Author Archives: Stephanie Gabbatt

Stephanie Gabbatt

About Stephanie Gabbatt

MA Broadcast Journalism Student at UCLan BA English Literature Graduate from University of York

Sustainable Funding Model Needed to Ensure Future of Digital Journalism

Dave Whaley, the Editor of the Oldham Chronicle called for a sustainable funding model for online journalism at the Society of Editors conference today.

He spoke about how currently 90% of the Oldham Chronicle’s revenue derives from its printed papers, and only 10% from online advertising, a model which could threaten the future of the publication.

He said, “If that print revenue starts to decrease, it’ll be hard to fund journalists. You will need to get the revenue from digital to increase”

“It’s about convincing businesses in the town that you have the number of people who will read the stories online. It’s about convincing them to pay.”

Emphasising the potential success of online regional publications, he said, “People will gravitate to certain stories in their area, especially breaking news so there is a capacity to get big numbers, stories that get you 20,000 hits in a few hours.”

He urged the audience at the debate to look for a solution; “We need to fund the democracy of it, if we don’t have local papers in towns and cities in the future then what is replacing it? If it’s digital media of a less credible alternative then we have a problem.”

Mobile Journalism presents “fantastic opportunity” for regional journalists

Mobile journalism presents a “fantastic opportunity” for regional journalists the Society of Editors was told this week.

Addressing delegates at the Society of Editors conference in Carlisle, Catherine Houlihan, the Managing Editor at ITV Border highlighted the need for newspapers to “keep pace with technology” as it develops to equip journalists with video and audio tools in the field.

Speaking as part of a panel session focusing on video content, Houlihan said it would be “foolhardy” to ignore technological progression, identifying social media’s role in modern journalism as “a game-changer”, which has “enhanced the relationship with viewers”.

She said:“The relationship between a regional broadcaster and its viewer is very different from national news.”

She was keen for standards to be maintained despite the need for immediacy in mobile journalism, “The quality of journalism must never be forgotten and that’s accuracy, reliability and tastes and decency.

“Your trustworthiness and brand is your biggest selling point going forward.

“They know what they are getting is true, although we might not be the first to get it out there.”

Google DNI funds investigative journalism says Bureau chief

Funding by Google’s DNI Innovation Fund is contributing to producing investigative journalism the Society of Editors conference has been told.

Speaking as part of a panel session focusing on Google’s Digital News Initiative which provides funding for journalism projects, Rachel Oldroyd, the editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, praised the scheme.

The Bureau, active since 2010, has used the Fund to expand its investigative journalism unit and it has directly funded a Local Data Lab which it hopes to open to other media organisations.

Rachel Oldroyd, the Managing Editor, explained to the conference that the Bureau would use the fund to expand their investigative data journalism team. She added that she was hiring journalists to specialise in “collecting, analysing and cleaning up data” which allowed them to access a “goldmine of stories” wrapped up in data.

As the Bureau doesn’t publish their work themselves, the stories derived from their data journalism team, and therefore Google’s funding, will benefit news outlets across the UK, she said.


Former Independent editor Chris Blackhurst has called for better informed investment in the north of England.

Speaking at the annual Society of Editors conference in Carlisle, Barrow-born Chris criticised what he sees as misguided post-industrial investment in the area.

Now Executive Director of high profile consultancy firm CTF Partners, he said the north was suffering from a lack of self-belief and self-awareness that had seriously affected its investment, and opportunities are being missed.

He claimed previous investors had allowed themselves to be “seduced by glossy media in the south”.

He said Barrow, despite having built a reputation for its specialist and highly complex work building nuclear submarines, had made the same mistake as many other industrial towns: “They created an enterprise park with grass embankments…low-slung buildings, and lots of flag poles but new businesses did not set up there. It was snapped up by car dealers.

“Where are the start-ups, the centres of excellence?

“No new jobs came out of it at all.”

He was sceptical about the idea of the Northern Powerhouse, identifying it as only evident in a small area of the north of England.

Blackhurst identified another factor contributing to the north’s lack of industrial progression, the ‘northern psyche’.

He said: “It’s not just a problem of lack of infrastructure and investment. It’s a problem of a lack of self-belief.”

He added there were “no ambitious role models, no business models”.

Nevertheless, he urged people not to underestimate the region, and highlighted the many scientific and engineering accomplishments achieved in the north: “The north gave the world the first railway, split the atom … but this is not reflected in the coverage of it in the south.”

Stephanie Gabbatt