Tag Archives: regional

Trinity Mirror’s north east editorial director to leave after 22 years

The editorial director of the north east regional division of Trinity Mirror Paul Robertson is to leave after 22 years working for the publisher.

In a statement Robertson, who was also editor of the Newscastle Evening Chronicle, said he was after a “fresh challenge”.

Having project managed the recent change in the Chronicle publishing schedule, I think it’s now the right time for me to seek a fresh challenge. The team in the north east is outstanding and I would like to thank them all for their support. I will miss the place but most of all the people I have worked with, many of whom are friends as well as colleagues. I wish everyone at ncjMedia and GMC the best of luck and success for the future.

According to Trinity Mirror, under Robertson’s editorship many new platforms and campaigns have been created, such as Your Health, Community Champions and the Great Family Read. He was also “centrally involved in driving the multimedia agenda, overseeing the launch of ChronicleLive”, a release added.

Northcliffe Media selling Staffordshire titles

Northcliffe Media is to sell off a number of its regional titles to Staffordshire Newspapers, part of Iliffe News and Media Limited.

In March it was reported that Northcliffe Media’s new managing director, former Metro director Steve Auckland, was planning to launch a review of the division’s 115 regional newspapers.

Parent company the Daily Mail and General Trust had previously ruled out buying or launching any more local newspapers, but had said it was interested in any approaches for its regional newspaper division.

Titles affected by the latest announcement are from its Leek Post & Times Business, including the Leek Post & Times, Uttoxeter Post & Times, Moorlands Advertiser and South Cheshire Advertiser.

In a statement Northcliffe Media said the sale is subject to the appropriate legal consultation with the employees of the Post & Times.

The sales will give the publisher “a greater opportunity to concentrate on developing our Stoke portfolio”, a statement added.

No one from Staffordshire Newspapers was available to comment at the time of writing.

10 steps to getting ahead as a young regional journalist

John Mair is a judge for the Society of Editors’ Regional Press Awards, in the Young Journalist of the Year category. After trawling through nearly 200 articles by more than 60 young journalists, he offers a ten-step guide to getting ahead in regional news and taking home an award in the process.

1. Get the skills

Story-telling and accuracy are still key. So is shorthand

2. Get the stories

It seems bleeding obvious, but it’s what we do. Think of what makes a story and how you get it. Avoid “churnalism”, originality always shows.

3. Go off diary

The best tales are those which nobody else has. That “exclusive” tag at the top of the story is worth so much to the reader (and to you!).

4. Build a contacts book

It is still true that contacts tell you things (sometimes things that they shouldn’t). Good stories are not found in the newsroom but in the real world. Shoe leather still pays.

5. Use the internet

Surprising how many yet how few young journos use social media to get or enhance stories. Like it or not, this is the Facebook and Twitter generation (especially for young people). Most people are now are just a few clicks away.

6. Use the law, especially FOI

It’s fascinating how many stories in local papers are worked up from a hunch and a Freedom of Information request to the local hospital, police, council, etc . And you can always find anomalies in any set of disclosed documents or a story if they refuse you access. Tony Blair may have called it “my greatest mistake”, but FOI is a gold mine for journalists.

7. Don’t be overawed by the nationals

Some of the best stories are local angles on huge national stories, like Raoul Moat in Newcastle and Derek Bird in Cumbria. Local knowledge and door knocking always pays dividends in these situations. You and your paper can end up looking much better than the nationals.

8. Remember that the words are just the beginning

Attractive modern newspapers are about style and production. Side bars, standfirsts and explainers all to build the story. The reader is very busy and you must assume has attention deficit syndrome. Think of how you get some of their attention in a media-rich world

9. Multi skills

Have them. Very few of the sixty wannabes appeared to have audio and video skills. These will be the essential tools of the journalistic future, like it or not.

10. Read the rules properly

If you want to be reporter of the year than read the rules of the competition. If you can’t be bothered to submit your entry properly then why should I be bothered to judge it properly.

Round-up: Ofcom’s public service broadcasting review and ITV regional news cuts

The verdicts are in on Ofcom’s second public service broadcasting review, which gives ITV the go ahead to cut its regional news programming to save money.

Broadcasting union BECTU has criticised the move for ‘betraying regional news audiences’ and causing 100s of jobs losses.

