Sometimes it seemed a case of one step forward, two steps back. Many times, things seemed to move beyond our control, just as they had done for Dr Dave Bowman and Dr Frank Poole as they wrestled with the paranoia of the HAL computer system that was bent on maintaining control of their spacecraft Discovery One.
As one problem was solved or resolved, another would rear its head – was the IT system friend or foe?
‘Wire frames’ – the basic look and feel, as well as structure of the website – were devised, revised and tested.
This was followed by the development stage with the techies from web developers, Engage.
Once our web and digital media manager Carmel Kelly was satisfied that everything was working as it should, the handover was made to the Society’s talented web team, which ‘shock-tested’ the website to ensure that all facets married seamlessly with the Law Society’s new IT set-up, System 360.
The desire was to move from a static to a highly dynamic website. The site had to be attractive enough to persuade members of the legal profession, and the general public, to want to visit every day.
Providing a daily news service was central to that aim. To make this happen, we brought on board journalist Mary Hallissey (formerly of the Sunday Business Post, the Irish Daily Star Sunday and the Sunday Independent) who has become a key member of the team.
We researched, developed and trialled content for the site – and introduced mobile journalism techniques to bring a new style of video news on board.
To date, our experience in covering legal conferences, seminars and press launches is that the Gazette is now one of the few media outlets attending these events. This is due to diminished resources in the daily news media.
The silver lining to this cloud is that it augurs well for Gazette.ie and will help to create demand for our online and video news service.
Allied with the Gazette.ie project, we have created dedicated social media channels on YouTube and Twitter that are being used to promote our unique content, with the help of the Society’s web and social media coordinator Derek Owens.
The daily news service, allied with the monthly magazine, will allow readers to stay informed on the news and analysis that matters to them. Gazette.ie will prove popular with commuters and those on the move, featuring:
• Daily news updates (Monday to Friday, with a ‘long-read’ feature on weekends),
• A breaking news service,
• ‘Long-read’ analysis articles that will appeal to legal and other professionals,
• Short video news clips, with ‘one-on-one’ interviews with legislators, legal experts, practitioners, and conference keynote speakers,
• Picture and video galleries, and
• Dedicated social media channels.
The day the earth stood still
Following a’ soft-launch’ period of four weeks, the Gazette.ie website and daily news service officially launched on Wednesday 14 November. Loaded with information, it’s a ‘one-stop news shop’ wrapped with all your favourite Gazette-related material.
The innovation marks a major advance for the Gazette, which has been operating as a monthly publication since 1907.
“The Gazette magazine is a historic pillar of the Law Society of Ireland,” says director general Ken Murphy. “With 1,115 issues to date, it has been a treasured source of quality legal news, views, analysis and information since 1907.
“With the launch of Gazette.ie, we are building on that rich history for the digital era, while retaining all the essential elements of the traditional, multi-award-winning Gazette magazine.”
Director of representation and member services Teri Kelly says: “The vision to turn the Gazette magazine into an online daily legal news service has been a dream for quite a while. The Gazette and web teams have worked tirelessly to bring the dream to fruition – and it’s turned out better than we even imagined.
“Gazette.ie is a new member benefit – all members receive a free subscription to Gazette.ie in addition to the magazine. We will also be reaching a public and non-solicitor audience better than we ever have before. This is a powerful channel to bring the issues that matter to solicitors to the public forefront, including our daily breaking news service, in-depth features, video, audio, and photo galleries.
“Listening to Gazette long-read stories being narrated to me on my daily commute using the NOA app (a feature that will soon be available directly on Gazette.ie) has been a real innovation that I have personally enjoyed, and I know our members are going to love it.”
These developments, allied with our award-winning magazine, will ensure that the Gazette maintains pole position as the preferred news channel for practitioners and the public.
It’s a brave new world – and a busier one. To quote HAL: “I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.”
From 1 January 2019, the online version of the Gazette and analysis articles on Gazette.ie will be available only to Law Society members and subscribers.
To subscribe, click on the ‘subscribe’ tag on Gazette.ie