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Regional journalist hits out over readers’ ‘slow news day’ jibes

Jeff ReinesA regional news journalist has hit out at readers who comment with the words “slow news day” in comments threads.

Cornwall Live head of content Jeff Reines has criticised use the phrase in an opinion piece about the “knee-jerk reaction” he and his colleagues routinely face from some social media commenters.

Jeff’s criticism comes after comedian David Baddiel earlier this month used the phrase in relation to a story about him which appeared on Cornwall Live’s Reach plc sister site Devon Live.

The article in question reported how Mr Baddiel had posted on Twitter after being left unimpressed by the £7.50 entrance fee for Exeter Cathedral.

In his piece, Jeff wrote: “No other three words will get journalists furiously snapping their pens or banging their heads against their keyboards more quickly and earnestly.

“In an era when our output attracts instant reaction via social media, these three little words arrive most days on our Facebook posts, tweets or email inbox, getting reporters’ and editors’ backs up faster than a press release saying ‘I just wanted to reach out to you to…’

“But they couldn’t be farther from the truth. In increasingly straitened times for all businesses, ours is no exception, and in reality our hard-pressed hacks are constantly toiling at a breakneck pace to bring you all manner of news, all day and for much of the night.

“We’re there from the time most people are just swinging at their alarm clocks to late into the evening, and beyond.”

Jeff went on to cite instances of out-of-hours reporting including a live blog of a fire which was being run by Cornwall Live reporters at 1am.

He added: “Our dedicated bands of journalists are working flat out – probably as you read this – to publish up to 90 stories a day. While they’re not always going to be to everyone’s taste, that’s hardly a ‘slow news day’.

“But this is still the knee-jerk reaction from some of our Facebook followers when a post pops up in their timeline which they deem a waste of, well, time.”

Adding that “thousands of people” had read the David Baddiel story, Jeff continued: “That exemplifies how we make every effort to ensure that everything we publish has an audience. That audience may not be you in every instance.

“Yet some will still tap ‘slow news day’ into their phone or computer without a clue as to just how much news we have produced.”

20 comments

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  • June 25, 2018 at 5:59 pm
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    To paraphrase early Star Trek . “It’s news Jeff…but not as we know it”

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  • June 25, 2018 at 8:56 pm
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    Doesn’t sound much of a story to me either – just a sad illustration of how today’s journalists believe churning out other people’s Twitter feeds and chunks of meaningless words from Facebook is real and important news.

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  • June 25, 2018 at 9:09 pm
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    Jeff is right – I mean just savour this morsel from my own local Reach Live site. Head: “Woman claims drinking her dog’s urine helped cure her acne.” Strap: “She also claims it can cure cancer.” The woman in question is an American blogger. I hope all involved are suitably proud of this “news” item, particularly as it was probably posted on “a quiet day”.

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  • June 25, 2018 at 9:34 pm
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    90 stories a day? quality control issue here me thinks.

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  • June 26, 2018 at 12:05 am
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    I think David Baddiel and the commentators on the site have got a good point, to fill 90 stories a day, not all of it’s going to be great, but.what law says they have to file 90 stories a day?

    Why is it nowadays someone writes something on social media and it’s automatically deemed to be newsworthy? Wouldn’t it be better to halve the output and make sure the writing is decent, local journalism rather than churning out articles at the drop of the hat?

    You see some right dross on regional news sites, just purely put up to boost KPI’s and please the bean counters in London, half the time it’s not even relevant to a local audience.

    This is done purely because quantity and immediacy nowadays is more prized over quality.

    It’s often said in defence of these types of stories that thousands read them, well thousands of people click on funny cat stories these days does that imbue them with automatic worth?

    Perhaps it might be an idea to listen to the people that say the story is not to their taste instead of dismissing them.

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  • June 26, 2018 at 8:37 am
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    If ever the phrase ‘never mind the quality, feel the width’ was necessary.
    Publishing 90 stories a day? Really? Or just regurgitating press releases and social media posts?
    In the good old days of typewriters, I’d routinely knock out three or four page leads, a hamper or anchor and flight of nibs. That included time interviewing people, on the telephone or face to face.
    And it was about getting stories that were exclusives – and interesting.
    Now it seems to be lists and clickbait.
    And 90 stories a day? Given an eight hour day, with one hour lunchbreak,that’s a story every five minutes.That might be a fast news day in terms of pressing rewteet, or send, but it’s not good journalism by any measure.

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  • June 26, 2018 at 8:57 am
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    I was going to comment on here but people have already said what I was thinking, so I would just be randomly reposting other people’s comments without adding anything new, putting it in context or investigating further myself. Oh, hang on, I think I’ve just qualified to generate content for a Reach plc ‘Live’ website…

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  • June 26, 2018 at 9:16 am
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    Yes but think of this! Baddiel has more than 500,000 Twitter followers. Just think of the clicks!!!!!

