It was one of those classic confrontations between editorial and advertising.

The new ad rep was telling the somewhat world-weary journalists they should all be working together for the good of the business.

Then he used the ǽƒ_ª_pǽƒ_ª¶ word. ǽƒ_ª_We all want to create a great product.ǽƒ_ª¶

Product? Thatǽƒ_ªƒ_½s what B2B publishers call their magazines. To journalists their newspapers and magazines are a bit more organic and a bit more human than ǽƒ_ª_a productǽƒ_ª¶.

To be fair to the ad rep, his positive outlook was being somewhat tested by the fact that the journalists were in the middle of donning black mourning clothes. One was dressing up as a priest and another as the Grim Reaper complete with a giant scythe.

They were outside the offices of North London & Herts Newspapers and about to head off to Enfield town centre carrying a coffin in a ǽƒ_ª_mock funeralǽƒ_ª¶ for their newspapers, which they believe are under threat because of low staffing levels.

It was all part of the dispute at the newspaper group, which publishes the Enfield Advertiser, Haringey Advertiser, Barnet Pres and other weekly titles, where nine NUJ members have gone on strike.

I remember Marc Reeves, the former editor of the Birmingham Post and

now West Midlands editor of, making a storming speech atǽƒ_ªƒ_½s news:rewired conference about tearing down the walls between advertising and editorial.

He said: ǽƒ_ª_To all of you who are saying ǽƒ_ªÓ_Sorry Iǽƒ_ªƒ_½m just a journalist, I donǽƒ_ªƒ_½t sell advertising or organise events,ǽƒ_ªƒ_½ I say ǽƒ_ªÓ_toughǽƒ_ªƒ_½ thatǽƒ_ªƒ_½s just the way it will be from now on. We tried it the other way and it broke.

ǽƒ_ª_That artificial divide we created when we put the noisy people in a room marked ǽƒ_ªÓ_advertisingǽƒ_ªƒ_½ and the studious types in another labelled ǽƒ_ªÓ_editorialǽƒ_ªƒ_½ was the biggest mistake newspapers and other media ever made.ǽƒ_ª¶

But is there trouble ahead?

The trouble with the brave new media world where journalists have to be entrepreneurs, event organisers and ad reps is this: who is going to have time to write the stories?

The journalists on strike in North London say they have been reduced to three reporters producing nine newspapers and claim the quality of the titles is suffering as they rely on ǽƒ_ª_churnalismǽƒ_ª¶ to fill editorial space rather than original stories.

And Iǽƒ_ªƒ_½m sure the positive outlook of the ad rep would cheer up the proceedings at an inquest or a court case, but he would have difficulty filing a story.

The truth is the journalists and advertising departments both care deeply about theirnewspapers/products.

The striking journalists way of showing they cared was trying to appeal directly to the public with the ǽƒ_ª_mock funeralǽƒ_ª¶ publicity stunt.

They believe they are making a final stand for their newspapers.

The test will be if the Enfield public and other North London readers show they care as much as the staff for their local papers by buying and advertising in them.

I am sure they would miss them if they were not there. Not just because the local press keeps an eye on the council and courts, but the way it provides a unique social record of a community.

Ask the people of Woking. A population of more than 90,000 but no local press since March when Guardian Media Group closed its only remaining local newspapers, the 117-year-old Woking News & Mail and free Woking Review.

As Joni Mitchell said: ǽƒ_ª_Donǽƒ_ªƒ_½t it always seem to go, that you donǽƒ_ªƒ_½t know what you got till itǽƒ_ªƒ_½s goneǽƒ_ª¶Ýǽƒ_ª¶