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More UGC, fewer photographers – and no paywalls: Editors set out visions of future

Senior editors from the leading publishing groups set out their visions of the future of local newspapers at a major industry gathering yesterday.

Speaking at the Society of Editors Regional Conference, sponsored by HoldtheFrontPage, industry leaders set out to explain the thinking behind some of the most controversial

They include more user-generated content, smaller offices, cover price rises, and, on some papers, no staff photographers.

But editorial leaders from two of the four big groups – Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press – made it clear that online paywalls formed no part of their current plans.

Yorkshire Post editor Jeremy Clifford, who is also chair of Johnston Press’s editorial board, focused in his presentation on user-generated content and how it can enhance newspapers, using the Bourne Local and Pocklington Post as examples where the idea has taken off.

He also defended the decision of some parts of JP to dispense with staff photographers.

However he also revealed that JP would be launching a web-based submission tool to make it easier for members of the public to send in their pictures.

Jeremy summed up the future saying:  “There will be fewer print journalists, more contributed content, better technology, and papers owned by readers.”

Speaking about his group’s ‘Newsroom 3.1′ plan, Trinity editorial director Neil Benson said it would mean “all content staff will focus on producing digital content all day and every day.”

The print titles in future will be “reverse-published” from content already published on the web.

However in response to questions, both Neil and Jeremy made clear that online paywalls played no part in their groups’ current plans.

Said Neil:  “Our approach at the moment is about building an audience. If paywalls worked we would have no problem with them but they patently don’t.”

Ian Murray, editor-in-chief of the Southern Daily Echo, spoke about Newsquest’s controversial strategy of increasing cover price rises during 2013 which led circulation to plummety by up to a third on some titles.

He claimed that while the Daily Echo has lost 5pc of its sales following the price hike, its circulation revenues had actually increased by 20pc.

Neil White of the Local World-owned Derby Telegraph said newsrooms of the future would be much smaller and that editorial and commercial staff would work more closely together.

Full coverage of the conference can be found here.

54 comments

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  • April 8, 2014 at 8:48 am
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    You can’t have paywalls if the content is poor, having diminished in quality because of non stop budget cutting.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 8:59 am
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    I’ve an idea….how about fewer senior managers at big newspaper groups, less talk of “user generated content” and digital content…and spend a few pounds on hiring some decent reporters and talented photographers to produce interesting and attractive newspapers?
    I know it sounds a touch radical, but it might just be what the readers would like!

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  • April 8, 2014 at 9:07 am
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    I’d be interested to hear more of Neil White’s ideas about how editorial and commercial staff should work more closely together. It’s important that there’s always a distinction made online (as indeed in print) as to what is “genuine” journalism and what is essentially advertorial.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 9:16 am
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    Scary to think that blurry reader pictures are the future of local newspapers. Little wonder that they don’t expect people to pay but surprisingly do expect people to read.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 9:20 am
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    I would be interested to know how Ian Murray can claim that the 20p price increase of the Daily Echo only reduced circulation by 5%.

    The figures for his newspaper, published on HTFP, show a different picture. For the six months to June 2013, the circulation fell by 10.4% and the most recent figure shows a fall of 17%. The latter reveals the full effect of the increase while the June 2013 figure only a part of it.

    To push up the price by such a hefty amount at a time when incomes were (and still are) under severe pressure was suicidal. This is typical of the ”let’s rake it in today – it is some else’s problem tomorrow” attitude of much of UK business.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 9:33 am
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    It’s heartening to see at least one of the major publishers making a determined effort to promote a coherent digital strategy.

    And in the same breath, it’s just as depressing to hear one editor after another pulling up the drawbridge behind them, and banging the gong for ‘user-generated content’.

    Healthy relationships with readers and making them feel involved with their local title is one thing

    But it’s a real eye-opener when some of our leaders believe that producing increasing amounts of inferior copy and pictures qualifies as a viable business model.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 9:35 am
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    Wiithin the next decade, if provincial newspaper circulations continue to plummet as they are doing now, most of these papers will only be available online. Poor reader-generated stories and photographs will not save them. These websites need quality stories, quality photographs… Provided by journalists. I have a relative who lives in Bourne, he sums up the paper there with one word – rubbish.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 9:46 am
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    Trinity editorial director Neil Benson said: “The print titles in future will be “reverse-published” from content already published on the web.”