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  • June 26, 2018 at 9:46 am
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    All Subbed Out: You’re a natural, the job’s yours. Meanwhile, back in my “local” Live site, we’re splashing on a new KFC sandwich & “10 secret (sic) menu items at burger restaurants.” Paul Foot it ain’t.

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  • June 26, 2018 at 10:25 am
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    To be fair, the comments of a well-known, nay, controversial national figure on a local issue would always be news in a local area. Far more interesting than many a placed press release. The relentless pressure of news updating causes all the problems mentioned here – and if they weren’t all under that pressure, they could make real story of it by consulting the public for a follow-up.

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  • June 26, 2018 at 10:37 am
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    This is not really a reason for Jeff to get his knickers in a twist, David Baddiel is just using self-deprecating humour. It’s not a jab at the Devon Live at all. He has basically retweeted a news item about himself to share with his followers whilst also putting himself down. Secretly he is pleased to be in the news anywhere, for anything. So whilst it might rankle that he used that phrase I suggest you don’t take it so personally. Also I guess to an extent he is right, if you had had Michael Caine to write about David Baddiel would not have got a mention!

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  • June 26, 2018 at 11:06 am
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    We comment on Jeff’s opinion of David’s view of the hack’s coverage of David’s tweet, and so it goes …

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  • June 26, 2018 at 11:43 am
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    Don’t cry for me Cornwall Live,
    The truth is, Reach never loved you
    All through your facebook feeds,
    Your twitter comments,
    I read your papers
    Now keep your distance.

    Toggy is feeling flippant today. Must be the heat.

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  • June 26, 2018 at 12:01 pm
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    Er, so what? I’ve been hearing this particular phrase for years.You shrug your shoulders and move on.

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  • June 26, 2018 at 3:08 pm
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    Toggy’s gone barmy, quick fetch the nurse. Meanwhile, for the final
    time on this thread, “breaking news” on my local Live site. Head: “Horsefly bites: How to tell if you’ve been bitten and the best remedies to treat them” Strap: “The bug can cause a very painful bite”
    Is a horsefly a bug? No, look, really, no need to answer. I don’t honestly care.

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  • June 26, 2018 at 6:34 pm
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    My God, ex-journos are a spiteful bunch. These kids still have journalism jobs… unlike most of the commenters here. And the reason… because journalism moved on and and we couldn’t. Glad I’m out of it; all subbed out. If it were true why on earth do you spend your days here banging out your bitter comments. If life were so great on the other side you wouldn’t have the time to. I miss it tremendously but know I couldn’t work the way the business demands any longer… but wish those who can all the best. The irony of keyboard warriors challenging the clickbait generation isn’t lost on me… even if you can’t see it. Well done those who can cope in these dark days of listicles and fake news. By comparison we had it easy in our day.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 9:20 am
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    Maisie – a trenchant counterblast there to all the old dudes. What Maisie knew was worth the sharing and the de Brulay countenance is o’erspread with shame.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 9:25 am
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    @Maisie Dobbs No, not spiteful, we just like ‘extracting the Michael’, so to speak. Comes with the black humour we’ve developed after decades with the job.
    Thank the joys of “social meejah” for our woes . I’m still in it. Clinging to the wreckage, as they say My day is still now, not in the past. If you think we’re bad just take a dekko at what the punters say on the various Live sites.
    Now, to quote my favourite shrink “Pull down yer pants and slide on the ice!) 😉

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  • June 27, 2018 at 11:10 am
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    Grow a thick skin. Especially if you are stuffing the web site with a lot of rubbish to make up the click quota. People do notice.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 1:12 pm
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    Jeff is right and the readers are right. It’s the strategy that’s wrong.

    I have no doubt that Jeff and his team work hard to produce those 90 stories a day but why are the readers who aren’t interested in them even seeing them? It’s because the strategy is all about generating impressions at any cost.

    Relevance seems to have gone out of the window with local newspapers yet, despite all its criticism, at least Facebook will automatically show me more of the news I’m interested in and less of that which I’m not.

    If newspapers knew more about their audiences, they could use various digital tools and distribution methods to personalise their own news delivery more effectively too. With the current business model, this would be suicidal but, in future, it will be the only way to survive.

    The current digital model is great for big brands paying big money to get reach across a regional network. Fine, I get that, but it’s terrible for local businesses which have always been the bread and butter.

    If I owned a regular High Street clothes shop or beauty salon etc, I wouldn’t care about paying £500 for 100,000 impressions across the region in the hope that some people might see my advert pop in. I’d rather pay £1,000 to reach the 100 people who’ll definitely put £50 each in my till.

    Readers will put up with relevant adverts within relevant news.

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