Today, I reflected on just how much, and how quickly, in the general scheme of things. The Daily Post notched up its 50,000th edition today, and we made quite a big deal of the fact.
There was a front and back wrap, comprising a montage of historic front pages, and an 8-page pullout of which my favourite contribution was by Head of Production, Neil Avery, charting a day in the life of the Post.
I like it because it sets out in increments of time just how the daily life of our newsroom has changed, in a fairly short time; the Post has shifted from a print identity with a companion website to a multi-platform publication which operates in real time as much as possible.
Ignoring the computers and production systems for a moment, if an early 20th Century Daily Post editor had access to a time machine, and zapped himself forward to today he would still recognise he was in a newsroom.
And he would still recognise the general set up and operation of part of that newsroom – discussions around story angles, photos, and headlines pretty much follow the same patterns, after all.
But how much else would be alien? Pages being whizzed remotely to a printing press, the night editor’s final task of his shift – exporting of xml to create the tablet app, live tweeting, live blog interviews, photos being pinged to the head of images via Dropbox from reporters’ phones… these are just a tiny fraction of the changes you see in our newsroom today. But the Post is just my example, because I work here and see it – it’s not unique. Such changes are happening everywhere in local newsrooms, and I’d imagine the timespan and accelerated shift is similar.
And yet, if you consider the lifespan of the average UK regional daily newspaper as a clock, these are changes that have happened in just a few minutes. For years there was the status quo for titles and their staff and now, suddenly, there has been this snap and a new phase begins. One in which audience is far more at the heart of what we do, I’d suggest.
Anyway, of all the lovely tweets we received today (and I’ve storified many of them because they show how important local journalism is to many people) this one made me particularly happy:
Happy birthday, Daily Post. I am so proud to be a tiny piece of your history.