Its 50 years since the Munich Air Crash. A plane carrying the Manchester United European Cup squad and a number of journalists crashed as it took off from Munich airport.
As you would expect the Manchester Evening News, being the ‘local paper’ pulled out all the stops.
The Manchester Evening News has published a 48 page colour supplement to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster
The special addition (which is available to buy) is excellent; Page after page of archive image, reflection and editorial.
But it was more a case of Munich forgotten on the web site.
Up until the day of the anniversary there was next to nothing. No special section, no multimedia, nothing that reflected the richness of content in the special and the value of collecting it together. (unless I can’t find it). Just a few stories and some plugs for the special
Reaction to the special proved that the MEN obviously has a place in the hearts of Man UTD fans. As one fan commented:
Somewhere in my loft (or perhaps my dad’s loft) I have some old newspaper specials from the Manchester Evening News and learnt a lot of the history of Manchester United from them.
Before you say cashing in, they have a history of bringing out these specials, I grew up on them in the pre-internet age – usually pictures of the olden days or the blitz.
No complaints about the content and an obvious level of brand recognition for this kind of thing . So why is it a wasted opportunity?
Own the story
The supplement came out a full week before the actual anniversary. A great opportunity to build the story on the website, perhaps feeding in content to a special section that would rival the print special. This would have meant that the MEN would have had more ownership of the story.
As it was, on the actual anniversary, they did set aside the lead story on front page but with an aggregation of content. Nothing coherent. Over the course of the day it developed – the gathering outside of Old Trafford duly covered – but whilst it’s interesting stuff it could have been so much more.
It’s a real shame because there is some nice stuff in there. Good pics, nice stories and good comments. But you have to work really hard to find it and worse still the opportunities to comment where spread around the site.
Thats a shame because the paper has very active online community around football(plenty of comments on the few stories related to Munich on their site) and there is an obviously active Man Utd community online.
Manchester United had 75 million fans worldwide, with 23 million in Europe, 4.6 million in the Americas, 40.7 million in Asia, and a further 5.9 million in South Africa.
Before and after
A special section would have been a constant draw for people – some evergreen content. And bearing in mind that the supplement came out a week before the anniversary, they could have owned the story. The Man UTD site is a good example of that. Now, before you point to all the money and access that they have I’m not saying it should be like for like. But I actually don’t think that they have much more content than the MEN
I can only assume that there was some overriding financial reason – they are selling the supplement – or legal reason for this (MUtd have an exhibition at the moment). Perhaps the CMS just couldn’t give them a special section.
Whatever it is, I think the MEN where given an easy shot and they didn’t take it.