Media hamsters running round the same wheel it appears…

April 6, 2009

Interesting to see this story from the bowels of Northcliffe today, regarding the launch of www.southwestbusiness.co.uk in both offline and online versions.

In true Northcliffe strategy, the exsiting offline journalists will pull together the daily and online News from their regular news-gathering, whilst the magazine will cater for features and regional analysis. Well, that’s the theory.

I recall back in the late 90s when I was part of an editorial team receiving the redundancy axe from the Bristol Evening Post, and being told that our department was being reduced in a ‘cost-saving exercise’ from the number-crunchers in London. We were deliveirng a mix of online and offline editorial then, too.

The thing which surprised me most at the time was the speed with which editorial staff were dispatched on the allegedly-unprofitable thisis.co.uk range of regional sites – even though there were only a skeleton staff of journalists and well-performing ad sales guys working on the projects across the regions at the time.

And now, in their wisdom, the Northcliffe Management are trying pretty much exactly the same business model, some 10 years later, except over-working already over-worked regional journos trying to juggle offline and online news-gathering roles. If I were a newspaper journo being given additional online balls to juggle, I would be decidely unimpressed today. Good luck Andy Merrell!

What will the result be? If the Management utilise their usual people-skills, we can expect to see a rash of further editorial cuts in approximatley 12 weeks. Tighten your belts and get your CVs out there editors! The bell is tolling.

I remain confused as to how it can be expected for a traditional, old-school business model to work for a contemporary online and offline newspaper mix? Am I missing something?!

Surely, it’s time to wake up and deliver relevant solutions for the thousands of media folk living and working in the midst of totally ineffective and out-dated Management delivery models.

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