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July 17, 2012 / conceptbin

Tweet yourself into a media gig

ImageI’m a lazy Twitter user. I tweet a few times a week, but mostly I seem to let the retweets do the talking for me. Putting it generously, I’ve got a curatorial style when it comes to microblogging.

Lists are Twitter’s neglected children. They’re great for taking delicate sips from the firehose of Twitter, but they can be hard to find if you don’t already know that they’re there. You have to dig into the profiles of tweeters you like and see if they’ve put any lists together. If you like the look of the list, you can subscribe to it and get all the tweety goodness without having to subscribe individually to every single feed on the list.

In the spirit of giving a bit back and not being a lazy tweeter, here’s probably the most useful list I’ve put together (and which I maintain by adding and deleting feeds from every few weeks) – Media Work

This list features London- and UK-based feeds from organizations, individuals and businesses that post job adverts aimed at new entrants in the media-sector (production, post-production, digital, etc.), facilitate paid work experience or internships, or offer helpful advice.

The media work list is intended for students and new entrants into the media and creative industries. It was made for my students, and some of the feeds have been suggested by them, but you’ll see that a lot of this information is useful for professionals as well.

December 3, 2010 / conceptbin

Paper Mills, Again

typewriter-crop.jpgEd Dante’s, The Shadow Scholar, is an article by a paper mill writer, explaining his trade, in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education. The comments below the article itself are a treat, illustrating exactly why we need to talk about this problem openly in Higher Education. Dante’s piece is a bit more detailed, but in the same vein as Nick Mamatas’ article The Term Paper Artist (Oct 2008) which was followed up by an interview with Mamatas on NPR’s On the Media.

Both of these pieces illustrate how our current habits of assessment are desperately in need of revision. Yes, it’s unethical for students to buy custom-made coursework and for paper mills to supply them with it, but the fundamental problem is that universities provide a ready supply of identikit essay topics, formats and assessment criteria that create this market in the first place.

November 9, 2010 / conceptbin

Podcasting for Project Students

There are three key steps to any podcast:

1. Prepare
Intro: How podcasting works (

2. Record
Basic steps: How to Create a Podcast in 10 Easy Steps
How to Create Your Own Podcast – A Step-by-Step Tutorial

How to Create a Podcast with No Technical Know-How

3. Distribute
Specific blogging platforms:
How to Publish Podcasts on WordPress tutorial. Also, BloggerTumblr and TypePad make it very easy to post audio to blogs, once you have the file ready.

Feed subscription via RSS: To use FeedBurner to link your blog to iTunes and other services, start with their helpful Feed 101guide.

Learn from the greats:

Podcasting follows all the same principles as radio production except it should probably have a longer shelf-life than your normal broadcast. The best way to understand the potential of the medium is to listen to some good podcasts. Here’s a selection of very different podcasts, from a variety of sources, on a variety of topics. All of them deserve space on your media player, most are updated weekly:

The Hackney Podcast. This is probably the most avant-garde, imaginative and playful approach to podcasting that I have seen. The editor and producer, Francesca Panetta, deserves the awards this podcast has been getting the past year. Updated monthly-ish.

This American Life – a radio show, produced by a highly skilled team at WBEZ Chicago, but it’s too good not to mention.

Slate Magazine’s podcasts. I particularly like the Culture Gabfest and the Politics Gabfest, but that’s just me. They’ve got a fun sports podcast too.

Guardian Audio & Podcast page. Note how each podcast has an anchor who fronts the show, and how their podcasts connect to different editorial departments within the Guardian.

Answer Me This, indie comedy podcast, done by three people.

WTF, comedy podcast.

…and speaking of comedy, here’s Ricky Gervais’ podcast.

The Moth Podcast, storytelling recorded live on stage. These recordings come out of the various live events that the Moth puts on around the USA.

September 28, 2010 / conceptbin

Who do you like?

Wordle: Film class census of directors

A cloud of film directors

Eighty first-year university students in a room, starting their first film studies course, answered the question “Whose work do you enjoy?” Each student could only pick one name, whose work they enjoy viewing. Here’s the outcome, represented as a word cloud generated during the lecture. I’m looking forward to repeating the exercise in January!

July 21, 2010 / conceptbin

Camden Walk

For Literary London summer school students at Greenwich, here’s our walking route for the day, in case anybody gets lost.

Here’s the slideshow for the seminar on surveillance.

