In Conversation with Paul Henderson, CEO DMG Media
As part of our regular series of Q&As with leading figures in Irish news publishing, this week we speak with Paul Henderson, CEO of DMG Media, publisher of the Irish Daily Mail, The Irish Mail on Sunday, Extra.ie, Evoke.ie, Rollercoaster.ie, and OneFabDay.com
What drew you to the news publishing business?
I grew up over a shop in the middle of town where we sold everything seven days a week. Newspapers fascinated me ..they changed every day and customers would time their visits to get the latest edition. After working in print I was fascinated by the idea of the launch of a brand new television station – Ireland’s first independent station and I was lucky enough to go help that happen. Then came the Net with its speed and flexibility and my love affair with media was sealed.
What’s the most exciting thing happening in news publishing internationally right now?
The recent developments in Australia recognising in financial terms the contribution of news providers to big Tech which is informing Europe and Ireland’s approach to this critical issue. The ever increasing importance and recognition of sustainability and the responsibility of news publishing organisations to adapt their practices. And of course, not just for news publishers but for all companies, in the light of Covid 19, how to adapt to new working practices ensuring creativity, productivity and efficiency in a balanced office/home environment. It’s up to us to respond positively to these developments and take advantage of new opportunities emerging. Flexibility in the face of change is key.
Current challenges facing news publishers?
The primary challenge is making sure we keep all our colleagues and their families safe and engaged while we see out the pandemic crisis. The crew is everything in publishing – no people, no product – it’s that simple! The industry and legislators need to resolve major issues like VAT (a tax on reading), outdated defamation laws, and the absence of any real regulatory oversight which allows international big tech hoover up the advertising euros – this directly threatens the future of our domestic industry. As a publisher, we will stay relevant and flexible irrespective of the bigger picture which will, like most things in life, finds its own level.
What is your most memorable or favourite news moment/story in the past year?
Throughout the last year there have been many memorable news stories published ranging from the Sunday Times FAI story to the Irish Examiner’s ‘Golfgate’ exclusive which demonstrates the vibrancy and professionalism of journalists across the country. But for me, right now, it has to be The Beacon Hospital vaccine story. Very proud for the team.
What’s next for your publication/ Any exciting news you’d like to share?
Currently, we have just published The PULSE, a tribute to the nurses and their incredible hardwork and dedication throughout the Covid 19 crisis. It features stories from a host of personalities and all monies raised go directly towards education funding for nurses to participate in digital Leadership programmes. We’re delighted with the support we have received from other media organisations and corporate advertisers to date. Next month we are moving to new building ..watch this space!