AddThis SmartLayers

Too much collaboration with BBC ‘unhealthy’ says editor

A regional daily editor has questioned how far local newspapers should collaborate with the BBC.

The corporation is currently running pilot projects in the North East and Yorkshire in which local newspapers send stories to local BBC websites in return for links.

But James Mitchinson, editor of Sheffield daily The Star, said, too much collaboration with the broadcaster would be “unhealthy.”

Speaking at the Journalism Skills Conference, which is being held in the city, he said his paper would continue to compete fiercely to be first with the news.

Said James:  “Too much collaboration would be unhealthy for local journalism.  It would make for a very stale experience  across regional platforms.

“We have to continue to compete fiercely.  We will continue to compete with whoever comes onto our patch for speed and accuracy.”

James went on to suggest that the real potential for co-operation with the BBC lay in more in-depth and long-form journalism.

Tim Smith, head of programmes for BBC Yorkshire, had earlier spoken about the new content sharing partnership in his region.

“Newspapers provide us with stories, we link to them and the logos are more prominent than they used to be,”he said.

Discussion at the NCTJ conference has so far focused on the re-skilling of journalists for the digital age.

James told the gathering of editors and journalism training bosses that new recruits to the paper nowadays needed to be “digital natives,” while Alison Gow, Trinity Mirror’s head of digital innovation, said journalists now needed a working knowledge of both HTML and CSS.

Alex Evans, a multimedia reporter with The Star, described his role as akin to “juggling with spinning plates,” admitting that reporters were now under greater pressure  to produce multimedia packages.

“Increasingly I am being judged in my job on how much engagement and shares I am getting on social media whereas in the past it might have been about sales of the newspaper,” he added.