Journalists, take note

“I don’t want to hire single-platform journalists anymore,” said Paul Horrocks, editor of the Manchester Evening News, in a good report on the paper’s omnimedia conversation in the Editors’ Weblog. (Disclosure: I’m heading to speaking at the offiste for the MEN’s parent, Guardian Media Group.)

  • It doesn’t really matter what platform the Manchester Evening News publishes on, when its journalists can’t be bothered to do basic fact checking and when the editor isn’t prepared to defend what he publishes.

    Over the last 8 years the paper has repeatedly published contradictory and inaccurate crowd figures for the annual Pride parade in the city. According to the MEN over the years, crowd figures range from 50,000 to 385,000.

    Maybe the MEN should spend some cash on calculators for its editor and journalists because apparently they haven’t realised that you can’t fit 385,000 people into a 2,500-yard-long parade route ,along streets that are mostly about 15 yards wide. There is a total of 37,500 square yards of space.

    You would have to pack in ten people to every single available square of yard of road and pavement and there would still be no space left for a parade!

    Now consider that people are being encouraged to come to buy a ticket and come to Manchester for this event on the basis of this over-inflated information…

    And ask Mr Horrocks why comments about this mysteriously don’t appear on his website!

  • I’m going out on a limb here, but while reading that first comment I’m sure I could hear an axe being ground… Just me? Oh, right.

  • Not grinding an axe. This is relevant because is there anything more important than accuracy and truth? If you don’t have those then the delivery method is pretty irrelevant.

    I took these questions to the editor in the form of two letters to him. He didn’t reply and comments on the MEN site are censored. So now the matter has gone public in a way it couldn’t have done 15 years ago — which is another benefit of the changing face of media.

    I’m in favour of the truth being reported. And just in case people don’t click through to your site Neil I’ll just point out that you are ‘head of editorial development for Guardian Unlimited’ and the Manchester Evening News is owned by the Guardian Media Group.

  • Back on topic.

    I totally agree that it’s pointless hiring a single-platform journalist (Unless they bring a big readership), because it will be just one more person to add to the list of staff who will need training and encouragement in the future.

    Why not pick the people who are already proactive?