Website postcode facility to aid local story search

Journalists at Northcliffe Media titles will begin coding stories with postcodes as the regional newspaper group continues the rollout of its ‘next generation’websites.

The company relaunched 10 of its existing 55 ‘thisis’titles this week, using new software that will allow readers to specify a postcode to find stories about their location.

The new functionality currently remains hidden from readers while journalists build up enough geocoded stories to make the service useful.

‘It should only take a month or two until we’ve built up that bulk of stories with postcode data attached to them,’said Northcliffe content strategy director Robert Hardie.

‘On one hand it’s opening up a major opportunity for us, it also means we’re going to have to learn new skills and make value judgements about how we tag stories with postcodes,’Hardie said. ‘It’s a new skill that we’re going to have to get used to doing.’

A further 79 ‘thisis’sites will be completed by mid-September.

This will include the launch of 35 new sites which will target small communities more precisely.

‘We’re trying to extend our reach away from what are our traditional newsprint footprints,’Hardie said.

The newly-redesigned sites include thisistotalessex.co.uk, thisisderbyshire.co.uk and thisiscornwall.co.uk.

The first to be unveiled was thisishullandeastriding.co.uk, the site run by the Hull Daily Mail, which last week won the Multimedia Publisher of the Year award at the Regional Press Awards.

The new sites allow journalists to more easily publish separate print, online and mobile stories from within the Tera content system. They previously had to use a separate system to publish web content.

Journalists will also be able to add keyword tags and search-engine friendly headlines to web stories.

‘We’ve severed the link between print production and web production,’Hardie said.

The new sites will carry several new advertising positions. In addition, the sites will integrate advertisements from Northcliffe’s classified sites jobsite.co.uk, motors.co.uk and findaproperty.co.uk.

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