Ewan, apart from being a Dundee Utd fan, is one of the good guys, razor sharp, and was instrumental over the past year in kicking the new look websites for the Record and Sunday Mail into shape ahead of the appointment of the respected Iain Hepburn as online editor.
Working together, the site is said to be achieving record numbers in the short time they’ve had so far.
So this further commitment to digital would appear to be a good move.
When you also look at what has been happening at Trinity Mirror’s digital rollout with its S&UN titles, it suggests the company has decided to really go for it big time online – if only for the chance to bag the advertising revenues it could yield.
Ewan is already a trusted senior executive and the appointment should help put the online operation on a more even footing with other departments when arguing for some of the idea he and Iain are sure to have by the barrowload.
But I was more intrigued by the accompanying statement from managing director Mark Hollinshead.
AMS reports an internal memo announcing the changes, where the MD says Ewan will “also play a key role in the future planning to transform our editorial operations into a fully integrated multi-media environment.”
This, like other newsrooms across Europe, suggests that reporters and photographers will be expected to start filing for the web and print editions, (plus video) which should provide added spice to negotiations with the NUJ chapel already said to be hugely nervy about the implications for members required to get involved online.
In fact, I’d guess the idea of a seven day operation with staff working across all titles – including Business 7, RecordPM, Daily Record, Sunday Mail and the associated websites – will at least have been floated if not debated on the top floor of Central Quay.
The idea of an integrated picture desk, for instance, was hotly debated for years in the face of defiance from those at the sharp end who eventually won at least a lengthy stay of execution. With keeping costs down a core value these days, perhaps it’s rearing its head again.
And the fact that there have been few, if any, additional editorial or production staff recruited to the current online operation at a time when it could be pulling well away of the chasing pack, may indicate that management have other plans.
Say making more use of the existing troops?
Mark Hollinshead will be one of the key speakers at the Scottish Media Forum on Friday next week (June 20) where talks include the subjects ‘Will free newspapers replace the paid for model?’ and ‘Is there a future for Scottish indigenous newspapers?’.
It will be interesting to see what, if anything, he has to say about the bright digital future of his papers too.
Categories: Media philosophy & trends