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Editors lack training on commercial issues – NCTJ boss

Editors are increasingly being expected to fulfil a commercial role without the necessary training, the boss of the industry’s training body said today.

Kim Fletcher, chairman of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, has launched a bid to improve “continuous training” and personal development within the industry.

He told the Society of Editors conference: “We are still really bad as an industry at doing anything after the trainee point.”

He said that editors were now expected to be much more part of the economic model of the newspaper – but did not always have the necessary training or knowledge to fulfil the role.

The NCTJ initiative followed a report on emerging skills for journalists carried out by former BBC man Phil Harding.

Phil said: “Clearly there was an expectation that training was something people did before they joined the profession.”


Regional editors questioned whether plans for English devolution would make a big impact on their newspapers, saying there is little public appetite for the idea.

During the Scottish referendum, titles such as The Scotsman and The Herald saw a big spike in digital audiences while the Sunday Herald posted a print circulation rise.

But editors appeared dubious over whether the introduction of elected mayors or devolved assemblies in England would have a similar impact.

Nottingham Post editor Mike Sassi said: “In May 2012 there was a referendum on an elected mayor in Nottingham – 57pc of people didn’t want it.

“During the Scottish referendum we asked people about devolution for Nottingham or the Easy Midlands not even 20pc of people were interested.”

South Wales Argus editor Kevin Ward said that demands for English demands were coming not from people in England but from politicians. “I don’t see the public appetite for it,” he added.


Google  has revealed that it has had 160,000 requests to remove articles from search engine results under the so-called ‘right to be forgotten.’

Peter Barron, communications director for the search engine giant, said the requests had covered a total of 500,000 articles and that while 58pc of them had been rejected, 42pc had been approved.

This means that around 210,00 articles have been removed from search results as a result of the ruling.

However the Information Commissioner, Chistopher Graham, accused the press of adopting a “Chicken Licken” approach to the ruling, saying it did not mean the “sky was falling in.”


Hyperlocal journalists are attempting to fill gaps in regional newspaper coverage rather than compete with established titles, the conference was told.

Kathyrn Geels, programme manager for Destination Local, cited the recent partnership between Leeds-based website The City Talking and Johnston Press daily the Yorkshire Evening Post.

She said The City Talking had managed to appeal to a younger demographic which the YEP had been keen to reach, hence the partnership.

Kathryn said:  “Many hyperlocal publishers are journalisrs and need to be taken seriously, increasingly as part of the established media.”


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  • November 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Am I dreaming? Editors should have more of a role in the economic model of their papers? This is one reason the public is turning away from journalism. Editors have legal responsibility for content – not to act as sales agents or cost cutters in chief. Mix these up at your peril. The commercial side must act for itself.

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  • November 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Lack of commercial nous? A former (over-promoted) editor I worked for knew nothing but business facts and figures, wasted hours and money hob-nobbing boring local business people and had no passion at all for journalism. The company promoted him further while sales fell.

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