Media: Things we like

Map of London's commonest surnames

Sounds boring but, as data visualisation goes, this is actually pretty arresting. Using 2,370 individual surnames from the 2001 Census, on his @Spatialanalysis blog James Cheshire has mapped London according to its most common surnames. These are colour-coded according to ethnic origin so that among the blue British names you find where ethnic groups have settled. So for example there are large patches of pink to denote where the large Bangladeshi population has settled around Tower Hamlets, while here in Hammersmith the most common surname is, er, Smith.

The BBC scaling back its online presence

While we take absolutely no pleasure whatsoever in the redundancies that will inevitably follow, we are pleased to see that the BBC is cutting back its online ambitions that have done so much damage already to the commercial media sector. Quite why it had been allowed to grow like Topsy with 400 top-level domains we have no idea but at least some sense has been seen. The BBC is now committed to behaving in a more responsible way with the scrapping of half of these and a commitment to increase links to external sites in order to generate 22 million referrals within three years.

Sky's newly acquired moral compass

After Richard Keys and Andy Gray were caught making sexist banter about the abilities of a female referee, something quite extraordinary happened. Rather than rallying around its two football anchors or quietly hoping that the matter will disappear, Sky released further evidence of Gray making inappropriate banter about her physical appearance and then sacked him. What's going on here? Can Sky's desire to be seen to be beyond moral reproach have anything to do with the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's announcement that he is "minded" to refer News Corp's proposed acquisition to the Competition Commission? Maybe. But good to see it taking a firm line.


British Comedy Awards

Not only is Channel 4 struggling to break new formats in the entertainment genre - Famous & Fearless and 10 O'Clock Live, for example - but it couldn't even make a fist of successfully transferring the long-running British Comedy Awards format. While critics used to snipe that it was too cautious on ITV1, its debut on C4 was anything but funny. Pairing up Phil "the Power" Taylor with Lauren Laverne as the benefactors of one award was only slightly less bizarre than giving the old actor who played Hyacinth Bouquet's husband an open mic to talk as long as he liked in tribute to someone we'd never heard off. Still, we'll never tire of watching Miranda walk from her table to the stage and then back again.


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