On the face of it, it was a good week for the Irish Independent. You might call it cynical, or you might call it strategic, you might even call it both, but the release of sound files on Independent.ie got the website the kind of coverage some bloggers would die for…
Questions of course, remain. Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail are both asking how they got these confidential tapes that were previously in the custody of the Garda, and the Quinn family. And Vincent Browne’s question to Fionnan Sheahan about why now last Monday still begs an answer.
The more fervid conspiracy theorists point to poor economic figures for the government and the fact that on Monday and Tuesday questions were being asked of a couple of polls due out tomorrow. It’s surely not a conincidence that the former editor of the Irish Independent was promoted to a new role on Monday:
Stephen Rae will now be responsible for the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent and the Herald, ensuring that the titles are “platform agnostic”.
The Irish Independent said Rae’s responsibilities would include making sure that the three titles were “structured, resourced and aligned for an increasingly digital future”.
Each paper will still retain its own editor, but Rae will be charged with ensure the titles are collaborative while still retaining their unique tone of voice and ethos.
That principle was very much in evidence this week, with columnists and specialists all teed up on the tapes each with good angles and set to make the maximum impact in the paper off the back of the website’s unique resource (ie the raw material).
Sharing original sources is something has been de rigeur amongst bloggers since our year dot (let’s call it 2001). But the indo’s strategising, marketing and marshalling of some of its best resources is something only a paid operation could have pulled off.
In the process, what did the story us we didn’t already know?
Well, for a start, the pre crisis concensus of just letting the wealth creators get on with
destroying creating wealth (aka, light touch regulation) was a lot of cock and bull. With tighter regulation (or at least more transparent reporting) Anglo might have been let go to the wall much earlier in the cycle.
And given the government was being so heavily gamed by banks like Anglo, the seemingly rash/stupid/irrational bank guarantee was probably all the government could do to stop the whole banking system from falling apart.
Meantime, time to crack open the bubbly at IMG. But maybe time for OMG at the maverick Sindo which has been let paddle it own often eccentric canoe for more than a generation. In this regard, “platform agnostic” may be heard as an ominous rumble by the old lags.
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