Archive for the ‘’ Category

Portable TV studio of the future for €470?

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Expansys have an Acer laptop for sale for a whopping €179.99. It runs Linux.

Acer Laptop

7 Day Shop have a Kodak Zi6 HD video camera for €110.

A mobile broadband dongle costs anywhere from €15 to €20 a month. Over 12 months that’s €180 to €240.

So for about €470, you can record HD video, edit it and upload it to multiple places. For basic video without bells and whistles, it’s a cheap and handy rig.

Press/Media Advice for an Irish Business – The Mega mix

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Here’s a list of blog posts from some Irish people that work in and around media and PR talking about how to up your PR/Media relationship game. You might find it useful. This is from an Irish perspective, so if there are other hints and tips I missed, please let me know.

Publicistklubben Södra - 08
Photo owned by jocke66 (cc)

From Adrian Weckler:

How to get more space in a newspaper.

How to write a competent press release.

6 things I would do if I set up a PR company.

Way way more from Adrian here.

From Damien Mulley:

Dealing with the media – Interview stage.

Secrets of running a Lobby Group – Building press relations.

How to deal with journalists – as told by them.

Building relationships with journalists.

From Piaras Kelly:
PR photography tips.

Doing Your Own PR – What Tools Are Out There?

From Emily Tully:
Five things you should know when sending out a press release.

PR on a shoestring.

Preparing for PR.

From Darragh Doyle:
Using simple social media tools to capture an event.

From Eoin Kennedy:
Online PR Distribution Debate Opened Up Again?

Terry Prone – Not a fan of bloggers or journos who blog

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Some amazing alliteration as always.

in setting out to strengthen privacy legislation the government could hamstring legitimate media — which operate under guidelines, internal checks and balances, and have a capacity for educated caution which amounts to some form of self-censoring — while doing nothing to stop the venting of venomous bilge that constitutes the bulk of what’s euphemistically dubbed “citizen journalism”

It must be said, however, that the openness of journalists to examine all sides of possible legislation is currently complicated by their promiscuous fascination with internet-based offerings.

You don’t get orthopaedic surgeons doing knee replacements in their leisure time without charge. Yet you get journalists writing blogs for nothing, their urge for self-expression obscuring the fact that they are undermining their own employers.

Bryan Dobson meets some bloggers, thanks RTE!

Friday, April 10th, 2009


Yesterday RTE pulled out all the stops to give Darragh, Suzy, Alan, John, myself and Tommy a tour of RTE’s Newsroom. Bryan Dobson is dead on too. We got a quick tour of the newsroom where Carolyn introduced us to the many people that work to inform the millions of Irish people about what’s going on in Ireland and around the world. We got to briefly chat with Bryan Dobson and others. I think he’s now subbed to Tommy’s blog. We then went to the gallery or whatever it’s called where the magic happens for the news on RTE television. There we saw the prep for the 1pm news and they showed us how they line up the stories, images and graphics for each news bulletin. From there we went into the news studio and watched the prep from there before the 1pm news.


Then we left them get on with the news. The Morning Ireland studio is adjacent to news studio and we got a look at that too. Morning Ireland are on Twitter too:

And then we looked into the studio that does the Late Late (Rumour is Ryan will get the gig but Tommy will take over the TT show, makes sense) and Tubridy tonight, this is the view from above, a hell of a lot of lights eh?:

After a brief break at the infamous RTE canteen we then headed over to where the Primetime team work and met Mark Little and other team members for a good chat about news and current affairs and the views of the bloggers and Twitter folks on what they’d like to see RTE do online. They seemed very interested in the liveblogging and Twitter feedback.

There’s a lot of talk about the licence fee anytime RTE does something people don’t like but when you see how the (Update: Clarifying that I mean RTE news) News organisation works and what they provide to the public in a efficient manner maybe you’ll consider the idea that they’re value for money.

Oh and on leaving I saw Larry Gogan. Half the visiting party never heard of him. Feeling old…

Not even a Fr. Jack style sorry, RTE apologise to Cowen

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

What the fuck like?

Newspapers in Ireland – Bits from a presentation

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I gave a talk as Conchango last Friday on the present and future of newspapers. (oh and Tom wants a free link to his blog). Nobody remembers what I said exactly as I hid my lack of insight by using XKCD comic strips in each slide to distract them. (Never fails to work)

Google Trends now allows you to see rough site visit information (though many think the data can be way out) but again it’s good for rough estimates. If you log into it you can see the numbers as per the screencaps. If you click the images you’ll see better versions of the images.

