Midlands papers test web methods with World Cup site

The Express & Star, Wolverhampton, has launched a video-heavy web site about the World Cup in advance of a relauch of the paper's web site slated for later this year.

The World Cup web site, Back Home, is the first major project for MNA Digital, the newly-formed digital arm of the Midland News Association, which publishes both the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. The Albrighton-based company replaces the two evening papers’ separate in-house Internet teams.

MNA electronic editor Chris Leggett said the new company is planning to relaunch the two newspapers’ web sites later this year. Although the new sites may not feature all of the multimedia functionality of the World Cup site, Back Home is being used to test new techniques.

“We’re looking to do more video, and this is a test of the technical side and what editorial processes will be needed,” said Leggett.

In addition to a daily video news bulletin produced by PA, Back Home includes exclusive video interviews with local football stars such as Paul Ince and Steve Bull.

A temporary studio has been installed at the Express & Star’s Wolverhampton office to film some of the interviews for the site, which were conducted by Express & Star reporter Andy Toft, reporter Bob Hall and deputy sports editor Martin Swain and filmed by PA video journalist Richard McCarthy.

Although Hall has experience in local television, the project is Toft’s first on-camera experience, according to Leggett.

Express & Star editor Adrian Faber said the site “gives us the opportunity to embrace the technology now available and develop new ways of connecting with people.

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