“A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself” - so said Arthur Miller, and how true.
What an honour for Grange Hotels to have the voices, reporters and headline-makers of the country all under one roof at Grange St Paul’s Hotel last Monday. This annual gathering of editors and senior figures from all sectors of the media saw the likes of Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Trust, Google and ITN, together with major national papers such as The Independent, The Guardian and The Sunday Times, and the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport attend.
Watch Rt Hon John Whittingdale deliver the opening keynote speech here:
Grange Hotels is passionate about hosting and assisting some of the most important, innovative and forward-thinking discussions and gatherings. The Society of Editors Conference 2015 hosted many pertinent panels, which covered topics such as making the most of multi-platform journalism with the ever-changing tech world, and the future of news considering the enduring relevance of newspapers.
Rona Fairhead - Chairman of BBC Trust
Delegates arrived on Sunday night for a welcome reception at the stunning Stationers’ Hall, and a talk by the former Editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridge. Monday 18th October was the main day, with a full programme of panel discussions, a drinks reception and an annual gala dinner attended by Mme Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador to the UK.
Mme Sylvie Bermann - French Ambassador to the UK
Monday’s programme covered a diverse range of subjects, from diversity and the freedom of information to the police and the media. The final discussion of the day saw a panel of influential social media figures and practitioners debate on how to make the best use of social media nowadays for news agencies and newspapers.
In 2015, social has become essential for reinserting the relevance of news to the public; now a mostly mobile audience accessing information on their phones. For example, Sarah Marshall, Social Media Editor EMEA at the Wall Street Journal, explained how she was currently looking into chat apps (WeChat, SnapChat) as a very interesting form of storytelling to attract new, younger audiences.
Of course, social media comes with its own challenges, as the large number of different audiences spread over multiple platforms means that the same content doesn’t always work, and it is now essential for journalists to be confident on social reporting. Darren Waters, Social Media Editor at the Press Association, clearly stated that journalists who understand social media are better journalists, being better equipped to deliver content both quicker and more accurately whilst on the ground. The discussion was a great reminder on how social media is not only a marketing tool and a focus group, but also an invaluable medium for brand advertising and brand scope, allowing news organisations to reach millions of people across the world.
Tuesday continued with a discussion supported by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, titled 20/20 vision – The Future of News, after which incoming President, Nick Turner, was welcomed into the Society. We at Grange Hotels were delighted to provide a “terrific conference centre” (Doug Wills) and a home for this vital industry for a few days.
Doug Wills - President, Society of Editors and Managing Editor, Independent Titles
“I am proud to say that every single person I spoke to from the Society of Editors was bowled over by how superb both the hotel was as somewhere to stay and the facilities for our conference” - Doug Wills, outgoing President, Society of Editors and Managing Editor, Independent Titles.