July 13, 2010 / conceptbin

Filtering, at Curious01

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be one of the provocateurs at Curious 01, an event organized by Paul Bay of Citizenbay for marketing and communications practitioners. Being the lone academic in a room full of seasoned marketing and advertising pros was great fun. In the spirit of provocation I suggested that fostering curiosity these days is more about filtering out information that seeking it out in the first place.

Curiosity in an information-rich environment takes the form of filtering, selecting and weeding out information. (Multitasking is a coping-tactic, not a preferable way of doing things). This has prompted technological developments like the “Readability” Firefox extension, which has now been adopted as a feature called Reader in Apple’s new Safari 5 browser. Its purpose is to remove ads and give a clutter-free view of online articles. Similarly, Phil Gyford has recently put up a remixed clutter-free version of The Guardian. These are all attempts to increase what mathematical information theory (Shannon and Weaver et al.) called signal-to-noise ratio: Noise is bad, signal is good – the stronger, cleaner the signal, the better.

Credit: Chris Anderson, Wired

At a simple level we filter through tools (e.g., indexes, curated databases, online search engines, RSS feeds) or institutions (e.g., schools, universities, trusted news media, etc.). Not surprisingly, in print media, “decision maker” titles like The Week and The Economist are actually gaining circulation (according to the ABCs), against the downward trend in general-interest newspaper sales, because they filter and analyse news with authority and proven quality.

An acquaintance of mine who works in finance has adopted habits for protecting himself against what he calls “triple stacking” – a tendency to believe whatever information comes in from three sources, independently of one another. He reads the FT on the way to work, in the office he’s exposed to information all day, and this necessitates total media avoidance on the way home to guard against inadequately sourced information-pollution. As he put it, “If I’m going to believe something, I don’t want it to be because of the Evening Standard.”

Not only do we filter information through habits like these, but also socially (using colleagues, friends, family and other trusted people as information filters). The extreme version of this is what we might call “the Black Swan media diet,” a tactic recommended by Nicholas Nassim Taleb who advises readers to relax about what’s on the news, just go to parties and pay attention to what it is that people care enough about to bring up in conversation.

Perhaps we might call this the socialite-method: “When in doubt, go out.”

One of the great successes of Web 2.0, or participatory media, is to have picked up on the fundamental (cultural) value of social ties, mutual recognition, and the pleasures of sociability, and to amplify them – more precisely, to scale them up and represent them back to ourselves and to others.

March 10, 2010 / conceptbin

Slack space

At the start of 2009, the term “slack space” began to pop up in the news. In the post-Christmas slump of January, which followed a lacklustre shopping season, shops around the UK began to close. A year on, retail vacancy rates across the country stand at 12%, with some areas registering up to a quarter of all retail space as vacant, according to the Guardian.

Slack space projects are a reaction to this trend. Creatives who don’t have the means to rent space at full price seek out unused shops and negotiate short, free or low-rent leases on the space to put it to good use.

Last week I visited HERD in Brixton Village Market, across Atlantic Road from Brixton Market. This 1930s covered arcade is targeted for redevelopment, along with the overground rail station it sits underneath. HERD have inhabited a double-wide storefront space there for 3 months, and their tenure is now coming to an end.

HERD displayI was there to visit one of the HERD members, photographer Suzie Blake, who showed me around HERD’s soon-to-be vacated space and around the neighbouring Brixton Village.

In a sense, the rising vacancy rate in UK retail space is good news for creatives like designers, artists and other small-scale businesses who often can’t handle the overheads that go with having a shop. The risk that comes along with having the same chains on every high street in “Clone Town Britain” is that when the mothership goes down (e.g., Zavvi, Woolworths, etc.), all the franchises crash as well. This is one reason why the recession became instantly visible on high streets in early 2009.

Empty shops means fewer people having a reason to pass by, which means less footfall for the other shops that remain. With projects like HERD, the presence of the artist and designers adds colour and a bit of cool unpredictability to the retail neighbourhood, which is certainly an incentive for people to visit.

For the creatives, slackspace projects offer cheap visibility – a workspace where they can see and be seen, and add some much-needed colour to the community along the way.

Here’s the rest of my photoset on Flickr

February 22, 2010 / conceptbin

Prisma: Miðlun og pælingar um tölfræði

Hér er glærusýning á PDF með langlínufyrirlestri mínum.