    Why would anyone buy a paper if the story is available for free on the web ??

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  • April 8, 2014 at 9:53 am
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    Kie Miskelly, Glasgow – The only reason people do buy local papers now is habit. Not for the quality of writing/ content (irrelevant to habit). And online, I totally agree with you – quality should be the controlling factor for media groups. There are so many alternative purveyors of news just a click away. Staying loyal through years of habit-forming purchasing to a newspaper is one thing, but I’m sure users are far more fickle online.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 10:20 am
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    So does the term “Senior Editors” mean they’ve disappeared so far up their employers’ backsides that they’ve ceased to be journalists anymore? Because that’s what it looks like.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 11:14 am
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    Sorry, but most provincial editors have traditionally been proprietors’ poodles who would fall into line with the ‘received wisdom’ of the day.
    The ‘kill off editorial’ line has been promoted – usually with their full compliance – for a many years now. That’s why circulations have gone down the toilet.
    The days when editors were powerful, individualistic no-nonsense characters who put their readers above everything have long since gone. For years now, editors have been merely ‘editorial managers’ – not charismatic people who stamped their personalities on their papers.
    In fact, weak editors have been the main factor in the disintegration of the provincial press. Had they protected their corner more vigorously in the past, the regional press would not be in the sorry plight it’s in today.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 11:51 am
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    More UGC, no staff photographers and smaller offices…so basically a village newsletter.
    Here’s a presentation they should have given: ‘Where do you go once you’ve reached the bottom of the barrel?’
    If this is the future, it’s time to jump ship.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm
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    Senior editors Johnston Press, Trinity Mirror, Newsquest…says it all really. If their collective views were in the majority, there wouldn’t be a great deal of hope for the future of journalism in the British Isles.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm
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    If quality goes down and prices go up, people will stop buying your product. There’s no internet/Twitter mystery about the decline of the newspaper industry, it’s simply producing poorer products. Regional papers, especially weeklies, still have/had a future by becoming more feature based and focussing on local news that the broadcast media won’t touch, but this niche has been ignored by the top brass in favour of ‘send us a picture of your pet’ type nonsense. My mates don’t buy papers but still spend £25-a-month on magazines, why? Well produced, good pictures and an enjoyable read – and not a hint of free online content in sight. This ain’t chess, it’s checkers.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 1:31 pm
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    Hear, hear Brassington.
    When these ‘editors’ are finally axed themselves their legacy will be the wholesale destruction of the local press.
    Many are still sitting in their offices believing they are kings of the world, yet they are kings of nothing.
    Not quite sure why we should listen to any of them anymore since they abandoned journalism a long time ago in favour of bonuses and company cars.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm
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    Clearly, the wheel has turned. Fifty years ago when the UK regional press were struggling to cope with the growing demands of looking after apprentices who were also being sucked into the then-new regional TV newsrooms, they started outsourcing the training to polytechnics like Preston. That sparked the boom in journalism higher education that has for years seen the graduate supply outstrip the industry demand. The NCTJ emerged to ensure that the industry had tight control over the curriculum without having to incur the costs. They then added their own training arm, becoming both poacher and gamekeeper. Whatever else might be clear from the Society of Editors Regional Conference yesterday is this: industry leaders expect the shrunken sector to shrink further and, with the the help of the NCTJ, they are more than happy to take back the job of training the few apprentices they might need. They’ve got the Duke of York cheering them on. Perhaps those of us at university journalism schools should also be encouraging them – and move on too?

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  • April 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm
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    Brassington,

    Those editors who display a bit of honour and fight are the ones that tend to have their demise engineered by the decision-makers.

    If they don’t sing from the company hymn sheet, the directors have a habit of setting their favourite poodles on them!

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  • April 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm
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    Scoop, the problem is readers are not staying loyal, they have lost the habit and are leaving in droves – hence the dramatic falls in circulation we keep seeing every month. Once the printed provincial press disappears – and most of it definitely will going on current circulation falls – all they will have is an online version but no one is going to visit a site that is full of non news and boring photos provided by readers. Quality journalism has to be the way forward…

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  • April 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm
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    Scoop, not sure if I read you right, but I’d like to think at least some of our readers don’t just buy the paper out of habit.

