Archive for the ‘editors’ tag
This post was first published on mediastandardstrust.org on 6th December 2010
It is a curious thing. British national newspaper editors have the power to choose what should be read by over 10 million people in Britain everyday (in print, many more eyeballs online), have the ability to influence public policy, and are regularly invited to meetings at Downing Street and Chequers.
Yet we know very little about them. If you Google the names of the editors of the Daily Telegraph (Tony Gallagher), the Daily Mirror (Richard Wallace), the Daily Star (Dawn Neesom) and the Sunday Times (John Witherow), you will find hardly any information online. Tony Gallagher is remarkably invisible on the net given that over 600,000 people rely on his editorial judgment every weekday morning.
This relative invisibility seems inconsistent with the power these editors wield. So journalisted.com thought it would have a go at making them a little less invisible.
From today www.journalisted.com (run by the Media Standards Trust) is publishing profiles of each of the national newspaper editors. These profiles contain basic biographical details like education and employment (where they are available), articles and books written by the editor, awards won, and professional contact details. The profiles also link to other sites that have biographical information, interviews or speeches given by the editor.
These are works-in-progress, and as you’ll see from some of the profiles, the information in the public domain is very sparse. So we’ll keep adding to them, and appealing to people to send us more information to fill in the many gaps (if you know of any please email us). Equally, if you are a national newspaper editor and you’re reading this, you’re welcome to claim your profile and add further information to it.
A few interesting things we’ve uncovered to date:
- Dominic Mohan (The Sun), Gareth Morgan (Daily Star Sunday), Martin Townsend (Sunday Express), and Richard Wallace (Daily Mirror) were all showbiz/celeb gossip editors at one stage in their careers before becoming editors
- Tina Weaver, Ian MacGregor, Dominic Mohan, and John Witherow have no publicly available email address where their readers can contact them, not even ‘email@example.com’ or equivalent
- Gareth Morgan (Daily Star Sunday) studied physics and used to be a rocket scientist for British Aerospace
- Colin Myler (News of the World) changed career in 1996-8 by becoming Chief Executive of the Super League Europe
- Lionel Barber is fluent in French, German and Russian
- Alan Rusbridger is, in addition to being editor of The Guardian, chairman of the National Youth Orchestra, visiting Professor of history at Queen Mary (despite having studied English at university) and writes children’s books
- James Harding (The Times) has lived in Japan as a speechwriter for politician Koichi Kato (Democratic Party of Japan), and also in China as a correspondent
There is still lots more to add. We plan to put up a list of the awards won by each newspaper under the editor, and the formal complaints made about each newspaper while under the current editor (i.e. via the PCC).
The more I read about predictions for the future of media by senior media figures, the more apparent it becomes how few of them have any clue where things are going.
Two recent reports, one from the World Editors’ Forum & Reuters, the other by Accenture, illustrate this in spades. The first, based on interviews with ’435 of the world’s editors-in-chief, deputy editors and senior news executives’ (from Roy Greenslade), suggests many of them have given up worrying and are now adopting a Panglossian view. 85% appear to agree with Voltaire’s character that ‘All is for the best in this the best of all possible worlds’ (i.e. that they will enjoy a bright future). 50% believe that journalistic quality will improve over the next 10 years. And 75% see increased interactivity with readers as a positive development for quality journalism.
The second report is less sanguine. Amongst other findings it picks up, and contradicts, this last point. Accenture interviewed 110 media executives in the US and Europe. The biggest challenge, 57% of them said, was how to deal with user generated content. “To succeed in this environment,” Universal Studios’ Doug Neil said, “you need to innovate and anticipate the needs of the consumer, be willing to take risks and try new things.” Take a punt, in other words.
Accenture themselves appear to be equally clueless about the direction of media. Gavin Mann, one of the authors of the report, informs us that: “Traditional, established content providers will have to adapt and develop new business and monetization models in order to keep revenue streams flowing. The key to success will be identifying new forms of content that can complement their traditional strengths.” New business models? New forms of complementary content? They needn’t have done 110 interviews to learn that.