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What does 2013 hold for the media?

January, 2013

As twelfth night has been and gone and the New Year begins in earnest, we thought now would be a good time to ask the media about their outlook and resolutions for 2013.

We’ve gathered thoughts from the local and national media so it will come as no surprise that there are mentions of cuts to resources, print versus online and even the Leveson Inquiry.

Chris Britcher, Editor, Kent on Sunday & Kent on Saturday

“Would it be too much to finally expect the local media landscape to trip upon the answer to solve all its ailments in 2013? Probably. But wouldn’t it be great to have 12 months where the dull swoosh of the redundancy axe isn’t heard with such agonising frequency in the county’s newsrooms? Regardless of the media company you work for, the pain of every reporter, editor or sub getting the chop hurts us all.

“As for Kent on Sunday? We may be a small team, but we have a burning desire to make 2013 a great year and ensure our newspaper is an essential weekend read once again.

"Having taken over as editor in November 2012, I know we have a team capable of delivering the goods and I’m relishing the challenge.”

Rex Cooper, Editor, Kent Profile

“Media businesses involved in publishing the printed word should resolve to hold their nerve in 2013; there are many thousands of people who still prefer to read their news and (especially) features in the 'old-fashioned way'.

“Kent County Council should also hold its nerve, get the backing of the local media in a big way and make every effort to help turn Manston into a major airport.

“Thanet District Council should resolve once and for all to sort out Margate so that it is worth a visit. There must be more to Margate than Turner Contemporary.”

Paul Francis, Group Political Editor, The Kent Messenger Group

“Social media will continue to shape the way news is reported and filtered and will be increasingly the place where journalists break stories. But while its influence will spread I think that one consequence will be for people to look to the established traditional media for more authoritative analysis.

“The government looks set to push on with its transparency crusade and the release of even more data.

"While I wouldn’t ever complain about greater access to information, it will underline the importance to journalists of acquiring new skills that will allow them to make sense of it all and set it in context.

“As someone who routinely ploughs through the countless data transaction invoices now published by councils on a monthly basis, I know from first hand experience how challenging that considered data analysis can be.”

Trevor Gehlcken, Editor, Kent Director

“I am increasingly hearing from various walks of business life that printed publications are soon to be history and that the internet is the way ahead.

“But I believe that anyone who thinks that the days of ink and paper are numbered are way off the mark. Look in WH Smith's and you'll find three times as many magazines on the shelves as there were 15 years ago.

“And while the internet does have its place in publishing, most people I talk to still like to pop a copy of Kent Director into their briefcases and take it home to peruse in the evenings over a glass of wine (or two). And we can't blame them! When it comes to glossy business magazines they don't get any glossier than Kent Director (we print on 170 gram paper).

“The content of Kent Director keeps the leaders of Kent's businesses ideally informed about who's doing what and who's moving where, not to mention the wealth of features giving advice on a range of business topics.

“We've seen magazines come and go since our original launch in 1996. But whatever the economic climate, Kent Director has continued to grow in importance in the estimation of our readers, so that most business leaders now look forward to receiving it 10 times a year.

Andy Halls, Showbiz reporter, The Sun

“My only hope for 2013 is that, despite the last couple of years, we keep delivering journalism to our readers that they enjoy. Journalism undoubtedly needed a kick up the backside – but we must ensure that it does not stop the press fulfilling its key function: holding the powerful to account.

“As a national newspaper, it's also an exciting time going forward. We must find a way to make digital pay and end the idea that journalism is something you can just get for free. Good journalism costs money – and people should pay for that.”

Emma Judd, Business Editor, The News (Portsmouth)

“I work for Johnston Press, which is leading the way in terms of revolutionising how people access their news.

“I am the business editor for The News, but it'd be wrong to say that's just a local paper. As well as the folding paper you get in the newsagent, The News is also a website, an app for iPad, and a broadcast medium that specialises in videos, podcasts, webchats and more. Not only that, but our social media presence is pretty strong, too.

“So as a reporter my challenge for 2013 is to better embrace all these facets of what we do, and to think about how best we can reach and engage with our changing audience as well as encourage more people to tell us their news.”

Roger Kasper, Editor, Sevenoaks Chronicle and Senior Editor of Courier Media Group

“In regional newspapers, there is a going to be a revolution which I believe will be comparable with the shake-up of national newspapers by News International’s move to Wapping in the late 80s. And Courier Media Group is going to be at the centre of this exciting time.

“We have just been taken over by Local World, a new company which is planning to pump £1 million into the business and give it a shot in the arm. The local newspaper industry is watching with interest how Local World brings a new way of working to the industry, with ambitious plans to drive revenue and sales.

"There will be a rapid expansion in the digital side of our business, but we will continue to love our printed products.

"Our brands – the Kent and Sussex Courier and Sevenoaks Chronicle – remain the strongest in their respective areas.

“Generally in the media, I believe the Leveson Inquiry has made all journalists – local and national – a target for unwarranted and mostly undeserved attacks from some ill-informed members of the public. I hope it will subside but I fear the die is cast, so we will need to continue working hard to reinforce our position of trust in the local community."

Kaddy Lee-Preston, ex BBC weather presenter

“After taking the risky but exciting step to leave the BBC last year, 2013 sees my new company ‘Kaddy TV’ celebrate its first birthday (on St. George’s Day no less). My mantra has been to only do something if I will enjoy it and learn from it and I’ve been enjoying every moment. For 2013 I will continue to forecast the weather for various broadcasters as well as taking on new projects with local businesses, charities and television production companies.