“OFCOM’s decision to give ITV the go ahead to cut regional news services by half, is further evidence, says BECTU, of the regulator dancing to the tune of ITV and its shareholders,” said the union in a press statement.

The National Union for Journalists (NUJ) has also raised concerns over the decision, describing it as a sign of Ofcom’s failure to stand up for the public interest.

“Today’s announcement signals a regulator that has failed in its remit and is intent on presiding over the decline and eventual death of local and regional news on the ITV network. All in all a dismal day for supporters of plurality and quality regional programming,” reads a post on the union’s Save The ITV News campaign blog.

Both the unions claim research conducted by the regulator, and announced in a release accompanying the review, contradicts the ITV decision. The key findings of the research, according to Ofcom, suggested that:

  • 9 out of 10 people do not want the BBC to be the only provider of public service content in the future
  • a majority of people want ITV1 to continue to provide regions and nations news to complement the BBC

According to a report by MediaGuardian, 500 jobs could be cut from the broadcaster’s regional news operations as part of the changes.

paidContent:UK dissects the review on a different level flagging up the regulator’s calls for more links to public service content on websites.

“This might include new online tools that help people ‘bump into’ new websites which otherwise they might not have found, along the lines of stumbleupon.com or last.fm, with a public service perspective,” the review says.

Today’s review will be subject to a consultation period, ending on December 4, the results of which will be published in early 2009.

RMRF: Trinity Mirror Regionals presents user profile survey results

In a follow up to Tuesday’s announcement that the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic (ABCe) will provide user profiles alongside stats on page impressions and unique users, Guy Lipscombe, managing director of Survey Interactive – the firm behind the on-site surveys being used for the research – explained how the ‘enhanced ABCe certificates’ would work at yesterday’s Regional Media Research Forum (RMRF) event:

[audio:http://www.journalism.co.uk/sounds/GuyLipscombe.mp3]

Lipscombe was joined by Sally O’Donnell, strategic marketing manager for Trinity Mirror Regionals (TMR), who let us in on some key findings from Survey Interactive’s audience research with the group, which involved on-site questionnaires completed by 53,313 interviewees across TM’s 110 regional and national websites:

  • TM’s online portfolio in Feb 08 was reaching 3.8 million adults a month according to the surveys – a different figure from the 5.5 million unique users calculated for the sites at the same time
  • More than a third of internet users from an area covered by a TM regional title accessed the paper’s website on a regular basis
  • A third of TMR website users regularly use more than one TMR website
  • The group’s regional sites had a higher proportion of ABC1 (the National Readership Survey classification for middle class) users
  • TM regional sites were given an average rating by interviewees of 8/10
  • The regional sites attracted a young audience, but not as young as expected, said O’Donnell: majority of users were in the 35-54 age bracket

According to O’Donnell, further research will be conducted soon, as the group’s digital audience continues to grow. Sales staff training on how best to use the figures collected by the research will also be implemented – with particular attention paid to the difference between stats for ‘adults’ and ‘unique users’ to the sites and how behaviour differs amongst print and online consumers.

RMRF: Regional Media Research Forum in new web launch

The regional media will now be able to share research into readership, marketing, advertising and digital courtesy of a new website from the Regional Media Research Forum (RMRF).

Announced at yesterday’s RMRF Insight, the site will allow regional publishers to search and share research plans and results to assist them with future surveys, data analysis and media planning.

The new launch is part of a rebranding process for the forum previously known as the Regional Newspaper Research Forum.

A design for the site has been approved, but www.rmrf.co.uk is not yet public.

HTFP: Guardian Media Group to close six newspaper branch offices

GMG is to make a series of cutbacks in the Manchester area with six newspaper branch offices set to close.

The papers affected will be: the Heywood Advertiser, the Middleton Guardian, the South Manchester Reporter, the Manchester Metro News, the Macclesfield Express and the Wilmslow Express.

The AP ‘beginning to fracture’ as members form collectives, reduce reliance

The Wall Street Journal wrote this week that the 162-year-old Associated Press (AP) is ‘beginning to fracture’ as the newspaper business in the US breaks up.

The AP last week announced a new set of ‘wire’ tools and cash back options to sweeten newspaper clients that are becoming disenchanted with the fees it demands and its increasing focus providing news and information packages for web publishing and non-traditional customers like Google and Yahoo.

However, its members have already started to seek alternatives to the AP for syndicating their stories and picking up relevant content for their publications from other news providers.

