As a news organisation, if we are not communicating we are failing.
The Guernsey Press has just one function: to inform.
That does not mean simply spewing forth words. A story that no one understands or is interested in is worthless.
Information is valuable only when it engages the reader. Otherwise, it is a grey mass of letters wasting people’s time and their 65p.
We spend much, if not all, of our time at the Guernsey Press worrying about how best to communicate, online and in the newspaper.
We write, rewrite, edit and tweak in a bid to cut out the wasted word, promote the hidden intro, get to the salient point quicker.
It all starts with a conversation, whether that is with a publican, postman or politician. And it all ends with a conversation among editors about which story should go where.
Communication is the single thread that holds it all together. A page one lead, for example, makes a statement: we think this is interesting and important. The same story placed on page five will provoke a surprisingly different reaction.
The headline is also vital. It needs to be active, to trigger a response in the reader’s mind.
And the story must be succinct, informative, interesting. Who, what, why, when, how. News writing is a peculiar breed with staccato sentences packed with facts, figures and quotes where all the best stuff has to go in those first few paragraphs.
Not every story holds up to those values. Almost all could be improved with more time, more understanding, a better editor. But the mission is to try.
It’s an ongoing task. But when it all comes together and the presses are rolling there is no better job in the world.
Shaun Green is the Editor of the Guernsey Press. Shaun’s chosen charity is Headway Guernsey, this is a local charity supporting islanders and their families who are living with the long-term effects of a brain injury. They provide a range of services that bring people together in a supportive environment helping them on their road to recovery to a life back into the community.