New Digital Editor Pope faces more podcasts than you can shake a black pudding at

STORNOWAY. Home to the Stornoway Gazette, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, Studio Alba, Isles FM, some of the greatest black pudding in the world and oh yes, it gave us the ever charming journalist Iain Pope too. 

Assistant head of live content at the Daily Record, (assistant news editor in old money), he was just recently appointed Digital Editor for the Daily Record & Sunday Mail websites, the handover process now already underway.

And while it will be a big job ahead plotting which course will be the right one for the site to follow, it comes at what must be one of the most exciting times in Scottish, and indeed UK, media.

The decision by News International to put its titles behind a paywall, The Guardian now also looking at web based payments, Matt Kelly staying on as Trinity Mirror digital supremo, the advent of STV Local, Herald Scotland's pending push, DC Thomson in the background, a rise in hyperlocal news sites, the promise of better broadband, the iPad, smart phones, internet enabled TVs, all make this challenging, if potentially fertile ground to sow for the Glasgow based operation.

Rivals aside, a new studio has apparently been built to facilitate quality recording and editing, and while I've yet to see any figures given the fact they tend to be bundled as part of Mirror Group Digital's ABCe, we've been told via Twitter how it enjoyed record traffic in the summer. A firm footing on which to build.

Trinity Mirror's interim report in July did state it had suffered a slight group wide fall in overall digital revenues, but it has had major online successes with the likes of building a three million strong audience in around a year.

If the resources can now be made available to Iain Pope and his new team, then you would hope a similar trick for Scotland's army of footie fans could follow, especially given the apparent success of its podcasting.

After all with just three journalists, two technical staff and limited number of already hardworking casuals allowed, they already work minor miracles organising podcasts, video, audio, blogs and the general site content as it is.

But to evolve it must now look at ensuring all departments feed into the online presence as they should, including the actual way they work and the content they provide, not least when it is made available.

Trinity Mirror stated in July's report that the new Content Watch system would "create more efficient multi-media newsrooms" for the titles by "eliminating outdated working practices".

Given Pope has been instrumental in training up staff at Central Quay on the basics of the new system, you would hope he can facilitate exactly that.

He was as for many a natural choice for the role as Digital Editor, having the capacity to marry the old with the new.

And his has the potential to be a very different role from his predecessor which could, at least from where I sit as a punter, involve greater focus on the day to day delivery of content.

He won't have to build it from the ground up as others have done, it is already ticking over nicely. 

Which means while he'll bring his own ideas to the table, it will now be his editorial experience that should come to the fore, not technical skill.

But it will now be up to Trinity Mirror through its Managing Director Nationals, Mark Hollinshead, to provide the resources to match their clear ambition and enable Pope and his team to deliver big.

A graduate of Glasgow University, he attended the Scottish Centre for Journalism Studies in 1996 before joining the aforementioned Stornoway Gazette as a trainee reporter.

He went on to work in the dual role of reporter/photographer at the Isle if Wight News Agency between 1996 and 1998, before joining the Southern Daily Echo in Southampton as reporter, features writer and crime reporter.

The two years there saw him eventually join the Edinburgh Evening News, first as its West Lothian corr based for 18 months above a Greggs in Bathgate, finally landing a berth on the desk as assistant News Editor.

He's been at the Daily Record since 2003, working under news editors Tom Hamilton, Andy Lines and current acting head of live content Kevin Mansi, now reporting to Digital Director Ewan Watt.

Speaking about his hopes of building on the successes of the site, he paid tribute to the work of outgoing Digital Editor, Iain Hepburn, who is leaving to join STV Local.

Pope said: "It's evident Iain is rightly proud of the work he has done. If I can continue that work and build upon it wherever possible I'll be satisfied."


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