Friday, 31 December 2010

Picture essay of the year

I have mentioned the Boston Globe's online picture essays before but this study of the student protests in London takes some beating.  

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Journalism interview coming up? Watch this

Nice to know that interviews with would-be journalists in America are broadly the same as over here. This short film made me smile. If you enjoy it there is an earlier one on travel writing.  

Monday, 13 December 2010

Ten tips for regional editors for 2011

For the last three years I have written a column for the Press Gazette aimed at regional newspaper editorial managers. Each edition it covered a different issue facing editors and how they might deal with them. They included conflict, dealing with difficult people, managing change, recruitment, technology, redesigning the title, sorting out the technology, running the budget and the like. It is a sign of the times that I covered redundancy three times - and was asked by one newspaper group if they could use one of the articles as its guidelines for all managers. The column has now run its course. I have exhausted my supply of tips (some of which are included here). So the last column appears in the magazine this month. I will be making occasional appearances in future. In the meantime, good luck to editor Dominic Ponsford and his team. By not relying on the newspaper industry for its revenue, the magazine is now more forthright and direct than it has ever been. It certainly isn't afraid to ruffle feathers - and is all the better for it.
Here is my last column.
Ten tips for editors in 2011
As we lurch towards a new year, the regional newspaper industry is desperately looking for a flicker of light at the end of what has been a very long and very dark tunnel. But most of the editors I speak to are, quite sensibly, steeling themselves for more of the same. So in this, my final regular column, I offer ten tips for those of you still editing regional titles in 2011.
i) Whatever gets thrown at you - the editor's core job remains the same. Set a vision for the title, tell everyone what it is and give them the skills and motivation to deliver it.
ii) Be an architect of change. No editor was ever remembered for padding the same path as his predecessor. What do you want your epitaph to say? He was a good administrator? He stayed within budget? He presided
over a difficult period with dignity and integrity?
iii) You are only as good as the people around you - motivate and reward the key players.
iv) Journalism has to be paid for. Entrepreneurial opportunities are there both in print and online. Editors need to take an innovative approach to how the company makes money. Relying on advertising departments to
finally bring in more sits vac and ROP will lead only to tears. It may be time to take charge.
v) Continually revisit your content. Set standards and give feedback - protect regular slots to talk to your team about the title; what is working, what isn't and what you want changing.
vi) The atmosphere in the newsroom is down to you. I go into some offices that are like libraries, others that are vibrant. That doesn't happen by accident.
vii) Protect your staff, your title and yourself from outside fads and decisions - including those of the company.
viii) Look after yourself - it is a stressful time and I see editors who don't look as fit and perky as they did a year or two ago. It is too easy to get into the habit of always tackling that extra job or clearing the decks for tomorrow. Stop. Go home to the family, or to the pub, and make sure you get your quota of sleep. A stressed out and burnt out editor is no good to anyone!
ix) Be prepared for the curve ball ... you may have dealt with just about everything in recent years but it isn't over yet. There will be further 'radical solutions' thrust upon you. That is certain. But there may also be opportunities. If a buy-out comes your way, how are you placed? If the next round of ‘innovation’ involves culling editors, how well are you protected?
x) Know when to draw a line in the sand. If you fundamentally disagree with the company and you cannot change it, if the job is making you and your family unhappy, then know when to say enough. Your currency in the outside world is higher than you think. The skills that journalists take for granted are very marketable - even in this climate. There is life after editing (trust me on this one).
It is 21 years since I took my first editor's chair. It had its moments - a press that let the paper down, a sabre-rattling union, a round of redundancies - but it was a walk in the park when compared to editing today.
There are many of you, I know, who do it really well under extremely tough circumstances. Good luck … you deserve much better. 


Thursday, 9 December 2010

There is no language like the Irish ...

