The arrival of Home Secretary Theresa May as the keynote speaker at yesterday morning’s opening session of the Society of Editors conference certainly added a bit of sparkle to the event.
But Ms May’s call for the BBC to scale down its local websites in order to help the regional press has not gone down well with delegates in London.
The Home Secretary claimed that the corporation’s dominance of the local online news market has made it difficult for others to gain a foothold.
However the consensus among regional editors at the London gathering was that most BBC local websites are so poor and so full of old news lifted from their own titles that they scarcely represent such a threat.
Maybe Ms May picked up a briefing note from three or four years ago, when the big issue at conference was not press regulation but the future of the BBC’s online presence.
Back then, there were widespread fears within the industry over BBC plans to beef up its local websites in a way which might have meant genuine competition.
But the BBC Trust eventually halted the plan following a fierce lobbying campaign by the Newspaper Society and others.
Three years on, Ms May appears to be stuck in something of a timewarp.