Bob Satchwell: Recession will 'shake up' future of press

The recession is a “blessing in disguise” for the newspaper industry and will “shake the industry up”, Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell has predicted.

Speaking at a media lecture organised by Coventry University, Satchwell said that in two to three years’ time, journalists will once again enjoy “a land of milk and honey”.

Satchwell argued that a lot of the media coverage concerning the redundancy of journalists was shrouded in doom and gloom.

And he told his student audience that there were more journalists in employment today compared to a decade ago.

Satchwell said: “The problem with the media, particularly newspapers is that they are used as barometers of economic activity, whether in an international, national or even a local media organisation.”

He said he was optimistic about the future of journalism due to the growth of the internet and the possibilities it will offer journalists in allowing them to be more creative.

“What’s happening with newspapers, particularly the Guardian who caught on to the phenomenon early, is that they have gone from the stage of having 800,000 readers in this country to millions of readers across the world,” he said.

“Other newspapers are following along. The Daily Telegraph has put big investment in online and video, even the Daily Mail, the Sun and the News of the World.

“What these newspapers have done is they’ve found ways to deliver news and other content, and basically, any media organisation now has to provide a mixture of information.

“This is the future, and this is where I believe I am right and the doom merchants are wrong.”

Satchwell added: “I believe there will be a way out of this recession. It will be a blessing in disguise as it will shake the industry up.

“The newspaper industry has not been known for being really innovative and forward-looking because it was doing pretty nicely thank you.

“Newspapers have got bigger and better over the last 50 years, and what will happen now with this recession is that people will have to innovate, and will have to find new ways of doing things, and that means investing in content and journalism.”

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