Nobody could ever accuse the Irish of not telling it like it is. Plain-speaking is a characteristic of the people and, naturally, of their newspapers. I have already referred to the Daily Star's direct front page on the budget. But not content with the word gobshites in 187pt caps on the front page it has now blown up the page and stuck it - along with another front page which refers to wanker bankers - on the side of its promotional Star truck in Dublin. Thanks to Fiach Kelly for the picture. And here's another down-to-earth assessment of Ireland's financial position. I have no idea if it was broadcast but it's funny nonetheless. Meanwhile the Irish Examiner took a more satirical approach to promoting its Budget coverage. All credit to them. Even faced with financial meltdown, the Irish sense of humour remains irrepressible.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Father Jack leaves Scotland in the grit ...

Personality politics and ridiculing public figures purely because of their appearance. Disgraceful. That said, the front page of the Daily Record today is really quite funny. Thanks to Mike Lowe for alerting me to this one.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Body copy comparison - Times v Nimrod

Had a call from the Halifax Courier's Tim Robinson this week asking about body copy. Tim is a self-confessed Times New Roman junkie but was asking about accessible alternatives. "Please don't say Nimrod - to me it looks as up-to-date as the ad for Worthington E," he added. Times New Roman is OK if used properly. It has served newspapers well, commissioned specifically for The Times newspaper in 1931 (although even The Times doesn't use it any more). Times and Times New Roman have a smaller x-height than many other serifs and have thin strokes and hairlines, so has a tendency to break up if used too small on newsprint. I regularly see research which says readers find a newspaper difficult to read - and more often than not it is Times or Times New Roman used at 8.5pt or under and across too narrow a measure. As it has a small x-height you don't really need to lead it, just use it bigger. Nimrod is certainly ubiquitous and hardly at the cutting edge of design but it is functional and readable. Clarion is very similar to Nimrod. News Miller and News 701 are very readable. If economy is more important, ITC Cheltenham works well. Newspapers tend not to be awash with great off-the-shelf serifs ... some of the most stylish fonts, such as Poynter and Gulliver, can be costly. And not many newspapers are in the business of buying in new fonts these days. I put the above chart together for Tim which compares common text faces and specifically looks at Nimrod v Times New Roman. It's a jpg but if you would like a better quality PDF drop me an email on and I will send you one.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Don’t transform from broken. Start again.

John Paton: Lousy journalism on multiple platforms i
just lousy journalism in multiple ways.

Here are some inspiring bullet points from a presentation by John Paton, the chief executive of the Journal Register Company, delivered to the INMA Transformation of News Summit today. When you have an hour take a look at the full presentation.
The Journal Register was bankrupt in 2009. Here is some background that shows how it got into that position. It may well sound a little familiar to some of you. JRC's profit margins are now projected to be 15% this year. Its digital ad growth is two times better than the US industry average, its classified six times better, its overall ad performance three times better. So much of what Paton says will resonate with newspapers over here. It isn't rocket science that content and revenue are by far and away our priorities (article on the outlook for 2010) but Paton is taking that to a new level ... basically don't do anything else. A lot of this makes enormous sense. These are my favourite  bits:
  • You don’t transform from broken. You don’t tinker or tweak. You start again. You can build a new and better house from the foundations of the old.
  • Pushing print onto digital only makes for a lousy experience.
  • Lousy journalism on multiple platforms is just lousy journalism in multiple ways.
  • Compelling journalism is key to standing out and it is the power of our brands – our reputation – that can spotlight for our audience where they should look for journalism they can trust.
  • Two-thirds of a newspaper’s costs are infrastructure – stuff you don’t want to do – and NOT in what you do want to do such as create compelling content and effective sales.
    • Decide what you will no longer do – our core competencies are content and sales – we are getting others to do everything else. There are now companies who do most of this much better than any newspaper company does no matter what their head of pre-press or production says. Because those ARE the core competencies of the outsource companies.
    • The reasons (we are not seeing a complete overhaul of newspaper business models) are: Fear, lack of knowledge and an aging managerial cadre that is cynically calculating how much they DON’T have to change before they get across the early retirement goal line. Look at the grey heads in any newspaper and you will see what I am talking about.
    • If Print dollars are becoming Digital Dimes, then we better start chasing the Dimes. And we better do it cost effectively.
    • Stop focusing on the Print. It is in any newspaper’s DNA. It is not like you are going to forget to put out the newspaper.
    • The industry has only focused on cost reductions. But it is a focus that says do more of the same with less which results in the same done worse. And it is prolonging the death of a broken business model rather than adapting to the realities of the present.
    • We have had nearly 15 years to figure out the Web and as an industry we newspaper people are no good at it. No good at it at all. Put the Digital people in charge – of everything.
    • At JRC we have instituted a Profit Sharing Plan. If the Company Wins, the Employees Win. We all Win.
    • As CEO, I blog to my employees and the public. I ask for their help and they oblige. I also regularly email my 3,106 employees and they me.
    • The Register Citizen’s new offices will be without walls and invite the community in. It will feature a newsroom cafĂ© with free public wifi, a community media lab, a community journalism school and the Register Citizen will open up its archives of 120 years of local history to the community.
    • We will no longer be dependent upon out-of-date thinking. And we will no longer be dependent on costly systems that are outdated before they are even successfully installed.
    Here is the full presentation ... it is a must-read.

