Magazines Ireland hosted the first seminar for the Editors’ Forum in Dublin City Library and Archive last Tuesday.There was a diverse selection of topics based on the main theme The Evolving Role of the Editor with Ian Kehoe, editor of the Sunday Business Post kicking off the proceedings.
Ian discussed how media is a changing world yet its essence remains the same. ‘Digital takes down the traditional boundaries between journalist and reader by allowing for comment and discussion.’ He discussed how the newspaper is behind a paywall and always will be, stressing that writers deserved to be paid; particularly in this instant digital age – ‘quality will out.’
Next to the podium was Aine Toner, editor of Woman’s Way magazine with her speech Anatomy of a Magazine Editor. Although she admits to being slower to move into the digital zone than others, Aine realised the power of online and focused ‘less time refining the product and more time building our relationship with readers.’ She stressed that editors need to work for the common good of reader loyalty with Irish content that is ‘compelling, authentic and trusted.’
Barbara Scully gave insight into the life of a housewife turned journalist all through the power of blogging and social media. She discussed the process of breaking into the media world and praised blogging as the ideal tool to ‘find your own voice, hone a style and build a community.’ Barbara highlighted the lack of female voices on Irish radio and that women should put themselves out there and believe in their ability to succeed.
Hugh Hannigan, editoral legal counsel for News UK and Ireland, discussed the new challenges online brings to the threat of litigation. Hugh emphasised that the legal risks of online content are no different to that of print and that although in the past an apology was always a confession of guilt journalists can now ‘freely apologise without admitting litigation.’ From the importance of publishing a written apology to the topic of privacy, Hugh reinforced the fact that ‘no one is anonymous – online or elsewhere’.
Stuart Forrest, digital publisher of Radio Times brought the event to an impressive close with the prominent magazine’s ninety-two year old legacy. Acquired by Immediate Media in 2011, Stuart discussed how they took their online presence and employed ‘brand stretching’ to make it more relevant to a younger audience by actively and informally engaging with readers and online fan forums. With a yearly circulation of seventy-four million magazines he explained how the role of the editor is fundamentally the same however the way in which media is consumed has grown immensely.
Words and photos: Jane Cowen