Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Steve Dyson finds buried Bury Times splash

Former Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson takes a critical look at the Bury Times in his new Dyson at Large blog, hosted by HoldtheFrontPage, today.
Steve reckons that the paper should have splashed on a story from the letters' page -  furious residents complaining about the lack of rubbish collections blamed on the snow-  rather than its 'Ghost Town' front (pictured). He says he can count 10 pedestrians in the picture of the "deserted" town centre.
Steve adds: "I don't want to be too critical. Despite foul weather, the editorial teams got newspapers out on time with readable content. But I reckon far more papers would have sold last week if the Bury Times had splashed on the story staring them in the face."
Update: Ian Savage, editor in chief  of The Bolton News and Bury Times group, has responded with a posting on Steve's blog: "As a newspaper it is our duty to hold councils to account and criticise them when justified - and I can assure you that we do. But we really believed that it was unreasonable to suggest that the council should grit and clear all side roads. As a result bin wagons were unable to access many homes, hence a few gripes. And here's the crucial thing - we were not inundated with complaints, which is generally a good barometer of public opinion. But we were happy to print the letters - and did. To lead on a story about a gritting crisis/bin collection crisis would have been poor journalism in my view - knee jerk council bashing based on (although heartfelt) relatively few complaints."


George Dearsley said...

I'm with Bluestringer on this one. Can't Dyson find something better tyo do with his time?

Bluestringer (13/01/2010 14:39)
There are very few things in a journalist's life less edifying than an ex-editor sticking his knife into a working editor, whether it's done up as a blog or just a snide remark in a public bar to sniggering colleagues. "I don't want to be too critical," he says in paragraph 906. Yeahright.

Jon Slattery said...

I'm with Dyson.

There's no point having a blog reviewing the regional press if it is going to be uncritical.

I think ex-editors can speak with authority.

Journalists are amazingly thin skinned for people who make a living criticising other people.

Steve said...

Funny thing was the posters on htfp who criticised the first blog on Nott Eve Post for being too positive! But in answer to George (and I always like to answer) the 'at Large' reviews are my half-day a week sanity check. The rest of the week is spent as Dyson Media Ltd on training, strategy and general media advice. For the 'at large' enjoyment (and that's what local newspapers are for me) I'll be criss-crossing the nation, making sure all publishers and types of publication get reviewed. If it does nothing else it will help raise a little interest in what we do, how we do it and why. I expect no plaudits, and mind no criticism. Enjoy... or if not, don't worry... I won't miss you logging on! ;-)

Steve Dyson said... if needed!