“In terms of the future of weather broadcasts, I hope that the introduction of pre-recorded weather bulletins and an increase in the number of non-meteorologists on screen will not affect the quality of forecasts.

"I know cut backs have to happen, but I feel weather is crucial to us all and is one area that shouldn’t be scrimped on.

“Finally, there might not be an Olympics to look forward to this year, but there’s 12 months to discover what we’re capable of and see what’s possible – best wishes to everyone for 2013!”

To book Kaddy or find out what she’s up to now visit

Keith Lewis, Business Editor, Courier Media Group

“Beware the social media in 2013. Clever – without doubt; instant – certainly; fashionable – for sure; friendly – not necessarily. Be careful what you say and to whom you say it has never been more apt. Supposedly private conversations have become ‘fair game’ for anyone within earshot and, as many celebrities in particular found to their cost in 2012, individuals seeking public sympathy are asking for trouble from ‘internet troll’ morons.

“Twitter has been exposed as maybe not so friendly after all. Clamping down on the printed media is one thing – controlling the anonymity provided by the internet is quite another challenge.”

Iain McBride, Media Trainer, formerly of ITV Meridian

“This year I hope to continue to expand my knowledge and skills in conventional and other media.

“One of my wishes for 2013 is for media organisations to invest in news at a regional and local level. Whilst national media is treated with scepticism by many, local media still has a high level of trust, and people still want to know what's happening in their neighbourhood. The KM Group has shown that if you give readers news that is relevant to them they will buy papers.”

Charlie O’Brien, Presenter, Heart FM

“I'm never the best at keeping resolutions so this year I am going for ones that are more realistic, and NOT involving food or diets!

“Personally I am resolving not to move house in 2013! The amount of times I move has become a standing joke on the airwaves, but after two moves in 2012 I am more than ready to settle for a bit and not pack any more boxes.

“Professionally I am determined to get more organised with juggling being on Heart five days a week with James, and running my own business.

"I'm determined to become BRILLIANT at filing and I shall send my paperwork to my accountant before they have to chase me (OK, maybe one step at a time!)”

Nathan Rao, Consumer Affairs Editor, Daily Express

“My hopes for the New Year and also for the future of national journalism are that we continue to enjoy our wonderful free press.

“The media has come under criticism over the past year, some of which nobody would deny has been justified, but I hope this does not affect the liberty we have in this country to speak freely without fear.

“Personally I aim to deliver the first-class standard of journalism we provide at the Express, and will continue to keep the nation up to date with the latest goings on with the weather.

“Having recently started as the Express’s Consumer Affairs Editor I shall be keeping on top of all things consumer-related.”

Rebecca Smith, Editor, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Faversham Times

“New years are always about the opportunity for fresh beginnings, but for me 2013 is going to be even more so.

“Personally, I will be taking on the editorship of the Times series, covering Whitstable, Herne Bay, Faversham and Canterbury, as well as keeping my eye firmly on Thanet. It’s something that I am hugely excited about, but also a little apprehensive – it’s a big task.

“As a company the new year means our transfer to the ownership of Local World from Northcliffe. I don’t think we can underestimate the challenges ahead, but having met our new chairman David Montgomery and heard his vision for the newspapers and websites, I am confident that it’s the right direction to be going in and I’m looking forward to it.”

Trevor Sturgess, Business Editor, The Kent Messenger Group

“This will be a media year dominated by the consequences and implications of the Leveson Report, which did no favours for the regional media by tarnishing all with the same tabloid brush.

“Closer to home, Kent Business, the monthly I founded with my late colleague Brian Paine in 1993, celebrates its 20th anniversary with the March issue. It was set up to report on business news in as lively a way as any other news topic. I was tired of hearing that business was ‘boring’ and wanted to show that business journalism could be as lively as any other specialism.

“As a former sports reporter, I saw the two as comparable, with business having all the drama, intrigue, agony and ecstasy, corruption, greed, hirings and firings, and, yes, social awareness and generosity, as most sport – especially football. Since then, of course, business journalism has become the new rock 'n roll, with the credit crunch, the collapse of banks and other financial institutions, and Robert Peston on the Beeb.

“It offers a cast of heroes and villains as rich as those found by any drama critic, and so many hard-working people who work all hours – often risking all – to make a living, create jobs, and provide goods and services customers need.

“It would be nice if the new year could see business people not cast as villains in soaps but as decent citizens who do a lot of good, the wider community sharing their belief that earning a living from their own enterprise rather than the state is worthwhile; and that profit is not a dirty word.”

Sarah Sturt, Editor, Kent Life

“As the editor of Kent Life, I am determined to increase the monthly pagination of the magazine by 60 pages, giving an average pagination of around 200 pages, by June 2013. I also want to develop our new Kent Life website, which is launching soon, and increase our social media activity.

“I think the important things about print media, the things that we all like, are the thoughtfulness that goes into it and the time that goes into it. Present well-written, well-illustrated and researched features that strike a chord with your targeted readership, and you will always have an audience.

“Personally, I want to try and achieve a better work/life balance, to learn to stand on one leg (it’s all about balance in 2013!) and to finally find my Boaz…”

Thank you to everyone who was good enough to contribute.

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