Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Blogging Benghazi from a Bedroom in Belfast

On Saturday night, Feb 19, I got a Facebook message from a writer friend offering me the phone number of an activist in Benghazi who was witness to the protests and the progress of the revolution there. I phoned the guy myself and over the following nights recorded interviews with him about developments.

He was clearly caught up in the fear and excitement of events. In one interview he is in the street prematurely celebrating the fall of Gadaffi.

In another he is admitting his fear that the city will be attacked and saying he is amazed that people are ready to die.

One night he told me that he was recommending to protesters that they return the weapons they had captured from the army and trust the local commandos to protect them. Some were following this advice, others were holding onto the weapons, anxious that an army leader who had joined them the previous day now seemed to have disappeared.

I think these are important pieces of internet journalism and I hope they will provide raw material for a written piece on the difference between blogging and mainstream journalism.

Here are the four recordings I have made so far, the latest being at the top.

If you have time, start with the first at the bottom and listen to them all.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Speaking up for Posterous

At last night's meeting of Blog Standard, Mr Ulster, Allan Leonard [in the middle], spoke in favour of the Posterous blogging platform and showed how simple it is and how easily contributors can update the site simply by emailing their content to it. But I was wondering if this denies the blogger some of the creative satisfaction of playing with layout.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Next meeting

Tonight at 7, Peter Froggatt Centre, Floor 3, room 6b.

See you there.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

New Media Moghuls

We had another meeting of Blog Standard last night in the new room made available to us in the Peter Froggatt Centre at QUB. Ghastly room -like a class - and the first thing I had to do was declare that I am not a teacher, as all the new members sat in the rowed chairs waiting for a pronouncement or instruction.

But the equipment was good.

Raymond McCullough came so I got him to do a presentation on his podcasting venture, Celtic Roots.
He gets thousands of downloads of the music he plays.

Raymond shows how he uploads music to a free hosting site Podomatic and recommended it as a site that is easy to use.
There are others, of course, like Podcastpeople, Soundcloud and Divshare.

Bobballs did a presentation on his site and discussed, among other things, the jeopardy of libel actions or threats of them.

But for me the star of the night was David Vance, founder of A Tangled Web

Vance talked of the incredible energy that he puts into two sites and his twitter account to keep his blogs alive. His output is greater than that of many working journalists and his skills and experiences would qualify him to be a senior editor on a newspaper.

At the same time he argues that he is sidelined by the media for holding views that don't accord with a 'liberal consensus'.

He wasn't there to give a political lecture and the key point he made is that the best way to keep a blog alive and to win followers is to add content every day.