Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Grey Cardigan shreds that Johnston Press memo

Grey Cardigan in his latest Press Gazette column lays into the infamous "workflow memo" from Paul Bentham, managing director of Johnston Press' South Yorkshire titles, which was sent to editors setting out new rules following the introduction of the Atex content management system.
The memo suggested that the best practice was for all stories to be templated, that editors should not continue with the old practice of reading every story and, instead, "should evaluate the risk for each story based on content and the seniority of the journalist and act accordingly."
Grey thunders: "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."
  • Press Gazette magazine is only available on subscription but Grey Cardigan has put an extract on his blog.
  • Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog has also commented on the JP memo today. He says: "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."

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