It’s a brave move to put out a paper with a blank front page.
Braver still when you’re doing it as part of an exercise to ask readers and non-readers what they think of your product.
So fair play to Liverpool Echo editor Ali Machray for printing a symbolic empty front page today as he consults the people of that city on the future direction of his paper and website.
His #TellAli initiative has been trending strongly on Twitter, with some key themes emerging – among them a feeling that the Echo needs to put the workings of Everton Football Club under a stronger spotlight.
— Michael Brownrigg (@Big__Rigg) June 1, 2015
I’ve always believed in asking readers for their views.
Sometimes you have to take them with a bit of a pinch of salt – as I said last week, they will often claim to have loftier interests than they really do.
But often, they will point out the Emperor’s New Clothes reality of life with painful accuracy.
And they do want their community to be properly covered – even if they’re not always prepared to pay for it.
So it was refreshing to see the variety of ideas coming forward on the thread. And refreshing not to see any comments along the lines of ‘you’re the editor, you’re paid to make these sort of decisions.’
The brevity of Twitter perfectly complements the labour-intensiveness of the traditional print questionnaire.
So good luck to Ali, and more power to his Echo elbow.