| December 2009 |english and media centre
recent redundancies at theprint centre made headlines asindustrial action was narrowly averted, showingus that the downturn in the newspaper industryis having a serious effect upon
.Kings Place has been home to
since December 2008, and such a recentmove means that
now has anoffice space ideally suited to the new mediaenvironment.
Editor Alan Rusbridger
, writingat the time of the move, gave an insight into thechanges it had brought:
Print and digital operations are largelyintegrated, where previously they werephysically separate.
He also pointed out that as well as regulardesks with computers ‘there are seven state-of-the-art recording studios and 24 editing desks.’
is an online provider of news fora global audience and their new headquartersreflect
a new convergence of technology asstories are written simultaneously for printand the website
. Podcasts and video reportsare also produced for broadcast, and live feedcoverage of key events is now common. Theway the agenda is set is changing too: morningnews conferences can be attended via
employees notphysically present at Kings Place.
Innovation and integration
In terms of innovation,
hasbeen groundbreaking in many respects. It wasthe first UK national newspaper to use
, the first to produce
,and, perhaps more radically, the first Britishnewspaper to produce
(i.e.on the web before being seen in print). It hasa reputation for enthusiastically adopting newtechnologies, which was played upon in its 2009April Fool article:
Consolidating its position at the cuttingedge of new media technology, the
today announces that it willbecome the first newspaper in the worldto be published exclusively via Twitter, thesensationally popular social networkingservice that has transformed onlinecommunication.
As production of
websiteand print versions is seamlessly
, itbecomes difficult to establish where productionof one ends and the other begins. And giventhe wealth of extra content on the website, itis now hard not to see
the website as beingof primary importance
and the print versionas
a brand-strengthening advert
The impact of the recession
Finding up-to-date figures for the totalnumber of journalists and editors employedby
is difficult, though a recentreport suggested that this year the editorialstaff at Guardian News and Media is shrinkingfrom around 850 to 800 through redundancies.One fear consistently voiced by commentatorson the newspaper industry is that
the qualityof journalism will suffer
as production costsare cut and reader-generated content becomesmore popular.
The rise of citizen journalism
has been well documented elsewhere (seepage 56), but we can’t ignore their impact on
and the ambivalent relationshipwhich must now exist between professional journalists and accidental eyewitness reporters.A key story one might explore in this respectis
campaigning investigativecoverage of 2009’s G20 protests in London andthe death of Ian Tomlinson. The quality of news produced by
journalists has been examined in Nick Davies’
Flat Earth News
. He employed specialistresearchers from Cardiff University to analysestories printed in
and three othernational dailies during two one-week periods. The result? A staggering
60% of these quality-print stories consistedwholly or mainly of wire copy and/or PRmaterial.
In other words, press releases or uncheckedstories from agency journalists were formingthe bulk of the domestic ‘news’ in print. Of thefour papers analysed,
had thelowest percentage, but it was still more than50%.
Davies refers to this ‘copy and paste’reporting style as
. Is there anywonder that many readers would trust Joe orJoanna Public’s account of an event, over a‘report’ filed by an overworked and underpaid‘churnalist’? By the way, there are no hardfeelings at
over Davies’ analysis–
news desk helped with theresearch, and Davies continues to be employedas a journalist by