Tuesday 24 September 2013

The Journalism Hub has moved again

The HoldtheFrontPage Editor's Blog, formerly The Journalism Hub, has now moved here.

All the content from this blog dating back to its launch in 2009 can now be viewed on the main HoldtheFrontPage site.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

The Journalism Hub has moved

This blog has now moved to http://connect.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/ - the new social networking and blogging platform for HoldtheFrontPage.

Here you will find a host of new features including the ability to create your own blogs and link up with other journalists - colleagues, former colleagues and college mates.  You can also use it to create forum topics, post to forums, and to post interesting web links.

Like its predecessor the Journalism Hub, HTFPConnect is also designed to be a news aggregator, pullling incontent from a variety of online sources including other media news sites, journalism blogs, and prominent journalism-related Twitter feeds.

You can find out more about HTFPConnect here.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Gallows humour at Press launch

Media entrepreneur Chris Bullivant may have branded regional publisher Trinity Mirror as 'barmy' at the champagne launch of his new Birmingham Press title last Friday - but not all the partygoers were quite as gung-ho.

As our mole at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens event revealed, some of the Press team are already resorting to gallows humour. Here's his special report.

From Our Own Correspondent

The editor of Chris Bullivant's newly launched paper in Birmingham has revealed the true scarcity of his resources.

Speaking at the launch of The Birmingham Press on Friday at the city’s Botanical Gardens, Tony Lennox told a group of guests how he was hoping his “single laptop doesn’t blow up."

After one or two giggly media types laughed this off, Lennox insisted: “I’m not joking, the entire newspaper – content, pictures, design templates and all – is on a single laptop in my kitchen.

“I keep on waking in a sweat that the bloody thing’s crashed or that someone’s nicked it. If they did there’d be no edition next week.”

One IT-style boffin advised Lennox to acquire an external mini disc-drive as a back-up, which appeared to leave the veteran print hack confused.

“My lads will sort something out, they’ve got a portable CD player for their band,” Lennox assured his audience.

Earlier, Lennox came face-to-face with former Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves, who had given the Press “six months” to survive.

In typical Lennox fashion, he slapped Reeves on the shoulder and corrected him: “I’d be happy with six weeks, mate!”

Meanwhile, Lennox’s many new freelance writers – most former Post and Mail journalists and many made redundant in the last 18 months – started to tell all and sundry how pleased they were to be back in print.

Until one or two started to compare linage rates, that is...

One stalwart old hack commented they didn’t really mind that it was a pittance, it “was just chuffing to see my byline again”.

This brought a snort from former Post business editor and ex-John Bright Street columnist John Duckers, now penning his Duckers and Diving column for the Press.

Well known for putting his foot in it, Duckers commented loudly: “I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m being paid quite well for my contributions, better than the Post used to pay for my column.”

Several new Press freelancers were seen heading in the direction of formidable NUJ northern organiser Chris Morley (yes, Chris too was supping the bubbles at the launch of Bullivant’s ‘no office, no staff’ newspaper).

Finally, the 150-odd guests at the party heard Bullivant himself, adorned in a three-piece grey pinstriped suit, attempt a triumphant launch speech.

There were many scratched heads as Bullivant meandered on a long description of him and his wife’s hobby of collecting old silver in France.

But he saved the day when everyone realised he was referring to precious trophies like newspapers, and to the skills of the Lennox couple who’d managed to put week one together (Tony’s wife Marsya handled the property copy).

Bullivant, thumbs in his waistcoat, ended with: “You can’t hope for a launch edition to be 100%, but I think it’s already in the 90s and will only get better.”

One cynic was heard to mutter: “Yeah, the 1990s!”, before calling for more Pomagne.

  • Former Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson will be reviewing the Press, alongside Trinity Mirror rival Birmingham Post Lite, on his HTFP blog tomorrow.

  • Friday 26 March 2010

    A culture clash in Wolverhampton?

