Guardian to launch new platform to streamline access to web content

History of guardian.co.ukNews that The Guardian newspaper is planning to aggregate its presence on the web under a single entry point, theguardian.com domain, is an interesting milestone for a mainstream medium whose innovation in extending its presence and brand beyond its traditional printed newspaper origins in the UK makes it a stand-out among mainstream publishers.

A web address change may not seem like that big a deal. But if you’re a content publisher putting out the type of content online that attracts millions of people every day to visit you on the world wide web, having a single entry point to all your content that reinforces your brand name and presence makes sound commercial sense.

And sooner rather than later. The latest readership figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, released a few days ago, show that nearly 82 million unique browsers accessed the newspaper’s website in April 2013 – a record high, says The Guardian – from all over the world.

It seems clear that the evolutionary shifts in the newspaper business are gathering steam from the big milestones we saw last year.

In December 2012, Newsweek magazine ended nearly 80 years in print, becoming an online-only publication. Quartz, a digital-only business magazine from Atlantic Media, launched in September. In July, the Financial Times said that worldwide digital subscriptions surpassed those for print for the first time. We also saw an interesting experiment on Christmas Day when the Telegraph in the UK published a digital-only edition on a day that traditionally sees no newspapers at all.

The Guardian’s arch online rival, Mail Online – the digital stable mate to the printed Daily Mail newspaper – has poured resources into developing a digital presence that has made it the world’s most-visited news website with more than 112 million unique browser accesses per month, according to its latest ABC certificate – most of those from people elsewhere in the world than the UK.

The stakes are high in a global marketplace where your competitors today are brands, social media publishers and others. Getting attention to your content requires a lot more than just being a newspaper publisher with a tradition of great journalism behind you.

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Guardian to launch new platform to streamline access to web content” was written by Mark Sweney, for theguardian.com on Friday 24th May 2013 08.08 Europe/London

The Guardian is to launch a new global web presence, theguardian.com, in recognition of the newspaper’s increasingly international digital appeal.

The move will streamline access to Guardian content – amalgamating the main entry point Guardian.co.uk, mobile site m.guardian.co.uk, US homepage guardiannews.com and the soon-to-launch Australian digital edition – into one core web destination.

In the last five years, the number of monthly Guardian digital browsers has grown from 20 million to more than 80 million, with much of that growth coming from international markets.

“Every month, our online content is accessed from almost every country around the world,” said Tanya Cordrey, chief digital officer at Guardian News & Media, in a blog post called Going global on our digitaljourney. “In fact, UK users now represent just a third of our total audience.”

The home of the newspaper’s content has been guardian.co.uk, which is the only non-“dot com” domain suffix in the top 10 Google News list of digital news outlets.

“This may be a small URL change, but it marks a big step for the Guardian and reflects our evolution from a much-respected national print newspaper based only in the UK … to a leading global news and media brand … and an ever-growing worldwide audience accessing Guardian journalism every minute of every day,” said Cordrey.

Cordrey added that the move to theguardian.com will make for a simplified user experience, but will also be more appealing to major advertisers in international markets, who are perhaps not drawn to the idea of running campaigns on a UK-specific website, despite the reality of the Guardian’s global digital readership.

The move, which will take place later this year, will involve the transition of millions of URLs attached to the Guardian’s websites and about 15 years of archived content.

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Number 10 hands out Twitter exclusives to favoured journalists

UK Prime Minister

A discussion topic in episode 701 of the FIR podcast, published today, looks at a question asked in the Metro newspaper last week: should British politicians take notes from Barack Obama’s campaign team?

The Metro’s excellent report looked at the key role social media played  – especially Twitter – in both of the US president’s election campaigns in 2008 and 2012 in enabling direct engagement with reporters and opinion-makers as well as with voters in communities across the United States (see detailed analysis of 2012 from Pew’s Journalism. org).

