Sunday, 11 May 2008

Taking the LDP live for a day

Tuesday May 13 will be the day I go grey, bite off all my nails, and possibly take up smoking again.
For Tuesday is the day the LDP goes live for a day. From 7am when the first stories are uploaded to until 1am when the last page is sent down to the press room, our decisions and actions will be live to the world and up for scrutiny and questioning.
I'd started outlining the Bambuser Plot to the editor when he interrupted and said: "Why don't we just go live for the whole day?" in true Early Adopter fashion.
The LDP will run a live blog via all day so anyone and everyone can log on, follow what we're up to, get involved and post questions, observations and tell us how and why they want the news reported.
Reporters will be online through the day, talking to people who are logged on, blogging what they're up to or streaming from jobs.
The political reporter will crowdsource our audience for questions and topics before he goes to inteview Alistair Darling, and we're also going to stream afternoon conference on Qik.
The reaction from the various business, news, features and sports editors is really positive, and the writers seem to be up for it too. And those people from the TM Leaders course I've told have been very supportive.
I think we're getting funny glances from our sister paper - the main thing puzzling them seems to be why we would open ourselves up in such a way - but personally I think we as an industry have got to put aside this air of mystery and preciousness we like to cultivate around the way we allow stories to be told. There are enough rival mainstream news operatives and quality bloggers on Merseyside sharing information with our potential audience for us to have to look at the way we work; Tuesday is a way of trying to reconnect with past, present (and hopefully future)audience. We'll test the technology and hopefully change some mindsets - internal and external.
It's all set - I've written a page lead for Monday's paper and online, and I'm letting the local radio stations know tomorrow. Everything is steaming ahead... but it's nervewracking.
Will people like it? My hope is that while we're bound attract criticism from some of those who log on, at the end of the day a proportion of our audience will feel more emotionally involved with the newspaper.
That kind of involvement is what all newspapers need to be reaching for right now.
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