In an email sent out on Friday, the regional publishing boss insisted that content would continue to take pride of place in the company’s agenda, arguing that it had been “under-developed and under-invested in the past.”
The message appeared designed to reassure LW staff following the leak of a previous memo on the future of journalism penned by Mr Montgomery earlier this month.
In it he suggested that weekly titles could be run by single journalists taking existing online content from elsewhere with public bodies posting their own stories directly onto newspaper websites. LW later described the memo as an “internal working paper.”
In Friday’s email, Mr Montgomery wrote: “The very essence of our business is content – local content. It drives our commercial activity and so our newspapers, our websites and our content must take pride of place in Local World’s agenda.
“For many years the content side of the business was under-developed and under-invested. In 2013 this changed fundamentally and permanently when Local World was created as a pure content and commerce business, separated from the constraints of the industrial past.
“The recent launch of our websites under their historic title brands is a first step in a relentless drive to restore our titles, in print and online, to prominence as the leading local providers of content.
“Editors who have spent time in London over the last few weeks will know how much value Local World places on our journalists as content lies at the heart of our ambitious plans for our business.”
The LW chairman went on to set out plan to modernise the company’s technological infrastructure during 2014.
He said there would be IT changes designed to enable journalists to become “masters of their content” and which would “enhance the scope of the individual journalist’s role.”
“Our intention is to build systems which remove the need for unnecessary administration. These will enable a more efficient means of gathering content, allowing our journalists to focus their skills on originating, creating and managing content in a creative manner,” he said.
“The newspaper industry has remained immune from these changes because the designers of IT systems for both content and sales have been instructed to create processes that merely replicate old practices rather than transform them. The result is an industry that has fallen out of step with our consumers and with businesses.”