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07/12/2006 - par Mark Tungate

Is the leisure industry the new media ? It sounds like a ridiculous proposition, but two separate events have prompted me to ask that question. The other day I received an unexpected email from a man called David Gledhill, who was my news editor when I got my first job 19 years ago, on a tiny newspaper called the Swindon Advertiser. It turned out that Mr Gledhill had moved from Swindon to a nicer town not far away, where he was editor of the Bath Chronicle for 11 years. But as he put it in his email, « the regional newspaper business is not what it used to be », so he recently started a new career. He now runs a small hotel with a friend.

For a brief moment after reading his mail, I wondered whether I should be running a hotel, too, instead of struggling as a journalist. Then I dismissed the idea. Until today, when I read that Steve Florio, the vice-chairman of Condé Nast in the United States, is leaving the company to run a restaurant called Il Tutto Giorno, near his home in Sag Harbour.

When you think about it, media people are perfectly qualified to run hotels and restaurants. We are used to talking to citizens from every level of society. We must choose from a wide range of ingredients. We have to ensure that our products are served in smart surroundings. We must work long hours and take all kinds of criticism with a smile on our faces. If real journalism dies and blogs take over the world, you'll all be welcome to come and visit me at Chez Mark.

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