Starting the year with a look at what could be in store for the media in the north during 2013.
Good news for Media City?
Of course it was too much to hope for. I had thought we might get all the way into the new year without a knocking story about Media City appearing in the nationals but then this arrived from The Telegraph.
Now I don’t have any problem with the investigation into costs – although I personally don’t see why a single penny needs to be paid out to persuade people to move north when there’s so much talent already here – it’s a fair enough question to ask on behalf of us licence fee payers.
But what I did find startling was the quote attributed to the Angie Bray, a Conservative member of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee (bolding mine):
I can’t help feeling that Salford is an expensive box- ticking exercise. I absolutely understand that the BBC feels the need to demonstrate that they are not entirely London-centric but the fact is the programming from Salford is not as good and it is costing an awful lot of money.
Apart from showing a lack of understanding of long-term costs, where does the evidence for this ‘fact’ come from? How is the quality of programming gauged exactly? Whatever your view on the BBC’s new home, having MPs of any party making unexplained judgements of opinion on the quality of programming and presenting them as fact is something we should all be wary of.
Although I haven’t written so much about Media City recently, I remain an avid follower of all that happens there and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling a little rush of pride when the announcers say ‘produced in Salford’ or ‘going over to our Salford studio’. Now the site itself looks more established, as well as the general public being more aware thanks to the regular credits, here’s hoping the knocking stage of its evolution is now over.
New look websites and apps for many northern newspapers
Trinity Mirror, which runs the websites for many big city titles including the Manchester Evening News and The Journal is rolling out a new look and new functionality after a launch in Birmingham in October. The new versions reportedly include built-in live blog technology, better presentation of picture galleries and video, and a new hyperlocal section called In Your Area – more on that here.
Meanwhile, Johnston Press gets app-y with titles including The Yorkshire Post, The Sheffield Star and The Sunderland Echo. Developed by Pagesuite Ltd, all 18 titles will also launch Android versions which will work on devices including the new Amazon Kindle Fire, the Google Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.Alex Gubbay, Director Digital Platforms, said: “The range of more affordable tablet devices now available is expanding rapidly. Our new iPad and Android apps allow us to tap into this growing trend and learn how best to offer users the best from their local title in a more dynamic, convenient way.
The Skinny on its way to the north west
The crowded cultural sector of Manchester and Liverpool is just about to get even busier as Scottish publisher The Skinny prepares to set up shop. Currently seeking various editorial positions (including editor) the magazine will hope the independent stance which has made it a must-read for Edinburgh will travel across the border. Longtime followers of this blog might remember that we’ve been here before…….http://www.sarahhartley.me.uk/2010/04/19/no-skinny-for-manchester/
High praise for north east weekly paper
The Teesdale Mercury, ‘the voice of Teesdale since 1854′, newspaper found itself in line for praise by MPs discussing the future of he local press. It reports that Helen Goodman, Shadow Minister for Media and Communications, said: “Notwithstanding whatever marvellous local newspapers honourable members have, none could be better than the inestimable Teesdale Mercury.”
All change for The Guardian in the north
The irrepressible Martin Wainwright is today replaced by new Northern Editor Helen Pidd who takes on the mammoth task of walking in the outgoing Northern editor’s shoes. As anyone who has had the pleasure of working with, or even just following his writing knows, Martin will be a hard act to follow as a tireless champion of the north against the increasing London-centricity of the national media. He writes more here:
For most of my time, and during my 37 years at the Guardian which will finish at the end of March, my method has been to get as much about the north into the paper as possible. In recent years, that has changed with the move to digital-first and the chance to try new ways of coverage such as the Northerner. I have loved this, as a way of using the resources of the north to describe and discuss the north; more than 200 people have contributed posts in the 22 months since we changed from a weekly email to daily blogging.
A fond farewell to Martin – and a warm welcome to Helen for 2013.