The discussion that guest co-host Stephen Waddington and I had in the podcast considered key elements of Obama’s campaign as described in the Metro story by Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon. Her conclusion:

[…] Summing up the lessons of 2008 and 2012, Ms O’Malley Dillon said: ‘If there’s anything to be learned from our campaign, it’s that we made it a priority, we believed in it from the top to the bottom, we ensured the resources were there and we allowed it to help dictate for us in some ways the type of things we were doing based on how people use these forums.

‘We weren’t trying to recreate the wheel, we were trying to be part of the dialogue and I think that’s one of the many ways we were able to be successful.’

Keeping that in mind, Wadds and I broadly concluded in  our discussion that a) yes, British politicians would benefit from studying the role of social media in US election campaigning; and b) there’s little to suggest that they are or have done so – certainly at a central-government level that seems isolated from grassroots ‘social politics’ – even though the next general election in the UK is only two years away at most.

So The Guardian’s report yesterday on the role of Twitter in how Downing Street aims to secure goodwill from journalists by revealing news before its official announcement by ministers had me thinking about what looks like a chasm of a difference in how American politicians see social media channels like Twitter and how UK ones do.

There, it looks more open and inclusive. Here, it seems to be secretive, selective and controlled.

That’s a great pity if it does turn out to be how my cynical view of the political communication landscape appears. The way in which social media channels can galvanize political engagement with and by those who have the final word on who gets elected, as evidenced by the US experience, clearly is firmly understood by government communicators:

[…] “We’re getting to where people are these days,” said Anthony Simon, the head of digital communications in the prime minister’s office.

“Increasing numbers of people are on Twitter – journalists, stakeholders and professional groups – and to be part of that conversation is vital for any government department. It’s democratic because it’s open to anyone and we don’t go on it for the sake of it or over-rely on it – it’s a means to an end.”

I hope that the ‘means to an end’ becomes a great deal more honest- and authentic-looking than the current situation that The Guardian describes.

(The Guardian’s report below is published with their permission via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.)


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Number 10 hands out Twitter exclusives to favoured journalists” was written by Josh Halliday, for The Guardian on Sunday 28th April 2013 21.07 Europe/London

Asked in 2009 why he didn’t use Twitter, David Cameron famously responded “too many twits might make a twat” . Four years later, Number 10 is attempting to move more rapidly into the digital future with a Twitter strategy that includes handing out “Twitter exclusives” to favoured journalists for release before they are officially announced by ministers.

In a tactic reminiscent of the BBC satire The Thick of It, Twitter is also being used to try to quash negative stories before they gain currency in a news cycle where every second counts.

“Every minute that passes the poison is spreading into the system to all sorts of roots and you need to find a way to cauterize that very, very quickly,” said a senior No 10 source.

The Twitter exclusives aim to secure goodwill from journalists who are often under pressure to break news online before rivals, but will irritate those who believe announcements should be made in parliament.

Many of Downing Street’s new media strategies were introduced by Craig Oliver, the prime minister’s communications director, who insisted on moving a Twitter monitor into the No 10 newsroom when he assumed his role in January 2011.

According to colleagues, Oliver likes to describe the social network as similar to fire: a useful tool in the right hands, but massively destructive if it is misused.

The analogy might leave some scratching their heads, but Cameron’s inner circle wants all his MPs to take Twitter seriously – even if the 2015 general election is, in internet time, light years away.

One example of using Twitter to “seal” a negative story came after the Evening Standard mistakenly broke George Osborne’s budget embargo on the social network last month. A mortified journalist promised to tweet a swift apology but Oliver ordered a pre-emptive tweet from the Tory press office account, to ensure the reporter’s promise was met.

Conservative party headquarters brief MPs on good talking points for Twitter, using them to “tweet as a muscular force” about a single topic or news item to hammer home the message. Some 418 MPs have joined the tweeting fray, according to the news wire Tweetminster, up from 176 in 2009.

“Twitter used to be seen as tool for the egocentric and verbally incontinent,” said a senior No 10 source. “But the reality is that it’s an extraordinarily useful way of getting talking points out there.”

Downing Street has not always been so fleet of foot – it took hours to respond to the online mockery prompted by Osborne’s first-class train ticket debacle last October – but Cameron’s inner circle now recognises that the case for a clear Twitter strategy is “unanswerable”.

