Cornwall Live’s head of content has hit out at the use of the phrase “slow news day” to criticise news articles, saying it “couldn’t be farther from the truth”.
Jeff Reines said that many readers’ “knee-jerk reaction” to articles that are not “to everyone’s taste” was to dub his team’s work as “slow news” in comments online.
He said his journalists were “working flat out… to publish up to 90 stories a day” in an editorial piece for Cornwall Live, which is owned by Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror), saying this was “hardly a slow news day”.
He said: “In increasingly straitened times for all businesses, ours is no exception, and in reality our hard-pressed hacks are constantly toiling at a breakneck pace to bring you all manner of news, all day and for much of the night.
“We’re there from the time most people are just swinging at their alarm clocks to late into the evening, and beyond.”
Reines said Cornwall Live could measure the success of a story with access to the statistics including the number of readers per story, the time each spent on a story, and from where they came to it.
“This gives us a pretty good indication of our audience’s affinity for what we are producing,” he said.
“Our output is tailored to our audience’s preferences, interests and curiosity.”
Popular articles are generated partly by analysing what readers are “scouring Google for,” said Reines, adding that his team know what visitors to the website are talking about on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Examples of stories that proved popular after being dismissed as evidence of a “slow news day” included stories on TV shows Poldark and Love Island, and Dawn French’s tweets about life in Cornwall. The latter garnered a readership of 60,000, according to Reines.
He also used the example of comedian David Baddiel retweeting a Devon Live article about his displeasure at entry fees to Exeter Cathedral. Baddiel had tweeted: “Blimey. Slow news day in Exeter.”
But, according to Reines “thousands of people read that story”.
Defending the work ethic of the journalists at Cornwall Live Reines said they had live blogged about a fire that broke out in Truro, Cornwall, at 1am on Sunday 17 June and responded to a police incident at 10pm later that same day, keeping it running until midnight.
“As the old adage goes – you can’t please all the people all of the time, but we’re happy if we please some of the people all of the time or all of the people sometimes,” said Reines.
“So when you roll your eyes at the latest update on how the fickle Charlie Fredrick from Plymouth and his would-be amour are getting along on Love Island, pause for thought before heading to the Facebook comments section to leave that well-worn flippant retort.
“And remember that we’re also reporting the fire near your house, the crash that may hinder your drive home, the 51 things you can do this weekend, how Universal Credit could affect you or your neighbours, friends or loved ones, when that new gin bar is opening, how good the food really is at the latest must-try eatery, how services are rated at your nearest hospital…”