Suddenly it’s all happening in the world of newspapers.
The Telegraph is reported to be preparing to launch a ‘”click and carry” afternoon news service, in print, audio and video form in the next few days’ – following in the footsteps of the Guardian’s G24 exercise in PDF automation. The Times is trying to generate some buzz around its Comment Central blog by comment editor Daniel Finkelstein – following in the footsteps of the Guardian’s much more ambitious Comment Is Free.
The Sun’s website isn’t as dramatic a redesign as some would have you believe – most of its much-heralded new video content is no more than US-voiced Reuters reports, which don’t really follow the Sun’s editorial line. But one can only applaud the video versions of its Dear Deidre photo-stories.
Those outside the capital will be missing the battles at major Tube stations each evening, as the two new freesheets compete for our attention. TheLondonPaper is probably the better looking of the two, both in print and online. Meanwhile, the launch of London Lite is an excuse for a redesign of its supporting website, ThisIsLondon – with news remarkably low down the left-hand nav, reflecting the paper’s aim of being more of an entertainment guide.
Of the two, I think I have a preference for London Lite – it feels more like a ‘proper’ newspaper, sitting somewhere between its two stablemates Metro and the Evening Standard. Yesterday’s edition of TheLondonPaper was extremely short on news: its page three consisting of a picture of Kate Moss in her pants (apparently crashing the entire internet); and a couple being seen having sex in the open air. Oh, and a two-page spread about how pole dancing can apparently keep you fit. Liter than Lite.
But these new arrivals clearly recognise the need to do something with the whole social network thing. I’m struck by London Lite’s liberal use of the word ‘blog’ at every opportunity. TheLondonPaper seems equally keen to build interaction with its readership, as demonstrated by its placement of ‘contribute’ as the first link in its website’s primary nav: there isn’t much evidence of it so far, but then again, it’s only been publishing for a few days.