Online abuse support for journalists
Encouraging news from Reach today, where The Star, Mirror and Express group offered a decent amount of hope for the future.
Profits and revenues went UP (newspapers don’t usually do that sort of thing) and moreover 400 hacks have been hired in the past year.
That’s good news for the hacks and provides an audience for the flaks.
I asked CEO Jim Mullen if these jobs were lower paid than those he got rid of two years ago and he insisted the answer was “not necessarily”. I’m taking that as “mostly yes”.
Mullen, a breath of fresh air, had some nice lines. Not least that he and his teams are fed up with hearing everyone talk newspapers down.
He notes: Over 1 billion newspapers are sold every year in the UK, not including regionals. By comparison, there are merely 200 million Mars Bars sold a year, and no one thinks Mars is going out of business.
The City didn’t warm to the results, I should point out, but you can’t have everything.
One other interesting development – Reach has hired an Online Safety Editor, a first for the industry, we think.
I assumed this was to protect readers, but rather wonderfully it is for the journalists.
You can read about Dr Rebecca Whittington, the OSE, here.
She says: “Online abuse is an endemic issue which has increased significantly over the past decade. Journalists are vilified online on a daily basis simply for doing their jobs, with types of abuse ranging from personal attacks to hate crimes.”
Mullen says that until now such issues were passed to department heads, not necessarily qualified in how to handle this stuff.
Part of me wants to say that hacks should just shrug these things off, even enjoy them.
In truth, it isn’t always just a laugh, especially if you make the mistake of engaging with the critics.
So this is progress.
And now we have protection from abusive readers, can I also get protection from the news desk?
The Financial Conduct Authority is offering 800 of its lowest paid staff pay rises worth an average of £5,500.
The regulator was facing a staff rebellion on pay.
If it can’t follow the Bank of England’s request to keep pay awards down, who can?