the boundaries of increased regulation

This is probably my last blog post for Polis, a journalism and society think tank based in LSE’s Media and Communications department, as my web editor internship comes to a close.

As a Canadian looking on at the British phone-hacking scandal, I have so many questions going forward, and some very mixed feelings, including not a little unease at the notion politicians would define reporting standards…. That said, my blog post ends with a question about where the boundaries of any increased/externally-enforced regulation might lie. Will bloggers face the same scrutiny as mainstream press? Should they?

(The picture included in this post was originally posted here.)


travel post

I took some time out this week for some personal travel writing; here’s my piece on lovely Zadar, in northern Croatia.

on the academic side

It’s been a sort of crazy spring, with term papers, exams, and the fantastic opportunity to file stories for Postmedia News about the Royal Wedding. Using Wordle, I’ve cobbled together a word cloud from my essay notes to shed some light on my assigned work for the MSc Media, Communication and Development program.

And, here are snapshots of studying for May exams…

all alongside an embarrassingly awful soundtrack. No judgment though, right?

covering the Royal Wedding via Twitter…

As part of its coverage of the Royal Wedding, Postmedia drew on the Twitter accounts of a team of reporters on the ground in London (including yours truly) and across Canada. You can find that “live chat” here. But here’s a round-up of my Twitter reportage, in chronological order, starting with a late-night blog post on April 28th, and picking up again from about 4:30 a.m. London time. My goals were to speak to as many Canadians as possible, and paint a picture of what it was like to be in London on the day of the Royal Wedding.
  • The hour-by-hour forecast for London Friday — fingers crossed no rain! #RoyalWedding
  • Telegraph headline: Kate waves goodbye to her life as a commoner #RoyalWedding
  • Sun headline, above pic of Kate and William, inset pic of Diana: Mum would be so proud #RoyalWedding
  • Vanloads of police moving up Northumberland Ave toward Trafalgar, helicopters overhead… #RoyalWedding
  • New Brunswick retiree Connie Carter is just two pple away from the front of the crowd on the Mall – and she didn’t have to sleep here!
  • Carter says she was drawn to #Royalwedding by heritage
  • Line of 25 at Cafe Express on the Mall; people are surprisingly chipper for 6 am! #RoyalWedding
  • “It’s like history,” Andrea Robb, wearing a Cdn flag, says of coming to the #RoyalWedding
  • She and mom Robin Robb, from Lakefield, Ont., have been on the Mall ssince 5-530 am – and should have a pretty great view of #RoyalWedding
  • “Anything is good, we can’t wait. All our friends are very envious back home,” Robin Robb says #RoyalWedding
  • It is BACKED UP trying to get to Buckingham Palace – in fact police are blocking the walk to Victoria Monument #RoyalWedding
  • Wrist bands needed to get through SouthAfrica gate at BuckinghamPalace… #RoyalWedding
  • Meanwhile crowd is cheering for everything that passes, including newscasters #RoyalWedding
  • Toronto couple Joey and Peter Kalata got here 6am, hoping to get thru crowded SouthAfrica gate – #RoyalWedding
  • “I just want to see the queen on the balcony waving,” says Peter Kalata. “It’s going to be a lot of fun here in England” #RoyalWedding
  • After some of the pushing and shoving at the gate, nice to meet people genuinely excited for the event – why come to #RoyalWedding angry?
  • Bruce Lockhart, from Dundas, Ont., got to Buckingham Palace with his wife Karen and friends at 330 am. Perfect view of balcony #RoyalWedding
  • Newfoundland Gate is viable entryway to Victoria Monument circle, if you’re in London – go through from Green Park tube stn #RoyalWedding
  • Dawn Zucchelli, from Van, found spot right in front of the balcony, too – this is her 1st live #RoyalWedding, watched Charles+Di on TV in 81
  • “It’s very exciting, it’s history, and it’s something that’s very happy, it’s a happy event,” Zucchelli says. #RoyalWedding
  • @jesspowless thank you! You should see some of the fabulous outfits and shoes people are wearing!
  • BBC cameraman kind enough to deliver Newfoundland mom and daughter straight in front of the palace at 630 am #RoyalWedding
  • “Whether you’re a monarchist or not…we need this,” Brenda Hunt-Stevenson of Harbour Grace, NF says of #RoyalWedding
  • @carycastagna thankfully not raining here so far! Grey skies and a little chilly tho… #RoyalWedding
  • While some have already broken into Pimms and wine, others are still trying to sleep on ground outside Buckingham Palace #RoyalWedding
  • Just met two teens from Bedford, UK wearing vintage wedding gowns, signs: “it should have been me” #RoyalWedding
  • Father to daughter: we’re not drinking any liquids. But you can have chocolate. #RoyalWedding #avoidingportapotties
  • People cheerily waving Union Jacks, making noise for vans believed to be carrying royals, and public works trucks. #RoyalWedding
  • (Yes, a few hours still from #RoyalWedding kiss, crowd getting a titch bored at Buckingham Palace)
  • Halifax women Carla Beyreis and Michelle Doucet promised each other 5 yrs ago they’d attend Prince William’s #RoyalWedding. Got here 2 am
  • “They’re a perfect match,” Beyreis says of Will and Kate. “We’re looking forward to see them reigning.” #RoyalWedding
  • People cheering sporadically and waving flags, but at 5’4″ it’s hard to tell whether it’s Will-related #RoyalWedding
  • After hrs waiting, people at Buckingham Palace are ready for something to happen #RoyalWedding
  • Organ music playing over speakers at Buckingham Palace #RoyalWedding
  • What has felt like a party much of the morning is quiet now with Abbey happenings laying soundtrack #RoyalWedding
  • People cheer as vows broadcast outside Buckingham Palace #RoyalWedding
  • 15-yr old Sydney Rossiter, from Ottawa, is waiting outside Buckingham Palace for the big kiss #RoyalWedding
  • “It’s awesome,” Rossiter said of the day. I’m so glad it hasn’t rained yet” #RoyalWedding
  • Children on their parents’ shoulders, waiting for Will and Kate to be on the balcony. Follow @sproudfoot for kiss deets #RoyalWedding
  • People at Buckingham Palace being allowed forward, to palace gates ahead of #RoyalWedding kiss
  • It looks like a sea of people sweeping up the Mall #RoyalWedding
  • Brenda Hunt-Stevenson, a NF woman who’s been at BPalace since 630am, says Will and Kate’s 2 kisses well worth wait #RoyalWedding
  • Also, crowds now slowly dispersing, leaving trash, paper flags and even mattresses in their wake #RoyalWedding
  • Photo gallery from my spot at Buckingham Palace today #RoyalWedding

