Steve Purcell

04.09.03

Going through my e-mails first thing, I pick out one with the subject “The worst resort name ever”.  Opening it brings up a sign for the Halfway Inn, a US resort. The title is preceded by the owner’s name, which would be fine if it were, say, Steve’s Halfway Inn. But the owner’s name is Big Dick! Another rib-tickler.

People love the weird side of the web, and s h a r i n g their discoveries with friends. Might use the item on iBlog, though, the gossipy net news/technology column we started recently on Mirror.co.uk.

Strangely, it also reminds me I’m meeting the commercial director of a dating agency this afternoon – with a view to offering a dating/lonely hearts service on the site. We’re busy developing content and additional features for the site, as well as keeping up to date with breaking news. There’s a huge amount of potential, and it’s a very exciting place to be. The dating service proposal turns out to be interesting, but I suspect the forecast revenue figures must have been concocted with the aid of Viagra!

05.09.03

Meet the Pope’s spin doctor for lunch. Oliver Wilson is the head of news for the Roman Catholic Church in England – Alastair Campbell with a halo – and he wants to talk about the way news is handled on the site.

This week, a vicar broadcast his church service live on the internet, the Church of England is all over the place on gay/lesbian issues and the Catholic Church has had problems recently, so we have a lively chat. We meet at a tapas bar near Waterloo for a bite and a small glass of communion wine! Well, it is Friday.

Back at Canary Wharf, I look into buying the right software to add online crossword puzzles to the daily mix . I like the crossword in The Independent , which you can fill in on screen, and want to offer something similar.

06.09.03

It’s the start of the new football season for my five-year-old son Harry’s junior club, so we dig out his boots, shin pads and England kit.

We live “out in the sticks” but the weekends make up for my daily three hours of commuting. I check on the site before going out and phone Neil Roberts, who’s doing the Saturday shift, to make sure everything’s OK. I can access the system from home if needed, but there are no problems.

I’m currently talking to BT about its new broadband service, which should be a big help if I have to work on the website from home.

Early evening, I watch England scrape a victory over mighty Macedonia at the village pub.

07.09.03

Check the Sunday Mirror site – we look after that, too – and call Neil in the office to put some distance between our “Eat out for a fiver” mega-deal and the Sunday Mirror’s exclusive about all the horrible and deadly things in supermarket grub! You’ve got to be careful about juxtaposition, even on the web.

Take my dog outside and shoot it – with a camera, of course! I’m trying to write some children’s stories, and need some pictures for the cartoonist. Later we visit the RSPCA open day at nearby Chobham. We do like animals, really.

08.09.03

The newsdesk reveals a couple of cracking exclusives at the editor’s morning conference. It’s useful for the website editor to attend as it lets me know what the paper is working on, and what general breaking news needs to be tackled by the web team.

England bowl out South Africa at The Oval, so we get that up on site straight away. Watch the England innings, and constantly update our cricket report (that’s our excuse). This is one area where the web really scores.

During the Rugby World Cup, we’ll be a day ahead of the newspapers all of the time. Spend a couple of hours judging the National Union of Students’ “Best Website” awards.

There’s a good all-round standard so it’s a very tough call.

09.09.03

Compile a report about progress on the site for a meeting later today with Ellis Watson, the Mirror’s general manager.

Delighted by the amount of support for Mirror.co.uk within the company.

Tonight, there’s a free drink – or several – for all Mirror editorial staff in Davy’s, our Canary Wharf haunt, as a thank you for recent efforts.

Obviously, it’s the duty of the website team to hold up our end! 10.09.03 Updating the iBlog column is always a laugh. Our daily ebay-watch highlights the weirdest items on sale – and today’s crop includes an uncashed cheque made out to Happy Mondays star Shaun Ryder (allegedly to buy drugs); an inflatable Chubby the Whale and a wind-up hopping Lederhosen toy described as Bavarian Bliss.

Not a great deal of breaking news, but the newspaper uses a feature written by one of the website team – about music piracy on the internet – and we use it prominently, too.

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