Newsrooms need to build their own revenue streams to survive digitally
By Alastair Machray, editor in chief, Liverpool Echo
Which story from your newsroom will you remember most from 2018 and why?
The ECHO’s dissection of Theresa May’s woefully poor and wilfully inaccurate Tory Party Conference speech. A piece of journalism designed not to drive audience but to fight back on behalf of a city and its people reeling from austerity.
The fact that it did amazing page views too, gave us enormous satisfaction. She said austerity was over. Tell it to the single mums in North Liverpool queueing at food banks.
Looking around the regional press, can you point to something from another newsroom which stands out to you? What was it and why?
THE MEN’s coverage of the spate of moorland fires was journalism at its best. Colour and drama met information dissemination across a range of media. Not seen much better disaster coverage anywhere in the world.
What did you learn in 2018 about local journalism which you’ll remember?
That people still love us. At every branded event, I met people who adored the Echo and its stablemates. It is easy to let the trolls and keyboard warriors convince you they are the majority. They aren’t.
If you had one tip to share with other editors about being an editor in 2019, what would it be?
Be proud. I have been an editor pre and post internet. Pre was a doddle by comparison. Many great editors of my youth wouldn’t have hacked it for two minutes in today’s multi-platform cost-conscious world. Today’’s young editors are superstars and I marvel at their abilities.
What do you hope will happen in 2019?
Editorial departments across the country will grow their own revenue streams to reach self sufficiency.
Local display advertising will bounce back and advertisers will recognise the excellence of the environment we create and the media diversity we offer.
If the wallet of hope is still open I’d like Newcastle to stay up. And world peace, obvs.
What will you be looking for in new reporters when recruiting in 2019?
Basic writing skills need to be there from the start. I am seeing too much copy that needs major surgery. The digital skills come next, for me.
How would you sell your newsroom to someone thinking about applying for a job in 2019?
You can work for one of the world’s greatest regional media brands. You can make a difference in a city that needs people who do. You will work at high speed and under high pressure but not a single day will pass when you don’t at some point, dissolve into helpless laughter. This is the Liverpool Echo FFS. Why wouldn’t you want to work here?
What’s the most memorable thing to have happened in/around your newsroom this year?
In April we moved offices. The new ones are smaller but better, brighter. My fear was that we’d leave the magic behind with the stained carpets and the broken chairs. We didn’t. It came with us.