Worth turning a page for

by Clive Booth

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 introduces.

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.

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