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 Ç½ƒ_ª_pÇ½ƒ_ª¶ word. Ç½ƒ_ª_We all want to create a great product.Ç½ƒ_ª¶
Product? ThatÇ½ƒ_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 Ç½ƒ_ª_a productÇ½ƒ_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 Ç½ƒ_ª_mock funeralÇ½ƒ_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 TheBusinessDesk.co.uk, making a storming speech at Journalism.co.ukÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½s news:rewired conference about tearing down the walls between advertising and editorial.
He said: Ç½ƒ_ª_To all of you who are saying Ç½ƒ_ªÓ_Sorry IÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½m just a journalist, I donÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½t sell advertising or organise events,Ç½ƒ_ªƒ_½ I say Ç½ƒ_ªÓ_toughÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½ thatÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½s just the way it will be from now on. We tried it the other way and it broke.
Ç½ƒ_ª_That artificial divide we created when we put the noisy people in a room marked Ç½ƒ_ªÓ_advertisingÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½ and the studious types in another labelled Ç½ƒ_ªÓ_editorialÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½ was the biggest mistake newspapers and other media ever made.Ç½ƒ_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 Ç½ƒ_ª_churnalismÇ½ƒ_ª¶ to fill editorial space rather than original stories.
And IÇ½ƒ_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 Ç½ƒ_ª_mock funeralÇ½ƒ_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: Ç½ƒ_ª_DonÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½t it always seem to go, that you donÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½t know what you got till itÇ½ƒ_ªƒ_½s goneÇ½ƒ_ª¶ÝÇ½ƒ_ª¶