As this blog is an entirely new concept, designed to coincide with our freshly redesigned digital presence, this first post feels like a sensible point at which to explain why I’m even blogging at all.
A decade ago, the majority of Oxford Today readers would never had dreamed of enjoying their media – be it the written word, video or audio – via the web. Now, that's all changed. Whether it's via a desktop computer, a tablet or a smartphone, the web has become a first port of call for many of us when it comes to sourcing, consuming and digesting media.
Don't just take my word for it, either: earlier this year, the Economist Group reported that 60 percent of its readers will be reading The Economist digitally, rather than in print, by 2013. That's a staggering shift, and it's why we're boosting our web presence and delivering more of our content online only.
Of course, we’re not ditching print at Oxford Today. Instead, we’ve gone the other way, amplifying what print does best in longer, less frequent, more considered twice-yearly issues, printed on better paper, with enhanced art work and bespoke photography.
In the same manner, we’re amplifying our web presence. We now have a new Digital Editor, in the shape of Dr Jamie Condliffe. A self-confessed 'digital native', he's worked on New Scientist's website and is a Contributing Editor for online-only Gawker Media, perhaps one of the most forward-looking news organizations of the time, run by alumnus Nick Denton (Univ, 1985). As Jamie's only too keen to point out, in this digital world it's possible to react instantly with short, punchy writing, but it's equally possible to find long, nuanced features you'd expect in any great magazine.
And that's the whole point: while digital journalism offers us all a chance to find news and opinion more quickly and easily, it doesn't have to compromise quality or be any less important than print. If anything, it forces writers and editors like us to up our game, because it's easier than ever to be scrutinised, criticised and corrected.
We're going to embrace that. While we want you to be able to pick up Oxford Today on your tablet and lean back with a drink as you flick though our articles, we want you to feel involved, too. Until now, Oxford Today's been firmly rooted in the traditional “lean-back” mode of journalism, where the reader basks in the writer's words and that's that.
From now on, though, we'll be showcasing some great bloggers who you can respond to immediately through comments; we'll be starting conversations through social networks like Facebook and Twitter; and we'll be asking for your input and opinions more than ever. We'll also be ramping up the amount of video and audio content on the site, pointing you towards podcasts, and offering up more beautiful photography. It's going to be a splendidly sensory media experience – just electronic, not physical.
Our focus isn't on faddishness, though; it's on supplying as much interesting, relevant and timely content to you as possible. These days the best way to do that is via the web – and that's why I'm blogging. So keep checking back as often as you like. We hope you enjoy what you find.