PUBLIC BROADCASTING IN THE 21ST CENTURY, FAIR TRADE COFFEE, TURIN, MTV.CA AND WIRED

Greetings,

This week featured a really exciting new development from the BBC. Basically, the Beeb is going to radically overhaul its web site, www.bbc.co.uk, to become more in line with the participatory model of journalism – more user-driven content, more downloads, more Web 2.0 principles of online interaction.

I think this a great move on part of the BBC. The regular commitment to very high quality, wide-reaching journalism will stay in place, no doubt, but this will give ordinary users of the BBC – a public service, first and foremost – chances to interact with technology and content.

Ever better: the CBC’s podcasts are coming very soon, and a new CBC Video section with on-demand video feeds (including rebroadcasts of The National from the night before) are available to watch.

This is a very exciting time for public interest journalism. The public sector is showing many private broadcasters the real benefits of fully embracing the digital age and the myriad of benefits to spreading content online organically.

FAIR TRADE COFFEE: I’m currently hunting around for some good fair trade coffee. I’m thinking of taking a trip to Kensington Market to find something good. Ideas?

TURIN: In my final word on Turin 2006, I got the DVD retrospective of the Turin Winter Olympics this week. Yes, I know. I’m a nerd. But it was a memorable thing for me and many others, so I don’t care.

MTV.CA: Normally I wouldn’t really watch MTV Canada, but I’ve just been blown away by MTV.ca’s web site and the amazing Overdrive technology. I’m even watching Laguna Beach (again, a show I’d never, ever watch on regular TV) just to see the video streaming quality. It’s in the 600 kbps range, which is a real strain on a DSL line but it’s still spectacular quality. You’ll need broadband – ideally, a T1 connection, to be honest – and a decent computer for this.

WIRED: The new issue of Wired features Al Gore – the former President-elect of the United States of America, *cough* – in his role as an environmental crusader. Mr. Gore has the chops for it: he wrote a book back before he was Vice-President called Earth in the Balance and he’s been very pro-environment for years, so this isn’t just him taking on a cause just because. He’s got a movie coming out (!) in May called An Inconvenient Truth and he’s really speaking to a new audience of environmentalists. I really respect Al Gore for not letting the 2000 election destroy him personally. He’s picked himself up and going after what he believes is right without directly getting involved in the sorry state of the Bush administration’s sheer awfulness.

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