Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Editors incorporated

Yesterday’s ramblings about all these former Editors becoming media consultants had two immediate and unexpected sequels.
First Paul Horrocks has today announced he is quitting as editor of the Manchester Evening News after 12 years (according to that brilliant web-site www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk)
After 34 years with MEN Media, guess what? Paul has decided to set up his own media and communications consultancy next year.
The MEN is probably the best editorship on the UK regional newspaper market but the announcement follows a turbulent few months for MEN Media, with more than 100 job losses and the relocation of all the company's weekly journalists to the MEN newsroom.
Joining the MEN from the Daily Mail in April 1975, Paul worked as a reporter, crime correspondent, news editor, assistant editor and deputy editor before being appointed editor in 1997.
One of the longest-serving regional editors in the UK, he was president of the Society of Editors in 2007, served on the Press Complaints Commission from 2002 to 2006, and is a current member of the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.
He also sits on the appeals board for Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and is a non-executive director of MIDAS, which promotes business investment in Greater Manchester. So he’s no slouch.
With him in Manchester and Charles McGhee in Glasgow, I feel like the filling in a Lake District sandwich.
And no doubt Paul will soon be joining the ranks of former editors, including yours truly, on www.editorsinc.co.uk a new web-site advertising the wealth of talent available to organisations wanting advice on media matters, training and associated activities.
Although it is a bit sad that these former titans of the local press are now touting their wares on a web-site set up by the Society of Editors, their professional association.
Talking of former editors, Paul’s predecessor and former boss at MEN, Mike Ungar, popped up in another story on HTFP. He is apparently the editorial director of his son’s internet property site, which has just been bought by that irrepressible North West entrepreneur, Nick Jaspan.
The site Place North West, and set up by Ungar junior, also called Paul, has been acquired by How-Do, which specialises in news, information, features and events for the creative and media industries of the North West.
It is the brainchild of entrepreneur Nick Jaspan, whose regional weekly newspaper the North West Enquirer unsurprisingly folded after just five months in 2006. It must have had the worst business plan of any of the ill-fated launches of recent years, trying to attract advertisements with a copy sales penetration of less than one per cent.
Place North West will now become a free-to-access site having been subscription-only since its launch in 2007.
How-Do told HTFP its greater resources would "enhance Place’s established market position while the lifting of the subscription barrier will increase the site's traffic significantly."
Paul Unger, who has won several awards for property journalism, will retain a minority stake in the new business and will remain as editor.
He will be supported by reporter Michael Hunt and his father, editorial director Mike Unger, formerly editor of the Liverpool Daily Post, Liverpool Echo and Manchester Evening News.

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