Who needs sub-editors? Not me, says David Montgomery

Chief executive of European newspaper giant Mecom David Montgomery has said that he sees far less need for the 'twilight world' of sub-editing in today's newspapers.

Speaking at the German embassy last night, the former Mirror Group chief executive spoke of the exciting long-term future print journalists can look forward to.

He said: 'Never before has a journalist been able to reach out to their audience without intervention.

'Reporters out in the field can call up a page on their laptop and put copy straight onto the page without intervention."

He added: 'It means journalists can be freed from humdrum roles and the sub-editing culture can break down."

Speaking of his experience as head of Mecom – which runs 200 papers across five countries in Europe with a combined turnover of £1.2bn – he said that 'resistance is breaking down'to this "new way of working."

Montgomery met with a sceptical response from journalists in an audience which mainly comprised of past and present members of the George Weidenfeld Anglo-German journalist exchange programme.

But Montgomery used the example of TV journalists – who are not sub-edited for live reports.

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."

But he added that individual journalists need to have 'more discretion over what can be published".

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."

Comment: Why Monty is wrong to ditch subs

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