Interview with Louise Mason
Louise Mason is the trainer for Telegraph Media Group.
newspaper techniques: You’re responsible for the training part at The Daily Telegraph, and training is a very important module of the whole reorganisation process. Could you explain how the training was handled during this period of change at The Daily Telegraph?
Louise Mason: If I look back to when the change was first thought about in any great detail, training played a very small part, but it grew very quickly.
It became very clear when we were changing from the Telegraph Group to the Telegraph Media Group that training was going to be a fundamental part of that process because people needed new skills and capabilities in order to be able to work in the new ways.
So, although it started small, people learned how to do vodcasts for the web or an audio piece for the web. It grew as we learned that this was becoming more important.
nt: Were the trainings based more on the use of new technology or the change of mindset?
L. Mason: The training was based on both. People needed to learn new skills and they needed to learn new technology in order to be able to work in a multiple media environment, but perhaps bigger than that was the shift from working in a newspaper organisation to working for a multi-
That was a mindset shift that has been a big challenge and continues to be a big challenge.
I referred to it in a lot of my communications with people as winning people’s hearts and minds and getting them excited and invigorated about working in new ways.
nt: How was this training week structured?
L. Mason: In a nutshell, at the beginning we talked about what was happening in the world and how the world was changing. What was happening in terms of media convergence and how that applied to The Telegraph, so we gave people the context for why the company was changing, and the setting in which it was changing, and then we moved into more specific skills.
We gave them training in how to research on the web, how to write for online – because the skills are different to writing for the paper. We gave them training in how to do an audiocast, how to do a vodcast. We gave them training in multiple-
So, if they’ve got the skills to use the technical equipment, how do they then make the decisions about which piece of technical equipment to use to tell their story? So, what’s the decision making process behind all the new tools that they’ve got to use?
Finally, we put it all together and we ran a live news day where we encouraged people to break news over many different media platforms.
As the training grew, and as we groups through, we realised that there was a real enthusiasm amongst our journalists for the multiple-
nt: What is your vision as training manager for the Telegraph and for the staff of the Telegraph?
L. Mason: The way I would describe my vision is that all staff have got the skills and capabilities to perform the roles that they need to in the new and changing enviornment and that we can keep up with that in terms of being able to equip the people with skills as they go through.
But more importantly than that I think, my vision would be that people continue to see training as an integral part of their job and they feel enthusied and excited about what they’re learning and more importantly than that, can put into practice what they’ve learned, so that we become a changing and evolving organisation.
This interview was conducted by Ifra Newsplex Director Dietmar Schantin.
Page first published: 16.01.2007