Today’s Guardian illustrates the way in which its drive to make itself the world-leading online news source is impacting on its UK print edition.
It leads on a great story, the result of very good investigative journalism by Guardian America web journalists about the killing of unarmed black people by police. The problem is that it is essentially a US domestic story which is worthy of a place in the UK print edition but not as the lead.
Not only is it the lead but it takes the whole of the front page which has no reference to any UK news. It then turns inside to take the whole of one of the “National” news pages.
Editorial decision-making appears for have forgotten the old adage that news value diminishes with distance. For some time the Guardian news pages seem to be governed by a an editorial conference somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. Decisions on comment pieces seem to still based in the UK.
I looked but could not find a story which emanated yesterday in the UK which is directly relevant to British readers – US defence secretary warns against UK armed forces cuts, which I heard on BBC Radio 4.
Nor could I find the story that plans to offer parents 30-hours free childcare have unravelled with David Cameron admitting the roll-out could take longer than planned. The link is to the Daily Mirror.
Another important story for UK readers, European Commission president Jean-Claude Junker saying Cameron’s UK referendum was designed to keep the UK in the EU, is in the print edition but buried in a story on human rights. The heading was: PM prepared to break with Europe over human rights.
Readers were much better served on this story by the Daily Telegraph under the heading: Britain will not vote to leave EU, says Junker.
I can understand why the Guardian want to make the most of what must have been a costly five-month investigation which led to today’s lead, but not why they gave it so much prominence.
The web editors seem to be more in tune with their readers. When I checked this morning the shoot to kill story was not mentioned on the UK or Australian home pages. It was prominent on the US home page and had a strong reference on the international site.
It is a confusing and difficult time for newspapers and their websites as Roy Grenslade, the Guardian media blogger, points out today in a post headed, Global newspaper industry’s business model undergoes ‘seismic shift’.