In 1812 change was afoot. The United States and the United Kingdom were at war with each other while British forces led by Wellington had defeated French troops in Spain. Meanwhile, in the literary world, Charles Dickens was born. And so too, The Courier.

Richard Rooney, Online Editor of The Courier, my local paper covering Dundee, Angus and Fife, reminded us of this monumental year at an event I too was presenting at, and it really caught my attention.

I should have known The Courier launched in 1812, after all the 50,000th issue celebrations weren’t that long ago. Then again, I only discovered this week that William Wallace’s wife, Charlotte Croom, is buried in The Howf in central Dundee. I didn’t know that. You?

In The Beginning
The Courier actually began life as the Dundee Weekly Courier and Forfarshire Agricultural and Commercial Advertiser – a mouthful Richard pointed out that wouldn’t lend itself well to Twitter’s 140 characters-limit. A Friday paper that was often a single sheet of two pages, it wasn’t til nearly 50 years later that it changed to the daily that we know today, one of the first to do so.

You might wonder what a staff member from a traditional newspaper was doing at a digital event. But digital and social media know no boundaries, you need to evolve, no one is immune, not least traditional media.

In today’s world of business there’s no room for standing still. Richard did a sterling job of demonstrating The Courier and DC Thomson’s passion to continue to engage at a local level in a number of different ways.

Infact, he actually invited anyone with a story worth telling to get in touch – with at least a picture, or better still, video clip. A video clip greatly improves your chances of featuring online. And be proactive in contacting the paper he says, don’t wait to be asked!

There is a list of online Courier contacts to suit your need and locality.


Do What You’ve Always Done…
…expect to get what you’ve always got. That pretty much summarises my presentation.

Digital Angus was hosted by Angus Council and jointly managed by Ross McCulloch from Third Sector Lab, offering people information, support and signposting to help them get social or evolve their social plans. I agreed to volunteer as a speaker and I’m so glad I did. And not least because of Richard’s revelation that he’s a Dundee United fan. Good man!

I kicked off with a #selfie, pictured – highlighting this was Oxford Dictionaries’ word of 2013, listed as a new entry last year. I was pleased that not only were the audience happy to be in the picture, they did so with enthusiasm! I then whizzed through some examples to support the hypothesis, that social media has changed the way we communicate.

My favourite professional example has to be the work that Jamie Baker of the Food Standards Agency blogged about through comms2point0, testing Twitter to predict trends in instances of norovirus earlier than the return of lab-confirmed cases ever possibly could. Incredible.

On a personal level Terrible Real Estate Agents Photographs is a real favourite, not just in how much entertainment the images and captions provide but also the global interest being generated in the photo blog, a blog created by a friend of mine, Andy. He also supports Dundee United. Good man!

My Journey Your Journey Our Journey
Sitting in on Jennifer Jones’ breakout session, ‘The Commonwealth Games & Citizen Journalism: Using audio and video effectively’, has whet my appetite for expanding how I use my blog, from written word and still photos as at the moment to also incorporate audio and moving imagery. I’ve even an NHS-based project in mind that, if I could pull it off, would work well presented across a range of medium. I’ll be in touch with Jennifer again soon!

It was great to meet Professor Mike Press and Hazel White from Dundee University and pleasing to see synergy between our content. A good platform for me to follow. Debbie Fellows’ session on the benefits of a social media policy and legal considerations offered the audience food for thought and a good reminder for me too.

Stay In Touch
I’d be interested in any feedback on the quick session I gave from people who attended. I was determined to fit what I could into the reduced time available, so was a little rushed as a result, with little opportunity for questions, but still hope it was of use. I certainly enjoyed it and good experience for me personally. Useful to test what goes down well and what doesn’t.

It was hugely encouraging to see such a busy event and the experience and hunger in the room was inspirational. I also would have loved to attend all of the break out sessions, some great presenters and very interesting topics. It would have definitely been great to speak to more people, I think I could have learnt a lot, but with any event time is always a challenge, especially on a Saturday!

If anyone wishes to contact me:

  • Send me a direct message to @MarCommsKenny on Twitter (we need to follow each other which I’m happy to do)
  • You can add comment on this blogpost with your details (which I won’t publish) which I’ll respond directly to with my email address if it helps – I don’t have all the answers but happy to help where I can and where I can’t, can signpost to sources of support and advice

Well done Angus Council, well done Ross McCulloch, and well done to all who attended, I’m still buzzing and ideas still flying about. Thank you for that.

Some resources from the day

Take it easy

One thought on “Digital Angus: View From The Front

  1. Pingback: #DigitalAngus – Citizen Journalism and the Commonwealth Games | Jennifer M Jones

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