Category Archives: Society of Editors

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.”

BBC journalist praises effect of Diversity Fund

A former recipient of the Journalism Diversity Fund has praised the work being done to get people from all backgrounds into journalism and the media.

Gemma-Louise Stevenson, who now works for the BBC, spoke to delegates at the Society of Editors Conference 2016 where praised the fund which was set up by the National Council for the Training of Journalists and the Society of Editors in 2005.

The Fund aims to help a variety of people from those based in working class backgrounds to people with disabilities, helping them target full-time journalistic positions.

Stevenson said that the fund provided those with an interest in the industry with the chance to train in the profession regardless of their financial means or background.

She said: “The Journalism Diversity fund gets more voices in the newsroom. People who traditionally can’t go to university can now get into journalism and that’s the path I’ve taken.

“My advice would be go for the fund- my experience has been 100% positive,” Stevenson added.

The London-based reporter also drew on her own experience with disabilities in the working world, offering advice to youngsters who may be worried about entering the world of journalism.

“A lot of people who do have disabilities worry about their employers and if you need to take time off. But as a matter of fact, they want your voice, they want your work.

“I can’t write with a pen and paper for example. But my employer now has invested in assistive software and they’re so patient about waiting,” Stevenson added.

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.”

Evening Standard and Independent announce apprenticeship scheme

A new bursary scheme is being set up by the London Evening Standard.

Managing Editor Doug Wills announced The Editorial Diversity Bursary Scheme at the Society of Editors annual conference. Four Editorial apprenticeships are to be created that will lead to a diploma in journalism.

Apprentices will be given a two-year contract which will include a fast track NCTJ course, in partnership with the UCFB at Wembley Stadium.

They will complete their training at the Evening Standard and the Independent, where they will be embedded into the Editorial operation.

Applicants cannot already hold degree level qualifications or an Advanced Apprenticeship.

The apprenticeships are supported by organisations outside the media industry. Partners include social housing provider, The Peabody Foundation; The Stationers and Newspapermakers Livery Company; the Journalism Diversity Fund, and Goldman-Sachs.

The aim of the scheme is to give young people from the widest ethnic and social backgrounds a chance to work in the media.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan welcomed the move: “I commend the Evening Standard and Independent’s commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and I encourage businesses and organisations across London to support this new scheme as much as possible,” he said.

Candidates must have a GCSE in maths and English at a C or above as well as basic PC skills.

The apprenticeship scheme begins in January 2017.

By Emmi Bowles – University of Central Lancashire

Smartphone apps are key to contemporary journalism

Knowing how to use your smartphone is key to producing effective journalistic content in the digital age, according to a Trainer at the BBC Academy.

Speaking at The Society of Editors Conference in Carlisle, Marc Settle, a video journalism expert, spoke about a range of revolutionary mobile video apps.

He stated that knowledge of how to use apps allowed journalists to create effective and exciting content easily and directly via social media.

“Having a range of apps means the [journalistic] potential is huge”, said Settle.

“Journalists simply using their phones to make calls and browse the internet isn’t enough in this day and age.”

Fiona Kinloch from the University of Central Lancashire

BBC’s Mojo expert says phones are the way forward

Marc Settle, Trainer, BBC Academy

The development of mobile journalism provides a vital tool for journalists, a trainer from the BBC Academy has told an audience of the Society of Editors.

Speaking at the Society’s annual conference in Carlisle, Marc Settle, an expert in video journalism told delegates that it was not now uncommon for full interviews and even documentaries filmed solely on a mobile device.

He said: “I don’t think we’ll get to a point where craft cameras will never be used but the gap between smartphones and these cameras is getting very narrow these days.

“News happens outside the office. You can do so much more on your smartphone,” he added.

Considering audiences is also crucial when it comes to using smartphones to gather journalistic footage, said Settle.

“You’ve always got to think about the audience- do they just want good footage?, he added, “If you have a phone, you have it with you all of the time. You can do anything at any moment.

“There is a slight concern that so many people could create content with smartphones that isn’t real but it’s up to editors and journalists to spot the fakes,” Settle concluded.

Verification is key explains Jenni Sargent

Verification of internet sources is an ever-growing issue of importance for journalists, the Society of Editors conference was told this week.

Speaking at the annual conference in Carlisle, the Managing Director of First Draft News spoke of the new challenges that are being faced with the spread of social technology.

First Draft News works to find the best way to search for eyewitness media when a story breaks and provides tips on verification.

Addressing delegates as part of a panel session on newsroom tools and new technologies, Jenni Sargent told delegates that social media has allowed anybody to post stories making the issue of verification of increasing importance with online sources.

Sargent said: “At no point do we want to sit in judgement and say this is something you need to be careful of and you need to make sure you’re doing it right.”

Instead the organisations wants journalists and editors to ”understand who your sources are, where these images and videos have come from.”

Emmi Bowles – University of Central Lancashire

New practices in the Press Association newsroom

Peter Clifton, editor of the Press Association, started the second day of the conference in the Newsroom Tools and New Technologies workshop.

Peter discussed how the Press Association is evolving in terms of mobile journalism, data journalism and social media.

New training at the Press Association (PA) sees journalists across all platforms become familiar with the same social media methods.

Integration of various PA social network sites is proving more beneficial and successful, making it a better experience for news audiences.

PA has evolved the way it creates content in other ways, such as having subtitles on video content so viewers are able to consume news without having the sound on.

PA has also changed the way it communicated with it’s customers by using one non-public facing site to showcase the majority of their content in one place.

This is set to increase as well, according to Peter, “Within the next couple of months or so, all of our content will be showcased for our customers.”

Data journalism has also become a more significant form of telling news, with more reporters using data as a way of finding stories.

Peter said, “Data journalism is probably the richest source of investigative journalism we have.

Some of the best coverage that we have got has been from that data journalism.”

PA will continue to hold regular meetings to review and discuss the benefits, or lack thereof, of using these tools to craft and tell stories.

Laura Creighton



SoE conference branded overwhelming success by PR driving force Magstar

Behind every event there is always a team running things in the background, often without attendees even realising.

And at the annual Society of Editors Conference 2016, this was no different. Running and managing the event was back in the hands of the Magstar team, who were established in Cambridge back in 2001.

It’s been a busy couple of days in Carlisle and the work gone into maintaining the event, which saw over 200 people pass through the doors of the Halston hotel, has been unbelievable.

And Olivia Disley-Stevens, who is the Event Coordinator at Magstar has been impressed by just how well the event has gone yet again.

She said: “We’re a small team and we all chip in together but this year, the event has gone extremely well.

“We’ve had great help from everyone at the hotel, the delegates and the editors. We’re looking forward to next year and we always want to be bigger and better than the year before,” she added.

Magstar have now assisted the Society for over ten years now and there is a happy, healthy and productive relationship blossoming between the two parties, something Disley-Steven’s thinks is vital to the continued success of the event.

“We’ve worked with the Society for over ten years now and we work with them on their marketing and website as well.

“There’s now a friendship between us and the Society and it’s a nice thing to be able to do year-after-year and I thoroughly believe this relationship will carry on,” she said.

By Hayden Atkins


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.