    Is it naive of me to think regular exclusives, support for residents’ campaigns, plenty of (staff snapper-taken) community and school photos, lots of council and court stories and entertainment news, reviews and interviews might have some appeal?

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  • April 8, 2014 at 3:11 pm
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    I’m loving the shroud-waving proclamations about readers never bothering to look at regional newspaper websites because they’re all crap and it’s all the fault of venal editors more interested in their company Mondeo than journalism and how it’s obvious we’re all doomed thanks to them.

    The only downer to this jejune gloom-fest is that a great many local or regional newspaper websites have seen an absolutely massive increase in traffic over the last two years.

    Still, never let the facts get in the way of a good tale, I always say.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm
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    If anyone actually believes that Bourne has been a success then they are a grade-A lunatic. If it’s done so well then why not reveal the circulation figures eh, JP? Oh, and awarding your own paper prizes for innovation does not mean that it is a runaway success.

    I don think Jeremy Clifford believes what he said any more than we do.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm
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    UGC is not the way to get an informed press. Institutions like the Council and Police writing stories direct to websites is not the way to have an honest press. Failing to employ intelligent people who are unafraid to ask questions to the powerful is not the way to ensure accountability.
    A photograph speaks a thousand words. Take that photograph from one side and get one side of the story. My colleagues at the Croydon Advertiser took pride in being impartial and endeavored to capture images that told the story in a truthful manner that reflected what was actually happening. Can you assure me that UGC image is the truth?

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  • April 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm
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    I cannot foresee a future where such an august publication as the Yorkshire Post will be full of UGC….

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  • April 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm
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    Many newspapers stay ‘afloat’ as advertisers have no choice but to use them. By this I mean that there is no competition. They can produce an awful product, UGC heavy, and if you want to advertise you have to go with it. As User Generated Content said, papers are becoming nothing more than village newsletters. Newsletters with nicely written press releases that hard worked journos don’t have time (or the inclination) to re-write. If UGC is the way to go, why don’t the nationals use more of it?Why do they bother to employ professional writers and photographers?

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  • April 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm
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    As Paul reports, I gave a positive view on yesterday’s panel and remain positive despite the familiar swathe of naysayers commenting on this site.
    Funny thing is that I have remained in the industry for 30 years and I recognise these voices as being from people who didn’t have much guts when they were part of it.
    As for me and my staff: we are still fighting every day to produce the best paper and website we can. We campaign, we cover council and courts and we have experienced massive increases of web users as have many other centres, particularly in Local World.
    Oh, and our readers enjoy taking photgraphs and sending in match reports and reviews but they always did, it’s just we are better at engaging with them now.
    I have a great team of which I am more proud than in any point in three decades. And the vibe I receive is that the people of Derby enjoy what we do just as much as they did ‘back in the day!’

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  • April 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm
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    Stats may prove that websites have had a massive increase in traffic, but so what? How much income is it generating? How much of each site is being viewed? Personally, I only ever look at the local football news on the local website (and that is via a search engine going straight to the page) . For news I read a national broadsheet or watch the BBC. Advertising is what generates the income. If advertisers see no increase in footfall by advertising online, why would they advertise again? In print the ads are seen as each page is viewed. This simply doesn’t happen online, hence advertisers lose out. Print is not dead, look at all the printed advertising material that comes through the letterbox. Advertisers will wise up eventually.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm
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    They’ve said it so often they are now believing it! Editors with no guts, no bottle, no passion … soon, no paper!

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  • April 8, 2014 at 6:13 pm
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    Senior editors from the leading publishing groups set out their visions of the future of local newspapers at a major industry gathering yesterday.

    What a load of utter rubbish
    Editors are just management lackeys these days. I have been lucky in my 45 years as a photographer and picture editor having worked for some great editors who put news content FIRST and did not bow to the pressures of unqualified visual morons.
    The public are not as stupid as these idiots who are now running the business make them out to be ,so why they seem hell bent on producing total rubbish is beyond belief.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm
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    Bluestringer- The websites have seen massive increases at exactly the same time many newspapers have seen huge falls in circulation.
    I realise the advance of mobile technology means greater unique users and page views and this will continue to rise, but readers switching from paid-for print to free web content will also have added to this greatly.
    Some editors still see the web as their enemy and only offer lip service to this avenue, while continuing to slash print.
    Doomed, you ask?
    If UGC is the solution, I say yes.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 6:54 pm
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    Sod the paywall, if anyone thinks that Joe Public will pay an increased cover price for a UGC-laden publication with blurred, out of focus, poorly composed photographs.

