The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

A new news service!

Today’s Sunday Times spills much ink extolling the virtues of their new Web site, PerthNow. Finally, there is a vaguely half-decent, relatively frequently updated, online Western Australian news service!

(Behind the times? Us, in Perth? Never!)

Interestingly, several radio stations and Channel 9 Perth are jumping on the bandwagon, with the latter supposedly offering up news video … eventually. I wonder if that’s just a worried response to the fact that Channel 7’s Web site no longer sucks (as much) now that it’s run by Yahoo!?

That said, the execution of the new site leaves a bit to be desired. It doesn’t have its own domain name, it “embraces citizen journalism” by inviting people to e-mail in their photos, there are no direct links from the News Limited parent site, and the newspaper liftout has a huge article rabbitting on about blogs but the two (!) blogs on PerthNow are buried beneath several levels of links.

With Not The West having stopped the presses, and Aunty having only limited WA coverage, I guess WA journalism online will remain a wasteland for a while …

  1. Oh dear, it is quite pathetic isn’t it…. Well, better than nothing, and it’s a start I guess! WA will get there… very very slowly as always! :D

    I bumped into the site a couple of days ago, but hadn’t spotted those two blogs then. Found them now…. I’ll be very interested to see how they go…
    Hopefully it will at least make more WA people aware of what blogging actually is!

  2. Yeah, I’ve been reading it over the last week or so. Beats nothing I guess.

    BTW Hourann, interested in joining us at Rosie O’Grady’s Northbridge tomorrow night to watch Italy lose? =)

  3. I agree, it is very much better than nothing. If I can be optimistic — and the editors of the new site know what they’re doing — then maybe PerthNow will actually develop into a reasonable (albeit very News Ltd-ish) online newspaper of record.

    Then again, maybe it’ll just flounder and die quiety after six months. I dunno.

    skribe: see your blog. No promises, but I’ll try!

  4. I think Brett (notthewest) has begun his ever increasing focus into SecondLife…hopefully notthewest will be updated at some point…shall I give him a prod? he does seem to have disappeared.

  5. Hrm, but the most recent post on Not The West suggests that he’s calling it quits for good … perhaps he doesn’t intend to un-disappear this time?

  6. Lisa Pendrill

    Hello from the team at PerthNow.
    Interesting to read your views posted up on Day One of our site launch.
    We have had a lot of positive feedback from the WA community since then – indeed from ex-pats, too, who are enjoying logging on to our locally produced news site from their base overseas.
    To clear up a few things, I thought I’d respond to some of your comments about the execution of the site leaving a lot to be desired.
    On the domain name – the site can be found on as well as the longer version It can also be reached through google by typing in perthnow.
    On citizen journalism: the idea is to make the site interactive and involve the Perth community as much as possible, by providing a forum for people to comment on issues and send in pictures to service selected sections, such as the fishing page, for instance. We have had a huge response already to our Show Us Your Sunsets section, as an example.
    Regarding our parent site, there are many direct links to, such as in breaking news, national news, the world news section, business elements and the main link at the top of our homepage…
    Re: blogs. We are aiming to give these a higher profile, and for the past few days have provided a link on the Home Page.
    As the site has only been running officially since Sunday – four days ago – it is very much in its infancy, however, we look forward to PerthNow growing into a respected and valued free daily news service and we hope you will too.
    Lisa Pendrill, Deputy Editor, PerthNow.

  7. Hi Lisa:

    Picked up one of your handouts today. Is PN going to expand much in the near future? In other words is this the entire meal or just the appertiser? =)

  8. Hi Lisa,

    Thanks very much for taking the time to comment! The fact that you’re willing to give an official response to a random blog post — something I didn’t expect at all! — puts you miles ahead of most other mainstream media :-)

    Maybe I was a bit harsh on you guys, I appreciate that things are probably quite frantic having just launched … but the point I was trying to make was that PerthNow seems to be a few steps behind where the online news scene is these days.

    Some examples: Instant-post links for Digg and are cropping up on news sites everywhere, writers are (finally) losing their fear of linking to other sites within articles, and some overseas papers are linking to their blog posts ahead of traditional articles on the same topic.

