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Pettit’s butchers window

Pettit's butchers window Pettit’s butchers window,originally uploaded by There’s a line in Dracula that goes “You think to baffle me, you with your pale faces all in a row, like sheep in a butcher’s.”… Well, no sheep in this butchers window, just a mighty fine display of local lamb and beef.And no crappy plastic grass too. Look at that beautiful bit of pork with all the cherries and kiwi round it. Retro.The butchers is Pettit’s in Grimsby, they also do very fine sausages I’m told.


BBC News & Sport Festival 2006

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So today is the last day of the BBC News and Sport Festival.

Yesterday I attended ‘Are we all reporters now?’ which looked at the role of citizen journalism and user generated content. The only real outcome was that journalists thought citizens couldn’t be journalists, and that now one really liked the phrase User Generated Content. Parts of the BBC, mainly Newsnight, and the interactive team, really get UCG, other parts of the organisation arn’t as up to speed on how and indeed why to use it.

The second thing I went to yesteday was JOhn Simpson interviewing Jack Straw. Here’s what Ariel (the BBC’s internal newspaper) had to say on the exchange

Jack Straw said that he hoped the ‘fractured relationship’ between the BBC and the government was improving, although he admitted there were still ‘high levels of suspicion on both sides’. John Simpson introduced the Foreign Secretary at the News Festival yesterday as someone who ‘has been a good friend to the BBC over the years’ but quipped that the minister was ‘among friends, but not entirely’.

Straw also suggested that the biggest mistake the BBC ever made was deciding to move political news from BH to TVC – a ‘monumental error’ which had led to politicians becoming more detached from broadcasters. ‘I used to go to Broadcasting House for Today – I can count on the fingers on one hand the number of times I’ve been here. ‘It’s dead easy to get here and impossible to get back’, he said.

And that’s with the luxury of a state owned jag! He should try it on the Central line.

This morning kicked off with News Interactive Editor and all round nice guy Pete Clifton giving his thoughts on blogs/wiki’s/podcasts/wotsit’s. He talked us through some of the new features and services news are planning to offer in the coming months, as well as explaining to some of the less tech savvy folk in the room what things like RSS are.

The second panel talk I went to this after lunch was ‘Gloating American Haters?’ which saw Matt Frei (who reminded my a lot of Orson Wells), Beth Poisson (newly appointed to US Embassy here in the UK, not quite CJ Craig) and Charles Glass all giving their thinking on does the BBC have an anti-American, or more specifically, anti-Bush stance? Topics we touched upon were Hurricane Katrina coverage, religion, the Iraq war, race, and how the US media reports the UK (very badly it seems).

Finally I’ve just finished watching Sven Goran Eriksson in conversation with John Motson, very interesting, but we’re not allowed to comment on what he said.

Amsterdam, the band & Rose Royce, not the car

Amsterdam - The Borderline - 4
Amsterdam – The Borderline – 4,
originally uploaded by

If Bruce Springsteen had grown up in the shadow of the Liver building and the M53 and not a New Jersey turnpike then I reckon he’d have turned out rather like Ian Prowse, front man for the ‘best band you’ve never heard of’ Amsterdam who I saw last night at The Borderline.

Prowse handles his Fender Telecaster with the same gutsy determination, but Amsterdam are proper scousers; from not doing interviews with The Sun, to keeping it in the family ala Bread as Ian’s cousin was acting guitar tech, and was constantly ribbed by him about his guitar tuning ability and lack of pay.

I got into Amsterdam after the Radio 1 John Peel tribute gig at Madia Vale, where Shelia said “This is the one he would have wanted me to play” when introducing ‘does this train stop at Merseyside?’. I remember it well as the whole room went silent to those ghostly opening notes… except Richard from Belle and Sebastian who’d just told me the punch line to the joke he was telling.

I’d forgotten how much fun seeing a band at The Boarderline can be. Bands get lights of members of the front row, friends and family all turn up – I’m sure I was stood next to the keyboard players mum; it’s much more intimate that somewhere like the Academy or Astoria.

Anyway, they’ve a new album out, the Journey, buy it. I did, and got it signed.

And if that wasn’t enough the night before in complete oppostite to them I saw Rose Royce play to The Bank’s Christmas party, also there was Samuel L Jackson, as he walked past I said hello in a manically bit pissed way, and he replied with a long slow “Hiiii….” so now I’ve met my second Jedi (Ewan McGregor being the other one).

Anyway, more shitty low res cameraphone pics on Flickr, God I’m really missing my little cybershot… New camera for Christmas me thinks…

aperture demo – at Mac Expo

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originally uploaded by

yeah, that’s right, he’s counting the gigs of RAM you’ll need on each finger if you want to run Aperture in any half decent way. It looked pretty good, but you’d really need a top notch desk top machine to get the benefit.