    Citizen Journalism may well have a role in some segments of society, but using their content (written work and/or pics) to drive a publication first and foremost is downright ludicrous.

    Still, let’s not worry about the Editors sat in their comfy ergonomic office chairs surveying all of their domain. Oh, wait, they’re on their own; they fired the staff…

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  • April 8, 2014 at 7:55 pm
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    ‘Web-based submission tools’, eh?

    Well, we all know a few of them.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm
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    Do the local newspaper websites make any money though? So what if they get hits if nobody is paying for it or advertising on it. Would a website on its own, without the print edition, hold any interest? I tend not to think so.
    Maybe newspapers should get back to being newspapers and, for example, reporters shouldn’t tweet their exclusives before they are in the paper.
    Just get rid of the websites and the costs associated with them and plough the money back into quality newspapers where they actually employ sub-editors, journalists, snappers and people that actually know what they are doing. Give them a decent wage which attracts them to move to the area and let’s get the bloody pride back in regional newspapers.
    Let the big boys with money to spend focus on websites and let us get back to what we know best.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 1:13 am
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    Look, it’s a failing industry, we all know that. And these measures – getting rid of photographers and subs and fewer reporters – are all necessary to ensure the local newspaper industry clings on for a bit longer. So if you are out, move on. If you’re still in, enjoy but form a back-up plan.
    My gripe with the above is that surely more UGC means no reporters to cover courts, local government, in-depth interviews etc…all the things which set newspapers apart from other local media. The other moves, unfortunately, make sense. Binning reporters does not. Very odds whatever readers are left will lose interest very quickly.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 7:05 am
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    We all moan about PR spin, and then more spin, appearing in ever increasing club inches in our media but this really takes the proverbial biscuit.
    How Neil White at Derby can have the gall to come on here and defend such rubbish is quite beyond any of us who have seen the demise of the regional press by bean counters and weak editorial leadership.
    Citizen journalism, and I use the word loosely, will not save the industry.
    It might add to the legal casework for company lawyers as less and less ‘real’ journalism, edited and well written sees the light of day.
    A complete and utter sell out by the men and women who are supposed to be our leaders.
    Shame on every editor who really believes these lies and this spin.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 9:01 am
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    Perhaps I had the gall because I have been involved in the industry over 30 years and still am. I love it every day and I believe we produce great papers and a great website. We have award-winning reporters and photographers….. and very high-quality contributions from readers with whom we engage daily. Oh, and we don’t have a newsroom infested with moaners like many in which I have worked.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 9:17 am
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    Jeremy – I think you mean THE Yorkshire Post. As I have said in previous posts, I agree with UGC in moderation, in a specified section of the paper – ‘readers’ news’. If it used to bulk up the contents without that being made very obvious, the reader will not be impressed, thinking they are paying for content that the publisher hasn’t. The quality level will gradually (maybe dramatically!) reduce. People will only pay for a professionally produced paper. If it has the feel of the local newsletter, forget it. This probably isn’t the future for The Yorkshire Post, as an august broadsheet (for now) publication, but for many titles too much UGC will be a disaster. For those that say if you’re out of the industry, move on, I say, with so many years invested in a profession I loved, I have as much passion for it now as then, particularly when I see ‘my’ former titles making errors.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 10:15 am
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    Neil White says they aren’t infested with moaners.

    No, but look how all the corporate titles moan when they claim that the BBC is encroaching on their patch. As though news is exclusive!!!

    At the same time, the Corporate titles, through their Parliamentary lobbyists, are urging hatchet man Pickles to kill off the council Pravdas.

    A big problem is that the Corporate Press seeks to control the media as much as the Kremlin did.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 11:17 am
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    Neil, you love every day as you see fewer people buying your paper every day? Weird. A print purchaser is worth ten unique visitors any day of the week, even the top brass know that, but hate to admit it.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 11:39 am
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    It’s no good moaning about “lackey” editors being the root cause of the UK regional newspaper industry’s decline.

    Yes, the editor is captain of the ship, but the publishing companies and their boards of directors OWN the ship.

    If a ship-owner tells the captain he’s getting a smaller, cheaper, less impressive ship, guess what? He gets a smaller, cheaper, less impressive ship.

