You will no doubt have heard the news that Channel 4’s 4IP fund is joining forces with Slugger to build a new and bespoke platform to further promote political conversations online (there’s a good piece on the BBC NI site as well). Ewan McIntosh has most of the detail of the deal and what we are aiming to achieve at the 4IP blog. For my part I view it as an opportunity get beyond bewailing how the new media has destroyed the old business models and start to build new ones, particularly if it can help facilitate closer and more intelligent (not to mention more honest) conversations between politicians and local people.The agreement with 4IP sees us enter a relationship. You’ll see the first products of that in the new year when we’ll be launching a brand new platform that in the first instance will enable to disaggregate our content into new regional front pages that enable us to give concentrated attention to the political game in other political hot spots in Scotland, the Republic, Wales, Westminster and Europe.
That will entail a huge resource and network building exercise and it very much remains to be seen whether we can achieve that in the terms we currently envisage. The sums of money are modest and will be focused on small and tightly defined projects.
Lastly the money from 4IP will enable us to tidy up Slugger and bring closer it to the front edge of digital content sharing. The sums of money are modest and focused on small and VERY tightly defined projects. That way we can take risks, manage costs and retain our motivation innovate.
For the more suspicious amongst you, it won’t be paying anyone’s wages. That, if it comes, will likely derive from working with other partners eager to experiment with new forms of digital content production or who want to engage in robust (ie honest) conversations with their stakeholders.
The first seven years of Slugger O’Toole has been both surprising and lot of fun along the way. I hope the next seven years will be just as fun and just as surprising (in the same good way)…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty