In 2002, Steven Spielberg’s hugely successful film Minority Report set imaginations alight, showing a glimpse of what the world could be like in the not-too-distant future.
Its plot revolved around a special police unit named ‘PreCrime’ which would predict when a murder was about to take place, giving police a chance to capture the potential criminal before they could commit the act.
Yet for many, by far the most intriguing ‘invention’ in Minority Report intrusively made itself known as Tom Cruise’s character strolled through a mall.
“John Anderton!” an advertisement yelled. “You could use a Guinness right about now!”
As Anderton walked on, his world was a blur of noise and distraction emanating from adverts all over the room.
The film was set in 2054, but while we are still many years away from the Minority Report world, a new report suggests that adverts like the ones in the film may be well on the way, and indeed, that some already exist.
A new website promises to shine a spotlight on “churnalism” by exposing the extent to which news articles have been directly copied from press releases.
The website, churnalism.com, created by charity the Media Standards Trust, allows readers to paste press releases into a “churn engine”. It then compares the text with a constantly updated database of more than 3m articles. The results, which give articles a “churn rating”, show the percentage of any given article that has been reproduced from publicity material.
Some 10 days ago, I thought, and then posted here, that there was a fresh news genre emerging: the leak story.And since some days ago, a new one of these stories has appeared: the Palestinian papers. Interestingly, besides the story the leak tells, the leak itself has become a story –as it had happened with the Wikileaks papers. Maybe this is just confirmation that the idea of a new genre was accurate. Time will tell. So far, it seems it was.
The call, when it comes, is both unexpected and worrying to its American recipients. “Your computer and IP address have been noted as visiting the WikiLeaks site,” says the recorded message. The penalty for doing this: a $250,000 or $25,000 fine, and the possibility of imprisonment. But it does leave a number to call where the fine can be paid – with a reduction for prompt settlement and without the unpleasantness of a court case.
And it’s all just a nasty scam…
Although the whole Wikileaks affaire has been going on for quite a while already, I would say today marks the beginning of a new journalistic genre –the “leak story”.
Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has essentially declared war against the web’s dominant video format, announcing in a blog post today that Chrome will phase out support for the H.264 video codec that encodes most video online. Instead, Chrome, which now controls 10 percent of the browser market worlwide, will only support two open video formats—Google’s own WebM format, which launched last year, and Theora, another open-source codec. This seems to confirm that the web’s “codec wars” are in full effect and could indicate that Google has a problem with the royalties being charged by MPEG-LA, the organization that administers the patent pool for H.264 codec.
Since the future of local news relies at least partly on engaged citizens, soliciting and verifying their contributions is becoming more and more important for news organisations. It has already happened with PCs and camera phones. Now the Google-owned YouTube is aiming to take it a step further with video.
It has unveiled an interface called YouTube Direct that allows news and media organisations to request, review, and rebroadcast clips directly from YouTube users.
YouTube’s head of news and politics, Steve Grove, says: “People around the world are taking up cameras and covering news in ways big and small – from documenting global events, to filming local town halls in neighborhoods. YouTube Direct empowers news and media organisations to easily connect with these citizen reporters, and use the power of our platform to cover the news better than ever before.”
Here is the HuffPo page where you can see how this works:
But I still don’t see how it helps with the editorial implications…