for me - rather than employ stringers to go to all of these real-life pubs. This development also enables me to effectively "shout" across great distances, such as the Atlantic, for help, and get an answer within minutes or hours if I'm lucky.


This way, as a beat blogger and journalist, I can tap into peoples conversations about a company I follow in all the various countries it operates, and sample the private notes of an influential academic and the latest Whitehall gossip and banter at the same time; track multiple conversations and keep in touch with friends and contacts all over the world, again: without leaving my office chair. None of this constitutes journalism per see, but it's a marvellous starting point for broader, more informed reporting.

Listen to the blog buzz

One example of a story monitoring keywords and companies threw up is this on Mecom trying to buy a group of regionalpapers in Southern France. It started as blog buzz, then El Pais ran a story on it, but I believe I was the first to cover this story outside of France. I worked for Propaganda at the time, so ran a story there first, then blogged it linking up some of the buzz around the story, as Propaganda doesn't encourage its journalists to link.

Using RSS to monitor what is being said online about companies and keywords in this way is great for throwing up story leads and increasing your source pool. As journalists we often end up talking to the same heads all the time, this is one way to cast your net wider.

By linking up blog buzz, as in this example, I also invite or alert people to the conversation, as most bloggers monitor the conversations around their blogs by way of Technorati, Alexa or similar. Twingly, which more and more Scandinavian news sites use, a paid-for-service which links up all the blog posts linking to each of the site's articles, is another way of doing this.

Follow your beat online

So if you're a beat reporter covering say music: track keywords such as the big music companies, band names etc - if you don't know which music bloggers to follow, tracking keywords might also throw up the most interesting blogs on your beat - follow music bloggers - and over time you'll also learn who to trust, what's their biases etc. I've written a guide to evaluating your online sources here, which I believe isn't that different from evaluating real life sources (in Norwegian)

This will also enable your publication to work closer with the various communities it serves and become more relevant and important to those communities as a result of this. If your work is online, it will also enable your site to become part of a broader distributed conversation; which again will create opportunities to increase traffic and revenues through better distribution, increased credibility and more targeted, or rather relevant, marketing

On distributed conversations

If I attempt to explain, to myself as much as anybody else, how blogging and reading blogs is useful, if not invaluable, to me as a journalist, or as a human being for that matter, it comes down to distributed conversations. Or, to use Doc Searls' more powerful metaphors: snowballs and fires.

In the framework of my blog it works like this: I write about a company like Mecom in Norway and another blogger adds a German or Polish perspective, another tips me off about a story I might find interesting in my comment field. Or I write about a law I find worrying - in this instance a new French law banning non-journalists from filming acts of violence - another blogger picks up on the thread, in this case Dave Winer (other side of the Atlantic) and asks a hard question or two, a third does a video interview to clarify the situation and adds some very valuable thoughts on what impact the law might have on regimes in Africa, and another cool person analyses the law in a comment (follow-up here).

ZuckermanAndLoicInterview copy

'This is where snowballs and fires come in. The story of the French law I blogged about an example of snowballing. Famous blog fires: Kathy Sierra, Dell Hell etc.

Now, I'm not going to go into how to deal with blog fires or potential blog fires here, but in essence it's worth keeping in mind that the Web is a conversation. Join in: adopt a relaxed, conversational tone. Admit your mistakes. The beauty of engaging in online conversations successfully is that you don't have to be trained to do it; it's a type of communication you already know. And whether or not you're good at it has nothing to do with communication skills, but with respect for others and with some good manners (I'm paraphrasing Adriana Lukas here).

My favourite example of how to defuse critic effectively in the online environment: the brilliant parody on virtual world Second Life, Get a First Life, and how the company behind Second Life, Linden Labs, dealt with an invitation to submit a cease and desist letter.

GetAFirstLife copy

Now, that's a quick introduction to how tapping into the social web can be useful for journalists, but we've been so lucky as to get Colin Meek, who's much more technically advanced than me, to give us a crash course in using Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools for in-depth and investigative research (check Colin's slides here). Then Heidi will show us how mainstream media's efforts to enlist readers to take part in creating journalism went - what worked and what didn't. We conclude with a debate: should media care about conversations on platforms other than their own?

