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Sound the trumpet, the last of the Mohicans are gone

I couldn’t resist wading into the debate again. Decades ago, 1977 to be exact, advertising executives were not tolerated in the editorial of a newspaper I worked for. If they stepped an inch into editorial, the voice of the editor bellowed across the floor: “Tell that bugger to get out”.

Such was the power of news over advertising. There were no compromises. It was a 60 per cent news and 40 per cent advertising generation.

That absolute editorial authority and integrity was enhanced in the early years at Reuters but the cracks started in the mid-1990s when management made inroads into editorial, in some instances even deciding the next bureau chief nominee!

At the time of early retirement, I recall telling a HR executive that they shouldn’t treat reports as “dots” on a wall, dropping them like hot potatoes whenever cuts were needed. And if they did, this would be the rise and fall of the world’s greatest news provider, that we were all once proud of.

Today, working in a newspaper, I see the same signs - advertising and revenue (and absolute) control over editorial and our world turned upside down. Now it’s 65 per cent advertising and 35 per cent news.

That is the reality in today’s world of news and what is perceived as news. We are the last of the Mohicans! Let’s enjoy while at lasts. ■