    Wednesday, 1 December 2010

    Monday, 29 November 2010

    Regional Press 2011 outlook. Your thoughts?

    This time last year I was asked by the editor of InPublishing magazine to write an article on the outlook for the regional Press in 2010. You can read it here. In short it focused on getting the content right, finding new revenue streams and companies coming to terms with smaller profits. It concluded: Unable to sell and with revenues declining, newspaper companies have little option but continue to draw as much profit as they can. Manage the decline carefully, keep it tight, don’t invest and there could be a good few fertile years in the cash cow yet. So, unfortunately, what regional newspapers must really do in 2010 is brace themselves for more of the same.  
    I also asked the industry's makers and shakers for their tips for 2010 and they are listed alongside the article. Now I have been asked to write an article on, you guessed it, the outlook for 2011. The easy option is to say, even more of the same. But if you have any thoughts on where the regional Press goes from here, please let me have them. You can either leave a comment below or email me at All contributions welcome.

    Saturday, 27 November 2010

    Another contender ...

    ... for the non-story of the year award. Courtesy of @johncthompson.

    20 classic tabloid headlines

    I have spent the last three weeks in Hull, training reporters to write headlines. There were 80 journalists, from the Hull Daily Mail, Scunthorpe and Grimsby Telegraphs, Lincolnshire Echo and assorted weeklies, all scribbling real headlines to stick on the wall and discuss. We also looked at the 28 rules that govern good headlines. The first is simple: The sole purpose of the headline is to catch the eye, to persuade the reader to turn to the article underneath. If the headline is boring, then it is unlikely to succeed. Avoid dull words. 
    We certainly had no problem finding dull words. The list included:
    Residents, Boost, Council, Adjourned, Drama, Appeal, Volunteers, Alert, Meeting, Alarm, Accommodation, Project, Services, Centre, Plans, Call to, Bid to, Proposals, Committee, Bonanza, Blueprint, Development, Fund, New, Infrastructure, Facilities, Situation, Crackdown, Local.
    We even found some classic bad headlines (not from their own titles I would stress) including: 

    At first we thought they were a random collection of words rather than headlines. What all these words have in common is they are non-specific - none of them build a picture in the reader's mind.
    The reporters did pretty well and have since written publishable headlines for their papers. At the moment they are writing heads only on shorter stories. But who would bet against that being rolled out? 
    These Northcliffe papers are not averse to using the odd pun,  as you can see from the above. But the headlines we were dealing with were, of course, very different from those in the tabloids. That didn't stop us taking time out to look at some of the classics. Here are 20 that might just brighten up your freezing cold November day.