“We’re getting to where people are these days,” said Anthony Simon, the head of digital communications in the prime minister’s office.

“Increasing numbers of people are on Twitter – journalists, stakeholders and professional groups – and to be part of that conversation is vital for any government department. It’s democratic because it’s open to anyone and we don’t go on it for the sake of it or over-rely on it – it’s a means to an end.”

The most popular tweet sent by the government was Cameron’s tribute to Baroness Thatcher, prompting 3,500 retweets. The most divisive was when No 10 tweeted every single reshuffle appointment last September, which led to a mass unfollowing from less devoted users but praise from politicos.

But the jury is out on whether the rest of Britain is as Twitter-addicted as the Westminster Village. “I think the majority of activity comes from a fairly small group and most MPs have fairly small audiences,” said Alberto Nardelli, the founder of the app Tweetminster, pointing out that 1.2m people follow MPs on the site – about the same size audience combined as Beppe Grillo, the leader of Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

“I think we’ve gone beyond a ‘should politicians use Twitter?’ phase. It’s now how will it be used,” he added.

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Facebook riot calls earn men four-year jail terms amid sentencing outcry

facebookIn the aftermath of the civil disorder that gripped London and a number of other English cities last week – it included murders, assaults  and a great deal of property destruction and damage – attention is firmly on the system of justice in England and what’s happening to the thousands of people arrested and charged with an offence of one kind of another, typically looting or doing criminal damage.

For the past few days, our TV screens have been filled with video footage of police in full riot gear storming a suspect’s house, smashing down the door and dragging an alleged perp outside in handcuffs under the full gaze of assembled TV cameras and photographers.

It’s what a majority of people seem to want to see – police dragging the crooks off to court with swift justice administered involving jail time. And that’s precisely what we’re seeing.

Underlying much of this is what role social networking played during the riots, notably Blackberry Messenger, Facebook and Twitter, the three services most mentioned. The government has said they want to examine what to do about such communication tools in times of civil unrest and say they will be speaking with the owners of those three services.

Meanwhile, we have news of two young men going to jail for four years for what they did during the disturbances where the means of doing, as it were, played a key role in their offences. The means was Facebook.

The story is all over the media today. As the Guardian reports, the two posted messages on Facebook inciting other people to riot in their home towns. What I find most interesting about the reports on their sentencing isn’t so much the act of using Facebook this way but the effect it had which is central to the Crown Court judge’s commentary on the sentence he handed down to one of those found guilty:

[...] Jordan Blackshaw, 20, set up an "event" called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.

[...] Sentencing Blackshaw to four years in a young offenders institution, Judge Elgan Edwards QC said he had committed an "evil act". He said: "This happened at a time when collective insanity gripped the nation. Your conduct was quite disgraceful and the title of the message you posted on Facebook chills the blood.

"You sought to take advantage of crime elsewhere and transpose it to the peaceful streets of Northwich. The idea revolted many right thinking members of society. No one actually turned up due to the prompt and efficient actions of police in using modern policing."

Four years behind bars (or at least, loss of liberty). That’s a long time for an offence that many voices today see as disproportionate to the offences committed. I’d expect to see more of this as a hardening establishment attitude to behaviours in society becomes clear.

This is but one part of a huge debate that has only just begun and does embrace methods of communicating and how people use modern communication tools and channels such as social networks for good and for evil: what responsibilities come with what rights. Many people have strong opinions and, thanks to how connected we all are, are voicing those opinions (you can hear some of them in episode 612 of the FIR podcast I co-present, published on August 15.)

I do not believe there are easy answers to any element of what happened last week and the consequential events. As communicators, we can contribute to the debate so as to offer our opinions that may help politicians and others make the right decisions.

It’s a long process and will no doubt take a long time.

The Guardian’s full report is appended below, published with their permission via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Facebook riot calls earn men four-year jail terms amid sentencing outcry” was written by Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent, Helen Carter and Helen Clifton, for The Guardian on Tuesday 16th August 2011 23.02 Europe/London

Two men who posted messages on Facebook inciting other people to riot in their home towns have both been sentenced to four years in prison by a judge at Chester crown court.

