Friday, May 01, 2009
More cuts at the Manchester Evening News
Earlier this week, I couldn't believe it when I heard some of the people who'd lost their jobs at the MEN. These are not cub reporters by any stretch, but committed and experienced editorial-level folks who've been on the paper for years.
Outgoing online editor Sarah Hartley (Good luck, Sarah!) writes about her time at the MEN over on her personal blog. Wrestling such an old-school relic of a paper into the internet age couldn't have been an easy task, and it's unclear now what will become of the stable of blogs she developed for the MEN, including The Mancunian Way and Life Through Food. Or, for that matter, the CityLife website. You'd have to be pretty moronic to jettison websites and blog projects at this juncture, but the suits in charge of our local rag haven't ever been exactly visionary.
Seriously, is there anyone left in the building? This is what, the second, or is it the third round of cuts on the paper this year? Not to mention the fact that they've decimated the much-vaunted Channel M and cut its broadcasting time to a few hours a day.
Not to mention the fact that, when I bought my GMG-owned Rossendale Free Press yesterday, it had a notice about how the newsroom was now at Scott Place in Manchester, and if I wanted to talk with a reporter in Ramsbottom I could do so at a 2-hour "surgery" once a week. (Yeah, thanks, but news phoned in from six postcodes away doesn't sound so fresh to me. I'd much rather start a citizen-powered hyperlocal community newsblog. Any takers?)
It looks like we happen to be lucky enough to be seeing the death of the newspaper age up close and personal. It'll be painful for a while as journalism reconfigures itself for the new world order. But how this happens, what new forms emerge, and whether we as consumers of news will ultimately benefit remains very much to be seen.
In the meantime, the state of Manchester's print media is looking pretty bleak. If you've got news, you'd probably be better off shouting it from the rooftops then calling the MEN, where there soon may not be anyone to answer the phone, let alone file a story.