Changes to the structuring of the Independent and Evening Standard will mean redundancies and pooled resources, but heavy investment in a new TV station could create opportunities for wannabe broadcasters.
The circulation of both the Independent and the Independent on Sunday papers is at the bottom of daily and weekend ABC circulation lists and even after a relaunch which gave the website and paper a much-needed facelift, the titles have continued to struggle.
While that ship seems to have hit an iceberg and is slowly going under, the London Evening Standard is happily cruising along as a self-funding title (impressive for a free paper) and the i has done so well it could almost be described as miraculous.
While owners the Lebedevs pride themselves on the papers’ quality journalism, the newspaper business is such that inevitably difficult decisions need to be made of cutting a part to save the whole.
Rumours and whispers of a merge between the two papers have floated around blogs and Twitter for months, but the news finally arrived in the form of a memo delivered to all staff earlier this week.
The memo, written by managing director Andrew Mullins, was quickly put up by Media Guardian and Guido Fawkes. It highlights the need for restructuring and a ‘radical and transformational’ new way of working.
However, tucked away at the bottom is the news that there will be redundancies. Media Guardian report that the number of jobs to go could be as high as 20.
It’s a big set of changes (not all of them pleasant for those who will now be fighting for their jobs) but the one that has caught the eye of this Wannabe is the news of a TV studio in the soon to be shared offices.
Alexander Lebedev, the owner of IPL and ESL, recently won a local TV licence from OFCOM for London Live TV.
Details of the station have now been made public. The new Evening Standard-backed channel will initially offer an 18-hour-a-day service covering news, current affairs, entertainment, weather and sport.
As the memo states: “The London TV licence provides us with great opportunities and improved prospects for the core print and digital businesses but it will require significant investment for three to four years”.
It’s a bold move but one that could offer a significant payoff. With the digital news world booming and papers in decline, there is a desperate need for papers to make their online operation as engaging as possible. The best way of doing this is to add multimedia content – the Guardian and the Times have already shown that video content and infographics can give your website a big boost.
So, for wannabe broadcasters, could the restructuring of the papers be a ‘one door closes and another opens’ situation?
It seems that way.
Speaking to an Independent insider, the job prospects at the offices are soon to expand: “There are definitely going to be opportunities for people with broadcast experience and even student journalists who have taken broadcast modules.
“That’ll all be there but it will be at the expense of other people.”
It’s always a sad day when good writers and subs are given their P45s, but it could mean work for those who can and will work in the new structure.
News is becoming more and more reliant on creating multimedia content and those with the skills to do that are going to see that – if more papers follow the Indy/Standard – jobs are going to become more readily available.
Hacks like me who may not have taken an NCTJ route but have learned to report for print, online and video could be welcomed into offices: if cutting costs is a priority then hire those you won’t have to train to work cross-media.
I am trying to let a sense of schadenfreude slip into my writing here at the expense of those now working harder for their jobs, but the prospect is certainly exciting. Opportunities for wannabes trying to get into TV are limited as they are, but if we are willing to work in different media, happily swapping between writing copy and editing video, then our prospects are looking much brighter.
What do you think about the changes? Are you a broadcaster? Should more papers try incorporating multimedia? Let us know what you think! Comment below or tweet us @WannabeHacks
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look