← back to all news I am so proud of print Posted on Thursday 4th April 2019   |   0 comments

THE EDITOR’S CHAIR: Gary Cullum reminds us that our news brands have bigger audiences than Facebook and Google. 

IN the war against fake news, our most powerful weapon is truth. So said Simon Fox, chief executive of Reach plc, when giving the Stationers’ Annual Lecture on 25 March. And in saying he was excited about what the digital future could offer news media brands, he said the industry could only deliver truth from strong and secure foundations.

Fox said he believes the digital future for the industry will provide those foundations. He also gave examples of why print remains an important part of our future: “Its ability to drive revenue many be diminishing, but it still retains enormous power and influence for both readers and advertisers. Just like Mark Twain, reports of its death have been grossly exaggerated”, he said.

That’s been my thinking for more than a decade, a period in which many have been talking up the doom and gloom about printed newspapers. But any doubts about the future for our own news brands have again been eroded by the forthcoming annual newsawards.

I have recently returned from three days of intensive judging for newsawards 2019 - the nominations for which appear on page 4 of this month’s printed PJ (if you would like a subscription click here and make contact).

In total, 24 judges dissected hundreds of entries and the winners will be revealed at the awards evening at the Royal Lancaster London on 8 May. During the process I was again – and for the 23rd year in succession – struck and mightily impressed by the calibre and quality of the vast number of news products, both digital and printed, that our industry publishes.

I am delighted to be part of the small team that annually organises these awards, and extremely proud of our industry’s output – from the smallest resourced hyperlocal newspapers, to the largest national and international brands. We may still be working out how best to take on the digital giants, but as has been pointed out by the News Media Association and Simon Fox in his Stationers’ speech, our news brands deliver bigger audiences each week than Google and Facebook.

And as Fox stated, the biggest national stories in today’s news agenda still originate in print. Every day on my smartphone I receive feeds that tell me ‘what the papers say’ with a daily review on the national press front pages. Don’t you just love that?

Another publisher with a staunch and strong view is Edward Iliffe, of Iliffe Media that has invested £21 million in the past three years in local news publishing. He told PJ features editor Caryl Holland (pages 11 and 12) that just because some publishers were migrating their content online, that doesn’t mean the brand is failing.

He’s a great believer in reporting positive news too, something I’ve also believed in for the 25 years I have been privileged to edit and publish PJ on behalf of the News Media Association. I’ve never dealt in negatives and at all times have championed the cause and reported the positives.

This issue of PJ is no different. In addition to celebrating the shortlist of our finest for newsawards 2019, we also exclusively report on our front page on how fellow publishing groups’ print divisions came to the aid of Dundee-based publisher DC Thomson and its print subsidiary Discovery Print when it became the victim of a malware attack.

The last word goes to Simon Fox: “Every single day the power of print is evident and I’m hugely proud of this. Millions of readers still enjoy the physicality of the printed newspaper … There is something deeply satisfying about finishing a newspaper – in a way that you can never achieve online.”

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