Here’s a Trends screencap of visitors to the main Irish Newspaper sites.
Irish newspapers on Google Trends

Oddly, the Examiner’s Breaking News website gets more visits than their main site. I’m sure the fact the Examiner couldn’t stick with a name or a single website address didn’t help either.
Irish newspapers on Google Trends

Now, when you throw in RTE’s website, it shows who the daddy is for online news. Newspapers I hope are starting to realise that they can’t rely just on print alone now for distribution.
Irish newspapers on Google Trends

As I keep on saying and giving out about, they also need to go where the younger generation are going and that’s not a single place anymore. Here’s Newspapers, RTE and Bebo in a graph and this is Irish usage not worldwide usage. Look at all the Irish on Bebo, look at the number visiting the Irish Examiner site:
Irish newspapers on Google Trends

From my perspective:

Current state of Irish newspapers

  • Losing readership. Print revenue down. Charges going up. Becoming more tabloid to get/retain marketshare.
  • Screwing existing journos with less fulltime contracts, getting rid of sub-editors, outsourcing, less resouces. Turnaround time is minutes or hours NOT days.
  • Their journos are lifting stories right, left and centre from blogs. From images to copying and pasting whole blog posts.
  • Associated Press in bed with Google. Google News top story linking to AP headline, not headlines of Boston Globe, National or Local papers.

Blogger Threat

Bloggers are a threat because:

  • Breaking news more.
  • Sources going to bloggers. Sources trust the “real” bloggers more these days.
  • Blogs have better SEO.

What are the Newspapers doing right?

  • Dropping paywalls
  • Making a go of SEO
  • Allowing social bookmarking
  • Allowing comments
  • Bringing their own blogs online
  • Feeds for every section

More is needed

  • Add feeds for each journalist/columnist
  • Heavily exploit email
  • Bebo and Facebook Widgets
  • Distribution API –> Wherever the cool kids hang

Future changes

Aggregate, edit, distribute

  • Newspapers still bastions of balance and quality (for now)
  • A newspaper should promote good work, no matter the source and with it encourage good blogging
  • Finding news sources, journalists, bloggers.
  • Each newspaper should be like AP, offering every article up
  • This will need a full blown API for stock purchase and distribution

Changing work

  • All news is breaking news, people no longer wait for the paper
  • All newspapers need to be media orgs, integration?
  • 3 hour radio shows are now 24/7 websites and direct competitors. Remember that.
  • In order to crowdsource, reporting material needs to be shared
  • A DIGG for each paper?
  • Journalists need to share what they are looking at and ask for help – Help a Reporter

Baba O’Reilly takes on Greenslade

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Here we go.

Greenslade blogs:

In many ways the O’Brien saga is a distraction from the stark reality facing a company that has put its faith in the longevity of newsprint and averted its gaze from the digital future. It has invested online, of course, but it is way behind many other newspaper companies.

The consequence of playing the digital ostrich is that INM is hurt more by the newsprint advertising downturn than those publishers who have been chasing online revenues fo several years.

Note the tone of INM’s trading update. While claiming that revenues were “marginally ahead in constant currency terms” so far this year, advertising conditions remained volatile in the second quarter. Volatile is usually code for problematic. So, in plain-speak, revenue is falling and likely to fall further in the second half of the year.

Baba O’Reilly replies:

Firstly, for the record, at INM we make no apologies whatsoever for putting our “faith” in newspapers/ newsprint, as our record 2007 results speak to (advertising growth, circulation growth and record profits)… On the face of it, that’s just good business and that might just appear to your readers to be a winning strategy (and perhaps, other media groups should follow our lead?)


Being at the vanguard of digital developments as we are, your somewhat strident (and mistaken) views on INM might have been suitably moderated by revealing (or at least reflecting) some of INM’s other digital ventures/ investments, such as the hugely successful creation, expansion and flotation (and subsequent profitable sale for c. €100m) of iTouch PLC (mobile content), as well as INM’s recent investments in price comparison (Germany), mobile VoIP, image search and online bingo/ gaming.

Denver the last dinosaur:
Dinosaur and Astronaut
Photo owned by Tom Hilton (cc)

If the news is that important, it will find me

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Welcome to the Bebo generation. If you’re in the news business and the blog post title doesn’t scare you half to death then you’re either fucked or you already knew this and are ready for it. If you are in the news business and you think that statement is moronic then you’re beyond fucked. You’re already dead. The line “If the news is that important, it will find me” comes from a New York times article that created a buzz very recently.

