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Editor's blog widens online appeal of the press

The editor of The Citizen in Gloucester has revealed how his daily blog is helping the paper to gain more young readers and increase reader involvement via the Internet.

Ian Mean has been writing a blog tied to a national story every night to appear in the following morning’s edition of the paper and on its website – and the response from readers has created more debate on the paper’s letters page.

Ian said: “I want to use it as a way to embrace the use of the Internet far more.

“It’s no good just putting an Internet link at the end of every story in the paper – I’ve been looking at the Guardian and a lot of American papers and there seems to be a heightened awareness of individual opinion now.”

“We’re getting more letters and including more e-mail letters particularly from young readers in the 18-25 age group which is what every newspaper is wanting.

“We’ve got a lot of younger people coming to us via the Internet and that is something I’m really conscious about expanding.”

Ian said he does not want The Citizen to copy what many American papers have done and publish readers’ own blogs, but instead he is hoping to increase reader involvement via The Citizen’s letters page – which now sees 40 per cent of its contributions sent via e-mail.

He said: “I’ve seen a lot of American newspapers become dominated by readers’ blogs. I think there are inherent dangers in doing that – first of all you have to be very careful legally.

“What I am keen to do is to allow more comment and opinion.”