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Articles by Peter Sands

Language lessons by Peter Sands

The rush to be first and the demise of the sub-editor mean that grammatical errors are increasingly creeping into our copy. As Peter Sands points out, error-strewn text damages our credibility because readers do notice. Best to try to get it right first time…

Posted on: 24 July 2018


Success Factors – The Top 20 by Peter Sands

Steep circulation declines for many regional titles have forced publishers to ask some pretty fundamental questions, such as, what do our readers want from us? Peter Sands spoke to fifteen leading regional editors to get their views on the essential ingredients for a successful local paper.

Posted on: 01 February 2018


The Voice of Manchester by Peter Sands

On 22 May, a terrorist detonated his bomb amongst the crowds leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. 22 people were killed and many more injured. Not unsurprisingly, the tragedy became one of the biggest news stories of the past decade. The demand for information was huge and many turned first to the Manchester Evening News. Peter Sands talks to editor Rob Irvine about his paper’s coverage.

Posted on: 27 July 2017


Making a difference by Peter Sands

The ability to shine a light into dark corners and to fight the good fight is something the regional press has and the search and social media behemoths threatening their very existence don’t. But, in an age of cut-backs, does the local press still have the campaigning zeal? Peter Sands reports.

Posted on: 03 February 2017


The changing role of the regional newspaper editor by Peter Sands

The role of editor has been no more immune to the winds of change than any other in publishing. Workloads have increased and resources have been cut, putting huge pressure on the editor. Peter Sands asks seven experienced editors about the role, how it has changed and whether or not it’s still an enjoyable job…

Posted on: 27 July 2016


What does 2016 hold for newspapers? by Peter Sands

A new year is a time for bold resolutions, for hope, confidence and determination to make the coming year better than the one just gone. Err… not in the world of the regional press, where Peter Sands finds a mood of despondency and where ‘more of the same’ pretty much sums up the outlook for 2016.

Posted on: 03 February 2016


Bills – still worth the effort? by Peter Sands

When was the last time you learned of breaking news from a newspaper bill? Exactly. Digital media always gets there first. So do bills, once the mainstay of newspaper sales operations, make any difference and who’s still using them? Peter Sands investigates.

Posted on: 24 September 2015


Is your blurb doing its job? by Peter Sands

The blurb at the top of your front page has one purpose – SELL MORE PAPERS. Yet, writes Peter Sands, many publishers appear to have lost sight of this simple objective.

Posted on: 28 May 2015


Football Focus by Peter Sands

The relationship between football club and local paper used to be a particularly close one and both sides worked hard to maintain it. No longer, writes Peter Sands, and instances of clubs actually banning local papers from their grounds are now worryingly commonplace.

Posted on: 27 January 2015


Keeping subbing skills alive by Peter Sands

In the ideal world, writes Peter Sands, every newspaper publisher would still employ sub-editors. How in the less-than-ideal world we live in, can newspaper publishers cut costs yet still preserve the all-important subbing function?

Posted on: 25 November 2014


Newspaper design in the digital age by Peter Sands

With editorial budgets being squeezed ever tighter and management increasingly focused on digital matters, does newspaper design still matter? Err… YES! Peter Sands explains why.

Posted on: 19 May 2014


Outlook for 2014 by Peter Sands

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for the regional press? Will their efforts to realign their businesses start to bear fruit? Peter Sands looks at the priorities for the year ahead and solicits the views of senior regional executives.

Posted on: 25 January 2014


Has Digital changed the art of headline writing forever? by Peter Sands

The well-crafted newspaper headline was a key sales hook, and sub-editors fully understood its importance. Does the rise of the digital world spell the end for the classic headline, asks Peter Sands.

Posted on: 23 July 2013


Got to laugh by Peter Sands

Traditionally, the regional press hasn’t felt comfortable doing humour. Yet recently, Peter Sands has detected a new found spirit of levity at some local publishers.

Posted on: 19 May 2013


The Nationals on iPad by Peter Sands

Peter Sands casts a critical eye over the iPad editions of some of our national newspapers.

