With the recent redesign and relaunch of The Scottish Sun’s online platform, we talked to Digital Editor James McIvor about its “bigger, bolder, and brighter” approach and how that feeds into what the team are busy reporting on. The findings: big Scottish and national news; bold shockers from around the world, and the bright – well, what’s brighter than the Sun?
Read on for how print and online work together, how PRs and journalists can help each other, and how pit bulls and their owners really, really *shouldn’t* do either of those things (really, really: brace yourselves for that one)…
Congratulations on the website relaunch, James – tell us a bit about what prompted the revamp, what were your aims when working on it?
We really wanted a complete redesign, making it cleaner, brighter, fresher, and a place that readers will want to come to.
Has the editorial direction/tone of content on the website changed in any way to go along with the redesign?
Not at all – we’re still trying to give the best of Scottish news and sport, and national news stories, mixing the hard-hitting with the, uh, sexier showbiz news.
How will the online team be working with the print reporting team, will much of the content feed into the paper, and vice versa?
Yes, it definitely works both ways. I’ve had responsibility for The Scottish Sun’s online content for the last four years now – stories from online can feed into the paper, and vice versa. We can also promote each other’s spaces. Our online and print team are a tight-knit group – we’re a smallish operation compared to London teams, so we can all work together!
How does social media help with getting stories/finding exclusives (particularly with celebrity stories)?
Social media is so important – we have to keep an eye on it day to day, it’s a great source of news stories. We all keep a close eye on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and we work with our Storyful colleagues – but we’re not just a ‘social media story site’, we cherry-pick the best to share.
How can PRs help reporters working on the website – what kind of info would you find useful from them (celebrity interviews/launches, etc.)?
PRs should definitely get in touch if they’ve got a great line they’re trying to push – certainly events. We’re trying to be more proactive with those, particularly music events, new launches. Obviously, we’re not just here to help PRs – but we can all work together, and help each other. Though, there’s nothing worse than receiving an email, then getting the phone call to say “Have you got my email?”. But, yes, if the content is rich enough, we’d certainly like to hear from them!
You’re hoping to bring readers “the most shocking stories from around the world” – what would be the kind of exclusives your team of reporters are looking to snag?
Ah, yes. Well. There’s one story in particular that is really driving traffic at the moment – we’ve already had three different stories from this one piece. It’s, uh, a woman who’s had sex with her pet pit bull, while being filmed by her boyfriend. I…wouldn’t say it’s a fun piece… it’s quite disgusting, actually!
But there’re also serious stories – there’s a situation in the US at the moment, a heroin epidemic. Again, not fun – it’s horrendous. But it’s an important story, as well as being shocking. Ultimately, we want readers to know that they can come to us for important scoops, big Scottish and UK stories, and the latest sport – alongside the shocking stuff.
James McIvor can be found tweeting (and looking out for those shocking stories) @jmcivor5.