Journalism.co.uk detailed in April how eight of the largest newspapers in the US state of Ohio had begun bypassing the AP and forged an alliance to share their top stories.

The Columbus Dispatch, The Toledo Blade, the Cincinnati Enquirer, The Akron Beacon Journal, The Plain Dealer are amongst newspapers making up the membership of the Ohio News Organization (with the unfortunate acronym, OHNO).

Rather than relying to the Associated Press to decide at the end of each news day whether or not to distribute their stories, the papers now post content to private website – accessible only to those eight newsrooms – from which partner organisations will be able to select pieces to use and publish while the stories are still hot.

But it seems that OHNO is not alone in taking this kind of stance against the AP. According to the WSJ piece, Five Montana newspapers owned by the newspaper concern Lee Enterprises have also begun sharing content. In addition, editors in Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana have inquired about how the Ohio cooperative works.

How news flows though the partially integrated newsroom of Liverpool Post and Echo papers

The Hub and Spoke laying out may be in vogue for the majority of those adapting to an integrated newsroom but you’d be hard pressed to call Trinity Mirror’s Liverpool nerve centre anything other than an archipelago.

Alison Gow, deputy editor of Liverpool Daily Post, gave Journalism.co.uk a quick tour and explained how a partially rather than fully integrated newsroom for Liverpool’s Daily Post and Echo newspapers and a portfolio of weeklies served them best.

Similar to other large cities in the UK, Liverpool’s morning paper, the Liverpool Daily Post (typically 15,000 copies circulated per day) and the evening Echo (109,000) serve vastly different markets. To account for this the newsroom has integrated but also demarked areas where each paper’s interest is best served by not mixing processes.

The newsdesks of the Post & Echo had previously been fully integrated but the unsuccessful experiment lasted only 18 months and end in 2001, as it didn’t fully serve the needs each paper had and met with opposition from staff who were resistant to working on the other title.

“I suspect the industry is a lot more broad-minded now as we work across print, internet, TV and radio,” Gow told Journalism.co.uk.

COPY

The dailies and weekly newspapers have adapted and refined a partially integrated newsroom where the two main papers share news copy, but keep diary and features separate.

“A government minister in town would tend to be interviewed by a Post reporter,” Gow told Journalism.co.uk. “That copy would be sent by the Post newsdesk to the Echo newsdesk to be rewritten and subbed down. Echo page leads are around 350, Post 600 plus.

“The Post & Echo share a court reporter but the very distinct target audiences of both papers means what makes a splash in the Echo, gangster trials for example, may struggle to make a page lead in the Post.

“Inquests would be covered by one reporter whose copy would be shared between both papers.

“An exception would be Liverpool council meetings – mostly covered by the council reporters from both papers as it’s a contact-building exercise as much as anything.”

The Echo can also publish stories from the weeklies the day the papers are published, Gow added, as the assistant news editor has access to their content queues.

“It’s a co-operative system and involves the newsdesks, picturedesk and multimedia desks talking to each other. That’s why the command desk is so important,” added Gow.

STAFF

At the centre of the archipelago – the big island – is the command desk where Post and Echo news editors and their deputies sit along with a picture editor who works across both publications and the Echo design editor.

Reporters are title specific, as are the features and sports teams, and both papers have separate features and sports editors and deputy editors, Arts editors and motoring editors.

A multimedia head, working across both titles, also sits on the command desk. As on the web, Gow says, the two publications have ‘more fluid identities’.

Each department desks now has embedded digital journalist. Under the old system ‘they just used to sit in the corner away from everyone else’ said Gow. Now they espouse the need for web content and ensure the website remains an area of focus for each department on each title now that they break 99 per cent of their stories online.

Video is a separate entity altogether – one video journalist is responsible for managing libraries, cutting pieces and training newsroom staff and reporters in video-journalism.

She has trained eight other staff so far, giving them a week’s hands-on training so that they can manage handicams and cut footage. They aim for a new web video each day.

SUBBING

A pool of eight subs work across the Echo, the England and Welsh Daily Posts, Huddersfield Examiner, the Chester Chronicle, the Merseyside and North Wales weekly papers on a rota basis.

There are also title-specific staff who work primarily for each paper – ‘champions’ of each brand, adds Gow.

This approach has shifted subs from thinking they work for a single publication, she said, to a ‘hive-mind’ where they work across several titles.