Monday, 18 July 2011

Have you taken the #ukjournopay study yet?

CashImage by Nils Geylen via Flickr

The topic of pay is a thorny one in any profession, and in journalism it can also be somewhat disparate. 
The wages I've pulled for getting my face in other people's and asking them annoying questions has zoomed around the scale during the course of my career, without any real across-the-industry structure seeming to apply. 

For instance, when I moved from a weekly to a daily I was given a hefty pay rise - thanks, Gloucester Citizen (Northcliffe). There was another decent jump in my salary when I left the Southern Daily Echo (Newsquest) as assistant news editor for a deputy news editor's role at The News, Portsmouth (Johnson Press) several years ago. And there was a pay cut when I went from news editor of The South Wales Argus (Newsquest) to news editor of the Liverpool Echo (Trinity Mirror) several years later. 

Nowadays, between the pressures of the industry and the economy, I guess it's hard to know what scales apply where - which is why it was a surprise to learn that an editor for one Johnson Press title was earning £25,000 a year - £1,000 a year more than his assistant editors. Full story is here

So the #ukjournopay survey launched today by Francois Nel should make fascinating reading. Francois is always several thoughts ahead of the rest of us, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he discovers as a result of this study. 
You can take his survey here

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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sir Ray's empire keeps growing

: Tindle/The Media: Sir Ray Tindle and the UK regional press are relieved delighted to announce the safe arrival of a newspaper, the Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Observer; a sister title for Tenby, and Narberth&Whitland. Born July 1, zero pounds and 50 pence.
There's a new kid on the Tindle block (there's two actually - he's opened another the Chingford Times, in London) and Sir Ray's being praised by industry commentators for his entrepreneurial ways.

I'm a Tindle old girl, from the Tenby Observer and I covered Pembroke Dock for the county broadsheet weekly, the Western Telegraph
At that time, other media with a decent foothold in the south of the county included a robust BBC Wales, the South Wales Guardian, the Tenby and Narberth&Whitland Observer series and, to a smaller extent, the Stoddart family's startup the Milford Mercury
The Guardian is long gone -bought and closed by Newsquest (it also bought the Merc but that still exists) and I'm told BBC coverage of Pembrokeshire has dwindled but there are more hyperlocal set ups including Radio Pembrokeshire, recently a force for good in the hunt for Small Niece's missing kitten. 

I hope the Pembroke Dock Observer succeeds (even though I guess it's essentially a competitor of mine now). Hyperlocal content is a Tindle forte, as is UGC - grassroots events like whist drives and church notices can take up a spread in the Tenby Observer. 
I still don't think hyperlocal is the financial answer for regional newspapers but the Observer brand is so strong in Pembrokeshire that I'm sure this will be a profitable little addition to Sir Ray's stable. 

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Friday, 8 July 2011

O tempora o mores!

I guess most of us were stunned by the News of the World announcement on Thursday. Of course it was a calculated move and, considering it now, I imagine it was business cased some considerable time ago, and placed in the 'In Case of Emergency, Break Glass' box. 

After all, multinational corporations don't just have Plan Bs, they have an entire alphabet of contingencies. 
After Clive Goodman was jailed, Andy Coulson walked, increasing numbers of public figures came forward to complain about hacking, it's hard to imagine there wasn't a very frank discussion of just how dark this particular tunnel could turn out to be. The answer, of course, was pitch black.

So, shocking and yet unsurprising in equal measures. But Newspaper DeathWatch got very irate about the decision: 
"In a stunning example of corporate overreaction, News Corp. today announced that it will shut down Britain’s largest Sunday newspaper amid a growing scandal over voicemail hacking"
It went on 
"Whatever the motives, the decision strikes us as a massive overreaction. Scandals like this are usually addressed by a few high-level resignations and some corporate self-flagellation. It could be that the timing was simply bad for News Corp., but depriving 200 people of their livelihoods – and a couple of million Brits of their weekly celebrity scandals – strikes us as a bit over the top."
I sympathise deeply with the journalists who have lost their jobs - just a look at the state of the industry in 2011 should make anyone think 'there but for the grace...' - but calling the closure 'a bit over the top' is to underestimate the mood of the British public. 
Hard to see how there could be any redemption once the names of Millie Dowler and the Soham families (and others) had been dragged into it.

David Higgerson has written a superb post on the role social media played in this drama - and it did play a significant one, as an angry Roger Alton told Channel 4 news earlier tonight:
"the comfortable middle-class mothers of MumsNet sitting down to their fair-trade tea and organic shortbread biscuits I hope are very pleased with the Twitter campaign they organised, getting advertisers not to advertise in the News of The World. They’ve done as much as anybody to close this paper and put 200 reporters, photographers, editors and young people just starting their careers out of work.. These yummy mummies have done as much as anybody to put them out of work. I hope they’re feeling pleased with themselves"
It wasn't the most finely judged thing to say, and it isn't likely to endear NI to those 'yummy mummies' - target readers of quality newspapers or online news sites? - Alton singled out. 
Maybe it should have been a case of least said, soonest mended. 

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