A couple of interesting media stories this morning. Multiple newspaper owner Sir Ray Tindle believes that local papers have survived the recession and are “almost back to full viability.” Meanwhile The Guardian has re-produced a front page from the Brighton Argus – admittedly not a Tindle paper – with the headline “Don’t right off the greens just yet.” Ouch.
The Argus headline is yet more evidence of the errors, oversights and mistakes – call them what you will – which undermine the credibility of local newspapers. The Argus is not alone. One newspaper I am familiar with regularly runs the same story twice in the same edition. From a PR agency point of view I shouldn’t complain. It has happened to one of my press releases and the client was extremely happy.
When I started working in newspapers there were layer after layer of checks after you handed in your copy. Now, I understand, reporters write the headline as well as their story before dropping it into a page layout template. I’m all in favour of multi-skilling, but to a point. In my experience some sub-editors could be pedantic pains who stifled the creative outpourings of young reporters (like me!). But they did a necessary job and protected their employers from embarrassing gaffes and, at worse, worrying phone calls from lawyers.
It is great news if local newspapers are nearly back to where they were. I suspect, though, the journalists who are writing for their paper and website, composing headlines, taking photos and filming videos, might disagree.