THERE are those who sneered when it launched, others who remain sceptical that it will ever truly work.
But despite the cynics, hours of toil and bravery in going ahead in the face of the biggest economic downturn in a generation, the Caledonian Mercury has picked up its first gong for publisher Stewart Kirkpatrick and his rag-tag team of journalistic creatives.
The NUJ Regional Press Awards announced today that Stewart is their multi-media publisher of the year for the CalMerc.
The accolade itself may add a sprinkling more members to the 1000 strong and growing Facebook page; it may help drive more traffic to help please the increasingly visible number of advertisers onboard or better still, help fund the model it uses to pay its contributors.
But the biggest win of all from this, is the recognition, the fact that despite those who repair against the CalMerc, it is being taking seriously by its peers.
Stewart dines out on his part in the success of the old scotsman.com team, but soon he may be able to let others feast on stories of his own making at the CalMerc too.
And deservedly so.
He's worked ever so hard behind the scenes, put his own reputation – and income – on the line by fronting the project, and so far managed to keep together the coalition of media talent that is steadily making progress in establishing itself.
The fact that the industry is not only sitting up and taking notice isn't just pleasing for the accolades, but the fact it may help shape the thinking of other publishers too.
Congratulations to Stewart, and the Cal Merc team with him.