Using SMS to stop crime
MocoNews reports the launch today of a service, TipSoft, that will allow people in the US and Canada to submit anonymous tips about crime via text messages. The service is being powered by mBlox and Anderson Software, a law enforcement software company, with the help of Crime Stoppers. Anyone with a cell phone will be able to text crime tips to the shortcode CRIME. But for the correct agency to get the tip, the user needs to know the ID number for their local agency. For example, a text message in Silicon Valley must start off with the code TIP333, while a tip in San Diego would need to go to TIP409. Similar programs have already started in three American cities. In Boston, the city’s Text-a-Tip program helped solved two homicides and fielded hundreds of tips in its first few months of operation. TipSoft will soon launch in the UK. Read the news release.
Another daily newspaper for Gulf
Another business daily is launching in the Gulf. A Middle Eastern edition of The Financial Times launches tomorrow to meet what the company calls “increasing reader and advertiser demand for global business news in the Gulf”. The region has become a major international finance and business center. Four staff will be based in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, and Dubai. The paper already has offices in Cairo, Tehran, Jerusalem and Beirut.
CV on a T-shirt
Here’s a great idea for journalism students and media people looking for a job. When you go to a conference or public gathering, advertise via your t-shirt.
Journalism jobs not falling: Guardian boss
Britain’s journalism industry is not in decline, Paul Myners, chairman of the Guardian Media Group has told a House of Lords Communications Committee. Staff numbers across the industry were not falling, despite a perceived drop in the number of journalists working on British newspapers. Myners said economic pressures would make journalists work on new platforms rather than force them out of the industry. “If you define journalism in a broader sense I think there’s been no decline in journalism. They’re just working in a different medium. They’re working online, they’re working in blogs, they’re working on radio, they’re working in local television.”
Literacy levels worry American parents
Most American parents consider the ability to write well vital for their children’s success, but many are concerned about declining skill levels, says a national survey commissioned by Pew and the National Commission on Writing. Eight in ten parents and 86 per cent of teenagers believe the ability to write well plays a major role in guaranteeing success later in life, says the survey, which appeared today.The Pew Internet & American Life Project and the National Commission on Writing conducted the national survey by phone of 700 people aged 12-17 and their parents last November. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 per cent. The National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools and Colleges was set up in September 2002 amid concerns about the quality of writing in the United States. Have writing skills improved much in six years?
China’s mobile phone frenzy
Bloomberg reports (April 21) figures from China’s Ministry of Information Industry saying that, as of the end of February, China had 565.2 million mobile phone users. That is more than the mobile phone population of both the United States and Japan.
Excellent backgrounder on mobiles
While browsing the Net today I found a good background piece by Darren Waters, the BBC’s technology editor, on how the mobile phone is morphing into a multimedia device. An example of thinking journalism.
4 Emmy nominations for Quest
On February 29 I wrote about Quest, the excellent multi-media science program at KQED in San Francisco. Quest has just started season 2. The program has received four Emmy nominations. Managing editor Paul Rogers says more people watched Quest’s season 1 premiere story (about an invasion of jumbo squid off California’s coast) on computer rather than on television. “That seems like the wave of the future,” he said. “The challenge for public broadcasting was to figure out how to build a business model around this form of audience involvement. “Do we include a link at the end of the video asking people to donate money? Do we put the names of corporate or foundation sponsors in that video?” he asked.
Great videos for teaching
An excellent site called Common Craft offers videos that teach about various aspects of Web 2.0 such as social bookmarking, wikis and sharing photos online. All are on YouTube, and the usually run 2 or 3 minutes. The video about RSS feeds had been viewed 372,552 times when I looked today.
Big money for junior lawyers
Stanford Business School publishes a useful newsletter. The latest edition notes that the demand for legal expertise in America remains strong, along with the need for fresh talent. Associates who join major firms straight from university earn $US 160,000 a year plus substantial bonuses. This puts them in the top 10 per cent of American incomes. The newsletter notes the responsibilities that go with this financial success: “Many associates at large firms see their salaries as golden handcuffs, enabling them to pay back student loans that often top $100,000 but shackling them to their work late into the night and on weekends.” Comment: Life is about choices, so anyone can get out after paying back their loans.