According to interviews and recent surveys, younger voters tend to be not just consumers of news and current events but conduits as well — sending out e-mailed links and videos to friends and their social networks. And in turn, they rely on friends and online connections for news to come to them.

Ms. Buckingham recalled conducting a focus group where one of her subjects, a college student, said, “If the news is that important, it will find me.

I’ve seen a few newspaper people talk over the past few years and listened to some of their private views and they seem to think that people are going to come to them because everyone knows that they’re the people that cover news well. People no longer care who the paper of record is, they’ll listen to a friend or read an email from them about news. They’re the papers of records. As we connect more and more to our friends, they’ll have more and more of that power. Fergal’s blog post about the guffawing of journalists because the Lisbon Refendum Commission decided to advertise on social networks says an awful lot about the disconnect Irish media has with the younger generations:

Feargal Keane reported on RTE Radio 1’s Drivetime that the Lisbon Refendum Commission were spending large amounts of money on advertising on Facebook and Bebo. Keane described the journalistic reaction to this at the press conference as one of guffawing and barely controlled mirth

Photo owned by Sputnik world (cc)

News orgs and everyone else that wants attention will have to be where the crowd is and unfortunately for them it’s not in a newsagents and street corner or on the TV or radio or even on a newspaper’s website. The crowd are always going to be moving now and media orgs and businesses are going to have to be there too.

Here the Indo get it ever so slightly allowing you to use social bookmarks to bookmark stories with Digg, Delicious, Reedit, Google Notebook and Stumble Upon. This is great because people will read what people they’re connected to are reading and these services offer that. (You can subscribe to what people bookmark) Still the numbers that use the above social bookmarking services are tiny compared to the Bebo and Facebook population in Ireland alone. Where’s the integration with those sites? Big fail there from the Indo.

I don’t see integration with Facebook and Bebo either in the upcoming website remake of the Irish Times either. It’ll be social bookmarks and the paywall will come down so it’ll give them an SEO boost, which is great in one way and crap in another as it’s about four years too late for the basics of what the web is doing today. Yes, in case you didn’t know the paywall is coming down.

I think both the Indo and the Irish Times now need to start talking APIs like Reuters are doing and let other people redistribute their content to not just 1000s of people but 1000s of spaces where 1000s people are now congregating. If they were thinking about what to do with the present congregations they’d be doing deals to get into Facebook and Bebo, if they were future gazing they’d be considering at least APIs.

The Paper Boy
Photo owned by from a second story. (cc)

Still they also need to consider Web 1.0 basics too. How many people subscribe by email and get news alerts by email from the Indo or the Times? Getting your presence into the mailbox of someone have having them read you is both powerful and valuable. Where’s the ability on any of the newspaper sites to subscribe by author? Where’s the ability to subscribe by keyword? There’s another step here to be taken though. These news organisations need to become the premier dealer for all news, not just their own. They should be including news from other publications and blogs as well. The Indo again are kind of getting it with keyword underlining in articles that brings you to articles with the same keywords but they need to improve on this. Then of course there’s crowd sourcing of news with the Business Week blog where they ask the public to send in story ideas.

But with the ground staff guffawing at where the people hang around these days and probably the decision makers too, maybe the last man standing will be the group that gets what the future is about and feed their breed of news to that future.

Dealing with the media – The interview stage

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

I’ve already written some stuff on the media, including how to build relations with the press when running a lobby group, where to make contacts and how not to piss off journalists. I’ll now give my opinions on what to do once you get the call and get asked to give an interview. These are all my own and have worked for me. They are not definitive and I’m sure others would take a different tact when it comes to dealing with the media.Two main types of interviews are over the phone for a print or online journalist and the radio interview which will be done on the phone or in studio.

The most important thing about any interview is that you are prepared for it. If you put out a press release then you should already know your topic inside out. You should be expecting and be prepared for interviews well before the send button is pressed on that press release.

Interview preparation for print + radio:

Not to be obsessive about it, but if you are campaigning for something you should always be in a state of preparation and readiness. Always looking for new data sources, always reading as many views (pro and opposing) as you can. logging and storing everything that others are saying, looking for new surveys and reports and watching and learning how others campaign.

