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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

Broadsheets Prepare for the Virtual Upgrade

10 May 2007 by Mother Superior

Yesterday I attended a seminar session in Manchester called Meet the Northern Correspondents, which added to the newspapers’ online debate. The two speakers were Helen Carter of The Guardian and James Wilson of the FT.

Helen revealed that some departments have a ‘Web First’ policy meaning that their stories appear on the web and then the next morning in the paper. She also talked about reporters having to take recording equipment out with them to generate both written articles and podcasting material. Projecting forward she expected to be taking a video camera out on assignments soon too. The job is becoming more and more technically demanding.

She gave companies’ blogging a welcome boost by admitting that she loves the arena and has found and researched a number of her stories through blogs.

James admitted that the FT has not embraced the web quite as fully as The Guardian yet – but intends to in the very near future. When you think about it, the FT’s focus on business only mirrors UK companies in their slower adoption of the web’s social opportunities than the UK public.

James also talked about the FT’s model online that allowed subscribers only to view their breaking news content and about the papers intention to turn up at businesses with video cameras for interviews, just like Guardian reporters.

In other broadsheet devlopments, Shane Richmond of the Telegraph blogged about MyTelegraph a few weeks ago, which has now launched and is an online community encouraging users to blog their views and comments on the broadsheet’s website.

Back at the event, possibly most telling was the response from the audience of PRs to the Internet topics. There was a sense that many were hoping the journalists would say that the newspaper was irreplaceable and the web was going to fade away in a few years.

But just as the journalists are moving out of their comfort zone, so must the PRs.