And I, for one – and as an ex-Northcliffe Newspaper Group Editor – welcome the dedication, drive and determination which today sees the launch of Bristol24-7, the brainchild of ex-Western Daily Press journalist Chris Brown. Bravo.

Its mix of news, opinion, sport, business and comments offers a direct competitor to the grinding online effort rolled out some time ago by the Bristol Evening Post, which is largely a hotch-potch of editorial taken from the newsdesk journalists copy anyway.

The original and online-focused content delivered by Brown could well prove to highlight that the targeted, intense, community-based hyperlocal approach will win through after all. I wish him every success in this exciting news venture.


At least, that’s what the top brass at Journalism Online are predicting from their latest paid-content business model.

The story on the Guardian’s Digital Content Blog makes for interesting reading: not least due to the optimism, foresight and unshakeable belief the Journalism Online founders have in the model, but also in their faith in the micro-payment niche which appears to be growing in poularity amongst online publishers. This has, I think, real implications for all businesses looking to increase revenues, attention and loyalty via online content and associated offers: heck, look what it’s done for Apple.

What I am really pleased about is the simple fact it all comes back to quality content.

Certainly, judging from his inputs at the Association of Journalism Education Event recently.

The comments and insights from this veteran journalist were particularly relevant for newly-qualified and long-time hacks alike, covering politics, technology, the internet, social media and hyperlocal reporting. I found this especially pertinent:

“Start going where there aren’t many hacks, because that’s what will interest people. It’s now more possible to do that than at any other time. It’s an incredible time to be somebody who can retrieve, prioritise, order, create and write in a way that makes it irresistible to read or listen to or view.”

Not an endorsement of citizen journalism, rather a nod to the time-honoured tradition of actually uncovering News.

Wise egg, that Jon Snow…heading off to his Twitter feed now.

At least, not judging from this comment today in the Guardian, regarding the NightJack blog and Times fiasco.

Frightening for bloggers to see that, in light of the ruling against blogger Horton attempting to protect his anonymity against the Times, the subject of blogging vs. journalism raises its head again. Looking at the judgement, journalism is still way ahead when it comes to having the full backing of media law behind it in the ongoing discussion of whether bloggers have any privacy rights.

Tricky subject. One of the keystones of newsroom journalism has always been protection of sources and information.

Granted, so the information is published on a widespread basis, but apart from that, it seems that the newsroom journos have all the protection. The NightJack case is compelling, in that we can see being a blogger and publishing sensitive information can be extremely dangerous when a publishing behemoth feels threatened by it. A massive thumbs-down to the Times here.

Excellent post here on how to integrate content and attention online.

Interesting tips, including cross-linking from bigger sites to gain additional readers, aswell as making sure that the timings of postings – to both Twitter and your blog – are linked carefully together, and in line with your overall blogging strategy.

I am a huge advocate of online content, including blogs and tweets: it raises the game of most content-producers and journalists alike, as well as giving more information to the audiences out there. And let’s face it, from a journalistic perspective, anything which adds value to the audience and stimulates readership loyalty and sales – especially in the current climate – can only be positive.

Read this post and learn!

Following this report to the House of Commons, in which analysts predict the closure of 50 per cent of all local and regional newspapers by 2014, it begs the question – what will happen to the redundant journalists?

Will they be able to successfully navigate their skillset online, or into corporate comms roles?

What would you do – would you ever, in all honesty, ever accept a newsroom position in the UK again? Is it worth it?

The smart Hacks are already brushing up their online skills, learning new packages with which to operate via the Internet: take a look at the editorial jobs boards across the country: companies are crying out for digital content editors, web editors and similar.

It’s not so much that the editorial positions are redundant – more that the industry’s ability to adapt and survive appears to be redundant. The one constant thing in life is, after all, change. Stop moaning and starting upskilling.

Not as flippant as it may first appear: content needs to be delivered the way readerships want it, and we’re seeing this now more than at any other time in the history of journalism. Printing presses falling left right and centre. Editors scrabbling for jobs.

We’ve all seen the plethora of stories pertaining to the death of traditional media in recent weeks, and the ongoing redundancies in newsrooms across the UK continues virtually unabated, it seems. Thousands of print journos out on their collective ears.

The pressing human need in these sorts of situations is a need to blame someone, anyone, to make sense of the employment loss. We’ve seen commentators, as times including myself, blaming the publishing behemoths for not adapting, not looking at the market demand and creating new, meaningful ways of connecting with readerships to preserve their future and protect the newsrooms. It appears the media managers have failed. But are they to blame? Not really, they only know what they want to.

