When The Express newspaper was shut down by its owner, Transcontinental, on March 22, its web site theexpress.ca also went dormant.
However, the site was quietly resurrected on July 2 and lives again, with some new content (and a tip of the hat to Craig Welsh for bringing it to my attention). The site is running an ongoing series of beer reviews that do not make for 'smooth, full bodied' reading. In fact, they are poorly written, riddled with bad grammar and sorely in need of an editor's eye (if not a delete key). There is also some syndicated boiler plate' material that is not local. It all reads like advertorial copy of the exceptionally lite' variety.
I called Scott Courage of Transcontinental to get the scoop on the site's revival.
Courage explained that the site went dormant after The Express folded, but was not taken down. "It was static for the longest while," he said. "Then we went back and revisited the traffic numbers and we said, Hey, there are people still logging onto this thing every day.' We were pleasantly surprised by that, by the numbers we were getting actually about a thousand hits per day."
The decision was made, therefore, to capitalize on those visitors by offering a modest amount of content. "We're putting content up there that changes daily and weekly, to see what kind of traffic we can attract to it and maybe gain some advertising that way."
He said that the content will not compete with the blend of news and commentary in The Telegram, which is also owned by Transcontinental. "It's more feature, soft, lifestyle stuff, plus food and drink and home and garden type stuff. I would say it is a different type of content aimed at a different kind of reader Right now it's pretty much an experiment to see what kind of traffic we can drive to the site."
Courage added that traffic to the site has increased since they started adding the content, which I guess is understandable. But I can't see how that can be sustained over the long term if they continue to post mediocre content like this. The site would certainly have more utility if an archive of back issues of The Express newspaper was included.