Thursday 21 October 2010

Chancellor George Osborne’s Spending Review is old news

It was inevitable that this morning’s headlines would be about the spending review. All of the national papers carried the story, from the Sun to the Financial Times. But if the papers haven’t moved the story on, what is the news value of old news this morning?

The Chancellor’s speech, outlining where his axe would fall (with considerable force), took place yesterday at 12.30. By 12.31, social media channels were buzzing with people live tweeting the speech and the BBC had live coverage preceding George Osborne even arriving at the Houses of Parliament. By 13.30, Labour was just about to retaliate and by the early afternoon, as the first copies of the Evening Standard hit the stands, London was awash with headlines despairing at the cuts this country will have to endure.

Last week, we attended a webinar where David M Scott, a well-known social media speaker, was discussing the importance of real-time responses to news issues. The advent of online publishing and social media has not only given the public a voice, but it has made news immediate. For up to the minute – and even up to the second – developments, web publishing has changed the way we consume and react to media. This idea is not new and of course stories on the spending review were run online yesterday, within minutes of Mr Osborne concluding his speech.

Today’s papers had to cover the story, that is not in questions, but almost 24 hours after the story broke there must be more originality and opinion in the national press for it to be fresh and valuable. The Financial Times’s Lex column on the subject is a great example of this.

But seeing this morning’s front page headlines, about a news story our team was discussing over lunch yesterday – with little additional thought or analysis – seems to me, a stark example of how newspapers are becoming out of date before they are even printed.


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