Day: March 16, 2010

Over Half Your News Is Spin

I’d love to see research done on this in Ireland, the UK and the US.

Crikey: Under UTS’ Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ) head Wendy Bacon (a Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist herself…) more than 40 students have got up close and personal with the sticky end of the spin cycle. They’ve had to analyse, critique, question and then pick up the phone to ask the hard questions of the media and its reliance on public relations to drive news.

Hard questions, because this is what came out in the wash: after analysing a five-day working week in the media, across 10 hard-copy papers, ACIJ and Crikey found that nearly 55% of stories analysed were driven by some form of public relations. The Daily Telegraph came out on top of the league ladder with 70% of stories analysed triggered by public relations. The Sydney Morning Herald gets the wooden spoon with (only) 42% PR-driven stories for that week.

Many journalists and editors were defensive when the phone call came. Who’d blame them? They’re busier than ever, under resourced, on deadline and under pressure. Most refused to respond, others who initially granted an interview then asked for their comments to be withdrawn out of fear they’d be reprimanded, or worse, fired.

Great name for an Aussie blog btw.

Mozilla Account Manager

This is brilliant, a Firefox account manager that standardises the handling of authentication on websites, including registration, login and logout handling, account cancellation, password changes, etc. It’s similar in some respects to the likes of LastPass, but it’s more focused on functionality than data, and in reality should actually be able to tie into current managers as a data store. Web application developers and major website owners need to implement this asap!

Account Manager is a prototype to dramatically simplify how you connect to sites. It implements a new protocol for websites to integrate with your browser, so you can sign in and sign out right from your toolbar. Look for the key icon, to the left of your URL bar.

(Also see the draft spec and the wiki page.)