    Something for your wall ...

    ... a splendid typography poster from This is an old but good list too, showing the most popular ten typeface families used by American newspapers. The list isn't too different from those in UK newspapers - Franklin, Helvetica, Utopia, Times, Nimrod, Interstate. But the top US family, Poynter, is barely used in the UK, which is a shame. The family was designed 13 years ago by the Poynter Institute after consulting the newspapers themselves. It is designed specifically for newspapers - robust, readable and distinctive - with a complimentary range of sans and serif. I guess it's unlikely in the current climate that newspaper managements will be looking to buy in new fonts - in fact some groups are purging their systems of excess fonts. But even if you are not looking to buy in new fonts, take a detailed look at your current fonts list. There are a lot more usable faces than Helvetica, Century and Times. 
    Poynter Old Style Text

    Friday, 26 November 2010

    Subbing hubs turning full circle?

    Traditional subs? Hubs? Reporters writing directly to the page? Outsourcing? Working from home? In the last few months I have been working with newspapers who are all taking a different approach to how they produce their titles. At the Daily Mail I have been training subs in the usual way - text editing, accuracy, rewriting, headlines and layout. This week I have been with those at the Press Association who are producing the Daily and Sunday Mirrors and the People. With big-hitting former Mirror subs now on the PA team, it is a project that has settled down and is working smoothly. Indeed I have stolen a headline from sub Kay Harrison on Polly Hudson's column - Daybreak's Christine Bleakley: The secret diary of Adrian's moll - for my headline course. I have also been at the Hull Daily offices, not working on the hub, but training 80 reporters to write headlines. The conclusion, not surprisingly, is that bright reporters can be taught to create good publishable headlines. It is certainly right that editors examine the way their newspapers are produced. If I was editing these days I would definitely put my editorial energy into the content and look at ways to reduce the 'processing'. We all know, of course, that in many cases the motivation is not to shift manpower to the reporting side but to cut costs. There has been much written about this and there will be much more to come. Here is the latest contribution Why the hubs will turn full circle  from my old editor Allan Prosser in this month's InPublishing magazine. As usual Allan doesn't sit on the fence. Here is a couple of extracts: 

    In the Gadarene rush to impose manufacturing process on their titles, publishers have destroyed value, thrown away knowledge, and vandalised their assets. In many cases they should be ashamed, not that shame is a common characteristic of the newspaper business. More importantly, very few managers who have overseen this damage would last a week in the real world of competitive industry.

    No edition of this magazine would be large enough to accommodate the account of howlers, inaccuracies and plain stupidities which have emerged through the centralisation of production and the so-called focus on efficiency through delayering the checks and balances which existed before the move to what has infamously been called “one touch publishing.  

    Strident stuff. Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

    Thursday, 25 November 2010

    Irish Daily Stark

    Following the poignant approach to the bailout by the Irish Examiner, here is a more direct view from today's Irish Daily Star. I have worked for the Star (which incidentally has nothing to do with the UK/Richard Desmond version). It has no qualms at all about using colourful language. When I raised an eyebrow at the lack of asterisks, editorial director Ger Colleran said the paper was young and Irish and its language simply reflected that. Fair point. Colleran's editing style is uncompromising. "We simply refuse to fudge the issues. Instead, we cut to the heart of the matter. When we are witnesses to political failures and mismanagement, we say so." The Star is Ireland's biggest selling red-top by a long chalk - well ahead of the Sun and the Mirror - and the third biggest selling paper behind the Irish Independent and Irish Times. Its approach reminds me of the words of my old editorial director: "If you have a friend who has nothing to say, plays it safe and sits on the fence, you will eventually stop inviting him around. It's just the same with newspapers.

    Tuesday, 23 November 2010

    Whatever happened to the leaders?