On the topic of using the social web, Carsten Pihl also alerted me to this post (in Norwegian) on what journalists miss just by keeping an eye on media folks' conversations on Twitter.

Using the social web, Oslo 25/10 - live notes

I'm so happy to see so many find their way to #socialweb so early a Saturday morning (see previous post for twitter feed).

Using Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools for investigative and in-depth research

Colin Meek: Web 2.0 tools fantastic tools for journalists to monitor their beat, especially Not like Facebook where you can only network with people who'll accept you as friends, with Delicious you can follow all people whose bookmarks you like. You effectively create a network of experts who monitor your beat for you (see Colin's slides on this here)

Furl: archives copies of entire page, delicious saves links, furl saves entire pages. 

Track breaking news with Twitter. People often twitter about events as they happen or straight after, remarkable tool. California wildfires a breakthrough for twitter coverage of events. Covered this here

# developed as way of tracking an issue on Twitter. Twine and Twemes add additional functionality.

As a reporter you should really use all of these tools to help monitor your beat

Colin: "I'm getting fed up with all this fuss about information overload. What's the fuss? Yes, there's information overload, deal with it. If you feel overwhelmed you're not using RSS - and if you are using RSS you haven't set your filters properly."

Search social networks

Use advanced Google operaters to refine your Google searches. Use Google to search socialnetworks such as Beebo: site:Bebo inurl:memberid inurl:Bebo (see Colin's slides on this here)

When using advanced operators you have to think differently, have to think like the documents you are trying to find, do what some call forensic surfing. Big privacy issues connected to all the info you can find using these search techniques, but we can do it because we are professional journalists, can use this information responsibly - but big concerns related to this.

The Semantic Web

"Social media sites are like data silos" said John Breslin  when Colin interviewed him for .

The semantic web is about linking up different clouds of information, has profound implications for journalists. Practical consequences of semantic web: can search Twitter, Facebook, Technorati, Bebo etc simultaneously. Will be like a snowball, once people get used to this, will come to expect it and think what's the use of say Twitter if it doesn't allow you to do this.

Twine makes searching much easier, just released from beta.

Semantic Radar is a free Firefox plugin to alert you when you come across a website where the metadata underpinning the semantic web exists. Headup another application that layers useful information on top of the page you're using.

Indice and SWSE search engines worth knowing about, but need to be semantic web expert to use them really efficiently.

Don't know of anyone using this for search yet, but think it will come.

Open Calais another interesting application, a smart way to tag (or keyword) your archive in a way that makes sense to the web (developed by Reuters). Search Monkey is Yahoo's foray into the semantic web. These kind of sites and the technology underpinning it are something we'll see more and more of, but the privacy issues connected with this are huge.

Do people know that some of their information may end up on the semantic web, say if they choose the wrong privacy function on Facebook? Journalists need to keep talking about the implications of this (See Colin's slides on the semantic web and journalists here)

Anders Brenna to Colin: Isn't one of the biggest problems that media is so far behind on everything that's happening, so behind the curve? Colin agrees completely, says: What sets journalists apart from citizen journalists and bloggers is a certain skill set: like investigative skills, training in ethics etc, that's what sets journalists apart. I believe this is what can save the newspaper industry and something the industry should invest more in.

See also Ingeborg's comprehensive bilingual notes from the first half of the seminar here.

Update 29 October 2008: I've blogged my notes from my talk this day on "Using the social web: an introduction to distributed conversations and the benefits of beat blogging" here.



Another news site moves to open software, the news site of Swedish trade publication Journalisten, published by Sweden's journalist union, unveiled its brand new website just after Christmas. The site is built in textpattern, an almost bloglike open software solution. Apart from the much improved layout, the new site is a joy for all RSS-lovers, offering separate feeds for the various sections of the site such as opinion pieces, job ads, news articles etc. Journalisten's editor told me they'd chosen textpattern due to the much simpler content management system, delivered by Netrelations, and the opportunity to display all the websites' various sections better.

Other news sites using open software in Scandinavia include Reiser og Ferie (Joomla) and ABC Nyheter (Drupal) in Norway and (Drupal) in Denmark.

