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The techies save the day – morning

Media 140 Sydney Day 2, 6 November 2009.

It all changed on Day Two of Media140 Sydney.

Instead of the Day 1 brief presentations from academics and journalists, the Day 2 technology-focused case studies and workshops induced a can-do focus on creation and production. There was far more here that independent operators could use.

Some of Jay Rosen’s Keynote Internet Ten Commandments could be taken up by independent and alternative journalists although his suggestions were more relevant for mainstream reporters.

However, in the Case Studies and Tips & Tools for Journos sessions, producers and techies got right down to showing how they use audio, video and multimedia to produce interactive media. For example, Riyaad Minty @riy of AlJazeera said he set up the @AJGaza twitter feed to microreport the Gaza War, using Skype and google chat to communicate during that time.

Claire Wardle @cward1e from the BBC College of Journalism  explained that things did not go to plan when the BBC set up their User Generated Content hub. Instead of sitting back and harvesting a flood of contributions, UGC hub staff found they obtained better content by going out and engaging with their audience.

After flying from South Africa, Jude Mathurine @newmediajude of the New Media Lab, Rhodes University, South Africa, only had time to scratch the surface of his presentation, Why the future of African journalism lies in mobile social networks. I would have liked to have heard more about the media shown on slide #28 on, such as gatorpeeps for microblogging and Zoopy for video sharing.

Barry Saunders from EngageMedia was dismissive of the Day 1 furore about how to “open up journalism” and “help the audience to participate”. “Hey,” he said, “We were doing this with social justice movements 30 years ago”. Barry defined journalism as “a good faith attempt to make sense of the world”, and social media can provide context and history to journalism, he said. Barry’s vision includes a variety of journalism:

  • Trade journalism – press releases and commentary, blogging moving to curating
  • On the grid reporting
  • Social conversation – blogging, editorial
  • Data journalism – making sense of publicly available data
  • Documentary/contextual journalism
  • Curatorial journalism.

Online News Editor Dave Earley recommended we use some tweeting aids: twitter client JournoTwit , search dashboard TweetGridQik for video sharing and Twitpic for sharing photos.

And that was just a few highlights of the morning.

December 16, 2009 at 2:42 am Leave a comment

Reality check on cooking at home

It’s really can be hard for lattes to cook at home.

Continue Reading November 7, 2009 at 4:36 am Leave a comment

Getting around without a car

Urban historian Professor Peter Spearritt’s recent Inside Story article “Trouble in the City” includes some interesting comparisons between the public transport systems of Sydney and Southeast Queensland.

It used to be that Sydney had a great public transport system while Brisbane’s was hopeless and a car was a necessity, but that’s changed quite a bit.

Although Sydney still has a good public transport system with an extensive rail network, these days it becomes very crowded at peak hour. Town Hall Station can be quite dangerous because it is way over capacity.

However, the beauty of living in Sydney is that you can get to about 40 excellent beaches by public transport in a reasonable time and many in one leg. From Wynyard to Palm Beach might take 1 1/2 hours, but you’ll get there in one bus trip. Marrickville to Bondi Beach is two trains and a bus, but you can do it in an hour.

On the other hand, Sydney’s ubiquitous buses grind through the traffic, notorious for running late or not at all, although there are exceptions such as the buses whizzing along the Harbour Bridge bus lanes.

Up north, as well as trains that run on time, Brisbane residents love their busway system which takes people from outlying suburbs to the CBD in minutes. But outside Brisbane it’s another story. Spearritt reports that only two per cent of travel on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts is by public transport.

Getting to the beaches north and south of Brisbane can be a long process. Apart from private bus lines, traveling to the Sunshine Coast by public transport means a train to Caboolture, then a slow bus to the coast. You can rip down to the Gold Coast on a fast train, but only as far as Robina. From there it’s a bus to the beaches.

Both cities have water-based public transport systems with Sydney’s ferries traversing the harbour reaches while Brisbane’s ferries and CityCats cover the Brisbane River.

So owning a car is no longer a necessity in Brisbane, although you won’t make it to the beach in a hurry without one.

November 3, 2009 at 7:32 am Leave a comment

The best stollen in Sydney

Someone just asked on twitter where they could find really good stollen in Sydney. Now PPAL’s in Sydney and she was tempted to tweet right back and say Coles has 500g stollen for $6.99 but she knows that that’s not what the enquirer was looking for. And she wouldn’t want them to think she was making fun of them.

In the inner-city Sydney latte belt you can’t buy any old stollen, you need to find the top stollen, the absolutely sublime stollen, the really, really special stollen.

A latte couldn’t possibly go down to Coles and buy 500g stollen for $6.99. Unless they took it home and unwrapped it and pretended to have made it themselves.

Now PPAL thinks having rich, sweet, spiced stollen at all is special given that it’s usually only sold around Christmas time. She has made her own stollen, but it takes a while and if she wanted stollen quickly, she’d happily buy it from Coles.

But she might need to keep quiet about it.

October 29, 2009 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

Captain Mango would like to sit down

Contribution from Captain Mango

Why do Sydney people (on trains and buses) insist on occupying two seats – putting their bag on the seat next to them?

October 16, 2009 at 12:59 am Leave a comment

Always good things to do in Brisbane

When PPAL saw an article called “Beyond Brisbane, it’s glorious” she jumped to the conclusion this was yet another article saying there’s nothing to do in Brisbane and it’s best to pass through as soon as possible to get to the great things elsewhere in Queensland.

Now PPAL always thought dismissing Brisbane like this was a little harsh, because there’s always been interesting and attractive things there to show visitors from elsewhere.

When people came to visit you in Brisbane, you could take them on a drive to see the views from Mt Cootha and on to Clayfield, Hendra and Corinda to see the big, beautiful, old Queenslanders.

Or you could take visitors for a drive to see the roses at New Farm Park and a walk around the Botanic Gardens beside the river in town was always pleasant.

In 1996 it became even better, because you could take them for a ride up and down the Brisbane River in the CityCat. And from around 2006, you could visit the Cultural Centre in South Brisbane, as well as enjoying all the new restaurants, the live music in Fortitude Valley and the rest.

However, when PPAL read the article, she found it was about the glories of the hinterland towns on the Lamington Plateau, inland from the Gold Coast: Mount Nebo, Mount Glorious, Tamborine Mountain etc.

Great places to take people on a drive, and the article wasn’t putting Brisbane down at all.

October 15, 2009 at 12:51 am Leave a comment

Lattes’ dinnertime dilemma

Following on from the last post, there’s a few reasons for lattes wasting the food they buy because they eat out so much. Sometimes there are difficult decisions to be made.

There’s just so much to do in Sydney. Why live here if you don’t see and do everything you can? Really, it can be hard for Sydneysiders to eat at home. Yes, well-prepared lattes would think ahead and pack a lunch but packed lunches aren’t really Sydney.  Let alone packed dinners.

There’s also the time it takes to get around, particularly by public transport. So for the hungry latte skipping down Oxford Street at dinner time on her way to see a movie at the Academy Twin, she really has to think about her priorities.

She could skip the movie, and take two trains and a bus to arrive home an hour later and start chopping.

On the other hand, she’s right beside the Snakebean Asian Diner, a place she’s heard good things about for ages but never tried. Green papaya salad’s on the menu, it’s cheap and there’s tables free.

What’s a latte to do? She wants to cook her own meals with the fresh greens in her fridge, but surely she can’t be expected to miss the movie?

Sydney lattes face some terrible dilemmas.

October 12, 2009 at 11:08 pm 1 comment

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