Media and journalism: reasons to be cheerful

This weekend selection of snippets happens to be linked by a happy common denominator: the news is good.

  • The vast news agency Reuters (now Thomson-Reuters) has been through some wrenching changes in the past decade. At the lowest point its total headcount of staff journalists was down to 2,100. That figure is now back up to 3,ooo.
  • I went to listen to a panel of expert on mobile phone technology at the Royal Society of Arts a few days ago. I learnt that:
  1. Africa is now leading the world in mobile banking (Ralph Simon).
  2. That the battle between the tablets, inaugurated by the launch of the iPad, will be “the most interesting technological bloodbath ever.” (Christian Lindholm)
  3. The Intercontinental Hotels chain built 400,000 rooms in 100 countries; it took decades. Couchsurfer.com assembled a catalogue of a million rooms for rent in a year. (Ralph Simon)

  • There are hopeful signs that the wearisome debate between journalism and bloggers has, finally, moved on into more interesting territory. There is a fascinating dialogue in this post on the Online Journalism Blog by (my new colleague at City University) Paul Bradshaw and science journalist Angela Saini. As Paul says, “full time journalists offer something that other participants in journalism do not.”

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