What would we do without internet?

It was Christmas day in a tiny village in a remote corner of the world. My mum wanted to go to church, yet the local paper didn't list at what the times the Christmas sermons were on.


Abdicating local coverage?
Now, we could talk of abdicating coverage and all of that, but I have a hunch the common practice is that churches have to pay for ads to get the times mentioned, and, in either case, there's always the internet: of course the Norwegian state church has its own homepage that lists sermons in various towns and cities...

The Government gets RSS-feeds (or, RSS is now at the political realm's disposal, let's hope it 'gets it' as well)
....via Andreas I even learned today that the Norwegian Government finally has managed to add RSS-feeds for each and every government department to its website, with separate feeds for the parliament's two chambers, for press releases, white papers, green papers etc. Now if the politicians and lobby groups could only learn to subscribe to the documents they need via newsreaders, we might save a small forest each month - and maybe this country could edge a bit closer to deserving all those political claims to being a world champion in environmentalism, though when it comes to digital democracy the Estonians are still way ahead of the game....

Swedish newsstands deprived of FHMs poster girls

The Bonnier-owned publishing house that publishes FHM in Scandinavia, announced this week that it had decided to close the Swedish edition of the male mag.

'The mag faced too much competition, not from the other Swedish male mags, but from the internet,' said editor-in-chief Tobias Wickström. Other commentators said the mag simply failed to grab a satisfactionary market share in a crowded market.

Now, this is where it get's interesting: I'm currently testing the webagent Cision is offering companies to monitor the Scandinavian blogosphere with. I must admit I'm not very impressed so far, it seems like the combination of my own (free) keyword searches and RSS-feeds is more effective, but Cision's webagent did throw up this amusing reaction to FHM being pulled from the Swedish market (my translation):

I'm worried about my little brother
FHM is folding and my thoughts go to my little brother Max and his abundance of testosterone. FHM is God and Max is his apprentice. He even has a FHM calendar on his wall (and changes months if he thinks the current month's chick is ugly). I hope he survives this with his health intact. I don't want him to become any more funny than what he already is. I will have to call mum and consult with her, perhaps we have to set up some sort of a crisis- and emergency facility.

From Interessesmurfen

Southern California fires coverage shows potential of internet facilitated reporting

With every new major disaster these days, we see evidence that mainstream media finally is waking up to the power of internet facilitated reporting: experimenting with Google Maps, You Tube, Twitter, Flickr, Technorati, Facebook and various other aggregation and social networking tools.

A few weeks back it was Burma and it's citizen journalists leading the way, this week it's the coverage of the Wildfires in Southern California.

Martin Stabe reports how San Diego TV station News 8 has "responded to the crisis on its patch by taking down its entire regular web site and replacing it with a rolling news blog, linking to YouTube videos of its key reports, plus Google Maps showing the location of the fire.

"There are links to practical information that their viewers will need at this time, including how to contact insurance companies, how to volunteer or donate to the relief efforts, evacuation information and shelter locations.

"It’s an exemplary case study in how a local news operation can respond to a major rolling disaster story by using all the reporting tools available on the Internet," he concludes.

Of course, not all news organisations are equally innovative. As always, though the future may already be here, it's far from evenly distributed – to the dismay and frustration of many of us. Here's Kevin Anderson, blog editor of The Guardian, writing on his personal blog:

"If part of news organisations’ job is to be a trusted guide, why are so many blind to the aggregating this content and helping their audience navigate it? ...I’m still baffled why web aggregation during breaking news with follow up interviews still are the exception not the norm. There are all of these people living through a news event making themselves known through blog posts, photo sharing sites, social networking sites and more, and yet we’re still telling the story through wire copy, agency video and stills..."

Bloggers Blog has a good overview of online reporting and resources from California here.

Welcome back to Oslo (or the dangers of relying solely on your newsreader for news)

I arrived the city safely from my trip to the coast, although at the wrong bus stop (must have been a new driver). Then, just as I was boarding the underground train that would take me from the city centre and home, a pickpocket unzipped my backpack and stole my wallet.

