The Detail goes live

TheDetailTV twitter avatarAfter a few months of recruiting, training and building their website, The Detail has gone live with a front page full of stories and columnists. Police and intelligence stories dominate the site at present, along with pieces about property, finance and child protection in sport.

Serious stuff, with links to follow-up pages discussing aspects of each story at the bottom of the main articles. There’s also a Malachi O’Doherty photo story and an excellent comment piece by Newton Emerson with a witty accompanying video.

The Detail is an offshoot of local media company Below The Radar (part of Bob Geldof’s Ten Alps plc) and funded by Atlantic Philanthropies (£640k) and Northern Ireland Screen (£150k). With five full-time journalists, a cameraman and a video editor, The Detail promises to put new content online each Monday, updated throughout the week.

Before Christmas I talked to Trevor Birney about this new venture. He was relishing the opportunity to find “a new model of investigative journalism”. He suggested that

“democracy was strongest in countries where the fourth estate was strongest.”

Given the guaranteed sources of funding for two years, The Detail will be free to consume as well as being advert free. Rather than sticking rigidly to video, audio or textual content, Trevor explained that they’d be free to “pick the tool that is more impactful” to tell the stories that they’d run.

It would not be “light touch” like the Independent’s i that had recently launched, but would instead concentrate on investigative journalism. It’ll form party of Ten Alps’ expression of interest in the (Westminster) Culture Secretary’s plans for local digital terrestrial TV stations – carried on a UK-wide sustaining service.

The Detail plans to work alongside longer established local media – newspapers and broadcasters – with the Mirror this morning picking up on The Detail’s lead story.


  • Drumlins Rock

    Still in two minds about it, anything involving AP has me suspicious to start with! But here is my first impression, with my obvious bias intact of course.
    Half the front page is 3 stories that follow the traditional republican narrative of “blame it on the spooks”, one is a NAMA bogeyman story that regurgitates old news badly, one is virtually a “commissioned” story by the NSPCC, however the final one on the Emerald Fund tweaked my interest and left me wanting to find out more.

  • lamhdearg

    i have still to check it out,however newton and to a lesser extent malachi just dont do it for me.

  • lamhdearg

    newtons piece is not bad. ( i dont like Our media ) .

  • Pete Baker


    The Emerald Fund story is an old one too.

    Although, to be fair to them, they do seem to have fleshed out some of the detail.

  • son of sam

    Would this be the same Trevor Birney whose company produced the recent fawning documentary on Peter Robinson for the B B C? Lets hopethe Detail will be a bit more robust in its approach to politiciansand the institutions of State!

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Nice idea and the content looks pretty good – but design is really quite poor. They really should have expended more effort on its appearance.

    The inevitable re-design will surely come if their ‘circulation’ figures down look good after a year or so.

  • Drumlins Rock

    The most shocking thing was seeing Newt with hair!

  • Mick Fealty

    “The question you need to ask is whether the media is covering thosenegotiations or unwittingly taking part in them.”

    Vintage Newt, and priceless!

  • chuck feeneys similar project down south didn’t last

  • Investigative? Time will tell. Independent? What will justify the next funding traunche, or go under. If things are so bad how come journalists were picking up awards at Slugger the other week? First set of stories, uninspiring.

  • PJ Maybe

    The same dreary faces, peddling the same predictable stories (spooks and brits, isn’t the recession awful? the er “comedy” stylings of that Emerson fella), on a website that wouldn’t exist without money from the public purse. Gone the second the funding goes.

  • An entertaining piece from Newton but hardly insightful. When he refers to a normal country what he really means is single party government where the government has a majority of seats.

    Our Executive was portrayed as a four party coalition with each party having the same clout at the bargaining table whereas we’ve got two big beasts, who do the divvying out amongst themselves, and three minnows. The minnows can redress the balance somewhat by briefing against the beasts in the media – which really gets the beasts dander up. There’s nothing the media seems to enjoy more than a brawl in the hall :L

    I just love that Civil Service speak for cuts that I spotted in the DRD draft budget: indicative savings.

    Meanwhile the beasts and the minnows, but especially the beasts, can splash out in the run up to the election by announcing projects that are in the party (OOPS) public interest.

  • SethS

    Haven’t looked at the content yet, but the design is dreadful.

    Do they think making it look like a newspaper makes it look more serious?

  • On a practical point of view their policy on folk be it msm or bloggers could prove a bit cumbersome:

    “We do want to share our stories with as wide an audience as is possible but we ask that you respect our three simple conditions.

    1. You alert us to your plans to publish.
    2.That you credit “The Detail” in any broadcast or publication of a story that we have originated. If you are a newspaper, the credit should come in one of the first three paragraphs.
    3. If publishing online, that you link back to us.”

    Mainly that first point, fair enough for proper journalists but those of us trying to get a post up online during our 10 minute coffee break have neither the time nor the inclination to muck about sending off more emails before linking. If it’s linked then that be should be good enough for an “alert “

  • Mark McGregor

    Meet the new boss – more polished online product but same staff as the old boss.

    Brice Dickson, Michael Mansfield, `Martin Ingram’, Barry McCaffrey, Newton Emerson and Malachi O’Doherty.

    No harm but the bulk of their content doesn’t read like a potential who’s who of new/upcoming insight, commentary and writing.

    More like meet the new well funded wannabe boss, exactly the same as the people who were in the MSM yesterday/a few days ago.

    The only they’ve proved so far is the neglected value of a decent court reporter – and I doubt they have paid one either.

  • Crubeen

    “One is virtually a “commissioned” story by the NSPCC”

    Well spotted, Drumlin’s Rock … where would the media be without the sponsorship of the Child Protection industry which provides it with plentiful non-stories and strives to avoid thereby, unwelcome press interest in the vexed matter of its not actually protecting children from real harm?