JOHNSTON Press chief executive Ashley Highfield, left, has called for local press publishers to work collaboratively for the benefit of the industry, reports the News Media Association (NMA).

Speaking at the Society of Editors regional seminar this week, the incoming NMA vice-chairman spoke at length about areas in which the industry could collaborate to create “an infrastructure which reaches every corner of the UK”.

Speaking about the industry, Mr Highfield said: “What makes us special, what gives us value, is our knowledge of what our readers want, or perhaps don’t know they want but need, and then the content we choose, that we filter, that we aggregate, to give to them to fulfil that need. And that requires a relentless inquisitiveness nature.

What we have, as an industry, are shared values and we are working to a common cause. Combining expertise, and resource, and experience will mean we can travel faster and more effectively.

‘We can build an infrastructure which reaches every corner of the UK’

I would like to see all the regional and local media players working ever closer together on issues as diverse as web platform development and delivery, on sales, on measuring audiences, and on gathering and mining data. Together we can capture significant economies of scale. We can innovate and transform. We can build an infrastructure which reaches every corner of the UK.

“So what else could we do? Let me share some of my thoughts on industry collaboration.  I, like my industry colleagues, heartily welcome PAMCO – Publishers Audience Measurement Company – which replaces NRS and sets out to achieve an effective and robust system of cross-platform measurement. A single audience figure for your title across print and online.

“By capturing growing audiences for news and magazine brands across all platforms, this new approach will truly reflect today’s multi-media landscape, and enable us to better monetise our digital audience, and report larger, growing audiences to pretty much every one of our titles. It can’t come quickly enough.”

The seminar heard from a number of speakers including NMA legal, political and regulatory affairs director Santha Rasaiah who spoke about press freedom issues and threats to the public right to know in the government’s legislative programme.

Read more on the NMA website