    Delighted to see Alan Geere active on Twitter at long last. His thought for today is We're all followers ... where are all the leaders? Good question. There is certainly a vacancy. If you fancy applying here is the job description that I ran in my Press Gazette column this year. Any takers? 
     Ben Bradlee - all editors need supportive publishers
     (and that is one of today's fundamental problems)
    If ever leadership was needed in the regional newspaper industry – it is needed now. I see plenty of managers, controlling costs and reading from the corporate script, but genuine leaders appear thin on the ground. Maybe they are too busy retreating. Yet, traditionally, it is during adversity that our greatest leaders have stepped forward? In my 33 years in the regional Press there have always been big characters, prepared to fight for what they believed in. So now the industry is going though perhaps its darkest hour, what has happened to all the heroes? The answer, sadly, rests with the first quality of leadership – having a vision.  As theologian Theodore Hesburgh  aptly put it, you can't blow an uncertain trumpet. But does anyone have a clear mapped out strategy beyond the management of decline?  Newspapers have dabbled with video, blogging, social networking, going free, web first, paywalls, UGC  – all without much real conviction, investment or, to be frank, results. That is not to devalue the editors guiding their staffs and publications through difficult times. If they could get out of the engine room and on to the bridge, I know many who have real leadership qualities. So if anyone fancies the job, this is what it entails. You will require:

    Vision. The essence of leadership.  People won’t follow you if you don’t know where you are going. 

    Communication skills.  No point in having a vision if nobody knows about it. You need to be an articulate orator and to understand the resistance and fears of others.

    Integrity. People have to trust you and your motives.  If you are just regurgitating the company line, if you don’t genuinely believe, if you don’t have strong values, you are unlikely to earn that trust. 

    Commitment. Leaders do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. Hard work and energy are essential.

    Charisma. Leaders are never dull. You need to be interesting and passionate.

    Courage. Leaders can be afraid … but they can’t be shackled by their anxieties. You need the courage to say No (much harder than saying Yes) and to understand that your own position may be threatened

    Confidence. In yourself, your vision and your people.

    Creativity. Newspapers require creative and radical solutions. Padding the same path as your predecessors is not the role of a leader.

    Strength. You will put yourself and often your family under stress. You need to be assertive, which is very different from aggressive, in the face of resistance and personal pressure.

    Resourcefulness. Ben Bradlee, one of the great editors of our time, had the full support of his publisher Katharine Graham during Watergate. He couldn’t have done it without her. I know editors who do have a vision for regional newspapers –many believe that they should be locally owned, operating on smaller margins and providing a comprehensive community service. For that they need financial backing, otherwise it is no more than a pipe dream. Leaders need to call on all of the qualities above to get the resources to achieve their goal.

    There is more of course –  including  judgment, knowledge, humility, responsiveness, fairness and consistency. So if anyone is up for it, that’s the job description. There certainly appears to be a vacancy.

    I will leave the last words to Lord Slim and his pertinent and still relevant assessment of the difference between leadership and management.
    Leadership is of the spirit, compounded of personality and vision. Its practice is an art. Management is of the mind, more a matter of accurate calculations, statistics, methods, timetables, and routine. Its practice is a science. Managers are necessary. Leaders are essential.

    Saturday, 20 November 2010

    Poignant page from the Examiner

    The Irish Examiner always manages to respond to major Irish stories with spectacular front pages - and it certainly didn't disappoint yesterday over the EU bailout. In the middle of this page is a replica of the country's Proclamation of Independence from 1916. 
    The original begins: 
    IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
    The Examiner's version begins:
    IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God how have we come to this? And in the name of the dead generations from which she received her old tradition of nationhood,Ireland, through our new masters at the European Central Bank summons her children to her financial sovereign funeral.
    The original concludes: 
    We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
    The Examiner's versions concludes:
    We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God - Mammon. Whose blessing we invoke upon our debts, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by casino cowardice, insolvency, or economic rapine. In this supreme hour of failure the Irish nation must, by its memories of valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice their financial futures for the common good of the international money markets, prove itself somehow worthy of the august destiny to which it has now called time on.
    Poignant stuff. Some of you might remember the Examiner's front page from September 2005 when the IRA put its weapons out of commission. The page was made up of the names of the 3,530 people who lost their lives in the Troubles. They ran from side to side in 18pt, with the text changing from light to bold to form the silhouette of an IRA  gunman.
    Great ideas, great journalism, great layout - and a reminder how effective print journalism can be.

