Knuckles is Lord of the Telegraph Manor

Visiting London it would be fair to assume some people might quite like to see some of the better known sites.

You know, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, an art gallery or two.

But being the newspaper geek I am (copyright my wife), I instead embarked on another kind of tour

Of the new Telegraph Media Group newsroom.

It wasn’t, of course, a case of turning up at the door and buying a ticket and programme.

But it was a chance to catch up with old friend Stuart Nicol, their Executive Picture Editor.

Stuart – or Knuckles as he’s affectionately known – was the picture editor for the Daily Record in all the years I worked there and central to the team.

He turned down chances to work back in London before until agreeing to move to Press Association before being wooed along the road to his new berth in Buckingham Palace Road.

And it clearly agrees with the big guy.

He looked like he was revelling in the role too, holding court with facts and figures about the hugely impressive theatre laid out before us.

Fairly recently Press Gazette had a very informative blog about the purpose built facility.

But with Stuart you also get the passion and pride that goes along with having it as your place of work.

A far, far cry from the old Record building at Central Quay or any other Scottish news operation for that matter.

It even makes the Scottish Sun’s plush new home in Queen Street look a little dowdy.

Most of it makes complete and utter sense too.

A ‘hub’ at the heart of the operation where heads of department work out the strategy beneath a 100ft wall cascading with rolling news and latest from the web.

Surrounded by news desks, picture desks, foreign desks, online desks, features and so on, they vein out from the heart diagonally.

There are a few glass fronted offices – legal among them – but it has been shaped to be as inclusive as possible.

Already three studios exist for broadcast, audio and other online activities alongside the control room, soon to be added to by their largest multi-use studio yet to help boost the likes of Telegraph TV.

The server room runs the length of an entire corridor and all around there are images taken from the various papers.

They are also working behind the scenes to revamp their website further as they look to really ratchet up the pressure on their big rivals across the UK.

Knuckles and me both worked under an editor in chief by the name of Martin Clarke, currently the online editorial director at the Daily Mail, which has seen a massive spur in growth recently under his watch.

And I really had to wonder what he would make of the Telegraph operation.

As hugely impressive as it comes across – and really, it does – it is also the quietest newsroom I have ever encountered.

Eerily so.

No shouting, swearing, thumping of desks. You really could imagine how someone like our old boss would have such a resources laden cauldron fired up.

But then it is her majesty’s Telegraph, of course, and not a red top, so just maybe they can be forgiven.

Although I wonder if maybe digital is affecting newspapers in more ways than simple technology.

The Telegraph has a small team dedicated to its rolling news content, but only because the entire staff now perform a dual role in working across all platforms.

The Guardian had troubles last year before working out successful terms to encourage their staff to do the same.

And maybe amid a world of smoking bans, healthy eating and gymnasiums instead of bars that journalism isn’t getting as much as a facelift as a new identity altogether.

But Stuart – a real operator in his own right – is living proof that old dogs can learn new tricks and reap the benefits that come with them too.

Categories: Blogs

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