Jason Craig owns the domain name cutoday.wordppess.com. He is the Rothermere, the Murdoch, the Lord Gnome of the enterprise.He set it up in March 2009 not after a struggle or two. He graduated that year with a First Class Honours in Journalism and Media. Today, he is a reporter on his local paper in Northern Ireland.Here as his ‘baby’ fast approaches 100,000 hits in just twenty months he reflects on it…
Success is easily measured – or is it? How do we define the success of a website? By the number of hits it has generated, or the comments posted? Perhaps it is all to do with the size of the team needed to maintain its many pages, or how regularly it is up-dated with new stories? Or maybe it’s all of the aforementioned?
In the real world, it’s about the number of people who read your content and, of course, the amount of revenue it generates each week, month, quarter and/or financial year. A student website is somewhat different, particularly if the concept is new to its creators and editorial team.
CUtoday.wordpress.com was once a pipe dream, a concept that came up in conversation two years exactly this month and which has became a real success story. In research compiled for my final year dissertation, it was clear then – and even now – that this website is the most visited of any other student online media news source in the UK or Ireland.
It’s also on the radar of national, regional and local newspaper editors, who realise there are some very savvy students who know the difference between a news story and a really rather good one. Guardian online, Press Gazette, Broadcast Now, Journalism.co.uk and even the BBC have used CUtoday.wordpress.com as a source of news stories.
And who would blame them? In such a short space of time, CUtoday.wordpress.com has been the first to expose the inner most thoughts of the media’s movers and shakers. You name them and chances are they have been reported on by one of CUtoday’s budding journalists.
Of course, the website hasn’t stood still; at the beginning of the year it was given a new look with some exciting new ideas in the pipeline. Live blogging has been around for some time now, but few have used it to such telling affect as that seen on CUtoday.wordpress.com. In recent weeks, it has reported live from the Society of Editors and gave a blow-by-blow account of the remarks made by former Sun editor, David Yelland on phone hacking. Earlier in the year it live blogged from trackside at the Shanghai Grand Prix.
Success isn’t easily achieved, and the conception of CUtoday.wordpress.com was far from plain sailing, but it is here, it is being read, and there is clearly the demand for it. It used to be journalism students at Coventry followed the trends being set by their peers, but now the roles have been reversed, and they now lead from the front. Perhaps that’s the biggest measure of its’ success. Well done all. Onwards to more hits and great online journalism.