Sarah Booker

25/08/2011

#hhldn : Sex, lies and digital news

Sex, lies and instant messenger

If you don’t want your partner to catch you cheating don’t use the internet. This was Alec Muffett’s advice at Hack/Hackers London’s August gathering.

There was a serious message behind Alec’s advice on keeping your illicit affair and dodgy porn habit a secret. Anyone who needs to keep a secret, a dissident or whistle-blower, needs to consider how they communicate.

If you need to keep a secret don’t use Skype, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, smartphones, applications with pop ups, iTunes, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), work hardware etc. All this can come back to bite you.

Skype shares everything with any machines you’ve installed it on. Even if you delete and re-install, messages they come back from the dead.

Facebook ends up everywhere, as does Google. These companies also comply with US law, which means if the National Security Agency (NSA) asks for your data, it’s handed over.

Smartphones also have comedy potential. Alec told a tale of a person whose boyfriend was sending saucy messages which their boss read when details popped up on their iPhone.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Create a complex password only you know.
  • Use a very boring pseudonym such as Edward Wilson or Carole Smith, because anything unique will come back to you.
  • Avoid linking identities and never describe yourself.
  • Use a different browser for day-to-day use and keep Firefox for your naughty secrets.
  • Log out of Facebook.
  • Clear cookies, don’t accept third-party cookies.
  • Switch off everything.
  • Don’t bookmark.
  • Don’t save passwords
  • Do not leave voicemail.

Illicit affairs and unusual kinks provide plenty of entertainment to geeks like Alec. It is amazing what is retrieved from hardware sold on eBay, he said.

His slides of advice are here: dropsafe.crypticide.com/article/5078

How digital destroyed the news cycle and what you can do about it

Demand for newspapers is falling but people still clamour for information. Tools from Twitter to Tumblr are quick ways to share information. As Martin Belam pointed out, there was one event he was following on Twitter when official sources had no details at all. (It was something about football I didn’t understand).

Digital has destroyed the traditional news cycle, but it has created a new one. Print newspapers are an enjoyable read but are always historical. Online is live and as up-to-date as possible, although social media sources can be unreliable.

Martin simplified the news cycle as write newspaper, print newspaper, wrap fish and chips in newspaper, before adding embellishments including sub-editing, layout, legal checks and loading everything online. The Guardian has a digital first policy and publishes across a multitude of platforms from iPhone to Kindle, with iPad, Windows phone and Android apps, due for released soon (nothing for Blackberry). The way the newspaper presents its product on different platforms is something Martin says needs to be addressed.

“Stop the shovels”, he said. Mobiles are not tablets, tablets are not desktops and we don’t read the stories as PDFs online. One of the frustrations facing user experience architects like Martin is making content work for a multitude of mediums. He highlighted problems with visualisations on the Telegraph and Guardian’s websites, which required a mouse, not helpful when you’re on an iPad, or copy is exported without the through for the medium with notes guiding readers to images from print which aren’t online.

Interactivity has changed the way the Guardian works.  When there are mistakes “we are subbed by the comments very quickly”, Martin explained. Journalists are actively using Twitter as a news-gathering source. Paul Lewis was asking where trouble was flaring up during the recent riots, which resulted in his reports from the thick of the violence.

The Guardian is known for its liveblogging. It is a platform Martin described as a “native digital format”. Throughout the day there are political, sport and TV liveblogs generating a huge amount of traffic and an engaged readership interacting with the information.

Digital is part of storytelling now. Martin was critical of a report compiled by the NCTJ* where editors ranked web skills and social media below time management as key skills for journalists.

“It is unfair to be equipping young journalists for a job they would have been doing in the 80s and 90s.”

He pointed out the survey shows the entrenched attitude of people in control of newspapers. “They’re not interested in turning the tanker around,” Martin said.

When I teach online journalism, I tell the students I am providing them with the skills they will need to be employed in five years time. Martin has the same opinion and advised journalists to keep learning and developing as he knows digital is the future.

His summing up of the future of news raised a round of applause from the crowd:

“Let the digital people get on with saving this business properly.”

