Friday, November 2, 2007

Another Bright Idea

Great. Yes, let's use TV as a primer for newspapers. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Every time I read one of these bright bulbs' plans to streamline--meaning cutting costs--I'm tempted to start compiling a list of errors my colleagues or I have just caught. The basic stuff, not even the ones of tone, freshness, awareness of previous stories, etc. What if we were to compile a list somewhere, with origins of the error disguised?

Who needs sub editors? Not me, says David Montgomery
1 November 2007
Dominic Ponsford
Chief executive of European newspaper giant Mecom David Montgomery has said that he sees far less need for the “twilight world” of sub-editing in today’s newspapers.
Speaking at the German embassy last night, the former Mirror Group chief executive spoke of the exciting long-term future print journalists can look forward to.
He said: “Never before has a journalist been able to reach out to their audience without intervention.
“Reporters out in the field can call up a page on their laptop and put copy straight onto the page without intervention.”
He added: “It means journalists can be freed from humdrum roles and the sub-editing culture can break down.”
Speaking of his experience as head of Mecom – which runs 200 papers across five countries in Europe with a combined turnover of £1.2bn – he said that “resistance is breaking down” to this "new way of working.”
Montgomery met with a sceptical response from journalists in an audience which mainly comprised of past and present members of the George Weidenfeld Anglo-German journalist exchange programme.
But Montgomery used the example of TV journalists – who are not sub-edited for live reports.
He said: “I see a situation where experienced journalists that can be trusted have no barrier to communication with their audience.
“Sub-editing is a twilight world, checking things you don’t really need to check…Senior people will always monitor the content, a core group will create the product.”
But he added that individual journalists need to have “more discretion over what can be published”.
He said: “I come from a world where editor-in-chiefs are control freaks who want to control every word. We’ve got to let that go.”

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