On Friday afternoon, just hours before the start of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, CTV Edmonton launched a new blog called Inner Tube. I’m not sure if the timing was just a coincidence or if CTV Edmonton purposefully wanted to “soft launch” the blog, but either way, this “online experiment of sorts” is something that’s worth paying attention to.
First, the key points:
- Inner Tube is a group blog. Entries will be written by a variety of people at CTV Edmonton, including Carrie Doll and Josh Classen.
- This is an Edmonton project, not something that came from Toronto.
- Posts are edited for clarity, comments are moderated.
- From the about blurb: “You’ll read stories about the inner workings of the news process, how we develop our stories, or just casual observations about what makes north central Alberta so special.”
I called Stewart Shaw, web guru at CTV Edmonton, to learn more about the site that he has been working to launch for the last six months or so. My first question was why it took so long! Stewart very democratically explained that many people just aren’t as comfortable with technology as the rest of us, and that convincing all of the necessary people took time (as it would have in any typical corporate environment). He was pleased with how things progressed.
Stewart told me that CTV Edmonton sees this as an extension of what they’ve been doing for more than 50 years. The station has always felt that it was part of the community, and the blog is just a modern way of ensuring that remains true. And while the CTV Edmonton account on Twitter has been quite successful, and most stories on the news website offer the ability to leave comments, neither offers the same kind of connection that the blog can (though Carrie Doll, Josh Classen, and other personalities regularly interact with other Twitter users). Stewart said that the Save Local TV open house last year opened some eyes – it was the first time in a long time that CTV Edmonton had invited the public to the station, and they were overwhelmed by the response. The idea with Inner Tube is to open up a little, to provide a glimpse behind the curtain from the people that make CTV Edmonton tick.
Local media blogs are not new, of course. The Edmonton Journal, iNews880, and Edmonton Sun have had blogs on their websites for a long time, with varying levels of success. The difference is that CTV Edmonton has created a group blog that everyone will contribute to, rather than individual blogs for each employee or personality. The idea is that it’ll be a little easier to keep fresh, and also to build a following with. I think the jury’s still out on which approach is more successful, but I like that CTV Edmonton is experimenting with something different.
Inner Tube is off to a good start, with roughly half a dozen posts already up on the blog. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves – I hope it opens the door to even more online activity from the local media. Congrats to Stewart and everyone else at CTV Edmonton for launching Inner Tube, and good luck!