I’ve long been a fan of Pete Kirwan; we did good beers together when we found ourselves on the same panel at UCLAN last year.
And so for those in need of a sobering read this morning, I can only commend this to you.
Albeit with a heavy heart and a sinking feeling for all concerned. My Mrs remains in the eye of the Archant storm.
So, keeping those numbers and the clear implications therein somewhere near to the fore of our minds, apologies if I don’t whoop for joy at the latest innovation to pop out of the Guardian API/Open Platform initiative…
Which you can find here…
And for all those who want to know how it actually ‘works’ the detailed, tecchie stuff is here…
Now, we’ve down this little road before; and I have no doubt that it is a wonderful, clever use of data. And fair play to the two gentlemen concerned…
But – unless I’m missing something completely here – I now know that a Guardian match report was written at The Emirates. And I now know where The Emirates is on a map.
Right, now do the same for Stockport County vs Wrexham on a Tuesday night. Or Yeovil versus Torquay.
When there ain’t no local football reporter sat in a Press box at Edgeley Park cos the Stockport Express has just gone to meet its GMG maker – taking Hatters football reporter down with it. Along with 50% of the editorial floor at the MEN.
This is the big problem. Thinking that top down solutions that are tech-heavy but people-lite will serve all our ‘news’ needs.
And it’s not just Leagues One and Two that any great Guardian data bank will have difficulty in servicing; there’s not too many of Fleet Steet’s finest knocking around in Championship Press boxes either – be they of the broadsheet or tabloid.
People just haven’t got the staff to deliver the kind of ‘data’ that matters to readers of the Sheffield Star, the Bristol Evening Post, the Norwich Evening News…
This is The Guardian’s real danger – that if all any of us want to know is where The Emirates is, what Robin van Perise looks like and to re-read a Guardian football report on Arsenal’s latest Champions League clash then… fine.
But, funnily enough, I suspect for every happy Gooner the world over – now suddenly empowered to find out where The Emirates is as he sits in a sidewalk cafe in Brooklyn – there is a Blades fan, a Wednesdayite and a lad in Barnsley wondering where the f*ck he’s going to get a decent, independent match report from when the Sheffield Star finally sets on South Yorkshire…
… an event that, on Pete’s timetable, could yet be little more than months away.
Cos they ain’t going to find one sat on a Guardian API; or if they are, it will be the six-par homogenised version that PA might churn out to all and sundry.
And aren’t those people deserving of a decent match report? Or are they going to have to accept their paltry, provincial lot?
But, you know what, at least they now know where Hillsborough is.
I look around and the world is obsessed with maps. As much as I love – and respect – the boys and girls at 4iP, there’s a bit of that going on there… look what we can do with maps… and it’s the same in Whitehall. Just give them maps…
Great. No news from my town council, no Owls footie reports, no news as to why it has taken the city works department six weeks to reapir the pot-hole in my street… but at least I can see the Town Hall on a map. And find Oakwell on a map.
At some point, someone, somewhere has got to start thinking rather more about how we service the needs of the millions of provincial UK citizens whose daily news needs are never, ever going to be serviced by the data a Guardian API spews out.
They don’t do data. They do people. People like people. People read people.
There has to be a bottom up solution… there has to be a cherry on the top of EveryBlock.
And if GMG is to ever hold true to the spirt of its founding fathers, I think they need to look for a solution that works for Edgeley Park and not The Emirates.
If nothing else, they owe that to half the editorial floor on the MEN. Those that don’t quite fit into the management’s ’skills matrix’, but still have families to feed.