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, set up an “event” called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Latchford, Warrington, used his Facebook account in the early hours of 9 August to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots. The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but no rioting broke out as a result.

Sentencing Blackshaw to four years in a young offenders institution, Judge Elgan Edwards QC said he had committed an “evil act”. He said: “This happened at a time when collective insanity gripped the nation. Your conduct was quite disgraceful and the title of the message you posted on Facebook chills the blood.

“You sought to take advantage of crime elsewhere and transpose it to the peaceful streets of Northwich. The idea revolted many right thinking members of society. No one actually turned up due to the prompt and efficient actions of police in using modern policing.”

Sutcliffe-Keenan, the judge said, “caused a very real panic” and “put a very considerable strain on police resources in Warrington”. He praised Cheshire police for their “modern and clever policy” of infiltrating the website.

The Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement that the men’s posts on Facebook “caused significant panic and revulsion in local communities as rumours of anticipated violence spread”.

It added: “We were able to serve upon the defence in both cases sufficient case material that led to early guilty pleas and we were able to present the facts in both cases in a fair but robust manner.

“While the judge heard the two defendants were previously of good character, they admitted committing very serious offences that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years. The consequence of their actions could have led to more disorder and this was taken into account.”

The heavy sentences came as defence lawyers and civil rights groups have criticised the “disproportionate” sentences imposed on some convicted rioters as the latest official figures show nearly 1,300 suspects have been brought before the courts.

The revelation that magistrates were advised by justices’ clerks to disregard normal sentencing guidelines when dealing with riot-related cases alarmed a number of lawyers who warn it will trigger a spate of appeals.

Also on Tuesday, a looter was warned he could be jailed for helping himself to an ice-cream cone during disturbances.

Anderson Fernandes, 22, appeared before magistrates in Manchester charged with burglary after he took two scoops of coffee ice-cream and a cone from Patisserie Valerie in the city centre. He gave the cone away because he didn’t like the flavour.

Fernandes admitted burglary in relation to the ice-cream and an unconnected charge of handling stolen goods after a vacuum cleaner was recovered from his home. District judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “I have a public duty to deal swiftly and harshly with matters of this nature.” Fernandes will be sentenced next week.

In sentencing four other convicted Manchester rioters, a crown court judge, Andrew Gilbert QC, made clear why he was disregarding sentencing guidelines when he said “the offences of the night of 9 August … takes them completely outside the usual context of criminality”.

He added: “The principal purpose is that the courts should show that outbursts of criminal behaviour like this will be and must be met with sentences longer than they would be if the offences had been committed in isolation. For those reasons, I consider that the sentencing guidelines for specific offences are of much less weight in the context of the current case, and can properly be departed from.”

The Ministry of Justice’s latest estimate, at midday on Tuesday, shows the courts have dealt with 1,277 alleged offenders of whom more than 700 have been remanded in custody. Two-thirds of the cases were in London.

By midday on Monday, 115 people had been convicted; more than three-quarters of those were adults. About 21% of those appearing before the courts have been juveniles. The proportion of alleged youth offenders was higher in Nottingham, Birmingham and Manchester. An MoJ spokesperson said: “Everyone involved with the courts and prison service has put in a huge effort to make that possible and that work will continue.”

But doubts are now being expressed about the fairness of some sentences. For example, one student has been jailed for six months for stealing a bottle of water from a supermarket.

Sally Ireland, policy director of the law reform organisation Justice, said: “The circumstances of public disorder should be treated as an aggravating factor and one would expect that to push up sentences by a degree, but not by as far as some of the cases we have seen.

“Some instances are completely out of all proportion. There will be a flurry of appeals although, by the time they have been heard, those sentences may already have been served.

” There’s a question about this advice [from justices' clerks] and whether it should have been issued at all. We would expect them to be giving advice [to magistrates] in individual cases rather than following a general directive.”

