Wednesday, February 23, 2011

‘Stop the presses’: I want to get on

QUITE a few of us regional editors had a round-robin invite to appear on last night’s Newsnight, billed as a ‘special segment on the future of print media’.
Judging by the content of the half-hour piece entitled ‘Stop the presses’ and the high-flying studio guests (Lords Rusbridger, Barber, Thompson and Barron) I wasn’t the only editor to give this a swerve.
There was, in fact, no mention whatsoever of the provincial press. Just a yawning trundle through what the Guardian and BBC do and don’t do and how the Digital Age spells the end of the civilised world as we know it.
Perhaps as an industry we don’t do ourselves any favours by not standing up to be counted in a discussion forum such as this. But I prefer to let my papers do the talking. Here’s a sneak peak at tomorrow’s Essex Chronicle (sorry, not quite finished!). Nearly 30,000 people will queue up with their 75p to buy our quality journalism, a paper put together by our dedicated, hard-working, innovative and creative team of mainly young journalists. And who wouldn’t buy this?
But I did learn a new word from Mr Paxman – ‘Disintermediated’. Answers on a postcard, please.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Editor flogs papers to readers shock

TIRED of the newsroom? Feeling jaded after all those late nights at the coalface of journalism?
Then take yourself off on a life-affirming trip to meet the people that really matter – yes, the dear readers.
Editor of the Brentwood Gazette, Nev Wilson, newly-crowned EDF newcomer of the year, Iain Johnson, and I set up shop today in Sainsbury’s to ‘undertake community engagement’ as the consultants would have it.
And boy did we find some community to engage with. We sold papers, we picked up a couple of stories and we made some new friends.
But, as ever with this life we call journalism, it was a most humbling experience. People generally loved the paper, many didn’t want it because they’d already bought it or had it delivered and one lady even told me she’d read it every week for 59 years and it was her ‘life’.
It is a good paper, witness the newspaper of the year award also picked up at the EDFs, and we try hard every week to keep as many people in the picture with as much as is going on. And in a small town that’s not always easy.
And awards are fine - bring 'em on - but the real rewards are where it matters, in the hearts and minds of readers.