Tuesday, 28 January 2014

What 2014 holds for regional newsrooms

If you work for a regional newspaper what can you expect in the coming year? InPublishing magazine asked me to offer a view - and I also solicited the opinions of the great and the good from the industry. The consensus, unsurprisingly, is that there are plenty of challenges and, inevitably, plenty of changes ahead. Click here to read it.

Friday, 24 January 2014

20 years in exile: My North-South divide


At the end of 1993, I said goodbye to the editorship of The Northern Echo and to my native North-East and hello to an editorial executive role in Westminster Press and to Sussex. Twenty year later, we are now adopted Southerners. The locals no longer ask if we keep coal in the bath and my grown-up children all talk with Southern accents. It has been a great move for us. There are more journalism opportunities in the South and our businesses, the Editorial Centre and SMS, have thrived. There is plenty we miss though - including the beer, the pease pudding, the countryside and the football. The question I am most asked is which do we prefer and would we ever move back. So to try to answers those and to mark 20 years in exile I wrote this piece for today's Northern Echo on our own North South divide.

Headlines that sing: Cracking effort by Mirror

Here's another headline that sings to add to the collection. This cracker is from today's Daily Mirror. It follows 'You ain't nothin' but a found dog' from the Mirror earlier in the month. Others in the collection can be found herehere and, rather strangely, here

How electronic newspapers began ...

I remember the video announcing the launch of the Electronic Telegraph 20 years ago. As regional newspaper editors we looked at it with amazement, saw the still pictures turn to video, listened to the man telling us screens would be everywhere by 2010 … and went back to our desks to produce newspapers. We were safe, complacent even. Any digital threat to print was years away and, anyway, we had big newsrooms gathering local content. Nobody would ever compete with that. This week I came across a news report from even earlier, 1981, on how the San Francisco papers started moving towards their digital editions. It contains some great lines: 

"We are not in it to make money. We're probably not going to lose a lot but we aren't going to make much either."

"The electronic newspaper is not as spiffy looking as the adverts imply …"

"Engineers now predict the day will come when we get all our newspapers and magazines by home computer but that's a few years on."

"It takes over two hours to receive the entire text of a newspaper over the phone and with a hourly use charge of $5 the new tele-paper won't be much competition for the 20 cent street edition."

Take two minutes to watch it here … it's a real gem.

Hat tip to http://www.wimp.com and Nick Jenkins for bringing it to my attention.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Fancy editing in the Highlands?

Here's a job and a half for someone. I had the pleasure of doing some work with The Oban Times last year - a great traditional broadsheet based in one of the most beautiful places in the UK. Now Stewart MacKenzie (above), the paper's editor and editorial director of Wyvex Media, has stood down after nearly 13 years. I wish him well. The paper is now looking for an editor to follow in Stewart's footsteps. There are big plans for the series, both in print and digital. Tempted? If so, click here for the details.  

Monday, 6 January 2014

Another headline that sings ...

Here's another one for the collection. This one - about a dog called Elvis - is from today's Daily Mirror. 

Deadline looms for Mail training schemes

Last year's Mail subbing graduates with Hull Daily Mail editor Neil Hodgkinson

You have until Friday to apply for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday graduate training scheme for reporters and subs. The successful applicants will probably already be on a post-grad journalism course and have a fair amount of newsroom experience. The courses, which involve several weeks training followed by placements on regional newspapers, begin in September. If you are interested send CVs and six examples of your work to Sue Ryan at sue.ryan@dailymail.co.uk. The subbing scheme has been running for 11 years and many of the senior subs on the paper - in both news and sport - are graduates of the course. The reporting course has been running for six years. Its graduates include Matt Sandy, who won young journalist of the year in the British Press Awards in 2011 and Fay Schlesinger, joint winner of the investigation of the year award at the British Journalism Awards in 2012. If you are applying for any of these courses you might want to take a look at my advice on how to prepare for an interview. Good luck. More details on HTFP. 

Last year's reporting graduates