As if any further indication was needed that print media
is changing, the architect of BBC's iPlayer has been appointed to lead a
major UK newspaper group.
Today's Independent reports
that the Johnston Press (a UK
publisher whose titles include The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post)
surprised the market by appointing as its new chief executive
Ashley Highfield, currently a Microsoft Vice President.
Highfield has no previous career in the regional newspaper
industry and will now drive forward the Johnston digital business,
seen as key to the company's future prosperity.
Media watchers might like to look at the Yorkshire Post or The Scotsman online today, and again in
a few months' time just to see what changes the Highfield regime
My own unofficial print media index reflects the wisdom of
this move; this month alone I've media trained 10 senior
executives, only one of whom still regularly buys a newspaper, at
the weekend. Eight don't buy a newspaper at all, choosing to get
most of their news via TV or radio. Three rely exclusively on BBC
online - and none read trade and technical articles, unless
they were specifically highlighted by colleagues.