    One of the great things about having a story comments facility on your website is that it enables users to amplify what you have already written, and perhaps introduce fresh angles and context to a story.

    So it was with our report on HoldtheFrontPage about the shock departure of Steve Brown from his new-ish job as chief executive of the Claverley Group, publishers of Wolverhampton's Express and Star.

    Details were very sketchy. The company restricted itself to a one-line comment, while Steve himself is, quite understandably, keeping his own counsel about the reasons behind his departure.

    It has been left to our story commenters to shed light on what appears to have been something of a clash of cultures between the very traditional, family-run Claverley Group and the much more corporate background from which former Trinity Mirror regional MD Steve had hailed.

    One commenter using the pseudonym Molly New (think Wolves football ground) called Steve's departure "a victory for common sense," adding: "Although on-the-face-of-it not a 'bad-bloke', Mr Brown was a very 'bad-fit' with the E and S."

    Others, though, clearly feel that was no bad thing, and that a degree of modernisation was required at a paper that lost 7.6pc of its circulation last year according to the most recent ABC figures.

    Whatever the truth of the situation, it is clear that staff at the Claverley titles appear much more divided about Steve than his former employees at Trinity, as evidenced by this remarkable thread of comments last April.

    On that occasion as well as this, HTFP provided those employees with a voice they would not otherwise have had. I know I'm biased, but in my view it's one of the very best things about the site.

    Friday 12 February 2010

    Was this the best-ever regional press Tweet?

    From the latest collection of Friday Funnies on HTFP comes this gem from Worcester News editor Kevin Ward.

    Has there ever been a better Tweet by a member of the regional press? Let us know on editor.htfp@and.co.cuk.

    Wednesday 27 January 2010

    Culture minister praises HTFP blogger

    We've been pretty pleased so far with the reaction to our new HoldtheFrontPage blogger - former Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson.

    Although not everyone has necessarily agreed with his weekly critiques of local and regional newspapers, that wasn't the point. He has generated plenty of discussion and debate and the page views so far are more than justifying our decison to take him on.

    That said, we never expected Steve's blog to win ministerial praise. After all it's not often that politicians start dishing out compliments to journalists!

    That's however exactly what happened today after Creative Industries Minister Sion Simon dropped by to reveal he was an "avid reader" of the blog.

    He wrote: "Having followed Steve here from the Birmingham Mail (a succesful local paper which makes a lot of money), I'm really enjoying this column.

    "I'm a huge advocate of hyperlocal bloggers and of taking 'citizen journalism' seriously, but that doesn't mean that local newspapers are dead. They're not.

    "I think Steve's column is a great read, done with verve and chutzpah.

    "For me - an outsider except as consumer - it brings to life an under-pressure sector which deserves to walk a bit taller, with a little more swagger than it does."

    Friday 22 January 2010

    Dundee here we come?

    At the conclusion of his speech to last year's Society of Editors conference, its incoming president Donald Martin announced that next year's gathering would be held in Glasgow.

    "Where better to celebrate next year's conference than in the great newspaper city of Glasgow. That's a place where we work hard and party even harder," said the then editor of the city's daily Herald and Times titles.

    Following today's surprise announcement that Donald is quitting the Newsquest-owned titles to edit DC Thomson's Sunday Post, we wonder whether the SoE might be forced to change its plans.

    Will it be a case of 'Dundee here we come?'

    Will the Tories destroy the regional media's only lifeline?

    The emerging battle to run the three regional TV news pilots in Scotland, Wales and the North-East is shaping up to be the big media story of the year, with several rival newspaper groups bidding for the franchises.

    Meanwhile, shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is threatening to render the whole exercise academic by pledging to scrap them if the Tories win the forthcoming election.

    The Tories want to see a network of much smaller, more local TV stations, some owned and operated outright by local newspapers, although these plans are, to say the very least, somewhat less than fully-formed.

