Of the long list of changes I had in mind for Legal Business when I agreed to join the title as editor in chief, perhaps the biggest was a root-and-branch overhaul of the magazine’s online presence. In beta form, at least, you are looking at our first major step in achieving that aim with the launch today of a totally new and much improved website.
The point is two-fold: to provide a real-time reporting companion to our monthly publication and forge a far more effective means of presenting our premium subscription journalism so readers can access us online as well as in print.
That isn’t going to mean just repurposing print journalism for the internet – though it is important that we also do that well – it is about creating a new strand of open access reporting that reaches a wider audience than just our subscribers.
The primary means of achieving that is through a new blog, which will include an accessible mix of comment, news and analysis to keep readers updated throughout the month. In achieving that I am looking to some of the traditions of online publishing in the US, which more often mixes commentary, news and social media in a style that hopefully provides a little more context and accessibility than is possible in the confines of straight news reporting. Models that interest me include publications as varied as the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Breaking Views and Adam Smith Esq.
The working theory is that the more conversational tone will also allow us to bring in guest writers and creative linking to other sites. Where there are opportunities to collaborate, we should embrace that.
Since this will mean experimenting with a slightly different writing form, I have no doubt that this will require plenty of trial and error over the next few weeks on the editorial side. We’ll also be tweaking the site’s design as we go but my low boredom threshold convinced me that it made sense to just get on with it and sand down the rough edges afterwards. After all, this is just the start of a long process – it takes months of sustained effort to build an online audience.
Aside from the blog, the new site should also make much more effective use of our long-form analytical journalism and provide a better all-round experience for subscribers. The site should in addition direct readers to useful resources at our Legalease stable-mates, notably Legal Business’s sister title the In-House Lawyer and The Legal 500.
This is by no means the only major move we’ll be making to substantively improve our online presence in the months ahead but I hope it’s a major step in the right direction.
Readers with feedback, suggestions, plaudits and abuse should email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. This site will evolve so your input will be genuinely appreciated.