Posts Tagged ‘Manchester Evening News’

Reports greatly exaggerated?

Monday, December 22nd, 2008 by Jon Clements


For an industry accustomed to delivering predominantly bad news, journalism has taken more than a mouthful of its own medicine this year.

There was a time in not-too-distant memory when it was possible for regional journalists to move between jobs to escape a particularly tyrannical news editor, a punishing shift system, the grimness of doing “death knocks” on recently-bereaved families, or even advance their career.

Things are not looking so good now. But Sarah Hartley, blogger and journalist at the Manchester Evening News, has captured some positive vibes for journalism in 2009.

To borrow from Oscar Wilde: “The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.”

And long may it be so!

Credit: cartoon care of Attack Cartoons.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Manchester’s Social Media Cafe in film

Monday, November 17th, 2008 by Jon Clements

The recent launch of Manchester’s Social Media Cafe (#smc_mcr) brought like-minded people together to debate social media’s present and future.

Two of the people instrumental in Manchester’s burgeoning social media scene, Chi-chi Ekweozor of Real Fresh TV and Sarah Hartley, Head of Online Editorial at the Manchester Evening News (MEN), spoke to Staniforth after the event and we’ve captured it for you here on film.

Chi-chi considers the value of the Social Media Cafe concept, the growth of podcasts and video along with comparisons and contrasts between UK and US social media activity.

Sarah looks at the origins of her interest in digital media, the development of the MEN web presence and how journalists are integrating with new media.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

PR in the Downturn

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 by Rob Brown

Batten down the hatches, most pundits are agreed, recession is here.  Forget the US rule of thumb that we have to register two successive quarters of negative GDP – we’ve already had one quarter of zero growth and all indicators suggest that contraction is underway.  That means that marketing budgets will be slashed and PR will be amongst the first to feel the chill. 

Well it’s not that simple.   Public Relations is not recession proof but it’s not usually the hardest hit either.  Companies that hold their marketing budgets in a downturn are the ones that fare best.  Harvard Business School professor John Quelch said in March this year that it is a well documented fact that brands that increase their spend in a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and the return on their investment.  There will be pressure on budgets but the smart money will still be there.

PR companies are going to play a key role in advising clients on how to navigate very difficult and for some uncharted waters.  There will be complex messages to deliver.   More than ever when times are taxing the media needs substance not fluff. 

I’ve always believed that PR thrives on the ideas and enthusiasm of its young.  It is a vital industry and the particular zeal of its youthful practitioners is a crucial part of every agency.  When the economy is in ‘bust’ business must turn to experience.  The UK largely escaped the 2001 global recession so the last time we were in a situation approaching the current one was nearly twenty years ago.   PR in the current climate won’t be seeing grown men and women running around city centres dressed as creme eggs.   Chief executives will need the knowledge and experience from PR people that were around the last time.  They will need strategic counsel and there will be growth in corporate PR and in crisis and issues management. 

When he was a young knife Matthew Freud, probably the world’s most well connected PR person said “there’s nothing sadder than a 40-year-old PR person”.  Matthew is chairman of Freud Communications. He’s 45.

A version of this article first appeared in the Manchester Evening News on Tuesday 28th October 2008.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

Brave news world for the MEN

Thursday, September 18th, 2008 by Jon Clements

The new media world of Manchester’s bloggers came face to face with 140 years of newspaper heritage at the Manchester Evening News (MEN) last night.

But even a paper that began life in a “dingy office in Brown Street” has had to change with the times. Now housed in shiny offices, the decor is not the only thing that’s changed.

Assistant news editor, Paul Gallagher, explained how the MEN’s print, online capability and tie-up with Manchester TV station, Channel M, means that decisions on news are very much based on its suitability for the medium, though the paper tends to time the release of online news with the hard copy, so not to compete with itself.

What’s also changed is the way content comes together, combining old fashioned news hounding with readers’ online comments, video taken on reporters’ mobile phones and the work of citizen journalists. As Paul says: “The benchmark for a good story hasn’t changed. But you just have more people contributing to it.”

And the days of the “death knock” – visiting the homes of the recently bereaved in search of a story and, vitally, a photo – may be numbered with newspapers like the MEN turning to online tribute sites for the material they need.

Head of online editorial, Sarah Hartley, described the paper’s move to greater online content and gave a sneak preview of the live blogging and Twittering planned for the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, which starts this Saturday in Manchester.

Still, it was great to see some relics from the past remain, such as the MEN’s hard copy reference library (see pic).

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''