    The growing political row provoked a strongly-worded piece by Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford this morning on his publication's blog, The Wire.

    Says Dominic: "By scrapping the IFNC scheme in favour of a free-market pipe-dream, Hunt is removing the only chance we had of salvaging ITV’s existing network of regional broadcast journalists."

    He also points out that combined TV and print franchises along the lines the Tories are suggesting do not exactly have a great track record to date - Manchester's loss-making Channel M being the obvious example.

    Friday 15 January 2010

    Top marks for Examiner

    Fans of mock news websites such as the thedailymash.co.uk and the petersfieldnewswire may wish to check out the latest edition of the Framley Examiner.

    The crack team of reporters in the mythical 'town' have been out on their 'patch' compiling another compelling paper full of hard-hitting stories.

    Gems include the sorry story by Taunton Mishap about a maniac gunman who commenced a bloody mass killing spree by turning the gun on himself – so good they ran it twice.

    There is also a budget row at a local mental home, which one councillor branded "correctional madness gone political", and the chance to win a lifetime's supply of funerals.

    Click through to framleyexaminer.com to enjoy the issue.

    Thursday 14 January 2010

    Will cameras in court mean death of shorthand?

    There has been an interesting development in the thorny issue of not taking recording equipment, namely TV cameras, into our courts.

    As any newspaper journalism student will testify, after having it repeatedly rammed into their subconscious for the duration of their course, shorthand is vital for in-depth and accurate coverage of court cases.

    The skill is rarely, if ever, included in the syllabuses of broadcast journalism courses however so it is, perhaps, unsurprising that Sky News is launching a campaign to overturn the ruling banning photography and video cameras in court.

    The legislation dates back 85 years but cameras have been allowed in Scottish courtrooms since 1992, albeit under strict guidelines. Sky News is also planning to start a petition once the general election is over.

    Its head John Ryley addressed the Cambridge Union Society on Tuesday night, saying: "There remains one more branch of our democratic system which broadcasting has still not properly penetrated - the courts.

    "If the legislature is to be subject to far greater scrutiny so too must the judiciary, so the public can fairly judge the balance of responsibility between them.

    "Sky News will be campaigning hard to lift the ban on cameras in courts. We will explore every opportunity to mount a legal challenge against the ban on cameras."

    As seen through its battle to bring the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem leaders together for live pre-election TV debates, Sky is an influential body so who's to say they'll fail on this one.

    If they do succeed, will it mean dictaphones and other recording devices can be taken into court as well - thus rendering shorthand in this context obsolete?

    Wednesday 6 January 2010

    Don't miss Steve Dyson's new blog

    Former Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson's new blog "Dyson at Large" launches on HoldtheFrontPage today.

    Each Wednesday, Steve will be looking at a different regional title and giving his assessment of its strengths and weaknesses and today he kicks off the series with a look at the Nottingham Evening Post.

    We're really pleased to have someone of Steve's experience and high profile in the industry blogging for HTFP and we're confident it will give people even more reasons to visit the site.

    Bookmark this URL to see all of Steve's blog posts on the site.

    Tuesday 5 January 2010

    Dead man walks it

    Over the past fortnight we've been carrying out a poll to find your favourite HTFP press funny of 2009. Our original shortlist of ten featured our choice of the best mis-spellings, subbing errors, bizarre news judgements and missing headlines of the past year and we asked visitors to rank them in order.

    We are pleased to say the poll produced a clear winner, proving yet again that good old journalistic black humour continues to thrive through these recessionary times....

    For the record, the Welwyn and Hatfield Times' A-board received 40pc of the vote, with the Daily Express's unfortunate "Can Dec Anally Match Ant?" headline in second with 21pc, and the Lichfield Mercury's lead story paying tribute to a dead cat on 16pc in third.

    Keep the funnies coming in to editor.htfp@and.co.uk and hopefully next year's will be even better!