Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Guardian and The Independent: innovating their way up?

I’ve been so impressed with the way The Guardian and The Independent are innovating, particularly with their digital/social media offerings. Newspaper circulations may be dwindling and hacking scandals affecting the UK industry’s reputation and influence, but it’s good to see there are those who are putting up a damn good fight. A cynic might argue that the lack of having to fight a war on two fronts (a disinterested public and the topic of the Leveson Inquiry) is paying its moral high-ground dividends.

Chris Blackhurst, editor of The Independent and i has given some inspiring and honest interviews, also revealing that the joint circulation of the two Independent papers is greater than The Guardian’s and not far off The Times, great news for beleaguered PROs increasingly pushed to justify ROI in a media landscape undergoing a sea change of nauseatingly choppy proportions.

Alan Rusbridger, Editor of The Guardian, appears to have emerged from the hacking scandal as a thoroughly English hero, while his paper continues to innovate online at breakneck speed. Recent months have seen the Guardian Tagbot, part of Guardian Beta, their online film desk’s live blog of the Three Colours Trilogy and their latest offering which gives an insight into the news desk process.

Both papers have a strong presence, with my peers at least, on Facebook. The Independent updates images and news headlines into my newsfeed, while The Guardian posts content created specifically for a younger audience, through their app.

I’ll be interested to see if the two continue to tie their Facebook futures in with frictionless sharing, I’m not a fan so I hope not, and I know the arguments of self-censorship and limiting usage ring true with me. The Guardian in particular seems to be emerging from the ‘privacy is for paedos’ fall-out with a strong and clear brand identity of morality and trust, a much needed beacon of light in these darks times of MPs expenses and before that, dodgy dossiers. Being ‘whiter-than-white’ and being perceived as ‘whiter-than-white’ in the tricky issue of online privacy seems particularly important

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