Gripes of wrath – My first look at The Global Mail

I was up late so I switched on the new Australian bastion of Independent Journalism, The Global Mail (TGM).

The website only went live last night but after twenty minutes or so I felt I had a good enough grasp of their plans to share my thoughts. And all my thoughts were about sharing. Because that’s what we do.

During the next day, today, I have seen some nastier reviews of TGM. This kind of spontaneous chatter, the fleeting engagement that social media elevates into conversation is still worthwhile and I am confident the editors won’t see the negatives as carping but as people wanting to be proud of a standout moment in our media culture, to make a good thing great.

My email to the editor went something like this.

Thanks for launching your new venture – it has already kept me up past midnight so that can’t be a bad thing.

Having read a few articles, each of which I appreciated, I found myself wanting more, more links to topics raised, more options for looking at the source material and a chance to delve further into the life of the author. Sadly, none of these options are present on your site. My hopes were that TGM would bring a fresh new look to independent storytelling – which it does, I am enjoying the interface and typesetting – but also that it would nail the sharing mentality that is now spearheaded by social media. As for me and my generation, this is how we consume media; it is second nature to ping our friends as we read a story, to tweet a thought, to grab a quote (preferably out of context) or to drag a photo to show our followers.

I hope that your site is already aware of these trends and plans to roll out such solutions in coming weeks. It is, after all, our first night together and I realise it’s unfair expecting everything to be just right.

So, how about it? How about a Google+ button, hyperlinked issues within stories, article tags and photos that link to more photos from that event or photographer. Right now TGM feels to me like a broadsheet copied onto a website.

I look forward to seeing where else you take it – and where I can take it.

Cheers, Luke.

@RupertMurdoch already more popular than The @Daily

Rupert Murdoch has tried a few things that did not work.

MySpace, News Of The World, taking his own Twitter profile picture.

However, with just one week of awkward tweets under his belt, @RupertMurdoch has already attracted more followers than his most recent online venture, the digital newspaper made for Ipad, the @Daily.

This shows that The Daily is yet to be fully accepted as a strong media force. The paywall restricts anyone but subscribers from reading most full stories. This is a terrible hindrance to the reach of any breaking news or potentially explosive investigative piece their team files.

This closed model cannot work in a world where the ease of sharing information is paramount, where the integration of social media into every nook and cranny of your daily life is becoming commonplace – e.g. I’ve just noticed my local $2 store has a Facebook page! – and where the next generation of readers’ first instinct is to tell someone about what they have just read or watched online.

As @RupertMurdoch enjoys the kudos of his follower numbers growing exponentially, (and, therefore, his influence) I hope he realises it is only occurring because of retweets, because of the free sharing permitted across other news websites that mention his tweets, and across other platforms like texting and within other social networks like Facebook and Tumblr.

Sadly, these are all elements of a strict paywall model that otherwise exciting forays such as The Daily seems committed to ignoring.

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