Meehan: Journalists must retain the human touch

Another editor reporting from the video journalism frontline at the Society of Editors Conference was John Meehan, from the Hull Daily Mail, who now has 30 video journalists producing content for the paper's website.

Meehan said: "As we focus on new skills, we must be careful that we do not allow some traditional qualities to be lost. Are we employing information processors — merely conduits between the PR professional and the public — or real journalists with a nose for real news?

"As technology makes the world ever more impersonal, the best journalists will be those who retain the human touch — who have the empathy and persuasion to encourage people to tell their extraordinary stories.

"We must not lose the will and the skill to challenge authority, secrecy and the abuse of power, or the art of probing questioning, the persistence to ask the searching questions that elicit answers which enlighten, surprise and expose."

Meehan concluded his presentation by calling for an end to the "elitism" which "prolongs a too rigid separation between the editorial and commercial functions of our business".

He said: "The most successful multi-media organisations will be those with integrated models in which teams co-operate to produce powerful and profitable content."

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