Friday, 19 August 2011

The way all newspapers could be produced ...

Here is the cover and my Newcastle United preview from the Irish Examiner's 40-page pre-season football supplement. It was published last Friday and includes a page on each club, predictions, betting, analysis and some great writing from the likes of Ben Lyttleton, Adrian Clarke and Iain Spragg. I produced it while sunning myself on the family summer holiday on the Med. I was aided by Paul Wick and Mike Brough who are based in Darlington. It was printed and published in Cork. We have done this for years. We receive a flatplan from the Examiner, they provide some of the material and we commission and write the rest. We then edit the copy, write the headlines, select the pictures, layout the pages, proof-read them and send them to Ireland. They email any changes, we carry them out and send them hi-res PDFs to put directly on their system. It works and it's cost effective. Three people producing a 40-page paper at a rate per page. In May the Full Time supplement we did in the same way was 56 pages. I have long advocated that this is how newspapers should be produced. Subs can work from anywhere - in their bedrooms or in the South of France (indeed, the Evening Herald in Dublin is produced entirely at Castres in the South of France). Subs don't all have to be in the same room, the same building, the same town or even the same country ... which is why all the fuss in regional newspapers about moving production sites from one city to another struck me as nonsense. In future I reckon all newspapers will be produced this way. Who needs complicated management systems? Bedroom subs armed with a computer, a set of stylesheets, the right fonts, broadband, a piece of software (doesn't matter if it's Quark or InDesign) and Distiller will be contracted to do so many pages per day to deadline. And where would you rather work ... in a pokey office in an industrial estate or in your own back garden or, perhaps, in the South of France.



  1. Ex-Noooorthcliffe19 August 2011 at 12:23

    While I agree with much of what you say Peter, where does the idea of a sub-editor with local knowledge fit in to the picture?

    Of course a 'local' sub with could work from home or Timbuktu but once we head down this road it seems to me the natural end point is the idea that the sub needn't have any local knowledge at all...

  2. Thanks ex-Noooorthcliffe. Lots of people making similar points on Twitter. I agree there should be good local knowledge for certain stories on certain papers. Every new sub on The Northern Echo used to change Chesnut Street to Chestnut Street. That said, subs have always come and gone and not all of them absorbed themselves in the community. It's much easier to check street names and the like these days. Ideally subs would know the patch very well - but it doesn't always work that way. Bottom line though is there are good subs and bad subs. And good subs will check EVERYTHING they are not sure of, wherever they come from.

  3. Who says the subs wouldn't be locals? Let's move the whole newsroom to the south of France haha!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.