    Thursday, 18 November 2010

    The eighth wonder of the world

    Who would want to go back to the days of cantankerous printers, composing room overseers, the frustrations of headlines that wouldn't fit, the inexact science of casting off or the lack of colour? Not me ... although this excellent trailer for 'Linotype: the film' made me have second thoughts. If you were around, as I was, this is guaranteed to give you goosebumps.

    Wednesday, 17 November 2010

    Found - a newspaper novel from my boyhood

    After 35 years I have managed to track down a copy of Clancy by Frederick Mullally (at Amazon for 1p). When I was 19, it was a novel that was instrumental in confirming I wanted to be a journalist. I remember Clancy as a principled hack struggling through Fleet Street while having numerous dalliances with sultry women. Just the job I was looking for. It became a TV series in the 70s called Looking for Clancy with Robert Powell as the lead - and I remember one particularly dramatic scene when he discovered his lover's husband was watching him perform through a false mirror. I can't really remember much more but will read it and post a review on the ever-growing list of novels based on newspapers. Other additions include Russell Wiley Is Out To Lunch by Richard Hine (Amazon Encore) recommended by David Kernek. David, a former editor of four daily titles, says: "You'll find much of it all too familiar - clueless publishers, declining circulations, 15-year-old management consultants, endless cuts etc." A dry satire of the particular hell that is newspaper publishing right now. Doesn't sound the kind of book to inspire 19-year-old students that the future lies in newspapers - but a must-read nonetheless.

    Saturday, 13 November 2010

    Radio presenter feels like a jerk

    You may have seen this cracking tale broken by the Irish Examiner last week. Radio presenter Neil Prendeville 'was seen to expose himself and masturbate' while in his seat on an Aer Lingus flight. Unfortunately for Mr Prendeville he was seated next to an Examiner reporter (one of our former trainees as it happens). Anyway, if Mr Prendeville hoped this story was going to fade away, he clearly hadn't allowed for Ryanair's creative advertising department. This advert is now running in the Examiner. 

    Footnote: Thanks to The Irish Sun for the above and the splash headline: 'I feel like a jerk.' Quite brilliant.

    Wednesday, 3 November 2010

    Telegraph recruiting for next intake of trainees

    Less than two weeks after the Daily Telegraph trainees finished their formal training at Howden, the paper is now advertising for the next intake. And anyone who feels they have what it takes, better get a move on. The closing date is November 26, far earlier than last year. At a time when the rest of the industry isn't overly-eager to invest in training, all credit to both the Telegraph and the Mail who have remained committed to their graduate schemes. They don't do it for altruistic reasons though. The scheme works - as the bylines in both papers testify. If you are applying, you might want to read this.

    Geordie boys take the P155 ...

    I can't imagine why anyone would want a Steve Bruce Derby souvenir tracksuit ... but if you did there is one for sale in today's Newcastle Journal's classifieds. Only £51 (geddit?). For those who live on the planet Zog, Newcastle tore apart Bruce's hapless Sunderland 5-1 on Sunday. Clearly great news on Tyneside, even for Trinity Mirror's advertising department.

    Monday, 25 October 2010

    Josie finds time to rattle off a front page story

    Telegraph trainee Josie Ensor finished our course on Thursday and spent the weekend packing and travelling to start her regional placement in Cardiff today. But that didn't stop her getting a byline on a front page story in today's Telegraph. Josie had a contact with the family and graciously said she had a couple of good trainers along the way - but news instinct, determination and hard work are qualities that can't be taught. Very impressive.

