I love technology as much as the next man – my wife would say considerably more than the next man – but I’ve still been moderately baffled by the editorial decisions that planted not one, but two tech stories on the front page of Metro in recent weeks.
First – the Twitpic story (which seems to have been taken off the Metro website but is still visible in the search). In brief: Twitpic changed its terms of service so that it owned the rights to the pictures its users uploaded. Twitpic is a photo service built to work with Twitter. During the course of the day, as Chris charted so well, Twitpic redacted its changes and reverted to the original ToS. All sorts of bits have since emerged, including a letter Tom received from the Twitpic founders stating that the rights to all photos would be available through a specific photo agency (now gone from Twitpic?). So I totally agree there’s an interesting story here. BUT… front page? Twitter is a service used by a growing minority, but still a minority (I don’t believe the stories that say it has hit the mainstream in any meaningful way)… and Twitpic is used by a subset of those users. Doesn’t strike me as front page news by any stretch of the imagination. Still, let’s call it a slow news day.
Second: The dramatic front page: “Android phones ‘all leak secrets’” – later retconned/subedited on the web to “Android phones almost all vulnerable to hackers” – I mean whoah. That’s one heck of a front page. PC Pro blogs explaining why people shouldn’t be concerned (I actually think PC Pro’s view of a world where people know they should not connect to an unsecured wifi network is more than a little naive) – but seriously, this is a) a story that affects a relatively small number of people (despite Android’s increasing user base) and b) in no way front page news. Seriously! If, every time Microsoft patched a flaw on Windows (and there have been more serious and more easily exploited vulnerabilities discovered on Windows XP, I’m sure of it) –> well then, we’d have a front page a month that would at least fit the criterion of relevance to the readership, if not one of the slightest bit of interest.
That said: the superinjunctions story (yeah, that one) did bring Twitter to the focus for the whole country, so those front pages – totally make sense. No confusion there.
On the whole, however, a little confused as to what the Metro editor was thinking here, and would love to know if its a tech agenda, a sense that it’s sexy to pick on web 2.0 companies in a Daily-Mail-sort-of-way, or if that really is how they see their readership; Smartphone wielding, picture sharing, Daily-Mail reading digital natives. Which, looking at the history of front pages on Metro that come up in Google images, might make sense: they feature evem more tech stories including £3 Amazon MP3 albums, “Planet Facebook” and an Android scare story from earlier this year.
Damn, tech is so mainstream.