Champions of change to share how it is done

Brett McCarthy, editor of The West Australian, and Howard Gretton, news director for Seven Perth, will share process that led to the combined Seven West Media newsroom and the benefits it has provided in a presentation to the Future Forum next month.

The combined news room was part of a merger of the operations of the two media entities early this year.

Mr McCarthy and Mr Gretton will be part of a panel with NZME chief executive Jane Hastings, who is bringing together the company’s three core businesses under one roof, in a session titled Champions of Change.

They will be joined by an international line-up of speakers, including WPP founder and chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, and News Corp senior vice president of strategy Raju Narisetti.

One advantage of the Perth newsroom merger is that communication between journalists is a lot more efficient, McCarthy told The Newspaper Works.

“We’re able to easily communicate; we’re able to look at joint projects. It’s a hub, it’s where the reporters gather.”

Mr Gretton believes this is best demonstrated when news breaks. “When the big one breaks, everyone hears what’s going on,” he said.

Seven Perth experienced more of a change than The West Australian. Staff were not only moved to a new building, but also had new equipment to work with.

Overall, the response has been a positive one from the newsroom, and television and newspaper reporters did not experience any cultural clashes.

As journalism moves towards more of a multimedia focus, Mr McCarthy believes that combined newsrooms are the way of the way of the future.

“Part of the future for this newsroom is being able to hire young people to come into a newsroom like this . . . with an expectation that they’ll be able to work across everything,” he said.

“For young people getting into the industry, that should be an exciting prospect.”

The Future Forum, hosted by the Newspaper Works, will be held at the Hilton in Sydney on Thursday, September 10 and Friday, September 11, and will bring together newspaper media executives and delegates from around the world for masterclasses, a program of high-profile speakers and industry awards.

Sir Martin Sorrell will appear at the Future Forum via video link.

Click here to register.

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