    The editor can throw a hissy fit, but it will make no difference.

    You have to look where at the real power lies in the regional press and it’s not, and never actually has been, with the editor.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm
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    Neil,
    Some of us aren’t in the industry any more after being fired in the latest endless round of editorial cuts, so congratulations for clinging on.
    I am not a moaner, but I do despair about the bilge some of you lot spout about the ‘future’ of newspapers.
    I regularly worked 50 hours a week and was at the forefront of our online work. I classed myself as an extremely forward thinking member of the newsroom until I was replaced with someone cheaper and less experienced.
    Will the newsroom suffer? Who knows, but I believe I brought a lot to the job in my award-winning career.
    You dismiss many comments on here as ‘the familiar swathe of naysayers’ but that does us all a disservice.
    If you truly believe that newspapers in print and online have a future with smaller staff, UGC copy and pictures, no subs, content curators and the other grand ideas aired here then I think you are fooling yourself.
    But stop trying to fool all the hardworking and loyal members of staff who know all of these initiatives ultimately end with most of them on the scrap heap.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm
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    Individual points:
    1. Derby Telegraph’s digital revenue compared to print is now nearing 20%. That is more than double this time last year. I shan’t reveal our overall figures but this is a very profitable centre.
    2. I didn’t say anything about smaller staff. I said smaller newsrooms – this means that staff will have hot desks and get out into the community more, covering the stories which matter and not just regurgitating press releases.
    3. I specifically said I didn’t feel comfortable with the phrase UGC and preferred to talk about reader contributions. This will mean that journalists will define high-quality sent-in copy and pictures and commission it. For example, tomorrow we have 1,000 words from a person who lives in a notorious street where a murder took place, explaining why they spent £280,000 on a house there. I simply don’t have a reporter who could offer that first-person view. The murder itself and subsequent court case are being covered by our crime reporter. Meanwhile, we have 200 members of a Derby Telegraph camera club who take brilliant scenic shots over our large county. However, they would not be able to take court snatches or work in delicate situations in which journalists excel.
    4. We need production staff. I have advertised for one on Hold The Front Page today.
    5. My ‘grand idea’ is that we engage with the public more than we have before. The reason that this industry has got into a mess is because we haven’t done that well enough and we have thought we have known it all. I admit that it has taken me too long to realise that and only now are we starting to reap the benefits.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 3:12 pm
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    Pardon my ignorance, but why is the Derby Telegraph carrying a story about the notorious street while the court case is still ongoing… should that not wait until the end of the trial (I assume it’s a trial?)… can’t really determine this from Neil’s last email.
    It probably isn’t prejudicial to the case – but I always thought “backgrounders” were reserved for publication until the defendant was sentenced (or at least found guilty).

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  • April 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm
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    You’re all just going to have to do more with less, but just make sure you capture the Dickensian aspect.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm
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    “more user-generated content, smaller offices, cover price rises, and, on some papers, no staff photographers”.
    Proof, not that it was needed, that there are no long-term job prospects in local weekly & regional daily newspapers. Can’t I just have the redundancy cheque now please & then I can get on with the rest of my life?

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  • April 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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    Neil – so you have been in the industry 30 years. That doesn’t make you right. I’ve been in it 34 years and still am. I think our industry is rapidly losing the plot. Editors are increasingly out of touch – some don’t appear to know what their staff actually do. We need to sell our work, either in print or online through paywalls. We also need to attract adverts. We are currently giving our product away free and not attracting enough advertisers. How is that reaping benefits?

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  • April 9, 2014 at 11:18 pm
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    Scribbler, the street became infamous years ago when one of its residents refused to pay council tax and was jailed. A national paper dubbed it ‘smack alley’. Thus, the first person piece relates to why anyone would want to spend £280,000 to live there. The murder was last weekend and an arrest has just been made.

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  • April 10, 2014 at 9:02 am
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    Northern Hack, I didn’t profess to know what happens at other newspaper groups. I would consider myself an expert at what happens at the Derby Telegraph and I know what all of my staff do and the machinations of our city and county. Thus, I don’t believe I am out of touch. Obviously, I have an insight into the workings of Local World. I am afraid I couldn’t comment on Newsquest, Johnston Press or Trinity Mirror.

