By Jack Peat, Editor of The London Economic
“I’m going to start a revolution from my bed” – Noel Gallagher
Greece is the birthplace of most good ideas. From science to technology, athletics to democracy, it has long nurtured great minds and great concepts, and it was a Greek sunset in early July last year that set in motion ideas that would become The London Economic.
The plan was to make a digital newspaper that would become a platform for people to share their views on current political and economic affairs across the world, free from agenda or censorship. Armed with a bit of industry knowledge and backed by the biggest distribution channel in the world we set about building an online publication which resonates with contributors and readers alike.
Almost a quarter of a million unique views later and we’re well on our way.
TLE was started from and still runs from bedrooms. Our site is probably hosted somewhere in the US and our editorial team corresponds from Istanbul to Rio de Janeiro, but we’re nothing more than a collection of laptops and internet hubs united by common interest and a passion for journalism.
An office, after all, is nothing more than a communal space of people contractually obliged to share the same piece of carpet, and while keeping operations under one roof has its obvious benefits, the rationale behind maintaining a ‘place of work’ is being eroded. John Lennon and Yoko Ono started a revolution from their bed, and although we sporadically meet for serious chats in The Trinity Arms and less formal meetings in Byron Burger, we are still largely conducting an operation from the comfort of our homes.
But that’s the beauty of online publishing. Articles can be uploaded from anywhere in the world and published to a boundless audience. As we reached out to an international community of writers, thinkers, experts and activists we put in motion a snowball of organic success. Provide an aesthetically pleasing platform, brand smartly and master search engine optimisation and the rest will take care of itself.
Blogging is one of the most potent bows in the quiver of the citizen journalist. Question its influence and you only need to observe the uprisings in the Middle East and various political scandals at home that have been instigated by a new generation of independent hacks. It’s opinion without an agenda, a citizen’s voice set free.
One of our earliest notions was that bloggers are powerful, but blogging en masse can be a tremendously commanding force. There are, however, limitations. The reason being that authority largely dictates the reach of a digital journalist. Something as negligible as a domain name can be off-putting for readers online, and while the content might be noteworthy, without authority it is often left to fall on deaf ears.
We believed, therefore, that if we were able to build that authority as a publication our contributors could harness that to project their views to a wider audience. From our brand to our search ranking, design and social media strategy, building that authority has been a focal part of our journey up to now.
The future, at least in the near-term, is rest and recuperation before setting forth on expansion. Over the next two weeks our developer Harry Bedford will be working closely with Deputy Editor Joe Mellor on implanting new specialised pages for Sport, Travel, Health, and many more to accompany our Politics, Finance and Local London pages.
We will continue posting daily features on the front of the site, but want to broaden our horizon by bringing on board a new wave of sub-editors to manage new pages. For those who have contributed so far I owe a debt of gratitude for helping us to progress this far, but this is just the beginning. With your help TLE can become a recognised and revered brand, a hub for digital journalists and, possibly, a financially viable long-term project.