    Friday, 22 October 2010

    Always look on the bright side of the newsroom

    Since August I have been with trainees from the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph in Howden and London. They were all hand-picked from journalism colleges and their talent is beyond doubt. We have certainly seen some stars of the not-too-distant future. But, as a couple of guests confirmed, journalism is as much about attitude as it is about skill. Be there early, be willing to go the extra yard, have an appetite for taking on projects and take the brickbats and the long hours on the chin. As Quentin Letts told the trainees, whatever you do, don't cry. When Mail news-editor Ben Taylor was asked what he wanted from them, he told them to smile. He enjoyed his job and didn't want to be surrounded by miserable people, he explained. And Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver, passing briefly through Howden, told them it "was all about relationships." Be nice to people, both your colleagues and those you deal with professionally, she said. Good advice. We have all worked with newsroom curmudgeons, determined to inflict their misery on all around them. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be conflict, disagreements, passionate arguments - all of these are the lifeblood of newspapers - but however tough it gets we shouldn't roll up every day looking as if we have lost a shilling and found a sixpence. So, even if the system doesn't work, you haven't had a pay rise in three years, half of your colleagues have been made redundant and you have a pile of Press Releases to plough through, be nice to others. Mind you, such advice clearly passed Nick Robinson by yesterday.  

    Thursday, 21 October 2010

    Farewell to 'young lions' of the Daily Telegraph

    A post course drink with the Telegraph trainees: From my left - Donna, trainer Mike Watson, Raf, Sarah with the Champagne, Matthew and Emily. Josie escaped early. 

    How daunting is this? As a trainee journalist, you have three days to come up with three ideas for new Daily Telegraph sections, write them, design the publications, the websites and the apps, make them profitable, deliver a marketing strategy and present it all in the boardroom to the paper's senior executives. That's what the Telegraph's trainees did this week as a culmination of their seven-week course with Press Association Training.  And what a professional job they did too. Donna Bowater, Josie Ensor, Emily Gosden, Matthew Holehouse, Sarah Rainey and Raf Sanchez are now off to PA and regional papers in Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow to get down to their day jobs as reporters. Next year, their training complete, they will be back at the Telegraph. Before they left they had one more daunting task - the final newsquiz. Well done to Matthew Holehouse for an impressive weekly total of 17 points. Sarah Rainey was the star, though, winning the champagne for consistently brilliant results over the seven weeks and finishing with 98 points, 14 ahead of Matthew in second place. Good luck to them all. See how you do. Seventeen out of 23 to beat.

    Newsquiz October 22
    1. What is the name of the charity offering £200 to drug addicts if they have a vasectomy?
    2. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera gave David Cameron a piece of rock and in return Cameron gave the president 33 bottles of Real Ale and a book. What was the title of the book?
    3. What is the real name of the stately home where Downton Abbey is filmed?
    4. Which airport was blockaded as part of the ongoing French protests?
    5. Britain currently has two operational aircraft carriers. One is Ark Royal, name the other.
    6. Name the two aircraft carriers that will be built to replace them (one point for each).
    7. Which RAF base is to close after the Government cancelled orders for the new Nimrod aircraft?
    8. Which British wildlife animal is back from the brink of extinction with its numbers increasing tenfold in 30 years. For a bonus point name the only English county where this creature has not returned.
    9. What discovery has spurred Japan's foreign ministry to order a round of belt-tightening? 
    10. The TV licence has been frozen for 6 years, how much does it cost?
    11. To which hospital was Margaret Thatcher admitted?
    12. The pension age for men and women is to go up to 66. In which year will the changes take effect?
    13. The outgoing director general of the CBI, Richard Lambert, described the Government's cuts as painful but essential. Before joining the CBI which newspaper did Lambert edit?
    14. The TUC was less than enthusiastic about the Government's cuts ... who is the TUC General Secretary?
    15. Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has been denied a residence permit by which country?
    16. What has been credited with helping poetry make a comeback in schools?
    17. A product favoured by country folk is in short supply following a lorry hijack on the M62. What is it?
    18. Why did seven secret servicemen burst into Nigella Lawson's kitchen?
    19. Why were A-Team characters BA Baracus, the Face and Murdock in the news?
    20. Who won best newcomer in the Mobo awards? And, for a bonus, what does Mobo stand for?

