View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
May 21, 2013updated 22 May 2013 3:28pm

Local World’s David Montgomery: ‘We will harvest content and publish it without human interface’

By Gavriel Hollander

Local World chairman David Montgomery has said much of the “human interface” involved in local news publishing will disappear within four years.

Speaking to MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Montgomery said the role of journalists would change so that they become “harvesters” of content.

“We are going to have to reinvent the model,” he told the committee. “We can’t keep taking costs out but employ the same production techniques in print. We have to be truly digital, so that in three or four years from now, much of our human interface will have disappeared.

“We will have to harvest content and publish it without human interface, which will change the role of journalists.

“Journalists collecting stories one by one is hugely unproductive. They will have to have new skills, greater responsibility for self publishing on different platforms.”

Montgomery said that the local news industry “cannot sustain a model from the middle ages, where a single journalist goes out on a single story, comes back and writes it up”.  He added that the model was “highly wasteful”.

He said news groups would have to start seeking “different sorts of skills” from their reporters.

Content from our partners
New technology from EX.CO helps publishers double on-site video revenue
Five ways to fail in media job interviews
How Germany's Ippen.Media mastered content planning across 86 newsrooms

 Ashley Highfield,  chief executive of Johnston Press, said: "I don’t see a world without local journalists on the ground in the community. It’s our USP. There will always be journalists, that is our role. But they need to change and government can help.”

In January, the Montgomery-led Local World consortium completed its £52.5 million takeover of Northcliffe’s 110-strong local newspaper portfolio.

At the time, Montgomery said he wanted to see a 20-fold increase in content and would phase out sub-editors.

He said: “I see a situation where experienced journalists that can be trusted have no barrier to communication with their audience.

“Sub-editing is a twilight world, checking things you don't really need to check. Senior people will always monitor the content, a core group will create the product.”

Topics in this article :

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network