Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Blogposts found abandoned on Tube

While Rupert Murdoch might be having second thoughts about content from his newspapers being freely available on the net (even if his papers do sometimes "borrow" content from it, and his news organisations perhaps even encourage Google to index their contents), one group of people in London seem to have decided that not only is free web content the way to go, but why not create an entire publication out of it.

Currently in Beta, The Blogpaper aims to be a free weekly London newspaper made up of articles, photos and reviews nominated and voted for by an online community of readers and contributors. Presumably, once a strong audience has been established, and any early production and distribution kinks ironed out, the publication will support itself through online and off-line advertising, but as yet I haven't found any details on that (UPDATE: there are ads in the most recent edition). Already, though, it's looking like a pretty interesting project.

Some short standfirsts to introduce each article might be a nice addition to the mix* - headlines maybe aren't always enough - but otherwise, from first view: it looks fresh and colourful; simple, clear layout; commuter-friendly (and indeed web-friendly) article lengths; a nice eclectic blend of subjects (with the art and design coverage particularly catching my eye); and it certainly highlights some interesting items I mightn't otherwise have noticed, which ultimately might be the best test of a publication like this. All in all, then, a pretty handy way to catch up on and digest the week's
on- and off-line goings-on, even for those of us who aren't obliged to spend time hurtling around underground (or sitting around gloomily wondering why the hurtling's stopped).

I'll be very interested to see how the project progresses - and deals with any attempts to skew the voting that might come along as it grows - because so far (and, I'll admit, a little to my surprise**) it seems to be producing a genuinely worthwhile hybrid of print and digital media.

Now to just find out whether it's an idea that can also support itself...

*On the other hand, the space is fairly limited...

**I've seen some awful, cluttered and dull user-generated sites (as well as plenty of good ones), so when I heard about this I did wonder quite which way it would go.

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