WEB WATCH — Jack Lemley thought he was having a quiet chat with a local journalist for the edification of his fellow Idahoans. Unfortunately for Jack, there’s no such thing as local journalism any more …
For a few days last month the online version of the Idaho Statesman was one of the most popular websites on Fleet Street.
British journalists picked their way through local stories on wolf attacks (seemingly a bit of a problem in the state) and wrestling to track down an interview with local businessman Jack Lemley, who also just happened to be the former chairman of London’s Olympic Delivery Authority.
In the interview with his local paper Lemley complained that politics was holding up the delivery of the Games and famously proclaimed that he had gone to London “to build things, not to sit and talk about it”.
The comments opened a floodgate of stories over escalating budgets and doubts over design. They also proved that there are no digital backwaters in the world of the web. The Idaho Statesman’s target audience may be located in, well, Idaho, but on the web all is but a Google search away.
Lemley’s failure to grasp the power of new media was evident from comments by his publicist. She told Building, with some understatement, that “Jack did not expect his Idaho Statesman interview to be so widely disseminated”.
An interesting footnote to the affair was that the audio recording of the interview was also uploaded onto the website. Not only did this catch the attention of the London assembly who last week played a recording of Lemley’s misgivings to its members, it was also of interest to the Building office. This week Building has begun adding audio recordings to some of its own stories, so look out for the files appearing below the story page on the website. We hope it gives an extra dimension to the stories and some personality to the familiar names that you read about in the magazine.
Interviewees will no doubt be pleased they now have the opportunity to check their quotes, and for us it’s an opportunity to reach an audience in Idaho and beyond.
Alex Smith is Building’s web editor