Stephen Foley: The man from Auntie could save Johnston
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Friday 29 July 2011
Outlook Ashley Highfield's career took a turn for the disappointing after the end of Project Kangaroo, but he has bounced back.
Since the Competition Commission squashed the idea of the BBC collaborating with ITV and Channel 4 on internet video, Mr Highfield has operated in the bureaucratic obscurity of Microsoft, with the heavily trafficked but barely noticed MSN UK among his charges. Now, with his inspired appointment to run Johnston Press, he has a much more interesting train set to play with.
Can the man who brought us the BBC iPlayer save local newspapers? Johnston boasts "unique local content created by teams of local experts who believe that Content is King". Certainly its 273 local websites, accessed by more than 7 million Britons each month, are important and potentially extremely valuable. But no king keeps his throne without access to his people, and Mr Highfield is a master of delivery mechanisms, a great experimenter, with not just the iPlayer but red button content and other innovations to his name.
We don't yet know what grand vision for Johnston's struggling local newspapers the man from Auntie presented at his job interview. He can't tell us because Microsoft won't release him from his contract until September. But there are many ideas fizzing in local news, from harnessing citizen journalism to borrowing the ideas of Groupon and others for earning revenues in partnership with local businesses.
A glance at Johnston's debt load suggests the board might have been better tempted to hire a good finance guy to run the show, as it heads into refinancing efforts. But if Mr Highfield can articulate an enticing vision of the digital future, Johnston might find a new army of shareholders willing to back him.
- 1 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in 'disturbing surge of beheadings'
- 5 Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...