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Tolkien Exhibit at Oxford

Dust jacket of The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. Photograph: The Tolkien Trust 1977

There is an exhibition at Oxford University called Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth until October. Looks like it’s going to be a great exhibition.

Samantha Shannon from the Guardian has a great piece about how she found inspiration from Tolkien’s work.

Throughout my career as a writer, I have found Tolkien to be a source of both self-doubt and inspiration. On the one hand, it can be tempting to give up in the face of his brilliance. He began to invent his first Elvish language when he was a student at Oxford, and eventually built a “Tree of Tongues” – one of the items on display in the exhibition – that charted his constructed languages from source.

It is not very often items from the Bodleian Libraries Tolkien collection are available to view so if you are lucky enough to be in Oxford it would be well worth checking out.

GDPR notifications and a chance to review.

With the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) coming into force on May 25th, I like many of you have been getting lots of emails from companies telling you about updates to their security policies.

This is a good opportunity to decide if you still want to receive communications from these companies and services.  As well it’s a good time to decide if you still want to use the service.  I’ve gotten emails over the last few weeks from companies I had forgotten about. In many cases, I had signed up to take look at the product or service and then promptly forgotten about.    I have been taking the time to unsubscribe and delete my data from these services I am no longer using,

New digital story formats for news

Tristan Ferne of the BBC’s R&D dept. (Yes they have one) has a great piece about how the 800-word article is still the primary way news sites publish.  

But back in 2014 research from Quartz found that “the place between 500 and 800 words is the place you don’t want to be”. They found that this length lacked both the focus and share-ability of a short piece and the pay-off of a longer piece. This length of article isn’t distinctive and is often duplicative.

With the options that publishing to digital provides it can be both a blessing and a curse.  Having to publish content that will generate eyeballs to several platforms at first seems daunting but thanks to technology it can be overcome.   There are quite a few options for news organizations to present stories in a way that can be compelling and informative. If we are to stop the rise of ‘fake news’ and misrepresentations of the truth we have to look into better options. How they can do that with the current financial crisis continues to be a challenge.

.Well worth a read to get an idea of what the current landscape looks like, I was unaware of many of the options, many I find quite interesting.



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