Monthly Archives: September 2007

Banning Facebook won’t stop people wasting time

A big sigh went up across the contentcontent team today after reading yet another story about Facebook being banned by an employer.

Staff at a Kent hospital, MediaGuardian reports, have been banned from using Facebook because it’s slowing down the NHS’ computer networks.

Obviously, any potential for services or even, gulp, medical equipment, being affected by an NHS network grinding to a halt is a serious situation. But stories like this pose a bigger question: why do people hate their jobs so much that they’d rather kill time by surfing the web.

Bit of a rhetorical question you may think, but an opinion piece by the Financial Times’ own David Bolchover on Monday (sorry – it’s been a busy week) noted how this isn’t even an issue with the self employed. The reason, he says, is because the government isn’t doing enough to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in the nation’s workforce. We need to move away from the traditional model of employers penning people up in offices.

We’re doing the article a disservice by this simple introduction and we can’t even link to the article properly because it’s behind the’s subscription wall. A crying shame, as it’s a great piece. Sigh.

Andrew Marr: how to write a column

Okay, it’s money for old rope, but this is such great advice we just had to re-link (?) Andrew Marr’s words of wisdom on column writing one more time.

These tips apply to anyone writing an analysis of events or creative writing, not just superstar columnists on national newspapers.

Talking of Marr, has anyone seen any Telegraph columns of his of late. Apart from the usual interview-before-the-serialisation-starts for his latest tome, has he stopped writing for the Telegraph? We do hope not – now that Bill Deedes has sadly gone, the newspaper should do all it can to keep its talent pool.

iTunes to kill mobile ring tones market

It’s 6.26pm and I’ve just heard that Apple’s Steve Jobs has said a custom ringtone maker is to be built into Tunes, which can sync ringtone music to the iPhone. You’ll be able to use iTunes to take a snippet of your chosen track and make it a ringtone. RIP Crazy Frog.

I wonder if iTunes will have some sort of validation for music publishers? Some may have concerns over lost royalty payments on ringtone snippets, would they not?

“No question” of merging Daily and Sunday Telegraph operations

The Telegraph Media Group has told MediaGuardian that there is no chance of making the Telegraph a seven day news operation.

“There is absolutely no question of introducing a seven-day Telegraph
operation,” a TMG spokesman told the Guardian. “Our two titles have
complete editorial independence, and quite separate identities, and will
continue to do so.”

A clear statement – until I read this story (scroll down) about Patience Wheatcroft and the attempted merger of the Telegraph’s Washington bureau.

Talking of Wheatcroft, opinion is still split on her departure. Was it another news operation issue or, as MediaGuardian reported, differences of opinion over web strategy.

Read the full story.

And yes, I also noticed you no longer need to sign in to access MediaGuardian stories.

Now the Independent on Sunday’s business editor leaves…

The Independent on Sunday’s business editor, Andrew Murray-Watson, is leaving the paper to join a company that recycles old car tyres – after less than a year in the job.

Quitting journalism to take up a corporate PR role, Murray-Watson is understood to be leaving for a “lifestyle change”, according to MediaGuardian.

The move follows yesterday’s departure of Patience Wheatcroft from Murray-Watson’s old paper, the Sunday Telegraph.

Has Sony been looking at Halo 3’s Wikipedia entry?

Great story on, which alleges that someone at Sony Computer Entertainment’s office in Liverpool has visited Wikipedia’s entry for Halo 3, the hugely awaited video game due to appear on Sony PS3’s rival Xbox360 console.

Over one million people have pre-ordered Halo 3, which at over £39 a pop, may even see it break movie box office records for a new release. Perhaps they’ll spend some of the profits on improving‘s…puzzling…but…slow…loading…website.

Agile and project management – the *HORROR*

We hear that digital agencies all over London are fast implementing the new black in project management – Agile.

The pros and cons of using Agile in the web development process are well documented on the web, so we won’t be tackling them here – unless requested. No, what we do want to do is get a flavour / straw poll on how Agile has been received across digital businesses.

  • Has it been tricky to implement?
  • Has it delivered cost savings? If so – for the agency or the client?
  • Are you having to throw away two weeks worth of work each time you have a ‘huddle’ / end a ‘sprint’?
  • If resources / staff are ring fenced for projects, then have your costs leapt up as you try to resource for other projects?

Tell us what you think – leave a comment! No idea what Agile is? Watch these short videos.

Web content editor pay and the ‘ultimate web editor’

Friends tell me of the armies of technical staff / developers now giving up permanent positions to go freelance after hearing they can earn far more in the market. Oddly, this doesn’t appear to be the case for web editors – we’re seeing salaries and daily rates level out. This is despite the ongoing debate about editors being required to take on more technical and community led tasks – all of which are skilled – as part of their ongoing remit of responsibilities.

Question 1: what is the going rate salary / day rate for a general web editor?

Question 1: what skills and experience are you finding it difficult to source e.g. community management, technical, knowledge of marketing?

Humour us on this one -we’re going to use this to create a job spec for the ‘perfect/ultimate web editor’, assuming such a thing can exist.

Future folds girls gadget blog into men’s print title T3

Is it competion in the market or is it really tricky to specifically target women with dedicated tech content?

Who knows why Future Publishing may have decided to fold its female blog Gadget into T3, after two years of churning it out.

Strong competition from Popgadget and Shiny Media’s popular Shiny Shiny blog could have been a factor in the blogs relegation to a column inT3.

Read more at (which is already pumping out must-read content in its first week – congrats!).

Sunday Telegraph editor, Patience Wheatcroft, quits

Patience Wheatcroft has resigned as editor of the Sunday Telegraph after just 18 months in the job.

No official reason has been given for her departure from the title. It’s not known if her resignation came as a result of management’s push to merge the Sunday and Daily Telegraph news operations – a historically contentious subject at the Telegraph, dating back to Max Hastings’ editorship during the 90s.

Personally, I’m backing a Wheatcroft move back to News International to take up a role at the Times, the newly acquired Wall Street Journal or parent company Dow Jones. Wheatcroft joined the Sunday Telegraph after years as City editor at The Times.