A former daily editor has spoken out over the “dismal” level of attendance from serving regional news chiefs at the annual Society of Editors’ conference.
Steve Dyson, who edited the Birmingham Mail and Teesside Gazette, carried out an analysis of the 194 delegates at last year’s conference in Belfast for an article in industry magazine InPublishing.
He said only two of the 194 were serving editors of national titles while 29 were editors of UK local and regional titles.
Wrote Steve: “When you put that number into the context of more than 1,100 regional and local daily and weekly newspapers across the UK, it really was a dismal attendance.
“None of these statistics is meant to criticise the conference, which debated several subjects of prime interest for today’s media world with an impressive list of speakers.
“But for many editors who did attend, the lack of contemporaries was noticed and much-criticised.”
SoE executive director Bob Satchwell said he accepted that the day-to-day pressures of work made it difficult for some editors to get away.
“We would always welcome more people to the conference. It is an important annual dialogue when editors get an opportunity to exchange ideas and simply think about their jobs away from the day-to-day pressures,” he said.
“But we also recognise that those pressures make it difficult for them to get away. That’s why we try to brief members with video and online reporting from the conference.”
“I am confident that the delegates reflected the views of the industry, and that we canvass views not only of conference delegates but, through regional briefings and email surveys, of editors everywhere in all parts of the media.”