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Journalists split into two teams as new-look newsroom unveiled

Love LeedsA regional daily has unveiled what its editor is calling a “revolutionary new approach” to its operations with separate editorial teams handling breaking news and in-depth coverage.

Since Monday, journalists at the Yorkshire Evening Post have been split into two teams as part of parent company Johnston Press’s group-wide ‘Newsroom of the Future’ initiative.

One team is now dedicated to online breaking news and a new live feed has been set up on the YEP’s website, as part of a wider project which has seen breaking news blogs launched at 12 JP titles.

The second team is now charged with covering more “in depth” stories across the paper’s patch in Leeds.

The changes have also coincided with the launch of a new campaign to celebrate all that it good about its city, which was started in conjunction with the editorial restructure.

The Love Leeds initiative aims to “fly the flag” for the city and the newspaper will speak to celebrities, sporting heroes and politicians about their passion for Leeds.

In a message to readers, about the new-look newsroom, editor Jeremy Clifford said: “We are proud of the way we have led change to reflect the changing nature of Leeds and the demands of our readers.

“This is a revolutionary new approach by dividing up our news teams which means we can provide even more focus on both our community coverage and the big breaking and in-depth stories. It also allows us to make sure our website is kept up to date with all the breaking news as it happens.”

Speaking about the Love Leeds campaign, he added:  “Leeds has transformed itself over the past few years and has an exciting future, with its bid for the capital of culture, a high-speed train link coming directly into the city centre and the prospect of greater devolved powers.

​“Yet sometimes it is all too easy to dwell on what is not right with the city. We want to take the lead in celebrating the good and, as part of the campaign, call for improvements to make things even better.”

As part of the campaign, the title will look at the good work carried out by charities and community groups  while readers will also get the chance to vote on topics ranging from Leeds’ best ever bands to the most influential figures in its history.

The YEP is also asking for readers’ memories of good times in the city, such as when Leeds United won the FA Cup in 1972 or when Roundhay Park played host to megastars such as Madonna and The Rolling Stones during the 1980s.

Johnston Press has so far not revealed whether any jobs were lost at the YEP as a result of the ‘Newsroom of the Future’ rollout.

Last month HTFP reported that a voluntary redundancy scheme by Johnston Press across its Yorkshire Weekly Newspapers division had been oversubscribed, with 21 people applying and only 17 roles planned for the axe.

26 comments

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  • June 19, 2015 at 8:43 am
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    This is not the Newsroom of the Future, it is the Newsroom of NOW. The oversubscribed VR scheme speaks volumes, but I am not surprised: splitting journalists into teams is literally divisive. As for the Love Leeds campaign, this is not new. Years ago the YP/EP had a Leeds. Live It. Love It. campaign, which from a design point of view at least, didn’t look like ‘Death Comes to Leeds’. Readers are being asked to subscribe to this, not invited, which sounds desperate. Oh well – exciting times!

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  • June 19, 2015 at 9:31 am
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    JP Cost Victim – you beat me to it on that Love Leeds poster.

    How about the red literally bleeding into the white? It looks like the cover of a self-published novel.

    But the two-speed newsroom could work.

    “Tabitha (breaking news team) cut and paste off Youtube the cute kitten who survived a washing machine in Beeston. Tarquin (insight team) I want listicles on breeds of kitten and washing machines. Torquil (digital advertising team), ring round household appliance outlets – and pet shops!”

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  • June 19, 2015 at 9:33 am
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    Yes I am confused. Dividing up teams (news and features, anyone?). Positive news campaigns (next, smile stickers on stories?). It’s all old hat. Delighted if it works, but it is being dressed-up as new and exciting by execs who are obviously tired and exhausted and out of inspiration. Let’s have some truly groundbreaking initiatives, JP.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 9:47 am
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    Reinventing the wheel. But I guess it’s easier to do that than tackle the real problem: how to make publishing news pay.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 9:54 am
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    For “revolutionary new approach” read ‘This is our latest desperate attempt to wing it with hardly any journalists” Just wait until holidays, sickness and days off take their toll. I bet the two teams will be borrowing each other’s staff like there’s not tomorrow. Which actually there may not be.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 10:04 am
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    Do any of these guys ever look at sites such as Niemanlab.org? If anything’s going to save local journalism it will be the tech guys, schools, colleges and entrepreneurs whose ideas are mentioned on there – not this ‘newsroom of the future’ nonsense

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  • June 19, 2015 at 10:16 am
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    Mmm … takes me back the best part of 20 years, to when a large consultancy (Cambridge Econometrics I believe) was given £250k by the Midland News Assn to come up with its ‘vision of the future’.
    The only rational proposal was to sell the Express & Star’s Queen St HQ and its adjacent car parks, move 80-85%% of the staff to a purpose-built centre near the M54 (avoiding the day-long town centre traffic jams) and to leave some editorial and sales in the centre.
    But no … the hapless Alan Graham said he couldn’t do that, because grand-dad had set up the business there. FFS
    Instead, he adopted the ‘revolutionary’ idea of splitting the newsroom into East and West handling different editions; a 5-4 split I think.
    News of this absurd idea was discussed at a dept heads meeting, when I (as news editor) expressed what I thought to be ‘mild puzzlement’ at such an insane idea.
    Not the best career move, I confess …
    Everyone else nodded in silence at Graham’s amazing insight, the newsroom was split, and after several years of chaos (East holding stories back from West, the latter putting stories from their patch which weren’t on change pages for their ‘rivals’, pix appearing on twice in some editions, etc etc) the idea was quietly dropped, and the two sides were once more merged.
    Impossible, then or now, to understand what good might come from a newsroom split into two. Analysing news-gathering and output, and balancing the requirements of digital and print, fine, but surely that’s already being done at the YP.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 11:03 am
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    Talking about reinventing the wheel, every editor/newspaper proprietor in the land should go and have a look at papers circa 1900 – check out the detail of reporting, the fabulous turn of phrases, the lack of crap puns – if the Mayor farted, they knew about it – that’s the way forward, not rehashing 1980s-Sun style journalism.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm
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    Congratulations. You’ve just discovered a different way of slicing your new loaf of bread into as many slices as the previous one had.