* Martin was critical of a different website that didn’t link to the report. I would like to point out the piece I sub-edited did have a link to the NCTJ page. However, this does not overcome the issue with the report page which advises people to click on the link to the right…

19/11/2010

Great people for journalists to follow on Twitter #ff

Alan Rusbridger‘s article today, Why Twitter matters for media organisations listed a great many reasons for using Twitter.

During my years on Twitter I have found it is a great way to learn and I continue to learn a great deal by following other digital journalists, educators and developers.

In an effort to help journalists stepping into the Twittersphere for the first time I have compiled a list of really useful people to follow and learn from.

Teaching and learning

Paul Bradshaw – Lecturer and social media consultant Online journalism blog – great tips  Twitter.com/ojblog

BBC Journalism College

Clay Shirky – Influential future media blogger

Glynn Mottershead – Journalism lecturer

Andy Dickinson – Online journalism lecturer and links; twitter.com/linkydickinson

Jeff Jarvis – The Buzz Machine blogger and journalism professor

Sue Llewellyn – BBC social media trainer and TV journo

Steve Yelvington – Newsroom trainer

Jay Rosen – Journalism lecturer at NYU

Roy Greenslade – City University, media commentator

Journalists

Alison Gow – Executive Editor, digital, for the Liverpool Daily Post & Liverpool Echo

Marc Reeves – The Business Desk, West Midlands

Richard Kendall – Web editor Peterborough Evening Telegraph

David Higgerson – Head of Multimedia, Trinity Mirror

Sam Shepherd – Bournemouth Echo digital projects

Jo WadsworthBrighton Argus web editor

Matt Cornish – journalist and author of Monkeys and Typewriters

Louise Bolotin – Journalist and hyperlocal blogger

Sarah Booker (me because I try to be useful)

Joanna Geary – Guardian digital development editor twitter.com/joannageary and  twitter.com/joannaslinks

Adam Tinworth –  Consultant and ex-Reed Business Information editorial development manager

Adam Westbrook – Lecturer and multimedia journalist

Patrick Smith – The Media Briefing

Shane Richmond – Telegraph Head of technology

Edward Roussel – Telegraph digital editor

Damian Thompson – Telegraph blogs editor

Kate Day – Telegraph communities editor

Ilicco Elia – Former Head of mobile Reuters

Sarah Hartley– Guardian local

Jemima Kiss – Guardian media/tech reporter

Kate Bevan – Guardian media/tech reporter

Josh Halliday – Media Guardian

Jessica Reid – Guardian Comment is Free

Charles Arthur – Tech Guardian editor

Heather Brooke – Investigative journalist, FOI campaigner

Kevin Anderson – Journalist, ex BBC, ex Guardian

Wannabehacks – Journalism students and trainees

Simon Rogers – Guardian data journalist and editor of the datastore

Jon Slattery – Journalist

Laura Oliver – Journalism.co.uk

Johann Hari – Journalist, The Independent (personal)

Guy Clapperton – Journalist and writer

Alan Rusbridger – Guardian editor

Specialists

George Hopkin – Seo evangelist

Nieman Journalism Lab – Harvard

Martin Belam – Guardian internet advisor

Tony Hirst – OU lecturer and data mash up artist

Christian Payne – Photography, video, mobile media

David Allen Green – Lawyer and writer

Judith Townend – Meeja Law & From the Online

Richard Pope – Scraperwiki director

Suw Charman-Anderson – social software consultant and writer

Scraperwiki – Data scraping and information

Chris Taggart – Founder of Openly Local and They Work for You

Suzanne Kavanagh – Publishing sector manager at Skillset, personal account

Greg Hadfield – Director of strategic projects at Cogapp, ex Fleet Streets

Francis Irving – Scraperwiki

Ben Goldacre – Bad Science

Philip John – Journal Local, Litchfield Blog,  twitter.com/hyperaboutlocal

David McCandless – Information is Beautiful

Flying Binary – Cloud computing and visual analytics

Rick Waghorn – Journalist and founder of Addiply

News sources

Journalism news

Journalism blogs

Mike ButcherTech Crunch UK

Richard MacManus – Read Write Web

The Media Blog

Press Gazette

Hold the Front Page

Mashable – Social media blog

Media Guardian

Guardian tech weekly

Paid Content

The Media Brief

BBC news

Channel4 news

Channel4 newsroom blogger

Sky News

House of Twits –  Houses of Parliament

Telegraph Technology

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