It was one of the worst kept secrets in Australian online publishing, but after much speculation Fairfax Digital has launched WAtoday.
In design terms the site is more or less a direct copy of theage.com.au, minus that site's feature strip below the splash at the top of the front page. At least it looks better than the Brisbane Times.
Most of the copy is currently coming from the smh or theage, but you can't hold that against them at this stage. With eight dedicated reporters I expect they'll start generating local coverage fairly quickly. It remains to be seen how deep that coverage will go, however.
I suspect they'll struggle for local readers. After more than a year the brisbanetimes.com.au's unique Queensland audience is pretty small and if Watoday does better - given the relative size of the market - it will be surprising. But it does allow Fairfax to flog a (notional) national online reach.
What's the bet they'll do Adelaide next?