    Perhaps your energy would be put to better use by supervising the design of promotional posters because, frankly, that one is bloody awful.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 12:29 pm
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    Just had a look at the website… the live feed is hardly original content or breaking news.

    It’s a series of tweets pulled through from Twitter (I’d just follow people on there?) a bit of news and puff pieces like new bar openings.

    Hardly essential reading.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 12:32 pm
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    It’s Grimm up north, as this latest fairytale proves…

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  • June 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm
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    The new YEP live feed is just lazy journalism. Where are these exciting news stories Team A are supposed to be lobbing to readers? Yes, I want to know about a bus crash in which passengers are hurt, but it doesn’t need a quote regurgitating exactly the same info that I’ve just read in the preceding par. It looks very dull too. Early days so let’s hope it gets a quick reboot to be something worth reading.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm
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    Having seen today’s printed edition of the Yorkshire Evening Post on sale, what is obvious (viewing the front page) is the lack of news; half of it is taking up by blurb, the bottom by an advert running full width, in the middle section of perhaps 10cms deep is some news (mostly a headline). Included in the blurb is a promotion for ‘The City Talking’, a supplement in the paper, but this is clearly still using the old YEP logo. At the risk of being shouted down by some on this site, design and branding matter hugely: JP need to get this right before thinking that live feeds etc. will increase sales or readership.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 3:02 pm
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    Apologies – for ‘taking up’ read ‘taken up’.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 3:21 pm
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    Should have come up with a less threatening banner for that campaign. Maybe one that says:

    COME TO LEEDS. WE PROMISE NOT TO MURDER YOU.*

    *not a promise

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  • June 19, 2015 at 6:48 pm
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    What self-respecting Yorkshireman (or woman) would have designed a poster with the word ‘Love’ in red, when everyone knows that’s the colour of the hated House of Lancaster?
    Colour aside, it’s dismal, gloomy and lacking in imagination. A bit like the newsroom of the future, I assume.

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  • June 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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    A newsroom of the future designed by people who have only ever known the newsroom of the past. Yes, that makes sense…

    Perhaps a ‘newsroom of keeping my senior position’ might be a more appropriate term?

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  • June 19, 2015 at 7:29 pm
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    I saw bill saying a local team had won the league. It has been there since May.
    A friend sent some rough draft copy to same company, no spell checks or punctuation.
    Went straight into paper unchanged.
    That is the newsroom of the future, sadly JP and others.

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  • June 20, 2015 at 12:10 pm
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    Presumably,when there is a dearth of either breaking news..or in depth stories..the teams will be “tasked” to help each other out…..

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  • June 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm
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    Perhaps it’s a backward step to progress. We at the coalface all know quality sells. It always wil. Of course the posted claims a horse passed this way are true, but the system worked until morons meddled. The very best of luck to all clinging to this. Remind us please what good journalism is.

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  • June 22, 2015 at 9:43 am
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    For two teams read one small team of overworked, overstressed journalists split into two.
    The reality is that half will be frantically feeding unread, unchecked press releases and other guff onto the live feed, Twitter etc while the rest will be making the usual calls and desperately trying to turn reader generated tales and pictures into proper copy.
    Feel so sorry for the few former colleagues left at the YEP.

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  • June 22, 2015 at 9:16 pm
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    Ex JP and Happy Again is so right.
    My old JP paper worked fine until the morons meddled.
    It was one of the best performing JP weeklies in the country.
    We were strong on local news, we had an office in the town we served. We had senior staff who knew what they were doing.
    We had those local connections.
    Now, the complaints come in thick and fast.
    The sportsdesk in some town far away town gets names of the cricket players wrong.
    The communities team gets confused between the various community groups in one of the larger villages we serve.
    But that’s if they remember to put the stuff in at all. What goes in is dictated by some bod in some faraway county who isn’t exactly sure where tha papers are based. He lacks that geographical knowledge.
    In pre Newsroom of the Future days, you knew what was going in.
    It didn’t matter whether it was tagged news or communities.
    Now, things go astray and the complaints come, which stops you working as you are busy apologising on the phone.
    I am glad my JP days are behind me.
    Trouble is, I had an awesome time till NOTF came in, as did an ex colleague of mine who is now desperate to get out.

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  • June 25, 2015 at 11:29 am
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    And Recycling of the Year award goes to JP execs for never wasting something that has been done before. Not far behind nostaglia, pets pages, boring opinion columns on boring subjects etc as truly innovative thinking.
    The industry is pathetically short of talented leadership.

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