Monday, January 25, 2010

The Caledonian Mercury launches

taken by משתמש:HmbrImage via Wikipedia

This morning, via twitter, I heard the news that a new newspaper had launched in Scotland. It’s called the Caledonian Mercury after the first ever print newspaper in Scotland – the Mercurius Caledonius.

I know. Let’s reflect on that. I heard the news via Twitter. Actually; I’d heard the news that this was going to happen over the grapevine but I didn’t know the name of the paper or the date of arrival. It’s a reflection on today’s online PR and social media that even the launch of a newspaper is news which pops on to my radar via Twitter.

Here I am – writing about the launch of the paper, giving you it’s address (caledonianmercury.com, by the way) and talking about it. Clearly Twitter’s done the Caledonian Mercury proud. Hopefully I’m contributing to the buzz around the launch.

It’s also worth noting that the Caledonian Mercury describes itself as “Scotland’s first truly online newspaper”. From this I deduce there will be no print version.

At a glance – it just takes a glance – I can tell the Caledonian Mercury is a Wordpress installation. No one’s had to go out and build a hugely complicated CMS/story flow system for this paper. I’ve worked with very many newspapers in my time; I’ve seen their CMS systems and I can say that a Wordpress launch is just what the Caledonian Mercury needed to do. In time they can look at OpenX or bidding exchanges to boost their ad platform.

It does raise an interesting question though; what’s the difference between a blog and an online newspaper? Should Caledonian Mercury get the Search Marketing steer it deserves and finds itself a successful contributor to Google News – will the search engine mark their submissions as “(blog)”? Will the NLA approach them and suggest the online newspaper join them in the battle against royalty free links and to opt-out of news aggregators like NewsNow?

One big difference, of course, is that journalists write for online newspapers. A classic example of the characteristics of the community defining the unit.

It’s good to note that Stewart Kirkpatrick says in his hello world post that;
We believe that there has never been a better time to be in the business of journalism, never a better time to find fascinating stories and never a better time to be part of a conversation with our readers. The internet frees us from machine media and brings us closer to the people who inspire and consume our writing.

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