Wednesday 2 June 2010

'There's still a vital role for production journalists'

I've written a feature for the June issue of Press Gazette about the move towards centralised subbing.
To help with the article I asked for views, via this blog, from sub-editors.
Two of the best contributions came from former executive editor of the Birmingham Post Mike Hughes, who runs his own consultancy Mike Hughes Advisers, and from a senior Scottish production journalist who did not want to be named. Here is a sample of their thoughts on subbing in the future:

Senior production journalist: "The writing's on the wall for sub-editing as we know it ... but then the writing's on the wall for newspapers as we know them, too. This isn't news. I absolutely believe there's a vital role for production journalists in the future -- the core skills of editing and presentation are no less vital. But it's not going to be the traditional subbing model, and trying to hold on to that is looking increasingly desperate. But that seems to be what too many subs are trying to do right now. We need to evolve -- to convince managers that we still matter, that accuracy still matters, that presentation still matters, that quality still matters. We need to make it clear that we can play a more important role than ever in digital publications, as well as being vital in getting the existing paper products out of the door."

Mike Hughes:
"To be as frank as possible about it, some jobs previously done by two or three people can be done by one. New technology makes it possible with the likes of story templates for reporters and page templates for designers, but it has to have a new attitude as well, from management as well as the workforce. It will not work – and will lead to more damaging disputes that will kill off the industry anyway, regardless of cuts and disastrous revenue streams - if reporters and subs are told: 'Look – we’ve paid someone to invent this for you. Now go off and wait to see if you are one of the few left to use it.' "

1 comment:

Whealie said...

Still available on subscription? They never send me my copy. I assumed the mag had folded