Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

Green, green grass.

What use is a newspaper?

It’s not like we needed any more proof that the newspaper industry is filled with problems and struggling to adapt, reinvent, and revive itself – but yesterday’s explosions in the centre of Stockholm have given us another example.

This picture accompanying this blog post shows two screenshots from this morning side by side.

Print edition

The left most screenshot is of page 10 of Dagens Nyheter. The paper and PDF edition (bought from PressDisplay using my Android Tablet) of Dagens Nyheter contains just two pages of content about the explosions – including a large picture on the front cover. The article on page 10 I’d already read online yesterday evening in the hours after the news broke.

Online

The right most screenshot is Dagens Nyheter’s website. 6 articles, 1 collection of images and a video-clip. A number of the articles were published yesterday evening, before the print/PDF edition of the paper appeared.

As useless as you can get

Coverage of current events and the “traditional” newspaper format and “traditional” way of publshing are about as useless as you can get these days. Paywalls and subscription models aren’t going to help there.

Freshly picked raspberries


Why the name Beantin?

In Sweden when creating a company you need to send an application to the Companies Registration Office. In that application you need to list, in order of preference, the names you are willing to accept for your company. Beantin webbkommunikation was one of the names towards the top of that list.

Webbkommunikation is the simple part to explain. That’s Swedish for online communication. I do internet-based communication stuff, not TV, print, events, or things for other channels – so webbkommunikation seemed the sensible choice

Why Beantin though? Well. At the University of York in the early 90’s I studied Economics. One of the lecturers there was David Gowland. A clever, slightly eccentric, entertaining lecturer. Being 18, creative and foot-loose at university, David became the inspiration for a single-frame stick-man cartoon I started to draw.

Gowland

Gowland was the main character, but even from the first first cartoon, Gowland’s girlfriend made an appearance. Beantin is her name. She is the one with the brains. Her greatest hobby is confusing Gowland. Which she does with remarkable ease.

Even though The Cow is my favourite character, I have a particular fondness for Beantin and her intelligence. Beantin works well from a web-age branding perspective. Written as a single word it is readable, searchable and recognisable.

Admittedly, one thing I failed to realise was that many Swedes wouldn’t automatically recognise Beantin as English, and often pronounce it “Be-an-ten”. On the plus side, when I created Beantin webbkommunikation in 2006, there was the obvious bonus that beantin.se was still available.

Only 24 hours in a day…

The Gowland website isn’t quite as well maintained as I’d like it to be. The 24-hour limit gets in the way of doing everything. But read more about the characters and take a look at some of the cartoons. Some day soon I’ll start drawing more Gowlands again, and hopefully painting a few more on canvas.

The Times’ paywall cliff

An Alexia graph showing pageviews for The Times (and timesplus; their paywall). Not difficult to see the day they raised the paywall.

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