Monday, 28 March 2011

Ferrari to host Regional Press Awards

I am looking forward to working with Nick Ferrari again at the Regional Press Awards. Nick was the popular host of the last two awards before they were rested. The occasion needs someone who understands that the awards are a serious business but also that people have come down to London for a good time ... and Nick judges it perfectly. He is happy to go off script and bring a bit of humour and his knowledge of the industry to proceedings. And this time he is donating his services to support for the awards. Profits are going to the Journalists' Charity. There's more good news for the awards too - Camelot have signed up as sponsors. The first round of judging finishes today and shortlists - the top six in each category - will be announced soon. The lunch will be held at the Park Plaza Riverbank on London’s Albert Embankment at 12 for 12.45 on Wednesday May 11. Tickets are £70 (plus VAT) per person or £700 plus VAT per table to include a pre lunch drinks reception and wine with lunch. Special rates for overnight stays may be available. To book your place drop an email to kate.mcmillan@societyofeditors.orgFor details of the awards visit 

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sports reporters - don't you just love 'em

Bob Cass - radio star
I enjoyed this piece by former Sunday People journalist Harold Heys on the Gentleman Ranter's web site.
He has some great anecdotes about old sports reporters including the North-East legend that is Bob Cass. Harold writes:
Bob Cass left the Mirror Manchester subs table to become a sports reporter on The Journal and was invited to do a report on the Sunderland match for BBC Radio Newcastle. Just before the game got under way the studio linkman cut to Bob. ‘And what’s the weather like at Roker Park, Bob?’ All fairly straightforward, you might think. Except that Bob, new to all this radio stuff, thought the chap was just calling for a chat. 'It’s fuckin’ pissin’ down,’ he said. 
More Cass…: when Sunderland played Newcastle the studio man said: ‘And now, let's see what's happening in the big North East derby. At Roker Park… Bob Cass.’
Bob: ‘Thirty minutes in and still goalless as Tommy Cassidy… 35 yards out…(Pause) … It's a long way out if that's what yer thinkin', bonny lad… (Pause)… Fer fuck's seark. It's gan in!’
Sports reporters. You have to love ’em 
Great stuff. Hat tip to George Dearsley

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Stunning reporting of tsunami

The reporting of the Japanese tsunami has reached new levels. A mix of live footage, social media, Skype, interactive graphics and, of course, old-fashioned print has told the story of the unfolding disaster like never before. Some of the most stunning treatments include this graphic in The New York Times which uses Flash and amazing photographs to put it all into a geographical context. ABC News in Australia has adopted the JQuery plug-in to show before and after aerial pictures. This simple but hugely effective software was used by to tell the before and after story of the Christchurch earthquake. The Guardian has kept on top of the story well with graphics, blogs and a collection of astonishing videos. And this amateur video shows what it was like to be in the thick of it. In print, I was impressed by the Mail on Sunday's picture essay today. And here are 18 of the strongest front pages with comments by American graphics designer @charlesapple. Meanwhile Fonts Aid V is being organised by Typophile to raise money for the victims of the disaster. They are looking for type-based ideas. Fonts Aid IV raised money with an ampersand project for Haiti. If anything else catches your eye, please let me know.

Friday, 11 March 2011

All change at the top at Northcliffe

Michael Pelosi
Alex Leys
Northcliffe's top two have announced their retirement today. Managing director Michael Pelosi is to be replaced by Steve Auckland, MD at Metro. Deputy MD Alex Leys, one of the industry's larger than life characters, is also retiring. I have worked with both men who have made their own unique contribution to the industry. Alex was a fearsome character who edited the Leicester Mercury, ran UK News and spawned countless editors in his image. Michael was a thoughtful MD who was keen to reward editorial during difficult times. When I was running a conference for his editors, after they had been through some tough cost-cutting, he told me I wanted an event that both stimulated but was enjoyable. "Without good editorial, we simply do not have a business," he said. And that was always the Northcliffe way. There is clearly an interesting time ahead for the group ... and for the industry. The news comes two days after John Fry announced his retirement from Johnston Press. I wish them well.


More than 750 entries in regional awards

I am delighted, and just a little relieved, that there has been such a fantastic response to the new Regional Press Awards - more than 750 entries. To put that in perspective, when we ran the awards in 2009 before they were rested, there were about 500 entries. In the final 36 hours before the deadline on Tuesday, entries were coming in on the website at the rate of one a minute. A combination of a reduced entry fee, the support of the NS so that the purse strings were released a little and some hard work by Bob Satchwell, Angela Varley and Sharon Nall at the Society of Editors have all played a big part in ensuring the awards are now back with a bang. That this is a non-profit making event with any surplus cash going to the Journalists' Charity has also been a factor. Perhaps the awards have also been missed. There is no doubt that editors and journalists want recognition for the excellent work that still goes on in the regions. Anyway, the bottom line is we now have well-supported awards for the regional Press, run by the industry. Success. The regional Press has been on the ropes for a long time now, so this serves as a big signal that it is still alive and kicking. 
The next stage for me is to organise the 50 judges - all independents and senior figures in the media - who give their time freely. We will initially be drawing up shortlists of six in each category and these will be announced early next month. We also have two live judging days at the Press Association offices in London where secret ballots will decide the winners from the shortlists. After all of that I can relax a little and look forward to catching up with some of you at the awards lunch on May 11. Good luck.