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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 May 2006, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Newsnight on TV, online, on paper

By Peter Barron
Newsnight editor


    To Belfast. I've always wanted to start a diary column like that and indeed I'm actually writing this on the flight to Belfast, along with a fair proportion of the corporation's great and good for the a BBC awards dinner.

    All the media platforms in the world won't amount to string of bits unless you have the content to put on them
    In a notebook, in long hand, with a pen, which feels quite odd in the week the BBC announced its creative future plans for pioneering in the digital age.

    Keeping up with the current pace of change raises its own challenges. For example, we got pulled up this week for careless use of the lingua franca of the blogosphere for describing our extended conversation with the online pressure group Media Lens as a "flame war". Click here for more

    One viewer accused us of escalating the row by using such a derogatory term and pointed us to Wikipedia's definition of flaming:

    "Flaming is the act of posting messages that are deliberately hostile and insulting, usually in the social context of a discussion board."


    "The word flaming is also sometimes used for long, intensive and heated discussions, even though insults do not occur."

    For the record we meant the latter.

    Vod or pod?

    Some things are so new there aren't even satisfactory names for them yet. A few weeks ago we started podcasting - defined by Jeremy Paxman as TV without pictures.

    Video iPod
    Soon you'll be able to watch Newsnight on the go
    Within weeks we'll be bringing you vodcasting, or video-on-demand casting, or video podcasting, or in Jeremy's terms "TV with pictures".

    None is a particularly appealing moniker and who knows which term will finally stick?

    Our other big dilemma was: when we start vodcasting do we stop podcasting? Vodcasting seems like progress but what about the thousands of viewers who have taken us to number four in the news podcast chart who don't yet own a video iPod - like, say, me?

    Our solution, at least until the next new thing comes along, will be to offer both a pod and a vod.

    So long Sells

    David Sells
    David Sells bids farewell to Newsnight after 26 years
    As this week's BBC briefings made abundantly clear all the media platforms in the world won't amount to string of bits unless you have the content to put on them. We think we do, and this week our multiple platforms feature two of broadcasting's finest elder statesmen.

    On Tuesday the former BBC correspondent turned Unicef Ambassador Martin Bell reported for us on the horrific situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and all this week we've been featuring the work of David Sells, Newsnight's longest serving correspondent, who is leaving the programme after 26 years.

    When his first film for Newsnight went out on the very first edition in 1980 it went into the ether. The point of all this new platform stuff is: not any more.

    Watch Martin Bell's report
    Read about Sells week on the web


    As a subscriber to the podcast (it is great btw) I hope that you continue for the time being to provide a podcast and a videocast. While I am sure to subscribe to the video cast, listening to Newsnight rather than watching it has been a lesson in comprehension. The same stories or interviews I had previously watched seemed to sound different, or at least I was listening to what they were saying the second time around.
    Paul Ewing, London

    Whatever you do with "vodcasting", please don't drop the audio-only podcasting. Thanks.
    John Davis, Banbury

    Please don't stop pod-casting. Most people can't play video podcasts and those of us that can know that video-casts reduce battery longevity down to about 1/8th of its normal capability.
    James Kerry, Upper Bucklebury

    I run a media consultancy specialising in vod/pod. We actually prefer to call it "professional quality AV content" but sometimes we use video podcast. The trend is that podcast will suffice, as in another 12 months or so, all podcasts will be video, or at least have still images in them. The format that Apple use in the iTunes Music Store is their own QuickTime format, which is actually a movie format anyway. So even if you have an audio-only podcast, it is in QuickTime movie format in the Store. So there - all podcasts are podcasts, it is just that some have a flickering picture tube-type special effect to watch too!
    Paul Dettman, London

    What about "a FLAMING row" or "a FLAMING inferno"? Chambers says often used intensively or to express irritation. Could you be intensively irritated by the e-mailer's remark?
    A Hamilton, Lincoln

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