Headline figures from a world survey of newspaper editors are necessarily all that illuminating â€” the devil is in the regional detail. But I was struck by a couple of pieces of information from the first Newsroom Barometer report from the World Editor Forum and the accompanying Trends in Newsrooms report.
First was a quote from Bertrand Pecquerie, director of WEF, who said:
Eighty-five percent of senior news executives see a rosy future for their newspaper, and it’s quite a surprise.
Editors recognize competition from online sources and free papers, and in turn are making efforts to adapt to 21st century readership. They know how to effectively make the transition to online journalism without reducing editorial quality. Editors-in-chief realise that content matters more than ever and cutting newsroom resources is not at all an effective solution: the reshaping of news will take place with journalists, rather than at their expense.
The second was that half of the editors believed that shareholders and advertisers present threats to editorial independence.
That suggests a worrying lack of accord and trust between editors and and owners in this period of rapid change when 40% of editors believe online will be the most common way to read news ten years from now. Only 35% believe print will reign supreme.
The research was conducted for the WEF and Reuters by Zogby International who interviewed 435 editors worldwide.