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I am an experienced online journalist and political editor working for Trinity Mirror papers in the West Midlands and the North East, based in the Parliamentary Press Gallery at Westminster.

I understand how government, Parliament and political parties work. I am equally at home digging out stories from data, social media or interviews as I am covering major set-piece events or explaining how things work to readers.

I produce content which is shareable and promote my work on social media.

My experience with content management systems and knowledge of HTML allows me to include charts, embedded content from third parties and formatting in my work, to create content which encourages interaction and keeps readers on the page.

Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (but please send press releases to my work email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as this is the email I monitor during working hours).

(Edit: And also see MarkMedia's site for more debate).

Jo Geary has prompted a debate on her blog with a post lamenting the fact that "journalists don't know their own business".

She writes: "After all, if we don't understand how our market is created, nor how we best make money out of it, then I would argue we know little about serving it properly."

She argues that the National Union of Journalists should adopt "a pro-active policy of educating members and providing them with access to financial information on their companies".

Orson Wells as newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane

I wrote a comment, which I re-post here (as it was really far too long to be a comment). It's partly a response to other comments from Jo's readers, which included suggestions that journalists should learn about search engine optimisation - how to get a high ranking in Google - and the usual NUJ bashing.

By the way, the profit margin on Trinity Mirror's regionals (such as the ones I work for) was 21 per cent in the last financial year, significantly down from 25.6 per cent previously, but actually pretty good by the standards of most businesses, surely?

There are two issues here. One is how the internet changes the way they do their jobs, which is basically to gather and pass on information and ideas. Jeff Jarvis' blog gives one very simple and clear example - it could now mean providing links, in some cases.

The second issue, which is separate, is how we create a business model which pays our wages.

Good journalism which makes the best use of all the media available to us (I mean that one brand, such as the newspaper I work for, uses various media, with print being one of them) does not necessarily pay the bills in today's world.

Teaching journalists about search engine optimisation and ‘social media', or improving their work in other ways, won't change that - will it?

Creating a business model that works is the key - a lot easier said than done, obviously - but it's not something journalists could do even if they had the ability and inclination, as they have no control over the way their employers operate their business.

Jeff Jarvis' complaint that journalists "left the business to the business people" is fine rhetoric but I don't think journalists have much choice in the matter. Apologies if this is obvious to everyone reading this, but you have to remember that the people whose bylines you see are a long way from the top of the food chain in the organisation they work for.

People are experimenting with ways of making journalism pay. For example, Politics Home is using its journalism as a vehicle to sell specialist products to a niche market. It commissions surveys which generate stories on their website, with the full details offered for sale to political parties and other media.

Perhaps I and other hacks could put away our notebooks for a bit and put more thought into what our own organisations could be doing and fire off some memos to the MD, but I have my doubts about the effectiveness of that. The odd idea might be picked up, but major change has to be led from the top in any organisation. Tell me I'm wrong!

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About me

Jonathan Walker Political Editor of the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Sunday Mercury, Coventry Telegraph, Newcastle Journal, Newcastle Chronicle and Sunday Sun.

Contact me:

Email jonathan@walkerjon.com (but please send press releases to my work email which is
jon.walker@trinitymirror.com, as this is the email I monitor during working hours).

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