Monday, 21 September 2009

Room for media experts

Nice to see the experienced and talented former Editor Charles McGhee has found a new niche in life, even if it is almost identical to my own (
The former editor of the Scottish daily, The Herald, has launched his own media consultancy firm.
Charles McGhee was in charge of Glasgow Herald for three years and prior to that was editor of its sister title the Evening Times for six.
Charles' press career spanned three decades during which time he also held senior roles on the Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Scotland on Sunday and the Sunday Times as well as a stint with the BBC.
He is also a former president of the Society of Editors and past member of the Press Complaints Commission.
According to his company web-site, Charles offers organisations "a pragmatic approach to developing and improving media products and services".
He is performing consultancy work on external and internal communications and crisis management along with training and development.
In my darker moments I wonder if he, and I, is rather missing the point about the decline of regional and local newspapers.
I was at a Cumbria Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday, where all the talk was about internet-based social media being the way to reach customers.
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Delicious, Blogging, YouTube and others were trotted out as ways of getting your company known through word of mouth, enhancing your reputation and engaging with customers.
If everyone thinks the web is the way to market his or her organisation, then newspapers, radio, television and old-style media experts may be surplus to requirements.
But I think the game was given away when the presenters agreed that there were now so many videos on YouTube, the trick was getting anyone to look at yours.
In other words, on what Clive James used to call the hyperspace super highway, chaos reigns.
My own experience is that the web is all right if you know exactly what you are looking for, but if there is any element of browsing or wanting to weigh up different options it is a waste of time.
So the traditional media may still have a role to play, after all. But which, when and how?
That is where the experts come in.

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