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Union boss hits out at ‘chilling’ Montgomery vision

The leader of the National Union of Journalists has hit out at what she termed the “chilling” vision of local journalism set out by Local World boss David Montgomery.

Giving evidence to a committee of MPs earlier this week, David described the model of journalists working on one story a time as “wasteful,” although chief executive Steve Auckland later made clear that was not currently happening on any LW titles.

The Local World chairman, who was the driving force behind the formation of the new venture earlier this year, also said journalists needed to become “harvesters” as well as producers of local content.

His comments have been widely debated on HTFP and Twitter all week and now NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet has waded into the argument.

Writing for the Guardian, she said: “amid the management-speak, Montgomery’s vision is a chilling one. Does he really have so little inkling that it is high-quality journalism and top-quality writing that is the key to successful newspapers and websites?

The National Union of Journalists is supporting members on regional papers who are struggling to the best job they can, on low wages, with a minimal staff. They care desperately about producing good local news and serving their communities – but there isn’t a slot for that on Montgomery’s balance sheet.

“Steve Auckland, Local World’s chief executive, may have stepped in to “clarify” Montgomery’s robot model of journalism: but Montgomery means what he said and this puts British journalism in a very dangerous place.”

Michelle’s piece can be read in full here.  Local World has so far declined to respond to her comments.

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  • June 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Local World boss David Montgomery shews how little he knows about the running of most news desks. Even on a slow news day most reporters will be working on three or four stories at the same time.

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