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November 20, 2012updated 21 Nov 2012 3:04pm

Metro goes ‘mobile first’ after most successful year in its history

By William Turvill

Free national daily the Metro has announced it is going “mobile first” as it plans to unveil a series of technological developments within the next few weeks.

Metro, which bosses claim has just celebrated its most successful year, is to relaunch its website and release new apps for Android and the Kindle Fire.

The website is built with “responsive design” technology tailored to different devices.

Executives claim that the year to September 2012 was the best in Metro's history, with a mobile audience of 312,000, 1.2m Apple app downloads and 406,000 monthly users on its digital editions.

In print, Metro now claims to reach 3.6m readers a day with a circulation (in September) of 1,380,769.

Speaking at a media briefing last Wednesday, editor Kenny Campbell said: “Media audiences are yet again moving rapidly and, to be quite honest, trying to arrest that movement would be like trying to build a dam to stop the tide going out.  It’s not going to happen. At Metro, we don’t need a dam – we need a boat.”

He said each of Metro’s 80-plus editorial staff are expected to be able to work across all platforms.

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“The editorial team, people who produce stories, are all in the process of being trained so they can work on any platform – the aim being that they will be the best trained people and most flexible people on the street, as much as that’s possible,” he said.

“So those who have got this far in their careers without doing anything other than newspapers, they will be doing iPad, doing website stories.

“Equally, those who’ve come in later being digital specialists will start to learn about how a newspaper pulls together. But it’s all words and pictures at the end of the day.”

Campbell, who has been at the Metro since its founding in 1999, said the job of a journalist has become “more interesting” and “exciting” with new platforms but said there is still room for the basics.

“The most important thing to remember is that while the gadgets and the platforms are the story for us today, for the rest of the world that is not the story. It’s just a way of accessing the audience,” he said.

“It is very, very easy to lose sight of the fact that no matter how able you are, how good or sweet a product you have, if you do not have the right stuff to put on them you might as well give up now.

“Because people out there want content – they want to be able to access it easily – but they want stories.”

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