Posted on: 07 July 2012


Making every word count by Peter Sands

The sad truth is that much of the content you find in some local papers is a little on the dull side. This does not bode well for their long term future. The challenge for editors, writes Peter Sands, is to strip out all the padding and focus on quality content only.

Posted on: 19 January 2012


At the top of their game by Peter Sands

Against a generally gloomy industry backdrop, the recent Society of Editors Regional Press Awards highlighted the excellent work still being done by some papers. Chairman of the judges, Peter Sands, looks at some of the winning entries and what we can learn from them.

Posted on: 12 July 2011


Outlook for 2011 by Peter Sands

First the good news; you’re still in business. Now the bad; the outlook remains bleak with continued belt tightening the only discernible strategy at many regional publishers. Yet, writes Peter Sands, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Posted on: 20 January 2011


A question of attitude by Peter Sands

Have the demands of multi-platform publishing spelt the end of the traditional door-stepping hack? Should journos now be desk-bound computer whizz kids? Or a mix of the two? Peter Sands attempts to nail down a job description for the modern journalist.

Posted on: 16 September 2010


Show me the money! by Peter Sands

Ad sales down; copy sales down; just where are newspapers expected to find their next shilling? The industry’s brightest brains have been mulling over this question for some time now, so presumably there are lots of bright ideas floating about? Err ... Peter Sands goes in search of inspiration.

Posted on: 15 March 2010


Outlook for 2010 by Peter Sands

2009 has been a truly horrible year for the regional press and the result has been the rapid onset of siege mentality. Aside from closure, where does the press go from here? How can they break free from this downward spiral? Peter Sands goes in search of answers.

Posted on: 17 November 2009


The Sub is dead. Long live the Sub? by Peter Sands

For a back room role, the sub-editor has enjoyed a great deal of exposure of late – admittedly much of it focussing on its imminent demise. Yet Peter Sands still sees a need for a second pair of eyes, even if they might not be as numerous as before, or even situated in the same country as the rest of the publishing operation. Here, Peter takes an overview of the great subs debate.

Posted on: 01 May 2009


No more City Finals? by Peter Sands

Producing multiple editions of daily and evening papers was once the norm. No longer. With some notable exceptions, most publishers are moving remorselessly towards single editions. Peter Sands tracks the demise of editionising.

Posted on: 01 November 2008


In the community by Peter Sands

The road to recovery for local newspapers runs through the neighbourhood. Or does it? Newspapers make a great play of the fact that they are “local” – it is their unique selling point. But Peter Sands asks whether they really capitalise on their role in the community or merely pay lip service to it.

Posted on: 01 May 2008


A new generation of story tipsters by Peter Sands

Getting your readership to contribute content is exactly the right thing to do ... in principle. In practice, however, great care needs to be taken if you are to avoid being deluged with drivel. Peter Sands has ten suggestions on how to manage and benefit from user generated content.

Posted on: 01 November 2007


With readers and advertisers off to the web, what will be left on the shelf? by Peter Sands

Is the print paper doomed? Judging by the wailing and gnashing of teeth in some print circles, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was. Yet the printed newspaper remains hugely popular. Yes, it needs to adapt to changing technologies and markets, but when was that not the case? Peter Sands has a ten point plan mapping out where it needs to go from here.

Posted on: 01 May 2007


Watching paint dry by Peter Sands

Your weekly entertainment guide should be FUN. More than that, it should be the cornerstone of your strategy to attract younger readers. Then, why is it that so many What’s On guides are dull, unfocussed and lack a voice? Peter Sands urges regional newspapers to rethink their leisure sections.

Posted on: 01 September 2006


Design that sells by Peter Sands

A compelling front page sells extra copies. Simple! You’d be hard pushed to find anyone who disagrees with that statement. Why is it then, asks Peter Sands, that newspapers so often fail to do themselves justice in this crucial area of sales and marketing?

Posted on: 01 March 2006


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