Sunday 11 December 2016

Taoiseach Enda Kenny opens new digital-led news hub at INM

Published 22/09/2015 | 19:40

Taoiseach Enda Kenny opens the digital-led news hub at INM, watched on by INM Chairman Leslie Buckley, INM Editor-In-Chief Stephen Rae, Independent.ie Editor Fionnuala O'Leary and Group Head of Content Ian Mallon. Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Enda Kenny opens the digital-led news hub at INM, watched on by INM Chairman Leslie Buckley, INM Editor-In-Chief Stephen Rae, Independent.ie Editor Fionnuala O'Leary and Group Head of Content Ian Mallon. Photo: Mark Condren

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has opened the new digital-led news hub at Independent News & Media's offices on Dublin's Talbot Street.

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The new centralised news hub will facilitate the management of editorial and content for the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, The Herald, Sunday World and Independent.ie.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is greeted on arrival at Independent House in Dublin by (from left) INM Chief Executive Robert Pitt, INM Editor-in-Chief Stephen Rea, and INM Chairman Leslie Buckley at the official opening of the INM newsroom. Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Enda Kenny is greeted on arrival at Independent House in Dublin by (from left) INM Chief Executive Robert Pitt, INM Editor-in-Chief Stephen Rea, and INM Chairman Leslie Buckley at the official opening of the INM newsroom. Photo: Mark Condren

The development of the centralised newsdesk follows an examination of the editorial systems in Talbot Street and has been accompanied by a re-design of the newsroom.

It has also been supported by significant investment in technology and training.

A key benefit of the new model is that reporting from the shared newsroom are now available across all titles, the company said today.

At the same time, the editors of each title retain full independence, with core journalistic teams on each title and significant resources to commission, produce and direct content for their respective newspapers.

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny meets INM chairman Leslie Buckley at the company's offices on Talbot Street in Dublin this evening. Photo: Mark Condren
The Taoiseach Enda Kenny meets INM chairman Leslie Buckley at the company's offices on Talbot Street in Dublin this evening. Photo: Mark Condren

"The world of media is changing fast - it is difficult to predict what it will be like in 20 years time in terms of the written word," Mr Kenny said.

"The way [INM] is moving ahead, you may be set to reach people's minds in a way that has not been thought of yet.

"Being fair and objective is what people want. In this business [journalism], if you are ultra-sensitive then you shouldn't be here in the first place," he added.

Mr Kenny added that looking forward, the amalgamation of print and digital is where a media company needs to be.
Commenting on the up-coming election, he said the job given to him by the people the last time around was to make the country's finances stable and get people back to work.

"Whatever is said about the government, Fine Gael and Labour have brought stability.

"When we set out in the summer we said the parameters of the budget would be between €1.2 and €1.5bn and we were not going beyond it. We are not putting this generation in hock like it has been done before.

Mr Kenny also commented on the refugee and migrant crisis facing Europe.

"We know what it's like to live on another man's shore. We'll take more than the quota and put in place a strategy to make people an addition to our country."

Stephen Rae, Group Editor-in-Chief, Independent News & Media said: “We studied the best newsrooms across the globe and the content hub we’ve developed here was specifically designed for INM. The launch of the ‘platform neutral’ newsroom follows a period of considerable change for the editorial team in Talbot Street.  Our journalists and digital team have risen to the challenge and are delivering top quality journalism across all our platforms from the central newsroom.

“Our online and editorial teams now operate from the one floor. This mix of journalists and digital experts in the one space will drive our technology focus and lead to the best online offering available,” he said.

Commenting on the occasion, Leslie Buckley, chairman, Independent News & Media said: “I would like to pay tribute to both the editorial and commercial management for the successful delivery of the project in a very short time-frame.”

 “It can be safely asserted that INM now has the most modern fit-for-purpose news management system in this country.  However, it is important that we will continue to innovate and change in an ever evolving market environment.”

The company has also announced a new digital training and education programme in association with the National College of Ireland.

“Earlier in the year, the board gave a commitment to management and staff in INM, that it would ensure they would have the opportunity to learn the skills that will enable them to work into the future in this rapidly changing digital era,” said Leslie Buckley.  “I am therefore pleased to announce an investment of €250,000 in a new digital training and education programme with the National College of Ireland. Financed fully by INM, this initiative is sure to benefit our teams across the whole INM Group and ultimately the consumers of our news content.”

In 2015, INM introduced a graduate programme for the editorial department in which it has recruited fifteen graduates, fourteen in the Republic of Ireland and one in Northern Ireland.  The graduates are now in place across the various newsroom and online departments in Talbot Street and Belfast. The INM graduate initiative is the only such programme in Ireland certified by the Press Association in London and it is an investment by INM in the future of the profession, not just its own operations.

Recent figures show that 2.4 million combined readers connect each week in print and online with the Irish Independent, The Herald, The Sunday Independent and the Sunday World.  INM accounts for 50pc of the quality daily market and 65pc of the quality Sunday market.

Across the Group’s websites total annual page impressions is anticipated to be in excess of one billion per annum, while unique monthly users reached more than 10 million for the month of July on Independent.ie.

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