Rakesh Bhasin, a solicitor partner at the law firm Steel & Shamash, which represents some of those charged following the riots, said some reported sentences seemed to be “disproportionate”.

Paul Mendelle QC, a former chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: “The idea that the rulebook goes out the window strikes me as inherently unjust. It sets all manner of alarm bells ringing. Guidelines are not tramlines. There are guidelines and they take account of aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

“There have been rulings following the Bradford riots and Israeli embassy demonstrations that said which sort of guidelines should be followed. I don’t see why [magistrates] should be told to disregard these.”

The judiciary and the MoJ have denied that they were involved in circulating the advice to justices’ clerk last week.

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Campaign launched to help labels affected by Sony warehouse fire

sonywarehouse

While emotional opinions and anger run high as looters roamed the night-time streets of many British cities, one of the most heart-breaking stories of consequential loss as a result of the violence and destruction in London this past weekend is the impact on many independent music labels following the total destruction of Sony’s CD and DVD distribution warehouse in Enfield, north London.

The warehouse was the only one of its type in the UK.

A report in the London Evening Standard says that the independent music industry is facing its biggest crisis in decades as the arson attack by looters on Sony’s warehouse destroyed probably the entire stock of CDs and vinyl from more than 100 small labels.

[...] New releases from the Arctic Monkeys and Charlie Simpson have been affected or delayed after all copies destined for the shops were destroyed.

XL Recordings, the company behind chart-topping Adele, is among those hit. But while it will be able to shift stock from Europe to cover the shortfall on her hit album 21, smaller niche labels fear for their very existence.

The sector has been hit so badly because Sony DADC stored and distributed the entire stock of indie marketing company Pias, which acts for more than 100 indie labels. There are even fears, not confirmed, that master tapes and hard drives have been destroyed, meaning recordings could be lost forever.

labelloveThere is good news, though. The Guardian reports on a campaign to raise money for these indie labels via LabelLove, a website set up by to let music fans pledge their support.

As a business podcaster for the past six years, I strongly support independent music – Shel and I play a podsafe indie track at the end of every podcast, usually sourced from Music Alley, as one way of bringing indie music to the attention of people who may otherwise not discover it.

Please support this campaign. As LabelLove says on its website:

[...] Our aim is to try and rally the music industry, both on the artist and the audience sides, and see if we can raise some money to see those affected through the tough times ahead.

You can support in these ways:

If you don’t want to do any of those things, how about buying digital copies of some of those indie artists’ music?

More details on the campaign in the Guardian’s story, appended below.

(The Guardian’s report is published here with permission via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.)


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Campaign launched to help labels affected by Sony warehouse fire” was written by Tim Jonze, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 10th August 2011 13.31 Europe/London

A campaign is underway to raise money for independent labels affected by a fire that destroyed the Pias distribution centre in Enfield on Monday night.

The blaze, which started during the London riots, destroyed the Sony warehouse holding the Pias inventory. The warehouse contained records from almost 200 indpendent labels, as well as singles and albums set for release by more established artists such as Arctic Monkeys and Charlie Simpson.

Now a campaign has been launched to help labels affected, with the LabelLove website set up to allows music fans to donate money to the cause. People can also email labellovebenefit@gmail.com to find out about other ways to help out. Dan Salter, one of the campaign organisers, said: “We’ve been amazingly inundated with offers of help and support on this idea, and we are going to concentrate on trying to organise a series of live events to help this cause. Based on the offers we’ve had already, this is looking likely.”

The Twitter account @_label_love_ has been set up to keep followers updated with the latest news while the hashtag #labellove is being used by music fans to voice support. Musician Dan Le Sac used it to tweet: “I’d sell a kidney for independent music, without passionate people doing it for love, I would still be behind the counter of HMV. #labellove”

Sean Adams, who founded the website Drowned in Sound, has compiled a spreadsheet of the artists distributed by Pias. He aims to open this up to hackers in the hope they can build tools using the data to encourage fans to buy music on the labels affected. Adams said: “I imagine there are some life-changing labels, who’ve bravely put out records that have shaped our music scene, who may struggle over the coming weeks and months. The idea [to compile the spreadsheet] came because I couldn’t find one place with links to all the labels’ websites and I thought it’d be cool to look at all those amazing labels’ catalogues, and perhaps link it with Last.fm to see which acts it recommends or to create a video jukebox or do something amazing with SoundCloud players.”

guardian.co.uk/music will be posting updates on the situation and how it affects labels and artists over the coming days.