    Friday, 15 October 2010

    Young journalists DO read the papers after all

    Good scores from The Daily Telegraph trainees in the newsquiz this week. Either the questions are getting easier or, despite Roy Greenslade's claims to the contrary, journalism trainees really are reading the papers. They certainly do on our courses. Well done to Emily Gosden for her 15.5 out of 21. Nobody got less than 12 ... which is a big step forward. 

    Meanwhile Daily Mail newsquiz champions Fiona Roberts and Jennie Agg, who are off on their subbing placements to Carlisle and Stoke this weekend, sent me this photograph of them enjoying their prize. See how you do in this week's test. Anything less than 12 out of 21 and Mr Greenslade and I will be less than impressed.

    1. Just before she died Claire Rayner said: "Tell David Cameron that if he ...... .. my beloved NHS I'll come back and bloody haunt him." What are the two missing words?
    2. Who changed their new logo back to its original one after only one week due to negative reaction on the internet?
    3.  Howard Jacobson won this year's Booker prize ... what was the title of his book?
    4.  Which Euro 2012 football game was abandoned after fans disrupted the game?
    5.  Name the first miner rescued in Chile.
    6.  And name the last.
    7. The camp where relatives and friends waited for the miners was called Camp Esperanza. What does Esperanza mean?
    8. Who was the first celebrity to be kicked off the current series of Strictly Come Dancing?
    9. Lloyds Bank is to lose a further 4,500 jobs as part of its restructuring programme. This brings the total jobs lost to 22,000 since its merger with which other bank?
    10. The inquest into the victims of the 7/7 London bombings is being held at which court?
    11. Apart from the bombers, how many people were killed in the bombings?
    12. Who is Max Brick's partner and why were they in the news (need both to get one point)?
    13. Who is the shadow health secretary?
    14. Aid worker Linda Norgrove was working for which US based agency when she was killed?
    15. Before the intervention of a Texas court, Liverpool FC looked like it was about to be sold to the owners of Boston Red Sox, NESV. What does NESV stand for?
    16. Who is the editor of the Sunday Mirror?
    17. What was the name of the website that Robert Tyler was ordered to hand over this week?
    18. Who is the author of the report Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education. For a bonus point which company did he resign from as chief executive in 2008 having started as an apprentice there 42 years earlier?
    19. What does Quango stand for?
    20. How old was Harry Webb on Friday October 14?

    Wednesday, 13 October 2010

    Mail subs off to the regions

    On their way: trainee subs Ben Winstanley, Jennie Agg, Anna Croall
     (back row) Dawn Wheatley, Fiona Roberts and Alex Richman (front). Picture by Andy Drinkwater 

    We said goodbye to the six trainee subs from the Daily Mail today. After four weeks' training in Howden and three days in London, they now head off for placements at the Press Association, The Evening Standard, The Irish News, Stoke Sentinel, Hull Daily Mail and News and Star in Carlisle. All being well, they will end up on the Mail subs desk next year. It has been an enjoyable few weeks. The trainees, all very talented, have been learning the craft of sub-editing to national newspaper standard. Pronouns, apostrophes, stylebooks, structure, accuracy, intros, captions, tight-editing, news values, headlines, layout, picture manipulation and cropping, graphics, InDesign, Photoshop and much more have been on the agenda. It is the eighth consecutive year that the Mail has recruited and trained its own subs in this way. The Sun has also run similar courses. It clearly works. So while the rest of the industry is jettisoning sub-editors in the name of economy and efficiency, the daily papers that sell the most continue to invest in them. Coincidence? I don't think so.