I only realised what had happened the minute the doors closed and the train started moving. I went back, but of course, no trace, no witnesses, so off to the police I went. When I finally did get home I was (almost) penniless, very angry (mostly with myself for not noticing) and decidedly thirsty, but had consigned myself to drinking tea and water 'til I could convince one of my clients whose payment is overdue to pay me (my budget for this week was in that wallet).

But no, the minute I stepped over the threshold I was greeted with the news that the city's drinking water had been contaminated, and when I got down to the mall I found that my last coins couldn't even buy me water: it was all sold out.

Of course, had I checked the national news this morning, like normal people do, I would have known about the contaminated water and might have decided to stay on in that lovely village on the coast, but no: I only checked RSS-feeds in my newsreader this morning. So I knew all the big and small media stories of the day in various corners of the world, the key financial and business headlines, a bit about what was going on in the lives of people near and dear who blog, a bit about the lives of bloggers I don't know but like to read, but I didn't have a clue about the contaminated drinking water in the city I live...

Celebrity scandals and the trouble with Bloglines

Now, I was planning to write the post on media's celebrity obsession last week, and gleefully report towards the end that getting minimal exposure to celebrity news is easier than ever in world where you can slice and dice content as you see fit with RSS and newsreaders.

Why bother with the news that annoy you, when you can choose to subscribe only to your favourite feeds or keywords within feeds?

However, life and work intervened, and this week I'm not quite so gleeful. I've been using Bloglines for a long time, but its performance keeps getting worse and worse.

One of the charms of using a newsreader is how it's supposed to show updates the minute a site has been updated. This function has been painfully slow in Bloglines recently, so slow that one Bloglines user wrote:

"I've gotten so desperate for updates that I've been surfing over to the INDIVIDUAL WEB SITES. Help!"

The problem has been exacerbated by several of my feeds, including my standing Technorati searches, only showing up "Internal Server Error" during the last few days, which has made me realise how much I've come to rely on my newsreader.

To loose the massive archive of posts I've built up over time in Bloglines feels almost like the nightmare scenario of suffering a laptop crash only to realise you've forgotten to back up your files.

But, even though the prospect of switching newsreaders seem daunting, got to find a way of saving my Bloglines archive, the service has been so unreliable recently - unread feeds disappearing, slow to update etc - that I realise it would make life much easier if I did.

I've been looking at ZapTXT as it's supposed to guarantee instant updates - I've come to rely more and more on my newsreader also for work and for tracking stories - but would be grateful for any advice...

Sun gets green light for web-first corporate news

As of next Monday, 30 July, Sun Microsystems will start releasing key corporate news over the Internet, via the company's website and RSS-feeds. It's thought to be the first time a US company has been allowed to use the web as it's main channel for price-sensitive information and follows protracted negotiations between Sun's CEO, Jonathan Schwartz and Christopher Cox, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman – made public on Schwartz's blog.

Financial Times has the background story. Here's Schwartz on the implications:

Referencing a dialog we've established with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and its Chairman Cox, this will place, for the first time, the general investing public - those with a web browser or a cell phone - on the same footing as those with access to private subscription services. In effect, driving an open dialog directly with investors, rather than routing information through proprietary sources. Open is as open does.

I believe this change will increase the transparency of our business, fulfill our desire to disseminate information on a fair and equitable basis, and allow the network to be used for what it's intended - connecting people and information... I wonder how far off we are from ceasing to issue traditional press releases altogether... after all, no news agency could possibly suggest they reach a greater portion of the planet than the internet.

Watch out for a brave new future where you get your press releases via RSS-feeds you subscribe to, rather than as a nuisance clogging up your email box. Okay, lots of companies are already using RSS to distribute press releases, but being able to distribute price-sensitive information this way: now that's a milestone.

The Power of RSS

I found this comment from Craig McGinty on Robin Hamman's blog, and I couldn't resist republishing it here, as the mind-boggling importance of RSS is one of my hobby horses:

Something any online publication has to appreciate is that their audience is no longer at the bottom of the funnel, being drip-fed news and features. Thanks to RSS (I accept it's still early days but its use is growing) people have now flipped the funnel and can vacuum up what interests them and roll their own news service.