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PCC seeks to regulate press Twitter feeds

twitterppcThe Guardian’s report on plans by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), the UK’s mainstream print-media regulator, to include tweets made by journalists in its regulatory remit shouldn’t be a surprise to any observer of the contemporary and rapidly-evolving media landscape.

As the Guardian reports, the PCC thinks some tweets by journalists would be considered as part of a newspaper’s editorial content and, therefore, subject to existing regulation covering such content. It wants media companies to differentiate a reporter’s "official" tweets and those that are personal comments, and develop policies to help everyone understand what the rules are when using social channels like Twitter

It’s a good idea if it helps to make clear what is editorial and reporting and what is personal opinion. The best example I know of a media organization setting out such policies is the BBC with its comprehensive and continuously-evolving Editorial Guidelines website, which includes specific guidance for journalists (and others, such as editors and programme producers) on usage of Twitter.

For example, in the section on Social Networking, Microblogs and other Third Party Websites: BBC Use:

[...] You may wish to consider forwarding or "retweeting" a selection of a person’s microblog entries/posts or "tweets". This is very unlikely to be a problem when you are "retweeting" a colleague’s BBC "tweet" or a BBC headline. But in some cases, you will need to consider the risk that "retweeting" of third party content by the BBC may appear to be an endorsement of the original author’s point of view.

It may not be enough to write on your BBC microblog’s biography page that "retweeting" does not signify endorsement, particularly if the views expressed are about politics or a matter of controversial public policy. Instead you should consider adding your own comment to the "tweet" you have selected, making it clear why you are forwarding it and where you are speaking in your own voice and where you are quoting someone else’s.

The BBC also has a specific policy on personal use of social networking and other third party websites including blogs, microblogs and personal web-space. As the Guardian notes in its report, journalists like the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones already maintain multiple accounts in an effort to preserve professional and personal distinctions.

Whatever type of organization you are, media or otherwise, developing clear policies and guidelines about employee use of social tools like Twitter, then communicating them to your employees and helping them understand the rules of the game, make good business sense.

And a good place to get inspired for your organization is to take a look at the BBC’s example.

(The Guardian’s report below is published with their permission via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.)


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “PCC seeks to regulate press Twitter feeds” was written by Dan Sabbagh, for theguardian.com on Friday 6th May 2011 14.14 Europe/London

Reporter and newspaper Twitter feeds are expected to brought under the regulation of the Press Complaints Commission later this year, the first time the body has sought to consolidate social media messages under its remit.

The PCC believes that some postings on Twitter are, in effect part of a “newspaper’s editorial product”, writings that its code of practice would otherwise cover if the same text appeared in print or on a newspaper website.

A change in the code would circumvent a loophole that – in theory – means that there is no form of redress via the PCC if somebody wanted to complain about an alleged inaccuracy in a statement that was tweeted. Last year the PCC found it was unable to rule in a complaint made against tweets published by the Brighton Argus.

Its plan, though, is to distinguish between journalists’ public and private tweets. Any Twitter feed that has the name of the newspaper and is clearly an official feed – such as @telegraphnews or @thesun_bizarre – will almost certainly be regulated.

However, that principle could be further extended to cover a reporter’s “official” work account, whilst leaving personal accounts that discuss conversations over breakfast and weekend exploits as outside its ambit. Some journalists – such as the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones – already maintain multiple accounts in an effort to preserve professional and personal distinctions.

The PCC wants each newspaper to develop a “Twitter policy”, to tell its reporters which accounts are considered part of its editorial product and which are not. But with many newspapers, including the Guardian, republishing tweets on their site, many journalist musings are likely to be drawn in.

