Local World is like a 'urinal cake', say former staff of Venue
29 November 2013
Expletive-ridden tirade attacking closure of site follows David Montgomery plan describing journalists as 'content managers'
theguardian.com, Friday 29 November 2013 17.55 GMT
The staff of a Bristol-based arts and listings website shut down by David Montgomery's Local World have given both barrels to its former owner, comparing the company to a "urinal cake" and a "freshly discarded wet wipe".
Some 50 employees past and present of Venue put their names to a final editorial post lamenting the decision by Local World to close the site, which was founded in its print incarnation in 1982 and went digital-only last year.
The "last post" said Local World "boast all the cultural hinterland of a freshly discarded wet wipe".
It carried on: "You are to localism what urinal cake is to mountain freshness … Now you presume to inherit our work. If you think you can now simply walk in and trample on its remains, then you can, with the very greatest lack of respect, fuck the fuck off."
Venue was part of Northcliffe Media, previously owned by the Daily Mail & General Trust. It became part of Local World, chaired by Montgomery, when it was founded last year with the merger of Northcliffe and Iliffe News & Media's local and regional titles.
The editorial said the site would "re-emerge, like butterfly become grub, as www.bristolpostwhatson.co.uk. Because, heck, nothing answers 'Hey, where to find what's happening in town tonight?' quite so snappily as www. bristolpostwhatson.co.uk."
"You want to hand over that legacy to a paper whose management – not journalists – are the precise equivalent of those radio stations which promise 'your better music mix' and then put the same few songs on repeat," it said.
Montgomery, in a recent leaked "vision" document, talked about journalist shifts being abandoned, with "content managers" responsible for "harvesting" stories and overseeing "a live content stream".
The Venue editorial said: "We were writers, Local World, photographers, not 'content providers'." It said the site, in its last incarnation, was staffed by two people "working part time on alternate weeks".
It added: "Where once they were part of a vast team of journalists delivering informed, first-hand comment from every last facet of city life, today our hapless duo struggle to do much more than pass on received opinion and rehash press releases."
Local World declined to comment.