SubScribe: Role and skills of the Content Manager/Director Google+

Friday 22 November 2013

Role and skills of the Content Manager/Director

David Montgomery's memo to Local World staff:
Role and skills of the Content Manager/Director
There will be just one executive command layer within the modern content department. In the smaller operations there will only be one Content Manager. For the time being this remains a journalistic role but with audience data increasingly driving content exploitation it could in future mean that the content manager comes from a publishing background without having performed as a line journalist.
The Content Manager is the role traditionally occupied by the editor and his or her lieutenants. The Editor remains a prestige title and worthy of being continued if it describes the Editor-in-chief but that individual should be seen by all the company as being the Director of Content for the franchise across all platforms. And that role, like senior journalists, is far removed from tradition. The Content Director will spend little time selecting page leads and instead be concerned with high level decision making - the content strategy, the distinction of the different platform products, the quality and breadth of the content and setting the general tone and style in tune with the community served.
Those areas of taste, legalities, and newspaper style should be absorbed by the rank and file senior journalists as part of their responsibilities rather than being presided over grandly by the man in the glass office.
Once the content management systems have been refined or replaced it will be expected that every Content Director and Content Manager has the skills to single handedly assemble all content within a newspaper format which will be highly templated. On the smaller weekly titles a single individual, Content Manager, will skim largely online published content to create the newspaper in a single session or small number of sessions rather than a number of staff following a laborious and time-consuming schedule spanning many days of the week.
On daily papers only a handful of Content Managers will be office bound and will orchestrate all products across the platforms. Senior journalists will episodically visit offices with free seating to discuss strategic or quality issues rather than to sit and wait for a story briefing. News and content lists will be compiled by the senior journalists online rather than by the traditional processes of news and features editors and the Content Managers will be guided in their decision making and quality control by these. In this respect the senior journalists will be required to keep up with local, national and international content relating to their segment specialisation. For example the environment segment will be overseen by a senior journalist who knows that a storm is coming rather than being told that by the clunky old newsdesk which anyway will not exist. Nor will the farming segment journalist need to be told by the news editor (a defunct title and function) that Government has ordered a badger cull.
The high level functions of Content Managers will be acutely aligned to the commercial operation of the local publisher seeking means to exploit content in platform distinct ways.
Again the Content Managers will direct how the various products on the various platforms are differentiated from one another and complement each other.

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