Miðlun sem starfssvið IS og UK 2008-9

February 7, 2010 / conceptbin

Neðanmálsgrein um Nýja Sjáland

Ég var í viðtali hjá Agli Helgasyni í Silfri Egils í dag, um fjölmiðlun í almannaþágu og endurskipulagningu RÚV (sjá myndskeið á bloggi Láru Hönnu). Því lauk með því að ég sagðist geta látið hann hafa neðanmálsgrein með svari mínu við spurningunni um tilraunina sem Nýsjálendingar gerðu með að einkavæða útvarp í almannaþágu og bjóða þjónustuna út til stöðva sem starfa á auglýsingamarkaðinum.

Read more…

February 1, 2010 / conceptbin

Hagræn áhrif kvikmyndagerðar

Hvernig er hægt að meta það hvernig framlög til kvikmyndagerðar frá ríkinu skila sér aftur til skattborgaranna?

Ein leið til að fá grófa hugmynd um það er að bera saman bein opinber framlög (þ.m.t. skattaafslátt til kvikmyndaframleiðslu) og tekjur ríkisins af innlendri kvikmyndagerð.

Í Bretlandi benda nýlegar skýrslur til þess að heildarframlög frá opinberum aðilum (þar af ca. helmingur í formi skattaívilnana) árið 2006/7 voru £277 mil. Árið 2007/8 voru þessi framlög £284 milljónir (£105 mil. í formi skattaafsláttar), samkvæmt UK Film Council Statistical Yearbook 2008 (s. 130) og 2009. (Sjá úrklippur mínar úr UK Film Council Statistics 2009)

Á móti skilaði kvikmyndaiðnaðurinn £436 mil. í beinar skattgreiðslur skattaárið 2006, á móti £277 mil. í styrki og skattafslátt (sem voru ca. 52% af heildarframlögum), skv. sömu heimild. Það gera £159 mil. í beinan “gróða” fyrir breska skattborgara.

Þar með er ekki öll sagan sögð, því það er matsatriði hvernig tekjurnar sjálfar eru mældar, vegna þess að kvikmyndaframleiðsla hefur umtalsverð margföldunaráhrif umfram þann virðisauka sem myndast við sjálfa framleiðsluna.

Margföldunaráhrifin eru m.a. þau að kvikmyndir laða erlenda ferðamenn til landsins (oft í mörg ár – í London má enn sjá túrista með myndavélar við “útidyrnar” hjá Bridget Jones á Borough Market), kynna breskar útflutningsvörur, og ýta undir sölu á tengdum varningi (tónlist, DVD, tölvuleikjum, fatnaði, o.s.frv.). Þessi áhrif eru miklu víðtækari en bara afleidd störf af kvikmyndaframleiðslunni sjálfri, samkvæmt skýrslu sem Oxford Economics vann fyrir UK Film Council árið 2007. Í þessari skýrslu eru margföldunaráhrifin á árinu 2006 metin á ca. £4,3 milljarða (og skatttekjur metnar á £1,1 ma.).

Þegar þessar tölur úr breska kvikmyndageiranum eru metnar, er hægt að reikna það sem svo að skattgreiðendur hafi fengið 157% til baka af opinberum framlögum það árið þegar bara er litið á beinar skatttekjur. Það er samt mjög klunnaleg aðferð, því það er ljóst að kvikmyndagerð skapar atvinnu í öðrum listgreinum (t.d. tónlist), fjölda afleiddra starfa í þjónustu og framleiðslu (t.d. eru kokkar og smiðir ómissandi á tökustöðum), og er mikilvæg kynning fyrir ferðamannaþjónustu. Að þessu gefnu má halda því fram að réttara sé að framlögin hafi skilað 397% til baka ef margföldunaráhrifin eru lögð saman við beinar skatttekjur, auk ferðamennsku, landkynningu og sölu á tengdum varningi (UK Film Council Statistical Yearbook 2009, s. 167).

Í þessu breska dæmi fjórfaldast opinber framlög í formi skatttekna á einu ári. Það er að sjálfsögðu ekkert sjálfvirkt náttúrulögmál hér á ferðinni, og þetta dæmi er ekki hægt að yfirfæra hrátt á íslenska kvikmyndagerð, en það sýnir samt skýrt hversu víða styrkir til kvikmyndagerðar dreifast um hagkerfið, og hversu mikill virðisauki skapast á óbeinan hátt við framleiðsluna og eftir að kvikmyndir fara í dreifingu.