comment tips from Italy….

I’m in Perugia, Italy this week for an international journalism festival. Here’s a piece I wrote for the festival’s magazine:

As a newspaper reporter, I can’t resist any and all tips for delivering news online, so in reviewing a Thursday morning panel discussion entitled, “The news frontier: engaging the community,” I’m going to offer examples of what organizations like Media Wales or Huffington Post have done to keep in touch with readers (and keep sane while doing so).

Commenters’ database: Josh Young, formerly of The Huffington Post, said the news organization – which relies heavily on non-professional contributors – launched a database to keep track of its commenters. The database watched how often they were “favourited” by other members of the community, how often their comments were deemed profane, how often what they said was useful…. Ultimately it painted not only a picture of who used their site and how, but during last year’s Gulf Oil Spill, the database proved helpful for editors quickly sifting through high-quality submitted content and not-so-high-quality submitted content, based on the community members’ previous relationship with the Post.

Make community members feel like they have an innovative, transformative role: And that shouldn’t just be a make-nice sort of feeling, said Paola Bonomo, head of online services for Vodafone Italia. She pointed out crowdsourcing not only has incredible potential, it’s worked for news organizations like The Guardian, who offered up all the paperwork on the MPs’ expense scandal to readers, allowing them to help out with coverage by sifting through the documents, too. Media Wales online communities editor Ed Walker said his Cardiff-based organization has relied on readers to help populate online maps that show traffic delays, and during an election at the moment the organization is asking audience members to send in pictures and items about local candidates on the campaign trail.

Keep your commenting governance in-house: It’s tempting to use platforms like Facebook instead of editing readers’ comments in-house – perhaps it’s the lack of anonymity that makes for fewer “trolls,” for example, Bonomo said. Young argued, however, the only reason to hand over commenting to an outside organization would be an absolute belief running comments through Facebook, for example, is going to generate a more viral sharing of your product. In general, he said, organizations need to build in-house commenting systems and keep control of their relationship with their audience.