Newland rallies troops with Telegraph tales

Martin Newland, one-time editor of The Daily Telegraph, has been talking to his troops ‒ via email of course ‒ in advance of the launch of a new newspaper in the United Arab Emirates.

Axegrinder has managed, through its wide variety of contacts, to get hold of the email, and here are Newland’s views on what The Telegraph used to be good at.

The Daily Telegraph used to be known for its ability to slot stories that, on the face of it, seemed local, but tied into deeper and broader issues of institutional concern: the council tax, tax levels in general, health care, red tape, schooling techniques and so on. The Telegraph was famous for finding a human entry point to serious public-interest issues. It was national, yes, but also the country’s largest ‘local’ newspaper.

A reader once sent us pictures, taken from behind his bungalow’s lace curtains, of a group of council workers taking six days to plant three saplings. It was very visual and it tied into widespread concern about council tax rates.

Often the most apparently mundane experiences become the gateway to reader loyalty and relevance.

Wow, how fascinating Martin!

But, wait for it, here’s a tip for wannabe journalists on Newland’s new paper:

I can tell you now that every application from a journalist wanting to come and work here who has included in his or her portfolio an ‘investigative’ piece about labourers’ living standards has gone straight in the bin. Not because the theme is unworthy ‒ it is and we will do it ‒ but because we are looking for other, more nuanced and mature avenues into the national story.

Thanks for that Martin, now we know.

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