Photo owned by dan taylor (cc)

Read, read, read, read
The best way to be ready for an interview is to have a clue. Simple innit? The more you read, the more you’ll know your topic and the peripheral issues around your topic. Being too focused on one narrow area can handicap you when you need to relate your topic to the greater world so the basics of business and social areas should also be studied. If you’re not reading about your topic every day, something is wrong.

Cog, cog, cog, cog
When you’re reading something and you like the way a phrase sounds, cog it. If certain phrases sum up what you wanted to say more succintly, use them. Everything has been said before, the Internet will show that and it will also show you that there are always going to be those out there that can explain your own thoughts and campaigns better than you. Your job is to be an aggregator and editor as much as someone that can create catchy headlines. And I suppose not needing to reinvent the wheel is a phrase that does actually apply.

Have a crib sheet of soundbites + add to it
As well as your press releases, you should have an A4 crib sheet with soundbites to use. Have them typed out, not handwritten. Your handwriting sucks and you are used to printed word these days anyway. Who reads handscrawl anymore? All the cogging above should give you some nice soundbites. Now, the very clever folks will also have a crib sheet of soundbites those on the other side (if there is one) generally use so have counter soundbites to them. “The opposition may say that blah but naturally they forget to mention X”.

Say it out loud
Writing something out is all well and good but you need to be able to repeat what you say in a fluid manner when chatting to someone on the phone or going on-air. You should be reading out all your press releases, you need to have all your soundbites at the tip of your town. Consider the idea of muscle memory that athletes use and do the same when it comes to the soundbites and lists of facts. Make sure too to intonate the way you say things. Some things need to be said in a cold factual way and other things need a more emotional/pleading/playing to the crowd ring to them. Also while it shames me to say it, you may need to alert your accent and pronounciation. Your friends and colleagues alter the way they listen and comprehend you over time. They become used to the way you speak and vice-versa, you cannot afford to do that when you are interviewed by a journalist or go on air. That mid-Atlantic accent free voice is popular for a reason. I’m not saying you need to sound like Tony Blackbourn but try and neutralise your pronounciation of things. This is why saying things out loud is beneficial.

Have a list of potential questions they’ll ask
You’ll be getting sick of crib sheets now but when it comes to issuing a release you need to predict as many questions you’ll be asked as possible. Have at least twenty questions that you could be asked and make sure you have answers. Good answers. Answers that link to public sources of data, answers that close down an argument and answers that lead in to being asked questions you want to be asked.

host mic
Photo owned by Ctd 2005 (cc)

Being Interviewed on Radio

There are a few ways of being interviewed. There’s the pre-record or the live piece. You might be in-studio or on your phone at home or elsewhere. You might be on your own or they might have someone on to counter you or you on to counter someone else. Irish radio can be very much “He said, she said”. Local radio is very very important for getting the word out. The host of the show can be very accomodating if you come on because too many people snub the local radio stations and fail to see that local radio has a near monopoly in many areas and the hosts are quite influential. Just make sure you know a little bit about the locality before you go on. Making local references endears you more. Also you almost, almost have a free ride when you go on local stations.

Remember your soundbites
As above, have your soundbites well rehearsed. Don’t use just soundbites but you need some memorable lines that people can take away from the interview.

Know what the opposition will say, counter it, twist it, put them off balance
Again, have your cog sheet of what they will say and have the counters for them. If they’re not expecting your counters then you can throw them in their interview and have them on the backstep easy enough. It’s not enough to understand what you’re on for but how the opposition see things and how they’ll react to new information you put at them. Predict what they’ll do and have counters for that too.

If on own, host is devil’s advocate
A lot of the time if you come on and you’re on your own, just with the host then he or she will decide for balance they’ll be the Devil’s advocate. Be ready for that. There is a stonger predeliction for the national stations to do this than the locals.

It’s all in the first two minutes on radio/TV
That’s what it comes down to. At the start of an interview you are lined up and allowed to go off and say what you want to say before you are stopped. These are the golden minutes or minute. While not trying to freak you out, you need to line up your ducks and shoot them in this time. Explain your issue, the background and your solution or explain in everyday terms the basis of your argument. You are giving a sales pitch to an audience not just people in the studio.

Practice with people before
You need to practice and as mentioned earlier you need to speak out loud. This gets your timing right to get all the information in to the golden minutes. You will need people to act as a radio host and as the opposition. Even have really difficult opponents who give you a hard time to you can easier deal with head to heads when they do happen.

