Secrets from the BBC newsroom

A delicious article by Robin Lustig. It recounts the time BBC Radio 4 newsreader Neil Sleat met “the ultimate challenge to his professional skills” with relish. His task? To pronounce the name Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele.

Meet the people who listen to podcasts at super-fast speeds

While commuting I normally listen to podcasts at 1.5ร— speed. Alex thinks I’m crazy for doing that. But my behaviour pales in comparison to some of what’s described here.

[Rachel Kenny] estimates that she listens to five to seven hours of podcasts a day (which equals 15 to 21 hours at normal speed), “so maybe 20 to 40 episodes a day or 100 to 250 a week,” she said. She tracks her listening habits on a spreadsheet.

I have never tried going faster than 1.5ร—, because I doubt I would find it enjoyable. For me, 1.5ร— sounds very normal. I have no trouble understanding and following anything (though music is jarring). In fact, when I find myself listening to familiar podcasts at 1ร— speed, it always sounds too slow.

Many of the podcasts I listen to are currently running ads from Bose imploring me to buy their headphones “to enjoy podcasts in even better sound quality”.

I have to say, when listening to a heavily compressed MP3 that has usually been recorded in a spare room by a semi-professional using budget domestic microphones, with their friend connected via a shaky Skype connection, while I am walking along a busy city street or riding a noisy bus… sound quality isn’t my top priority.

Something is wrong on the internet โ€“ James Bridle, Medium

This article uses kids’ video content as an example, but really it is about how we all consume all types of content. The same effects that are causing these weird YouTube videos to be created are driving clickbait culture generally.

The direction the internet is taking seems to be taking us down a disturbing path.

Can publishers just please stop it with all this video? I just declared bankruptcy on the long list of videos I told myself I was going to watch.

Probably only about 20% of links I click are worth my time. With videos, there is no good way of scanning to find out. You just have to sit through it to find out — by which time it’s too late.

Publishers find Google AMP loads too fast for ad views

For an insight into just how much of a mess publishers find themselves in, look no further than this article.

In effect, the user experience is almost too good, with content loading so fast that people scroll past the ads before theyโ€™ve been able to load, resulting in ads that arenโ€™t deemed viewable…

โ€œThere are a variety of issues around AMP with ads, and the fact that AMP [editorial content] loads โ€˜too fastโ€™ is definitely among them,โ€ said a publishing exec.

For too many years, publishers have been actively making the user experience bad. When your business model is to make things harder for your customers, it’s time to radically rethink.

Quality counts.

Job story format: When [_] I want to [_] so that [_]

How to improve your job stories

This month’s digital design digest features a couple of articles about getting the most out of job stories. Plus, promising news from the world of CSS, how the Guardian is increasing its subscriber numbers, and where government goes wrong with digital transformation.


Steve Hewlett

I was sad to hear this afternoon about the death of Steve Hewlett. His regular interviews with Eddie Mair about his cancer journey made for incredible radio.

Fail whale

Ten years of twitting about

In ten years, Twitter has transformed from a geek enclave to a mainstream form of communication. But I find it difficult to imagine signing up to Twitter today.


20 years of BBC Radio 5 Live

The BBC’s rolling news and sport station is now 20 years old. It has provided a lot of great memories. But it needs to sharpen up to safeguard its future.

What UK radio can learn from Northย America

This American Life will at long last be broadcast in the UK later this year. I hope this is a sign of things to come, as British radio could learn a lot from North America.

The importance of late night radio

Radio is an intensely intimate medium. So Tony Livesey’s departure from late night radio leaves me worrying about who will send me to sleep from now on.