After 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.