In all Mac Expo was rather good.. I was amazed at at how big an industry has sprung up providing iPod accessories. If you’ve got some white plastic and a Tandy electronics set, or a girl friend who can sew leather, you’re in business.

A lot of the store holders I spoke to said that what with it being half term, they’d been a lot of families through, one store had run out of freebies on the first day. That’s no bad thing I reckon. There did seem more retail type booths than simply trade ones this year.

Booth Babe count was extremely low, thankfully, though tosser with a radio mic speaking to two slightly interested people was high.

BBC SPORT | Football | Europe | Ferguson refuses to defend Rooney

Link: BBC SPORT | Football | Europe | Ferguson refuses to defend Rooney.

Rooney, honestly, have a word with yourself. I think Fergurson should invest in one of these and everytime he see’s Roony stand up and about to mouth off, he should give him a little shock.

The BBC, Flickr and the BJP mega mix post – shabba!

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Gavin and Cal
Gavin and Cal,
originally uploaded by

A very interesting day indeed.

First off, Cal Henderson very kindly came to give a talk to the BBC and very enlightening it was too. He made one really interesting point which I’ll come to later… (actually he made loads of interesting points on a great number of things). He also gave us a bit of back history to Flickr, I’ve done the odd presentation, and there’s nowt that gets a laugh as the BBC website circa 1997. Anyway, to go from Concept (Dec 03), launch (Feb04) and to have all that in the bin due to constant iteration six months later is incredible. In a year and a bit it’s managed to get 1 million users, and has 35/40 million images inside it the brute!

The second thing that’s been on my mind is this idea of ‘citizen reporting’. After the leader in the BJP that I commented about a few posts down, I decided to write a letter to Simon, the editor. Here it is in full.

Dear Sir

With reference to your comment section [BJP 10/08/2005] the increased use of citizen reporting during the London Bombings simply meant greater opportunities for ordinary people to capture what happened, at a moment when professional journalists were not necessarily able to get near the action.

As Pete Clifton, BBC News Interactive’s Editor, has explained on the news magazine site, this isn’t about ordinary people taking the jobs of the professionals. People just wanted to share their experiences and show they were there.

The BBC is a porous institution that is actively trying to find new ways to engage with its audience and let them contribute alongside regular coverage about news stories that involve and affect them.

It’s not replacing the news, it’s adding to the news.

Furthermore this isn’t the first time there’s been a to and fro between the public and the media. Remember the ‘Argie Handbag Incident’ that went on to win News Photography of the Year (

News needs the people as much as the people need the news.

A Webb
Picture Editor

So last night, Diane, the features editor called me for an interview. I’m keen to move the debate away from the London Bombings and who did or didn’t pay for what and towards ‘what happens now?’. It’s interesting because no one really knows. Here’s some other thoughts I’ve had on where we might be in 12 months…

1. The first hit is free: The public get wise very quickly and realise they can start asking for payment for exclusive submissions, especially images and video. Agencies like spring up then get bought out by Yahoogoole, trad news agencies shit it.

2. We’re Next: Maybe media institutions are next in line after the record industry and Hollywood for a shake up? We either ignore or fail to react quickly enough to the changing landscape and caught with our kecks down. Look at the structure of this piece on the Piano Man, particularly the comments. Is it any wonder the public are seeking new forms of reporting as they’ve fallen out with the media.

3. It actually works: The Live 8 scenario is a good example. One main event fully covered by professional (Getty) photographers, journalists and TV reporters, but then the web filling the ‘real experiences’ gap. There’s 9879 photos tagged Live8 on Flickr, that’s a lot of content.

The thing is that a lot of news is planned. It’s well researched by professionals who are trained and qualified in media ethics, law, keeping a log, balance, and objectivity. User generated content is none of these things, it’s spontaneous, opinionated, blurry, and subjective. More often that not user generated content only comes into play when it is the public as a whole that is affected by events. Imagine the Flickr tags for Diana’s funeral, or England beating Germany 5-1? It’s events like these that best suit UGC.

Which leads me on to some points Cal made… namely Flickr is lacking editorial. Now, they’ve been bought by Yahoo, and they’re being seen as the first Messy Media megacorp, with a news division too. So, what would happen if Flickr technology was partnered with Yahoo! news’ objective editorial? That would be a very powerful thing right? Maybe that’s option 4 in twelve months time?

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originally uploaded by

Everyone’s doing were not afarid stuff in light of the recent bombings… Some are great and funny; absolut bottles, Enders parodies, others (mainly American) entries are a bit jingoistic for my liking… I like this one this one.

Still most of the entries fall into ‘photoshop therapy’, dealing with tragedy through comedy, and that’s a good thing.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
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