Fascinating post here from Chris Brogan on how a newsroom might look in the future, and his proposals for new ways in which content can be delivered to readerships. I think most of his ideas are solid, valid and worth investigating.

But the problem, at least in the UK, will ultimately remain one of cost. If adapting and surviving means significant financial investment, the big boys have been seen to take the easier route of shedding editorial staff instead. My personal thoughts of ditching under-performing ad sales employees is usually a last option for the number-crunchers, as they see some pertained value in the targets the sales guys try to hit. And miss. After all, ad guys are bringing revenue into the business, right? Right?!

Content drives interest, attention, sales and stimulates customer loyalty. Content is the key factor, not the adverts. Strewth!

Some of Brogan’s ideas concerning linking in content and adverts are pure inspiration. Let’s see what arises from it.

It would appear so, according to this today.

The interview with newspaper proprietor David Montgomery is superb, and highlights the pressing need for many journalists to wake up and recognise the commercial realities of producing content offline and online today.

Yes, the traditionalists will be up in arms, screaming against the need to be commercially-savvy, and hoping for a return to the old days when a newsroom lived in its own content-wrapped bubble, unaffected by nasty words such as budgets, dropping readerships, or cutbacks. But the reality today, as we’ve seen, is vastly different to 20 or 30 years ago.

I remember working, on my first regional newspaper, with a News editor who had been born in the news patch, grew up there, took a teaboy position, and worked his way up over the years to report on the region for the same newspaper across South Wales for 24 years. He loved the newspaper, the community, and all the stories which benefited people’s lives each week.

Whilst this kind of media veteran plays a vital role in cementing and informing a community, without an understanding of why global recession and the drive for faster, more diverse, online news in conjunction with newspapers now exists as a major consumer driving point for the media, he is likely to become another redundant journalist. If he isn’t already.

I am all in favour of Montgomery’s proposition of journos becoming content managers rather than story finders – after all, in all other areas of commercial activity in the UK, products and services are successful in the  marketplace based solely on customer demand. if newspapers are not meeting customer demand, why don’t they change their model of production and distribution?

What’s stopping them? It’s not because of hugely-unprofitable trading conditions: I saw statistics in this month’s NUJ magazine, highlighting profit margin increases of between 15 and 30 percent for Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press, Gannett UK and the DMGT over the last 12 months.

As a versatile journalist, I have no issue on the production of content to be used across multiple channels if it benefits readers and increases the profitability of the parent organisation.

My objection is when media managers hide behind a Recession and use it as an excuse to give more editorial work to fewer employees, whilst also freezing benefits and pay increases.

Interesting point, and one which is elaborated upon here today.

Some excellent points raised by Scott Porad and although in essence I agree with the thrust of where he’s coming from, it remains true that British newsrooms – particularly for print publications – are still used to control-based management models, where journalists (the human resource) are not valued as highly as the end, printed, product. Do not enter expecting to see innovation.

Six things I have learned in my newsroom years, which would have been useful to know upon entering the newspaper and magazine print industry more than a decade ago, include:

1. You do not need to think too much, just report on what you’re told to report

2. Your news editor is likely to be looking for the next opportunity, so don’t expect any real mentoring

3. Protect your sources and portfolio – you’re only as good as your last story, after all

4. Sometimes it is better to be happy rather than right – silence is a valuable asset to retain in meetings

5. Most print publishing organisations are managed by the number-crunchers, not those who understand the News

6. Never believe the lie that there are 10 journalists queueing up to take your job – even in a recession. It’s crap.

I believe, far from the current economic downturn being disastrous for British journalism, it is actually a blessing: it is forcing management to re-evaluate their outdated, outworn business models, forcing journalists to engage with the digital age and seek alternative online portals to launch online careers, and shifting audiences are forcing senior editorial staff to consider the possibility that maybe – just maybe – newspapers might not be the last bastion of journalism after all. Shock, horror.

Great post from Porad. Would be interesting to see some newsroom journos considering innovation within their approach.

According to this post from Roy Greenslade they do, at least.

Fascinating experience for American media, as journalists are seen signing up for the TrueSlant site, whereby payment is given to journos based on how much traffic their stories and links gain – creating a concrete relationship between journalists, readerships and advertisers. And the site appears to be doing well, on all levels. At least it’s still content-driven.

Maybe we have a lesson here for the British media, but somehow I can’t see the average UK journo embracing it.