Feel like antique ...
Photo owned by JasperYue (cc)

Tape yourself
Sounds odd but listen to how you say things and how you react and find weaknesses or areas you need to improve on. If you don’t and you are campaigning against a pro they’ll no doubt be finding your weak points which they’ll exploit. It will also be a nice way of documenting how you are getting better over time.

Know your message – 3 points at most with 3 examples
Have 3 examples for each point you want to make in the interview. 3 points at most. Make them natural, put a person into the “anecdote” that you use. You are selling to people who will feel. Stats are cold. Give them an image of a person. “There go I but for the grace of god” type imagery. Pat Phelan’s Paddy Tax campaign is a great example. It was told in terms of general consumers and the folks on the other side of the border were compared to us.

Never say “Yes” never say “No”
Run with the ball until it’s taken back. If you are given the opportunity then grasp it and be selfish, this is you talking to a mass audience, not just the presenter, not just replying to the person on the other side of the table. Remember that. Keep going and talking until they tell you to shut up, basically. Always talk as much as you can. Never give “yes” or “no” answers. The radio presenter has a tough enough job interviewing up to a dozen people per show. Having to tease every answer from you will piss them off and you might not get asked to come back.

It’s always better to say “Yes, but …” rather than “No”! or “I think you’ll find”, “What is more important”, “The question to ask is” etc.

Question: “Yes or no, did you have sexual relations with that woman?” Answer: “Matt, I think the more important question here is whether”

Photo owned by Neeta Lind (cc)
The start is the end is the beginning
The start: Line up the points, get them out there, have a strong opening.
If you are on second and are asked to rebut a point when you come on do, once you get your own point made too. “I’ll get to that but first the background” Get your main point across. That’s what you’re there for. The end: Go back to the start. Your main point. Try and get that last word.

A digg for Irish blog posts to get them into the mainstream press

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

So we have which is meant to be a DIGG-like site for Ireland though it isn’t hugely popular right now but a comment from Blog from the Bog notes:

The only news that gets reported are the stories that come to the papers, there are no journalists anymore that go out looking for news. The importance of blogging during the recent election was mooted by Damien Mulley and that idea could be developed further into all news reporting. Why shouldn’t bloggers get the scoops?

There is plenty of news out there to go around I should think, though it would take some looking and digging unless you happened upon it by chance. Not every story would be headlined on the evening news but I suspect there are more enthusiastic bloggers out there than reporters.

Firstly, I do think there are journalists who search for stories but I also think the modern cut and thrust of the news industry means most cannot afford to spend too much time on a story and deeply researching it. They are afterall paid to report on a daily or weekly basis and to fill x amount of space while trying to produce something which is also timely and not old news.

Enough of that for now, so why don’t bloggers get scoops? I think it has to do with the type of scoops. Some are deliberately leaked or fed in return for an ego boost, knowing you are the cause of headlines, even if you are a “source within company x”. If I did an FOI and got some great information and I blogged it, it might get a bit of attention but only when someone reads my blog in the mainstream press would the readership of the story go from 1200 to 12,000 o even 120,000. You got to wonder if a blog had 120k daily readers, would they be doing the scooping by being fed so much? I think they would. This is how it works in the States. Blogorrah gets a lot of scoops these days or takes a scoop from a lesser site and gets it huge attention. They currently only work in a certain niche but the model can work for other sites too.

Then there are they accidental finds and again getting the word out. Many people that make an accidental find will blog about it if they have a blog and if not they’ll tell someone who’ll tell someone and it ends up getting to the ears of a journalist or is more likely these days, it goes on a blog or discussion forum first. Anything on youTube is on a blog first, including all those Garda videos of late.

Then there are the investigative scoops, after a tipoff or suspicion. Research into company records, or local newspaper stories or FOI requests. Those who are employed to write might have time to do this but bloggers themselves might not have time. The recent article(s) in the Irish Times and their consumer panel were actually noted on my blog last year but it was only through a conversation with John Collins that he learned that ComReg pay people on their consumer panel to sit through presentations from telcos on how everything is great in Ireland. Yadda. Yadda.

For the FOI requests, wouldn’t it be good if there was a site that scanned in all FOI requests and made them public. Make FOI requests and either upload them yourelf to the service or post them to the service and they’ll scan them in. Tag them and stick them online to be found. Maybe use OCR software to recan them and convert the scans to text so the search engines can find them even more.

But getting to the point of this post. If someone has an interesting story, wouldn’t it be good if there was an “attention” button which people could press if they think that post should get looked at by the press? kind of like a DIGG button but specifically for newsworthy stories.