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Editors to discuss ‘future-proofing newsrooms’ at conference

James Mitchinson newTwo regional editorial chiefs are set to discuss ways of ‘future proofing’ newrooms in the digital era at the forthcoming Society of Editors Conference.

James Mitchinson, editor of the Yorkshire Post and editorial director of JPIMedia Yorkshire, will sit on a panel discussing the topic in a session entitled ‘The Digital Future: Building audience and future-proofing the newsroom’.

James, pictured, will offer his thoughts on the “future of a regional newsroom in the digital world” during the debate, which will be chaired by Alison Gow, editor-in-chief (digital) at Reach plc.

Keith Poole, digital editor of the Sun Online, Jo Kelly, Twitter’s head of news and sport partnerships Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Professor Lucy Kueng, of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, complete the line-up.

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: “I can honestly state that no one understands what the future holds for the digital newsroom better than the panellists we have assembled for the Society’s Conference this November.

“Their insight will be fascinating and extremely valuable to the industry. A must-attend debate.”

The conference takes place on 12 November in London.


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  • September 23, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Here’s how to future proof a newsroom. Spoiler warning: this is not original.
    1. Know your audience. That may be tabloid or broadsheet, regional or national
    2. Write good, interesting, timely stories in an engaging manner.
    3. Remember that editing a needs paper is a full time job, not a sideline.
    4. Retain the best reporters and staff, not the cheapest.
    5. Listen to advertisers and the advertising department.
    6. In the digital age editorial and advertising can work together.
    7. Do not gamble everything on digital.
    8. Adapt news operations by reducing senior management numbers to reduce overheads.
    9. See who in senior management is producing results bin those who fail or show little.
    I could go on but you get the idea…

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  • September 23, 2019 at 11:29 am

    nice one Percy Hoskins.

    at number 10. work out how to turn clicks into cash. Otherwise it is just vanity publishing. (Look at how clicks we have folks!)

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  • September 23, 2019 at 11:33 am

    No need to convene a conference. Yer man Percy has summed it up perfectly without recourse to hours of senseless babble. QED

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  • September 23, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Is “Future proofing” the newsroom intended to be ironic?
    How about starting with “Current proofing?”

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  • September 23, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Percy Hoskins
    4,8 and 9 are the biggest costs drains across the industry,
    4: this foolish belief that the same results can be had using less experienced staff whilst saving money has proven costly over time as many of us said it would.
    One only has to look at the god awful content being published online to see how they’ve gone from being profitable and essential respected local news providers to little more than social media copyists and text speak churnalists,relying more on user supplied content which no one in their right mind is would pay for
    8&9: cutting out the non productive deadwood at all levels and reducing the number of managers pushing paper around would result in huge cost savings with absolutely no negative effect on the business, in most cases it would also improve morale.
    A modern news and advertising operation doesn’t need anywhere near the number of managers the old print and commercial operations could justify when business was buoyant and staff needed managing.
    Commercial mangers, client relationship directors ( pretentious title anyone?) and the many under managers and deputies infesting the big publishing groups are a drain on bottom line profits yet produce nothing of any worth to the company.

    Any publisher savvy enough to recognise this and radically shake up their internal structures would see immediate improvements and cost savings almost overnight.
    Will anyone do it though?
    It’s no longer acceptable to allow non productive and under performing staff to continue in their roles when so many other costs and jobs are being cut.
    Time to be bold and get to grips with this obvious and wasteful extravagance

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  • September 23, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    How many of these conferences have there been in just the last 10 years? So, good luck with this one.

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  • September 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Good points by @Percy and @Russ

    All the new independent community news publishers thriving across the U.K. are succeeding due to having no managers, no dead wood and no hangers on weighing down their businesses, instead everyone has a role to play and pulls together to the good of the publisher and the end product enabling an easy workflow and resulting in proper team working, not the point scoring one upmanship still rife across the bigger ailing groups today.

    If a thorough review and job audit were to be made of all the managers who pull in large salaries and incentive packages yet who contribute nothing to the bottom line, at a time when worst ever commercial revenues simply don’t justify it,there would be savings galore to be made.
    Savings which could make a vast difference to bottom line profits.

    New systems and modern methods of working means managers are simply not needed and have become a luxury none of these big publishers can afford to carry any longer.

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  • September 24, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Sorry for the earlier spelling error – that’s the trouble with writing on a mobile.
    But do we need people discussing this in forums or would it not be better to hear from people who have had real success.
    I’m sure everyone involved in this can point to examples of how they, personally, have increased circulation and turned websites into sustainable products – or at least have evidence of how they have managed to make them so in the near future.
    If not, this is just a pointless talking shop.
    I’d rather hear from a little hyperlocal who describe how difficult it is and what they could do with a BBC LDR, a Facebook paid for journalist and a Google reporter working alongside them.

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  • September 24, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Totally agree with @Percy re speaking to the new independents about their challenges and also to hear how they’ve made a success of providing grass roots community news to thousands of local readers whilst monetising their publications effectively and into profit, the editors would learn a lot.

    It won’t happen though as why would they give advice to those who, in the main,have tried to stamp them out and why would the editors listen when majority believe they’ve got it right and are doing all the right things anyway?

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