They can stay in touch with what they want, when they want and turn the tap off once happy. Publications need to slice their content up so that people can follow sections, make it easy to follow comments via RSS or subscribe to keywords wrapped up in a feed that tells them when something new is published. It might not be possible to hit all these marks at the same time but they are worth having on the agenda.

I could say that I keep praying for newspapers to slice up their content in sections, like in why don't The Times (UK) and Börsen (DK) have media feeds available, but that would be a lie: in the end, when a publication hasn't sliced up its feed in this way, I just stop reading it...

How Web 2.0 is your newspaper?

Internet consultant Martin Belam reviews the Web 2.0 features and implementation of the online versions of The Daily Express, The Times, The Telegraph, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, The Independent , The Sun and The Guardian. This should be mandatory reading for all editors and execs as most newspapers have quite some way to go here.

A general complaint from Belam on newspaper blogs: "Newspapers seem to have grasped that the blog format can be a compelling one with the right content, and that good blogs can act as incoming link bait, but on the whole the British press seems unable to have grasped how linking out is just as an important part of blog culture".

That, however, is a big step forward from Norway, where newspapers have not grasped that whole blog thing at all: they have them, the journalist-written ones, but one is led to believe they have them purely because they think they should. The fact that VG, Norway's biggest (tabloid) newspaper, has a column in its print version entitled 'Blog' says it all - how bloggy is that? But this is a post in itself (note that I've only looked at the national papers, not the regional and local ones).

Belam also finds many strange RSS set-ups, which is one of the things that frustrates me the most: when a paper hides its RSS-feeds or only offer incomplete feeds (more on why here).

Readers' blogs from The Telegraph
Meanwhile, in the spirit of Web 2.0, The Daily Telegraph recently unveiled My Telegraph, a readers' blog platform similar those Norwegian tabloids VG and Dagbladet have been successful with. It's an interesting development, but I'm afraid I'll have to agree with Dadblog (via Martin Stabe) here:

Why would I choose to host my blog with the Telegraph? Why would I want to make that kind of direct association between my personal acts of self-expression and another piece of media - a piece of media which comes with a whole lorryload of semantic and political baggage, a piece of media which actually represents something. It seems to me entirely logical that the Telegraph (or any media firm) would feel it has permission to go into this space, but I can’t imagine any circumstance where I personally would host my personal blog on someone else’s piece of media.


How can journalists work without newsreaders?

"A very good question asked by Lost Remote. Why don’t more journalists use news readers? I would never have come across this posting if my daily routine did not start with making a mug of tea, perching it on my desk and opening NewsGator," writes Andrew Grant-Adamson. I couldn't agree more. Do check out the full post (see my previous musings on the wonders of RSS-feeds here).

Random notes on the future of media

Hugh MacLeod has 41 great notes on blogging (via Martin Stabe). I was particularly taken by this:

40. When people ask me what the future of media is, I always answer, “RSS”. Thank you, Winer & Co. Seriously.

Well, thank you MacLeod. Just looking at the practical side of it: I read so many different news outlets, blogs & MSM, that RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is invaluable to me, without it I'd spend hours just 'walking' between websites several times a day. And no, offering me a subscription to breaking news or newsletters sent directly to my email doesn't do anything for me; I know the allure of data capture and all of that, but I don't want my email box spammed with newsletters and breaking news of which 70pc is irrelevant to me. Not providing RSS leaves a serious dent in a newspaper's credibility.

To my delight, I just discovered a RSS feed for DN, my favourite Norwegian paper, but so far it only seems to bring one day old news. Due to the security settings on my laptop I haven't been able to look behind its subscription walls yet, but the subscription department told me I would only find a Pdf version there, which frankly is pretty useless to me. I just want to skim the headlines in my favourite sections and read the stories I'm interested in, quick and easy please...

Börsen, the Danish financial daily, is another annoying RSS experience: at first I only found one RSS feed – all the newspaper's output or none - but on closer inspection I later found a few more, just not a feed for my favourite section (media market).

Update 16/1: No, I dont agree with all of MacLeod's notes, I certainly don't have a lot of time on my hands - that's why I shied away from blogging until about this time last year, but there are many gems among them. Jackie Danicki has picked out a few other of my favourite notes here.