Matt Taylor: Technology will play a big role in the future of journalism

By Elle Rigby

Part of the digital strategy and development team at The Times, Matt Taylor isn’t interested in stories. He’s not interested about how you write the story: but how to communicate and transfer information without being vocal.

Matt joins the number of hugely influential speakers at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism Week, offering students great opportunities to network with experienced professionals and gain valuable advice.

While at University, Matt originally began working for The Times as a freelance sub-editor before going on to be part of the digital strategy and development team, and will talk to students about the extremely lucky events that led to his career and how students can (hopefully) replicate them.

During his time at Queen Mary University, London, Matt was a technology editor for the former university newspaper, writing his own code for the website from scratch and utilising his interest in InDesign.

He said: “What I did is kind of old hat now: but I did live blogging and gossipy ‘Daily Mail esque’ blogging that students seemed to love.”

It was this interest in the “techie stuff” that lead to The Times sponsoring the newspaper, and Matt stressed the necessity of basic technological knowledge that journalists coming into the field should know.

He advised: “Start doing a programming course – you can self-teach. Encourage people. All people behind us coming through school will be way more technically competent.

“Really push yourself as the technology is part of the future and the present.”

This technological push towards new innovate ways of telling a story is one of the factors that led to his booking.

Catherine O’Connor, head of school and arts communication, spoke of the ways The Times encourage trainee journalists to look at new ways of telling a story through their Build The News weekend seminars.

She said: “Experimental work with digital storytelling is reflective of the industry and these new ways of telling a story will hopefully encourage and inspire students.”

Matt spoke of the ways that Journalism will change with the advent of technology, speaking of the big shift in the way publishers work and are funded.

He said: “Paywalls will be a big part of future and level of quality.  We need to find the right product fit and this is only going to come from new people.

“It may mean that distributed media changes to platform media to create much more focussed content.”

Matt Taylor will be speaking on Wednesday November 16 from 3.15-4.15 pm.

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