After seeing the success of its Habs Inside/Out website, The Gazette (my employer) has gone the next logical step and setup a similar one for the Alouettes, Montreal’s Canadian Football League team.
It’s called Als Inside/Out, and the name and logo make it clear that these are sister sites, even though the older one will probably get all the attention. It officially soft-launched on Saturday (to coincide with the team’s home preseason game in the revamped Molson Stadium). A brief welcome from Alouettes reporter Herb Zurkowsky greets the fans, who are invited to take a peek (and subscribe via Facebook, Twitter or RSS), but the Gazette will put off really advertising its new baby until it’s gone through some more testing, and don’t be surprised if stuff stops working while its creators play with it.
There are some noteworthy differences between the two websites. First is on the back end: Habs Inside/Out is based on Drupal, while Als Inside/Out is running on WordPress (the same engine that’s behind this blog).
The second is on the editorial side and reflects the difference in scale between the two teams: The Canadiens have a beat reporter (Pat Hickey), columnists (Red Fisher, Dave Stubbs, Jack Todd), and bloggers (Mike Boone, Kevin Mio, Hickey and Stubbs). The Alouettes so far have just Zurkowsky, whose coverage of the Alouettes is second to none (even getting him recognized by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame), though he’ll no doubt be getting help from his colleagues.
Then again, a look at Zurkowsky’s blog The Snap (one of The Gazette’s most popular) and his seemingly endless string of feature stories between games during the season makes it clear he could provide plenty of content to keep the site running. (The Als Inside/Out site effectively replaces The Snap.) The fact that the Als play only 13 18 games a season (plus two preseason games and up to three playoff games) compared to the Canadiens’ 82 regular season games (and a handful of preseason games and up to 28 playoff games) will also mean a bit less traffic for the younger sister, though Zurkowsky’s ability to pull good stories out of nowhere in that dead space between games should not be discounted.
Emry, Richardson are invited bloggers
In addition to Zurkowsky and other Gazette staff, Alouettes players Shea Emry and Jamel Richardson are also expected to pitch in and blog before and after games. (The Impact’s Nevio Pizzolitto has been doing something similar for the soccer blog – expect a similar level of not-so-professional writing.)
They’re also planning a “cheerleader of the week” feature (I’m assuming those will include photos), and like Habs Inside/Out there will be photo galleries and breaking news.