An online working group of the PCC has already recommended that the body undertake a “remit extension”, the formal mechanism by which the self-regulatory body takes on a new area of responsibility, after consulting with the newspaper industry as to how Twitter regulation can be implemented. That consultation is due to finish in the summer and the new rules are likely to be in place by the end of the year.

Publication on Twitter is already subject to libel laws and court orders – the internet, of course, does not exist in a legal vacuum. Last week, for example, journalists at the Guardian were reminded that tweets that hinted at the identity of individuals covered by injunctions would be a breach of the injunction itself.

In February the PCC ruled that information posted on Twitter should be considered public and publishable by newspapers after it cleared the Daily Mail and Independent on Sunday of breaching privacy guidelines.

Both newspapers had reported on tweets posted by Sarah Baskerville, a Department for Transport employee, in November last year. Baskerville, who had around 700 Twitter followers at the time, described a course leader as “mental” and posted links to tweets attacking government “spin” and Whitehall waste.

Baskerville complained to the press regulator, arguing that she could have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy and that the reporting was misleading. The Daily Mail and Independent on Sunday argued that the messages were public and could be read by anyone.

The PCC decided in favour of the newspapers, in what is the regulator’s first ruling on the republication of information posted on Twitter.

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Are the Olympics a waste of money, asks Economist ad campaign

economistolympics

Tickets for the London Olympics 2012 go on sale today for the first time, and The Economist takes good advantage of the timing and attention to launch a poster ad campaign on the London Underground that brings into sharp focus the matter of how much this Olympics tournament is costing the country, meaning each one of us (£350 each, says The Economist).

The question of costs has been a discussion focus ever since London won the rights to hold the games next year. As The Economist notes in its poster, costs have doubled from the original estimate.

So a thorny topic on which to stimulate more discussion, very nicely balanced by The Economist also running a pro-Olympics campaign, says The Guardian – I can’t find an example of a poster anywhere: would love to see one – in a concise report, below, that explains the campaigns and what they hope to achieve.

Meanwhile, I’m entering the ticket lottery hoping to get tickets for the opening ceremony. Being at an Olympics in London is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’d love to experience it.

(The Guardian’s report is published here with permission via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.)

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Are the Olympics a waste of money, asks Economist ad campaign” was written by Mark Sweney, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 15th March 2011 07.25 Europe/London

As tickets go on sale for the biggest sports event in British history, the 2012 London Olympics, the Economist is launching a major ad campaign suggesting that the event is a “waste of money”.

The Economist has a history of running provocative poster campaigns, such as those last year stating the case for and against trading in human organs and legalising drugs.

But it is now launching a new two-week poster campaign scrutinising the London Olympics, under the headline “Hosting the Olympics is a waste of money”, appearing in London underground stations until the end of the month.

The weekly business and news magazine has timed the launch to coincide with the release of more than 6m tickets for sale online to the public from Tuesday, a moment that Olympics chief Lord Coe has highlighted as critical, the “point that it suddenly becomes very real”.

The ad highlights several negative points, including the £9bn that the Games will eventually cost – “twice what we were originally told and around £350 for every British household” – stating also that past hosts, including Montreal and Athens, have been “stuck with huge debts and white elephants”.

The campaign, which runs under the same theme, and strapline, as last year’s posters – “Where do you stand?” – aims to drum up debate and interest among people who do not normally read the Economist.

The Economist, which is 50% owned by Financial Times’s parent company, Pearson, is also running a pro-Olympics version of the poster. This version says that the Olympics will help the “poorest bit” of London and that such a big construction project has been a “boon to a stumbling economy”; adding, “Having a big party in London will cheer the place up. That’s worth a lot.”

A second theme in the campaign that it originally launched in 2010 looks at whether the baby boomer generation – people born between the end of the second world war and the mid-1960s – has left a “good” or “rotten” inheritance. Positive points include them inventing things such as the iPod and internet, which “young people love to play with”, while negatives include running up massive debts.

The campaign was created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. Media planning and buying was handled by PHD.

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