Monday, January 08, 2007

Sites for sore eyes

Spent many hours at the end of last week judging the online category for one of the country’s leading local paper publishers. Not saying which one as I’ve made my choice and will keep shtum until the night.

The prospect of surfing literally scores of sites and navigating my way through endless podcasts, videos and blogs from people I’d never heard of appeared quite a quest.

Happily, the experience was quite different. Having drawn up a pretty strong shortlist I found I bonded with a few of them and began following the progress of stories in places I’d never heard of. I actually felt quite a lift when a posting at 10.40 headlined something like: Man held in pelican crossing death inquiry suddenly switched to Man charged with pelican crossing death half an hour later.

While the rest of you were following developments in Northern Ireland and the fallout in Iraq, I was awaiting a timeline of tragedy on what was surely the worst blackspot in Nether-Bottom-on-Tweed.

Seriously, some of the innovation was heartening. Local papers are no longer enjoying the heydays I knew but they’re making a good fist of new markets. I noted quite a few ideas and circled one or two as “possibles” for a project I’m about to work on myself. And there was one piece of video so off-beat, I made a mental note to try to headhunt the editor over canapes at the awards do.

The best of it though was that many of these sites were staffed by what, old Fleet Streeters would call a man and his dog.

You wouldn’t know it though.

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