He told the World Editors Forum in Gothenburg how its regional press arm had now successfully trained the staff in multimedia skills.
The knowledge was patchy when the programme began but training was run in seven key areas – as well as the bi-monthly forums:
Neil told the conference how Trinity Mirror needed quick solutions yet had no time to go to look at other newsrooms and learn.
They decided to call in external experts as they didn’t have the knowledge within the company.
Staff was split up in three groups, he said.
The first group was reporters and photographers. Many of the younger reporters could easily handle the new technique, but the company had to get all of the others up to speed. Their aim was not to train their staff in an academic way, but to be hands-on, quick and effective.
The second group comprised newsdesk staff, “people who are highly influential and can kill the multimedia idea every day in the newsroom” – and this was a group where work was ongoing.
The third group to concentrate on was crucial: the deputy and assistant editors.
They had to be given toolkits to be better leaders within the new multimedia set-up.
And this was where the bimonthly forums were brought in, where senior staff were involved in discussion with what Neil called “challenging” guests. A multimedia blog was also created where the editors could share ideas.
The company has more 60 video journalists online across its portfolio of 150 regional newspapers and their associated websites.