Archive for December, 2007

Da loot for da toolkit

December 30, 2007

Back from New York, where Santa used my credit card with fairly decent restraint.

Of course, I convinced my wife (although the frowned eyebrows didn’t completely disappear), I’m still not a geek and it is all work related. Really.

So here’s the loot, to pimp my multimedia toolkit:

– Canon Rebel XT (10 megapixel, yeah, for upcoming stunning slide shows, just to shut Paul B. up)

– Bose earphones (listening to BBC Radio 4 can be torturous to the ears)

– An MicroMemo thingie, so you can upload podcasts simpler as ever (it was my son’s call, we simply had to buy something when we visited Apple Heaven on Fifth Avenue)

– Final Cut Express 4.0 (because I want to learn more than just Avid)


An excited new owner leaves the package behind 

And that’s about it. Oh yeah, one other thing: I’m gonna order an iMac now, so we can put these things to good use. Don’t worry, it’s a family computer. Really.

What was the best multimedia present that you got?


Oh my, a virus? No, just the BBC abroad

December 26, 2007

I freaked out. I religiously practice safe surfing, so how in the world did that advertisement show up on the BBC news site?

BBC goes commercial

Click the pic to see it for yourself.

It scared me initially. Thought some bizar virus had taken over the laptop.

Then I realized, I was surfing the web in the United States. BBC is commercial free in the UK, but can (for some time now) advertise outside its borders.

Strange experience for this London resident. Felt a bit dirty. Like promising the senior citizen next door to cut her lawn for free, and then asking money.

Or like watching the sunrise being sponsored by the Yellow Pages. It’s just not right.

But maybe I’m getting old. Cause why it’s necessary, click here for BBC’s explanation.

Are you bl**ging serious?

December 20, 2007

We’ve been doing it for ten years now. We blog at NOS Dutch public broadcasting. But next month it’ll be bl**ging serious. No sh*t.

Blogged about it on (Dutch) new media blog De Nieuwe Reporter.

De Nieuwe Reporter

Click on the logo for my blog blabbering. 

Signing off for now, packing up, and heading for the U.S. Will be sitting on the couch for most of the time, watching football and plotting a silent revolution.

Stay tuned for what a co-conspirator calls ‘a quick fix’.

Student (not Mom) knows best

December 19, 2007

Twenty students from my alma mater, the very superior Tilburg School of Journalism, sent me some feedback on a recent multimedia production in Wales.

They were very polite.

Very honest, that too. Ouch.

(Check for yourself, albeit in Dutch, in the comments below the entry on multimedia math.)

I find it vitally important nowadays to hear from journalism students. We teach them how to become responsible journalists (values when telling the story), they teach us how to become responsive journalists (valuable ways of telling the story).

On that front, check out what Mindy McAdams is doing at the University of Florida. (Click on the pic.)

Mindy McAdams at work

Mindy McAdams (photo Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University)

On her college website she shares her syllabus on multimedia journalism for students. We also see some material from students, taking their first steps as multimedia story tellers. Exciting stuff, that proves one thing: Students and teachers learn from each other more than ever before.

Surfing the web, the world wide one

December 17, 2007

A while ago, I queried my fellow members of the Online News Association. Simple question:

What non-American sites do you regularly visit?

Within hours my mail box was bulking with responses. At least, that’s what I hoped. But alas, in vain. After some subtle prodding I did get some better idea what (mostly American) online-colleagues consider international inspiration.

Let me list them all:

BBC Daily

Reuters Alert Net

Canadian Broadcasting Company

El Periodico

And that was about it, although some funny guy mentioned that we shouldn’t forget the international flavor of Alaska and New Mexico.

Damn colleagues, we just can’t be bothered, can we?

As I was about to give up, someone alerted me to the following site:

Global Voices Online

Global Voices Online, managed by Curt Poff, who plugged his site as follows: “It’s not hard news. But still, you get a good idea about what folks are blogging about in far-flung locations around the world.”

