Monthly Archives: July 2010

Internet use on the up

The amount of time people spend on the Internet has increased by 38 per cent in the last two years, according a survey.
The third IPA Touchpoints survey showed that people are now logging on for an average of 1.8 hours per day, compared to 1.3 hours previously.
And overall 75 per cent of adults claim to use the Internet at least once a week, up from 53 per cent.
Thirty-seven per cent of adults use social media every week, mainly on Facebook; but only four per cent use Twitter more than once a week.
Outside of the digital world the survey found television remains the dominant medium, reaching 98 per cent of people for an average of 3.7 hours per day.
In comparison 59 per cent of people read a newspaper at least once a week.

State of Play: Love to know what people think the figures mean for the future of newspapers, both online and in print

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More criticism for ATEX

Support isn’t getting any stronger for Johnston Press’s new content management system, ATEX.

Implemented across the country over the last year it has never been far from controversy.

Proposed strike action, a serious of high profile gaffes – most notably the Bedfordshire Times and Citizen’s now infamous ‘headline headghgh’ front page – and widespread criticism from staff have all dogged ATEX.

Now three high profile bloggers have piled into the unpopular system.

Vitriolic Press Gazette columnist Grey Cardigan, former Sun journalist turned media professor Roy Greenslade and ex-Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson all had harsh words to say about it.

Greenslade and Grey were responding to a memo from Paul Bentham, the managing director of JP’s South Yorkshire titles, which set out workflow methods for ATEX.

It included advice to editors suggesting they need not read every story.

Grey Cardigan wrote: “Suggesting that an editor need not glance over every story in their newspaper is utter madness. The lawyers must be rubbing their hands with glee.

“Does this silly man know nothing about newspapers? Perhaps in Mr Bentham’s barmy new world, not only are subs expendable but editors too.

“He’s not really thought this through, has he? Because if there’s no editor patrolling the proofs, who’s going to end up before the beak for contempt when a cock-up saunters through? Yes, you, Mr. Bentham.”

Greenslade was equally savage, comparing the document to something produced by ‘those wonderful John Bull printing outfits of youthful memory, a doing-it-by-numbers rigidity leaving very little room for initiative’.

He wrote: “But a couple of sentences were truly alarming:

‘Editors need to ensure that the policy of “right first time” is embedded in the newsroom culture. They should not however continue with the old practise of reading every story.
‘Editors should evaluate the risk for each story based on content and the seniority of the journalist and act accordingly.’

“Editors should not read stories! What, even when their boss confuses the verb practise with the noun practice?”

Greenslade continues: “What also emerges with some clarity from the memo is the death of journalistic creativity. We have always had to get pages off fast and in some kind of order.

“Every paper – local weekly, regional evening and national daily – has always been composed against the clock. But that fact of newspaper life has never stifled the creative process.

“How many times must we say, and mean, that content is king. The very notion that editors should stop doing their job by not reading every story is a disgrace.

“By this memo Johnston Press has reversed several centuries of journalistic good practice. The technology should be our servant, not our master.”

And it was the turn of Dyson, writing in his HoldtheFrontPage blog, to turn his guns on ATEX last week.

Reviewing JP’s Burnley Express, he wrote: ” What struck me about all inside editorial pages was poor design. Content, of course, is king, but the dominance of its crown can be hindered by what to me seemed slapdash, template-driven lay-outs.

“Whether this is down to stressed subbing hubs in Preston, the early days of Atex or both, it would be wrong not to tick Express owners Johnston Press off for allowing cost-savings to result in sub-standard looking pages.

“I just hope that Johnston’s East Lancashire Newspapers bosses resist the temptation to follow their sister company in South Yorkshire, where a recent memo from managing director Paul Bentham suggested that editors ‘should not continue with the old practise of reading every story’.”

Sources: Grey Cardigan, Roy Greenslade, Steve Dyson

State of Play: ATEX remains a blood clot that needs to be removed

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Wilmington loses awards

The British Press Awards will be run by the Newspaper Publishers Association in future.

The move means previous organiser, the Wilmington Group, has lost control of two sets of awards this year.

It follows the successful Regional Press Awards night – run by the NUJ after Wilmington decided not to go ahead with them.

The Newspaper Publishers Association will take control of the British Press Awards from next year.

It has asked the Society of Editors to organise the awards.

The NPA said: “The plan is to provide an editorial and journalism awards scheme for national newspapers in the UK that is independent of any one newspaper, fair and cost-effective, with proceeds retained within the industry.

“It is intended that the awards will generate a surplus which will be retained within the newspaper industry helping to fund campaigning by the Society of Editors on behalf of the media and to support the Journalists’ Charity.”

Earlier the Regional Press Awards proved to be a major success with NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear saying: “We hope the industry itself will recognise local and regional journalists. If it doesn’t we will consider running these awards again.

“We think it is vital to recognise the hard work you all do.”

State of Play: Wilmington belittled the awards and the journalists who picked them up, so good riddance to bad rubbish

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Don’t be a… check your work properly

The Sands Media Services blog gives a helpful run through those press day checks that can lead to nightmares if not carried out properly…

Source: Sands Media Services

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Stourbridge Strike Off

Strike action at Newsquest’s Stourbridge office has been cancelled.

On July 1, ten journalists – who had planned to hold industrial action over plans to move three sub- editors to a production hub 27 miles away – decided not to strike.

The Worcester sub hub will eventually produce papers including the Stourbridge News, Halesowen News, Dudley News, Kidderminster Shuttle, Bromsgrove Advertiser and Redditch Advertiser.

NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said a resolution had been reached for two members, although concerns remained over the impact of the hub.

State of Play: Why are all the strikes being cancelled?

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