Suddenly the Telegraph, long the conservative of the British press both politically and journalistically, is radical. Its new spoked newsroom, unveiled last week shows fresh thinking about the future of news operations.
Today the Observer’s James Robinson adds to the sense that the ground is shifting, reporting that the Telegraph Group and ITN are close to announcing a strategic partnership that “could change the face of the British Media Industry”.
The two companies will work together to create content for the Telegraph’s revamped website which will go online within weeks.
Under the ownership of the Barclay brothers, the Telegraph is reinventing itself as surely as the Conservative party is under the new leadership of David Cameron.
Peter Preston, the former Guardian editor who has become one of the most thoughtful media commentators, reaches for unusually high-flown prose to conclude his column in the Observer:
So nobody, coming to worship in Shah Barclay Mosque One, should snort or scoff. This is an expensive leap of faith and imagination. It may stumble or balk at union hurdles. It may struggle in confusion. But it will, and must, spur others to try to jump further. The great game of future survival is palpably afoot in the great hall of change. They’ve splashed the cash and talked the talk. Now, can they walk the walk?
He is not overstating the case. News organisations which reinvent themselves stand a chance of survival. Those that do not will inevitably founder.
Later: Peter Cole in The Independent on Sunday takes a more sanguine view, asking: “Should men of mature years, who spent a decade deriding the digital age and may never have downloaded a podcast, be rushing around trying to change everything quite so fast?”
And writing about latest circulation figures he points out: “The strongest performance, however, came from the compact Sunday newspaper that increased its sale by 7.9 per cent: The Independent on Sunday.”
Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of The Independent, recently told the Press Gazette: “Our relationship with our own website is one where the paper is first and foremost, and the website comes second.Until there is a model for making money out of a newspaper website, we’re not going to plough millions of pounds into it.”