And so I find myself for some time already, mostly after midnight, surfing the world wide web of blogging. Little pearl in that international ocean of opinions is by far the bloggers from Burma. It is a beautiful world.

Auntie’s online make-over

December 16, 2007

So this is what tomorrow’s BBC website will look like. The online colleagues who we love to hate. Despise to be more exact, because they’re so bloody brilliant. A sneak preview. You didn’t hear it from me.

That good old BBC

Click on the picture (of granny’s BBC era) to go straight to the new website

And to explain the face-lift, Richard Titus (Acting Head of User Experience) writes about drawing inspiration from sources as Facebook, iGoogle and NetVibes in his entry on, where else, the BBC Internet Blog.

Richard Titus (Acting Head)                                                                                                               


Acting Head

I Love Paper (2)

December 16, 2007

You may call me ‘weirdo’, I don’t care. I still love paper, as professed in an earlier entry. So here the love story continues.

6. I love all those people who actually read the paper on the bus, whether it’s Metro, London Lite or some other daily rag.

7. But I also love to smile politely and say ‘no thanks’ to the insisting paper boys handing out those freebies.

8. I therefore love handing over 50 pence for The Evening Standard to the old lady at Marylebone Station.

9. I love doing recycling, and more often than not I end up reading another page before it’s all tossed in that huge, green container.

10. I love Letters to the Editor, especially those in The Daily Telegraph. These folks must still use an old fashioned type writer. Love it!

I Love Great Headlines

Cyclone Sidr never happened

December 14, 2007

Or did it? My local Indian restaurant reminded me of the tragedy. There will be a charity dinner this weekend. Because it was a big disaster. Apparently.

I had totally forgotten about it. Which is bizar for a cyclone, named Sidr, that killed 3,300 people, left millions homeless and wiped out fifteen villages, infrastructure and crops.

Bangladesh has appealed for 2.2 billion dollars in aid. So where are we, the media, to keep this story on the front page and at the top of the news bulletins?

We are nowhere to be found.

I ‘news googled’ the tragedy and mainly stumbled upon stories from the wire services. Then I went to YouTube and searched for dramatic pictures. Al-Jazeera jumped out.

New media journalism is so simple nowadays, isn’t it? If it’s on YouTube, if millions are watching it, if people on social networks keep passing it on, it’s gotta be good, so it will be news eventually.

It’s like the CNN Factor from ages ago. If CNN is there, then it must be important. That’s how Africa stayed on the agenda and world leaders couldn’t hide behind the argument ‘we didn’t know’.

I’m afraid cyclone Sidr did not only do a devastating job, but the little bastard was also successful in hiding the story from the rest of the world.

Or maybe we just didn’t look hard enough. After all, there were no tourists with their mobile phone hanging out on the beach, doing our job.

So you want to work in TV

December 13, 2007

It’s really a sanitized version of the truth…

…and realize, that working multimedia means that it’s three times as bad.

And now for something completely local

December 12, 2007

You may always wake me up for a nice bit of gossip. Especially when it involves neighbours. For that same reason, I keep going back to a website with (for me as a Londoner) useless news about the village where I grew up: Oisterwijk in The Netherlands.

Local news is magnetic. And it beats many big national or international stories. Put local and local together, mix it with the YouTube phenomenon that thrives on the High Street, and you might end up with something like this:

Ik Op TV

Click on the funny guy to get to the website

It’s called Ik Op TV, which simply means: Me On Television. The modern equivalent, cynically speaking, of waving as a dumbass at the camera when a tv crew shows up on the weekly market.

It’s a little smarter than that, and I salute the initiative. On this site you can upload your stories, your experiences, your opinions. And if it passes the editorial selection process, your movies might be shown on regional television.

It is a clever combining of forces. Who doesn’t want to be on TV? Biggest thrill, it will drive your neighbour crazy. And it will definitely lead to much more gossip in the neighbourhood.