STV have confirmed that North Lanarkshire is to be the starting point for its hugely exciting STVLocal pilot which is scheduled to kick off next month.
David Milne (no relation) has been appointed as Executive Editor. He is formerly Group Digital Editor of the Herald and Times.
Other big name signings are pending, a few of which there is an inkling of, but better left for those concerned to break the news.
Those who have already outed themselves online make up the North Lanarkshire team include:
MOTHERWELL & WISHAW
COATBRIDGE & AIRDRIE
The full, official release from STV is available at this link.
Details on its preferred advertising partner, other community editors who have been recruited and a couple of senior signings, are expected to be unveiled in the coming days and weeks too.
There are currently what appears to be some test pages up and running already for the areas which seem to be closely aligned to those of local authorities – no doubt to exploit potential advertising opportunities from councils looking to make savings on traditional means.
According to an FAQ page, STVLocal aims to cover some 300 cities, towns and villages making it easy for users to do thing such as reporting information on out of date business links.
Business owners will also be able to apply to add their companies for free which will also be tagged on local maps.
Others areas include boxes for what is 'Trending' in an area, extensive what's on tabs, reviews and Top 10 recommendations.
It looks as if they have some kind of support in place for Google's rich snippets using some kind of microformat.
While functional, there is no way of telling whether or not the 'look' of the pages will remain the same or be adapted when it goes live in September, but there are password protected Beta pages.
It is a massively complex and hugely exciting venture which may well help lead the charge with how other media companies, not just here in Scotland but across the UK and abroad, approach news gathering and advertising in a digital age.
Little wonder then that STV advanced the timetable in rolling it out, and that's before you look at what else they have planed for mobile.
Best of luck to all those involved in delivering on the project. It looks like a brilliantly ambitious effort which deserves every success.