The Independent partners with Livejournal

LiveJournal logo

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The Independent, of all our national newspapers, had a reputation for terrible, half-hearted blogging, and has done for years. It was quite a surprise, then, to see that it’s entered into partnership with blog-as-social-network site Livejournal to relaunch its blogs. Now, I’ve been an LJ user since 2001 – it’s where my very first blog lives – and I’ve always thought of it more as a communication tool than a publishing platform, but it clearly has aspirations elsewhere, as the news post describes the partnership as their “first attempt to engage on the ground in the UK” – which I’ll try not to be offended by…

Jimmy Leach, the paper’s editorial director for digital, has posted about the launch, in a way that suggests they see the site as something akin to The Telegraph‘s My Telegraph:

But this is mere tinkering to the major new aspect of the Independent
Minds – and that’s that you too can become bloggers on this site. Just register (with
LiveJournal who are providing the back-end to all this) and you can add
your voice to the others on this site and share your thoughts with the
huge and growing audience the site has. You do have to register, I’m
afraid – some may find it a pain, but its mean’t to be a community, not
a free-for-all.

The design of the Independent Minds section, as the co-branded area has been christened, is actually pretty nice, and they advertise a pretty wide range of contributors. It’s only when you click through that you get a feel of how patchy the posting is right now. Sex columnist Catherine Townsend posted yesterday, which is good, but foreign editor Raymond Whitaker hasn’t posted for two weeks. Only the most prolific posters seems to be garnering any comments at all.

An interesting idea, certainly. But does it have any more legs than The Independent’s last effort in blogging?

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  • As many bloggers know, you’re only as good as your last content, and how often you update.

    It doesn’t matter which “system” the Independent uses – although I too, am a bit of a fan for the generally-unappreciated LiveJournal system – but if the correspondents and writers don’t want to blog, nothing’s really going to make them blog…

  • As I noted on my own blog (here), the tie-up with LiveJournal isn’t half as surprising as it might have been.

    Jimmy Leach is ex Guardian, and ex Downing Street; meanwhile, the new Director of Corporate Development at Livejournal’s relatively new Russian-based owners, SUP, is Benjamin Wegg-Prosser… ex Guardian, ex Downing Street. The two worked closely together on several big developments, not least No10’s e-petitions site.

    Not just its blogs: the Independent’s new media efforts have long needed a kick up the back end. But their new look is a dramatic improvement, and it’ll be interesting to see how they can make use of LiveJournal’s well-established community functions. They’re trying some interesting things, at least; but one wonders if they’ve got too much catching up to do.

    Plus, they’re moving in with the Daily Mail next month… 🙂

  • Well, you can persuade them eventually – that’s what I’ve been doing over the last few years for our titles. But it can be an uphill struggle.

  • I find the Daily Mail thing bizarre – a right wing and a left wing tabloid sharing office space….