Archive for the ‘labelling’ tag

Movie credits for news reports

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Movie credits are strange things. Most of us don’t bother to watch them (unless there are goofs and gaffs along the side, or we know there’s a twist after the credits finish). Many of them are written in a font too small to be legible or roll at such a clip that you have to be a speed reader to keep up. And virtually no-one knows what a ‘key grip’ does.


But it would be weird if they weren’t there. We like to know who directed a film, who produced it, who did the cinematography. If not necessarily when we watch the movie, but subsequently, and for posterity. Similarly, those involved in making a film want to be credited for their work in it.

So why aren’t there credits for other media content? Or if there are, why are they so paltry? Why shouldn’t there be, at the end of a news article about Afghanistan: written by, edited by, produced by, etc.? Instead of just a byline (and even this is often absent). All the information wouldn’t necessarily have to be visible, just available if you wanted it.

Not only would it give people more information about the piece/photo/video (i.e. how much work was put into it, whether it was produced by an organisation with a good track record etc.), but it would mean that those who worked on it were properly and accurately credited for their work.

This is one of the things 
newscredit does. It works a little like movie credits except for news. It enables the journalist to be properly credited for their work and, if they want, to credit other people involved in its production and credit the organisation that published it (it can provide a whole bunch of other helpful information too, like publication date and time, location etc…).

Here’s an example of how a really really simple one might look (go to the bottom of the article and roll over the news credit logo. It could look a lot slicker, and a lot longer, but this ought to give an impression of how it could work).

This is just one of the potential benefits of making news transparent. I’ll talk about some of the others in future blog posts.

Written by Martin Moore

February 2nd, 2009 at 3:34 pm

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The unspoken implications of choice

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Choice is now seen as one of the defining characteristics of a free society. But choice isn’t much good without information. Having a choice of five hospitals to go to is pretty useless unless you’re able to distinguish between them. Being told we have to be more green is unhelpful without advice as to how we do it.
Hence the exponential increase in labelling. The government has just announced the food we buy could soon have a ‘carbon footprint’ label – a traffic light indicating how much carbon was consumed in its production and distribution (see Evening Standard). This will presumably go beside the traffic lights telling us about salt and fat content.
Ignoring for a moment the lack of imagination and increasing profusion of reds, oranges and greens, this has implications far beyond food. Already there are labels on most consumer goods and services and, since the majority of us now buy into the democratic notion that we’d rather make our own decisions than allow them be made for us, one can only assume labelling will continue to grow.
Where we don’t have much labelling, oddly, is media content. Yes, films are given a rating, but generally we still rely on brands to give us editorial guidance. This feels increasingly anachronistic. When I search Google and get 1.28m results I don’t want to have to plough through them trying to work out which one is just PR material, which one is written to look like an article but is actually an ad, which one is written by a highly partisan political blogger etc. I’d like to be able to screen out certain content in my search criteria, get editorial guidance from people and organisations I trust, and understand what the context and sourcing of the content I’m reading is.
We need tools to enable us to search for specific types of content and assess it quickly. There have been attempts at this (see www.newstrust.net, and, for a different purpose, www.creativecommons.org) but they’re still very nascent.
An unspoken implication of choice is the need to be informed, and part of the answer to this – media content included – must be labelling, just as long as it doesn’t mean yet more traffic lights.

Written by Martin Moore

May 30th, 2007 at 3:39 pm

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Is internet labelling web 3.0?

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How will we navigate the internet in the future? There’s already an astonishing amount of information there which, as with Moore’s Law, appears to be doubling every few years. The technology consultancy IDC reported recently there are now 161 billion gigabytes of digital content available. And, as John Naughton writes, by 2010, 70% of this will have been produced by consumers.
So how will we find our way around? Certainly, search engines will have to get smarter, but it also seems inevitable that sites will start to label their information more clearly. If you run a travel site you want people to know that they can book flights and hotels securely – so it’s natural you should want to show them you abide by certain standards. This will also make it much easier for people to search only for those sites which do abide by those standards.
Such commercial uses of labelling are now being applied to editorial content. Segala, a technology company based in Dublin, has just announced it is leading an initiative to label content across the web. It’s developing a range of different labels for different sites – for example to indicate accessibility for users with disabilities, to signpost adult content, and to signal editorial standards for bloggers (from Jemima Kiss).
This feels very much like the next stage in the progress of the internet – web 3.0 if you like. From the wild west (Web 1.0), to a series of interlinked communities (web 2.0), to the development of signposts and directions.
News providers should take note. If, in 2015, you want people to know you keep to high editorial standards and that the information you provide is – to the best of your knowledge – accurate, it won’t be good enough to rely just on your brand, you’re also going to have to tell users what those standards are and how you maintain them.

Written by Martin Moore

March 19th, 2007 at 1:47 pm

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