    On the more mundane note: I did notice that points to your site — but that’s of little value when all your marketing uses a different URL. This is related to my other concern: if PerthNow is a sub-site of it should be easily accessible from the parent’s front page, but it isn’t. Alternatively if PerthNow is meant to stand as a site on its own, it should live in its own domain.

    That said, you are doing a quite respectable job already and as I mentioned, yours is the first decent WA news site! Best of luck for the future.

  9. Hi Lisa, I am very impressed to see you commenting too :D

    My main problems were that the RSS feeds weren’t working(the blogs, news, and entertainment, but they seem to be working this morning!.
    And I’m a bit scared about commenting, as it says comments can be edited(I’d rather you just didn’t include a comment instead of editing it!). And Allen seems to be replying to comments by editing that comment… I think it might be better just to post a reply comment… I’ll go tell him on his blog now :D
    Umm, and you need to write some more posts!!(but I imagine you’re pretty busy with the site as a whole at the moment!!)

    Anyway, good luck, and I really look forward to seeing how it goes, and raises the profile of rss feeds and blogging in WA!



  10. Lisa Pendrill

    Hi everyone:
    Thanks again for your comments. We’ll certainly take them on board. Yes, it is very busy time here. It has been an enormously busy news week to boot, and we are a small but dedicated team! What you see at the moment is indeed an ‘appetiser’ – and as soon as we get the bumps ironed out we will grow into the ‘entire meal’.
    All the best. Lisa

  11. I meant to post this earlier, but better late than never…
    I apologise for using such a negative word like ‘pathetic’. I mean, I am still quite dissapointed by Perthnow(though especially the blogs), especially because this is a big news corporation, and I expected more. But still, human beings make up big companies too, and I am usually a much more positive person. And I should be more understanding, as a blogging beginner, and my blog was far from perfect when it launched, and still needs a lot of work(though it will always be a work in progress of course).

    So yeah, really felt I just needed to get that of my chest, even if nobody is reading this! :)


  12. I wouldn’t worry too much. We bloggers are renowned for our vitriol

  13. I agree with Simone. The blogging component so far has been pathetic. You’ve managed two inane posts since June 16th. Surely you don’t expect us to take you as a serious blogger if you don’t take blogging seriously. Allen has done far better both in quantity and quality. But I don’t think either of you are fully grasping the opportunity that blogging offers. Blogging is not about asking stupid questions and hoping that your readers will respond. Blogging is about communication. We want to know what you think and why, and then we want to have a chance to confirm or challenge those assertions. Blogging is about entertainment and frankly you’re not being even remotely entertaining at the moment. Most of us don’t have the journalistic training that you have. We certainly don’t have the resources you have access to. And we’re certainly not being paid to do this. And I dare say every single one of us that has responded on this post does a much better job at blogging than either you or Allen have exhibited so far. Either lift your games or drop your pretense that blogging is something that interests you, PN or ST, because frankly you’re not even in the game.

    An example of blogs from news organisations that capture the spirit of blogging is The BBC’s Blogging Network, with particular reference to my wife’s favourite, The Editors. As the name suggests it’s a blog by the BBC editors. An example of an Aussie journo ‘who gets it’ is Tim Blair.

    Blogging it not hard. All you have to do is close your eyes, purse your lips and blow =).

  14. Lol, I’m not THAT worried, but I’m not usually that bitchy, I am usually a very positive person.
    And I guess I meant to be more positive about the whole site, and then more negative about the blogs. Dissapointed would be a better way to put it.
    They could have done worse, like use myspace or something :D

    p.s. where did skribe’s latest comment go…!?

  15. *ahem* do excuse my not noticing comments flagged for moderation …!

  16. BTW Allen’s got it. Well done.

  17. [...] An intriguing discovery in my inbox this afternoon: an e-mail from Bronwen Clune, the founder of a flash-looking Web 2.0-ish news service called PerthNorg. While our other new online news service pays lip service to citizen journalism, this site takes a full-on WikiNews-style approach to local news. [...]

  18. [...] Back when PerthNow was released, I dug into it for being behind the times. But guess what? For all today’s print fanfare, The West Online is even worse. Indeed, the kids at Vivid Group who built this site have clearly not used any decent online news service in the last, oh, five years or so. [...]

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