Philippa Thomas Online

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The Smithsonian goes open-source

Another good example of traditional academia embracing the open-source ethos. Scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History needed to identify 5,000 species of fish – and fast – and they did – by crowdsourcing.

I found this via @openculture and @kirstinbutler on Twitter – thank you.

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Talking to Brian Lehrer TV

I’ve given an interview about this blog – and what happened after my post about Bradley Manning & P J Crowley. It’s part of a programme with New York TV host Brian Lehrer called “Citizens cover the Uprisings”. I apologise in advance for alarming any viewers by being scarily close up to the camera on Skype, and gosh do I really have such a terribly British accent?


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What I did and What you said.

On Thursday I published a short story here about the U.S. State Department spokesman’s view that the Department of Defence is being “ridiculous and counter-productive and stupid” in its treatment of Wikileaks whistleblower Private Bradley Manning.

On Friday, President Obama was questioned about it.

On Sunday, the spokesman P.J. Crowley resigned.

I’m writing this because I’ve been a reporter for the BBC for two decades, broadcasting through the traditional mass media of television and radio – and now as an individual, I’ve learned at first hand the power of the blog. Continue reading


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Clay Shirky tells us Foreign News is facing market failure

“When did you stop being an optimist?” I asked CLAY SHIRKY , author of “Here Comes Everybody” & “Cognitive Surplus”. He’s known as an evangelist for the tools of new media. He’s written lovingly and at length about the opportunities social networks provide for us all to come together, and maybe change the world for good.

In conversation with fellows at the Nieman Foundation today, he tackled the downside that’s dearest to our hearts. If as he puts it “everyone is a media outlet”, then he clearly believes much of traditional media is history. Here’s what I jotted down as we all dug into the future of news. Continue reading