Tag Archives: skills

Are sub editors a dying breed?

Mediaguardian reports that regional newspaper Archant Suffolk is to replace 20 subs with designers.

The article focuses on the cutting of costs – designers are allegedly paid less – but it also adds fuel to the firey debate (clunk) about whether sub editors are a dying breed.

Do we really need subs as more and more news operations adopt a blog led / web approach to layout, effectively letting journalists drop their copy into a santised web template.

Doug Richard of Dragon’s Den fame, has suggested more publishers will go this way as they chase a reduction in overheads.

Not a good time to be a sub editor wethinks. Be good to hear from sub editors on this topic.

Read the Guardian story in full

Read Roy Greenslade’s blog post on this story – with comments

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Banning Facebook won’t stop people wasting time

A big sigh went up across the contentcontent team today after reading yet another story about Facebook being banned by an employer.

Staff at a Kent hospital, MediaGuardian reports, have been banned from using Facebook because it’s slowing down the NHS’ computer networks.

Obviously, any potential for services or even, gulp, medical equipment, being affected by an NHS network grinding to a halt is a serious situation. But stories like this pose a bigger question: why do people hate their jobs so much that they’d rather kill time by surfing the web.

Bit of a rhetorical question you may think, but an opinion piece by the Financial Times’ own David Bolchover on Monday (sorry – it’s been a busy week) noted how this isn’t even an issue with the self employed. The reason, he says, is because the government isn’t doing enough to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in the nation’s workforce. We need to move away from the traditional model of employers penning people up in offices.

We’re doing the article a disservice by this simple introduction and we can’t even link to the article properly because it’s behind the FT.com’s subscription wall. A crying shame, as it’s a great piece. Sigh.

Agile and project management – the *HORROR*

We hear that digital agencies all over London are fast implementing the new black in project management – Agile.

The pros and cons of using Agile in the web development process are well documented on the web, so we won’t be tackling them here – unless requested. No, what we do want to do is get a flavour / straw poll on how Agile has been received across digital businesses.

  • Has it been tricky to implement?
  • Has it delivered cost savings? If so – for the agency or the client?
  • Are you having to throw away two weeks worth of work each time you have a ‘huddle’ / end a ‘sprint’?
  • If resources / staff are ring fenced for projects, then have your costs leapt up as you try to resource for other projects?

Tell us what you think – leave a comment! No idea what Agile is? Watch these short videos.

Web content editor pay and the ‘ultimate web editor’

Friends tell me of the armies of technical staff / developers now giving up permanent positions to go freelance after hearing they can earn far more in the market. Oddly, this doesn’t appear to be the case for web editors – we’re seeing salaries and daily rates level out. This is despite the ongoing debate about editors being required to take on more technical and community led tasks – all of which are skilled – as part of their ongoing remit of responsibilities.

Question 1: what is the going rate salary / day rate for a general web editor?

Question 1: what skills and experience are you finding it difficult to source e.g. community management, technical, knowledge of marketing?

Humour us on this one -we’re going to use this to create a job spec for the ‘perfect/ultimate web editor’, assuming such a thing can exist.

What does a Community Manager do exactly?

Many of the web editors I know are looking to broaden their experience in community management. Why? Well, now that content managment is about editing (or rather ‘filtering’) user submitted content just as much as it’s about editing a ‘broadcast / top down’ product, editors want to future proof their skill set.

So I ask you: what are the skill sets needed for a community manager? What skills can a web editor learn to extend their experience in this area?

A job ad in NMA on April 2007 detailed the following, albeit brief, requirements:

As a brand new website for interior design trends and hence has enormous scope
for creativity. As Community Manager your role will be to lead incentives to
increase membership sign-ups across the website. You will manage email alerts
and generate quality content, that stimulate quality activity and grow traffic
across the site. Excellent copy writing skills essential.

“Lead incentives to increase memberships sign-ups”, “generate quality content” and “grow traffic”? Aren’t these tasks expected of a normal web editor? With this in mind, is there a distinguishable difference between the traditional web editor and the community manager? Do tell me.

In the meantime, here’s a good post on the evolving role of the community manager on onlinecommunityreport.com.

Textile – a content editor’s nightmare?

Spent years trying to get to grips with HTML only to find the CMS you’ve inherited uses its own mark up language? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that yet another web editing shorthand has been created: textile.

Replacing the need to use ‘strong’ tags, for example, with a simple:

*This is a bold title!*

…textile takes no time to pick and pretty much covers most quick web editing tasks.

Textile is nothing new and, in my opinion, gets complicated once you try more complex tasks – like tables – but it should speed up editing times and take some of the pain out of basic web page editing.

So – will textile finally ease the pain of trying to source a decent web editor (or even, gulp, a copywriter) with hard to find skills in basic HTML?

Perhaps. I’ll flag up any textile resources I come across, but in the meantime, below are a couple of textile tastic links for your viewing pleasure:

http://hobix.com/textile/quick.html
http://textile.thresholdstate.com/