Greg from Mudlark explains the idea and then I chime in later with a little more information. Its right at the start, so go download the podcast and let us know what you think.
When ever the great firewall is mentioned, everyone thinks of China. Even I have to add myself to that list. Interestingly I read a blog on globalvoices (need to find link) which was talking about the fact that filtering happens all over the world and China just happens to be the most high profile one at the moment. One of the things eating up most of my time at work has been the new BBC China site. It has no news content on it at all and it does not link to any news content, which sets its self apart from most of the other 32 language sites we run. This should be acceptable enough to not trigger any alarms on the great firewall china has deployed.
The same certainly does not look true of Iran's firewall which seems to be simply filtering BBC Persian full stop. Hossein Derakhshan has a little about the filtering and i've find some other stuff online. But this is a subset from a much larger email which got sent around
Based on past procedures, the committee in charge of deciding which websites should be filtered has announced a list of sites to the ICT (Information Communication Technology) Ministry to have them blocked and the BBC's Persian news site is one of the sites.
I won't even try and attempt to stake a view on if this is good or bad. But I will say like China information has funny habit of getting around these things. Which leads me on to one of the most interesting moves we've made recently in the Syndication space.
Now for those who do not know I work for the BBC World Service and here comes a disclaimer (thanks Ben). The views stated on this site are mine and are not endorsed by the BBC World Service. Although I am a new media developer for the BBC World Service I am not paid, hoodwinked or coerced into boosting the BBC World Service on this website. Nor does this blog form any part of their marketing strategy. I'm a big fan of Full text syndication but understand why the mainstream media do not use it. So it gives me great pleasure to say that today the Persian feeds were modified to output more content than a little teaser today (the full list is available here). This is not full text, but not your usual one line affair. I have to say its still work in progress and could be changed at any time. But looks like one in a range of innovative solutions for people seeking well written and timely farsi (persian) news content around the world. I would urge anyone who uses the feeds to give us feedback positive and negative. As it might influence what happens in the near future for not only Persian feeds but maybe other language feeds?
Lets hope I still got a job when I go in tomorrow. Although I don't see why not when both the filtering news is online already and the RSS feeds are for public consumption. I won't be suprise if someones already blogged about the change but I've seen nothing yet. Saying that I don't read Farsi.
And at long last some coverage. Iran blocks BBC Persian website on Zeropaid and Boingboing. 2 days after writing this blog post I was worried about the fact I was writing about what we were doing in the BBC World Service about this block. Well besides almost fulltext RSS were now rolling out almost full text daily news email in Persian. So I would say (not the bbc'of course), there's multiple ways around this block. It will be interesting to see if the take up of the Persian RSS and Persian email news will dramaticly increase now there is a block. Humm I wonder if there is anything else we could/should be doing?
Last week we delivered an extra edition of Go Digital through it's podcast stream, and the email response it's generated has been huge! In our last programme we featured an interview with CEO of O'Reilly Publishing and Open Source guru Tim O'Reilly and we decided to put out a tidied up 'full length' interview (17 mins) in addition to the main programme.
The response has been overwhelming, and over the weekend the programme has received around 10 times it's normal weekly email bag, without exception every response in favour of the extra content.
This demonstrates one of the real benefits of the podcast medium, that instead of simply regurgitating radio programmes for Podcast, being able to deliver something different that adds value to our regular broadcasts is something I think our audience will really appreciate.
Well this pretty amazing would you not say? I knew Tim Oreilly was a great speaker but 10x the usual response asking for the longer version or saying how great the interview was. This strikes me as a really compeling reason why podcasts work. There simply not bound to the time limits of radio and they can be super niche or serve the longtail. Actually a few of the emails outlines this perfectly.
Cameron Walker wrote,
Instead of setting the shows up to a set time, like in what your used to on Radio and TV. Podcasts can be from half an hour to an hour to 1.5hrs
Jean-Pierre Morissette from Montreal wrote,
Thank you so much for this idea. The content of this interview was so good that it was a real gift to be able to listen to it all. I call these significant moments.I opens new perspectives, new ways of looking at the world around us to listen to comments like these.
Comment from John Barton in the UK,
Just listened to the exteneded session with Tim O'Reilly.Great use of the technology. The ability to allow the speaker to extend beyond the normal programme time boundary and really get into his topic was well worth the effort. As I use a podcast agregator I got the feed automatically and was able to enjoy this bonus session without any additional work on my part. Looking forward to other extended sessions
Jim Puls from Chicago wrote
Well, I very much enjoyed your interview with Tim OReilly. I found myself stopping the podcast from time to time and backing it up to take some notes. A few months ago I didnt know what a podcast was, and now I find it enriches my life greatly. Its Saturday afternoon in Chicago, and Ive done my chores, and its time to listen to some radio … what I want when I want it. Just before Go Digital I listened to Ockhams Razor from Australia
and added in a email to myself.
As I noted in my email, you and your colleagues are carrying on in the long tradition of informing us all, and deserve our thanks for doing that.
Edwin Boatswain sums the podcast up nicely with,
Thanks for the extra content. It was a nice surpise when this turned up in the feed. I think the edited version of the interview captured his thoughts well, but it was good to hear the whole piece.
NerdTV from PBS do a simlar thing already. They produce 3 different cuts of the same interview. I download the entire show and listen to it while working but now and then glance over at the video running on my laptop. But I have never downloaded the nerdy or juicy parts cuts, i guess its not a big deal when I can simply jump around with the slider myself. Obviously the entire show isnt for everyone and a juicy cut would make a lot more sense if your only generally interested. I wonder how many people listen/watch each version?
Like one of the emails said,
While it's understandable that you have to edit down a given interview to fit into a time slot, it seems like a real shame to have whatever was left on the (virtual) cutting room floor to disappear forever. Personally, I'd very much like to see such material made available in the future (where it's deemed to be of sufficient interest/quality, of course).
- Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai language services will end by March 2006
- There will be more investment in developing New Media
- Increased funding for global FM distribution
- Extra marketing for the other 33 languages services
- Modernising bureaus in priority markets
- Further exploring of TV service partnerships within other languages and countries
And here's the front of BBC news at 1pm today.