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  • April 10, 2014 at 9:09 am
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    Mark, Glasgow – good points. I’d love to know how the websites are making money. Online advertising is worth a fraction of print revenue and viewing is free. How will the digital route ever make up for running down print? I’d appreciate anyone explaining it to me. We need great adverts from/for happy advertisers, in quality products readers will buy. We do not need office-less reporters, snaps instead of photographs or advertising from another continent, whilst promoting local.

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  • April 10, 2014 at 10:06 am
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    Thank you for the clarification, Neil. When you wrote “The murder itself and subsequent court case are being covered by our crime reporter”, it implied that a trial was on-going… so thanks for the clarification.

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  • April 10, 2014 at 11:12 am
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    apparently us ‘moaners’ aren’t welcome in newsrooms any more. Thanks Neil.
    Having spent the best part of 28 years in the industry, often working 12 hour days, with nothing but contempt from senior management, who wouldn’t have a clue what makes a newspaper sell.
    Clearly, having read the comments of editors here, they still don’t.
    Rest in Peace regional press.

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  • April 10, 2014 at 11:34 am
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    Neil, you are obviously in a privileged position in Derby… happy, motivated staff, given the freedom and scope to produce quality newspapers and superb online content which is generating big profits. I’m sure there will be a queue a mile long to share in the secret.
    As a comparison, the Trinity Mirror centres I worked in were having waves of redundancies every 18 months or so, intolerable pressure was being put on a dwindling band of staff with ever increasing workloads. It meant it was increasingly difficult to maintain any kind of quality and often it meant there was simply no time (or people) to do very basic checks like being able to proof pages. People doing pages were often ordered not attempt anything time consuming because of the frantic pace combined with a lack of bodies.
    There was some remaining morale between staff but in a First World War, tin-hats-on-against-the-barrage kind of way. Those still hanging on to avoid the next axe tried their best but were left feeling dispirited and without value. Trinity Mirror has given its staff such a kicking that it is now a desperate and depressing ship to cling on to.
    The reader contributions were often laden with basic problems covering spelling, grammar and accuracy and submitted pictures were frequently absolutely appalling in both quality and composition. Again there just weren’t enough staff to tackle these issues and so these hit the news stands as they were.
    I know this all sounds so depressing and you’ll dismiss me as a moaner but I reckon a lot of people reading this who have trodden the same route will recognise the appalling truth in what I say.

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  • April 11, 2014 at 11:34 pm
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    Neil,

    Your digital revenue is only near 20% because the advertising staff are practically forced to package it into their sales or else they get put on probation / have their bonus slashed. I once went over target by 5k and didn’t earn vs penny because I missed my digital target – one target out of 9 I had that month.

    Once the advertisers wise up, and the realise the response they get off the internet is laughable, then you might want to rethink your grand scheme…..

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  • April 13, 2014 at 11:47 am
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    I find it hard to read reports on conferences like these nowadays as the only editors left are the ones prepared to spout and agree with the nonsense coming from above.
    News isn’t important to them any more, it’s all about “content” and filling pages as cheaply as possible. Quality journalism be damned.
    They’ve really lost sight of why they got into the industry for in the first place.

    The owners know nothing about running newspapers (or websites), but instead of using the knowledge of those who do, they’ve axed anyone who resists their short-sighted approach and promoted and supported editors who’ll happily push through their agenda regardless of its long-term effects.
    And too many of these local MDs champion short-term cuts to make their own CVs look good, rather than any decent long-sighted strategy.
    They want yes men. They don’t want to examine weaknesses or have intelligent conversations about the industry.

    “More UGC, fewer photographers – and no paywalls” – is almost the exact opposite of what’s needed.
    I like UGC as a concept, but alongside, not instead of, professional copy and pictures. Unless your aiming for a Poundland paper I suppose.

    And paywalls shouldn’t be dismissed – giving your work away for free is an utterly stupid business model. It’s clear advertising revenues aren’t enough to pay for decent journalism.
    But I guess that’s the point isn’t it – journalism is so far down the list of priorities now.

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  • April 14, 2014 at 8:34 pm
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    UGC on the web…………we already have that, its called Facebook and people are using that far less than they used to.

    Of course we could stick to what we do best, in staff and aim at producing quality newspapers and leave the loss making websites to ‘citizen journalists’ to mess about with in their spare time.

    I know most on the ground floor can see this, why can’t the management?

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