Monty's Local World vision: Editors 'pretty redundant', 20-fold increase in content

Local World chairman David Montgomery has outlined his vision for a newspaper group where journalists oversee a 20-fold increase in content.

Earlier this month a deal was completed which saw the Montgomery-led consortium hand-over £52.5m to Northcliffe to take a majority stake in its titles.
 
Under  the deal DMGT retains a 38.7 per cent in the new venture which includes all the Yattendon Group-owned Iliffe titles. Yattendon is retaining a 21.3 per cent state and Trinity Mirror has bought a 20 per cent stake in Local World for £14.2m. Local World has no presses, and no pension-fund liabilities (these have been retained by DMGT).
 
Montgomery told In Publishing: "Our starting point in Local World is we have no presses whatsoever and ultimately, our ambition is to be a pure content and commerce business and that once a year, we write a cheque to a provider of all the services you need to continue to produce print...
 
"You have got to show that you have more than just a dwindling print audience. You have to demonstrate that you can build an audience and also segment that audience. There is no point in just growing audience for the sake of it."
 
He said that the conventional idea of the sub-editor does not feature in his vision and that editors will become "pretty redundant" as the job of journalists is to "manage content and lots of content that comes from the community itself".
 
He said: "The editor title will survive but the job has to be much broader and comprehensive. The modern editor will be the content director, managing content, organising content and disseminating it on the appropriate platform; print, online or mobile.
 
"It’s about getting people to organise themselves sufficiently to manage the amount of content a local publisher exploits. Not a two-fold increase but a 20-fold increase in the amount of content a local publisher exploits."
 
 
He said:  "I see a situation where experienced journalists that can be trusted have no barrier to communication with their audience.
 
"Sub-editing is a twilight world, checking things you don't really need to check. Senior people will always monitor the content, a core group will create the product."
 
He said: 'I come from a world where editor-in-chiefs are control freaks who want to control every word. We've got to let that go."
 
In 2000, Montgomery founded Mecom - an investment fund which took over newspapers across Europe growing to a peak valuation of £1.2bn. But in 2010 he was forced out after a shareholder revolt. His strategy was a combination of cost-cutting and investment in digital.
 
Mecom ran into trouble in 2009 when it was forced to sell off assets to pay back debts which stood at £600m.

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