Monthly Archives: February 2007

New citizen media site launches

New Zealand has a new site for citizen journalists at

Created by Fraser Mills and Peter Hodge, two recent graduates of the Peter Arnett School of Journalism in Invercargill, InfoNews invites anyone to submit local news, photos or video.

The site, which launched today, also has an events list and forums.

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nzherald top stories – week of Feb 18

These were the most-read stories this week on nzherald:

1. Earthquakes shake Auckland region
2. Asteroid on collision path with Earth
3. Britney Spears shears hair off, gets a new tattoo
4. Proud teenager blown away by the Lynx effect
5. Cricket: Aussie media roast players

Source: New Zealand Herald

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Online ad data due next month

Finally, we are about to get reliable data on the amount of money spent on online advertising in New Zealand.

The first figures from the new Interactive Advertising Bureau will be incorporated in annual data to be published by the Advertising Standards Authority next month, writes John Drinnan at

Online advertising in New Zealand has lagged behind other countries such as the US and Australia, with an estimated 2-4 per cent share of total advertising expenditure, depending on whether you factor in formats such as paid search.

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nzherald top stories – week of Feb 11

These were the most-read stories this week on nzherald:

1. Family of missing kayaker giving up hope
2. Temporary upgrade is on table for Eden Park – Mallard
3. Chip can do a trillion calculations a second
4. Police arrest driver in horror bus crash
5. Valentine’s Day vandals glue florists shut

Source: New Zealand Herald

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Social media’s key influencers revealed

The Wall St Journal has tracked down some of the most influential users of social media sites such as Digg, Reddit and Newsvine – the people who routinely get their links voted on to the front page.

As Journal reporters Jamin Warren and John Jurgensen note:

The opinions of these key users have implications for advertisers shelling out money for Internet ads, trend watchers trying to understand what’s cool among young people, and companies whose products or services get plucked for notice. It’s even sparking a new form of payola, as marketers try to buy votes.

One of the best “buzz” creators turns out to be a 12-year-old boy in Toronto who monitors more than 100 sites, looking for stories he knows will be popular with other Reddit users.

Hat tip: TechCrunch

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Don’t let facts get in the way of a good headline

The Times Online headlines its story on yesterday’s stoush between Japanese whalers and the anti-whaling activists of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society with this imaginative headline:

Whalers rescue environmentalists in Antarctic drama

But there is nothing in the story to substantiate that – not even a quote from the whalers themselves. So I checked the whalers’ website, where they say they participated in the search for two Sea Shepherd crewmembers adrift in an inflatable boat, but make no claim to having been part of the actual rescue.

Did the Times just decide to make up an ironic headline? It looks like it. According to Sea Shepherd, the two crewmembers were recovered by their own ship, Farley Mowat.

By joining in the search, the whalers did exactly what they were obligated to do when a distress situation had been declared by the captain of Farley Mowat, just as New Zealand came to the aid of a sick whaler, transporting him by helicopter to hospital in Wellington last Sunday.

Looks like the Times doesn’t believe in crediting sources either. The photo on their story was clearly taken from the Sea Shepherd website, but without attribution.

Despite these problems, I thought the actual story by Richard Lloyd Parry was balanced and comprehensive.

Near the end Parry refers to the fact that the UK and Belize have decided to cancel the registrations of the two Sea Shepherd ships. The big question – and one journalists should be looking into – is what will that mean for the ships and their crews at the end of this campaign in Antarctica?

UPDATE [11-Feb-07] The Times Online has changed the headline on their story to “Whalers aid in Antarctic rescue of environmentalists” but hasn’t explained the change.

Video by a crewmember on the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru shows stink bombs being fired from the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter yesterday [more videos]

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Daily Mirror design disaster

Daily Mirror front page 

I rarely visit the Daily Mirror website, but after reading Roy Greenslade’s scathing review of the Mirror’s redesign, I had to take a look.

Greenslade tears apart the Mirror’s new US-sourced content, but I found it hard getting past the front page – the design is just so “Ohmigod” (Greenslade’s term).

  • Almost all the text in the first screen is all-caps. Great if you enjoy being shouted at.
  • And wouldn’t some pictures be nice? I mean, seriously, 40×40 thumbnails? Are the Mirror readers all on 14.4kbps dialup?
  • And there’s a big empty hole in the centre of the front page. It’s still there regardless of which display resolution I use.

I don’t know how the new design compares with the old Mirror, but even if it’s a huge improvement, it still has a long way to go to match the Sun’s site.

Content-wise, I didn’t delve deeply to compare the sites, but the Sun has been setting the pace with its explosive coverage of the US military coverup of a deadly friendly fire attack four years ago in Iraq. (Sadly, they have since reverted to type, splashing lavish coverage of Anna Nicole Smith’s death across the front page yesterday and today.)

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