A senior digital executive of Trinity Mirror has hit back at claims by two former editors that overnight printing is partly to blame for the decline of regional dailies.
But David Higgerson, Trinity Mirror’s director of digital publishing, says there is “no evidence that going overnight hurts sales.”
Posting on his personal blog, he accused Steve of fostering a “dangerous” view that daily titles are “full of news people have seen elsewhere already.”
Said David: “The myth which needs killing now is the idea that newspapers which aren’t printed on day are, by default, full of stories people will have read elsewhere. That’s rubbish. Regional newsrooms – in print and online – set the news cycle more often than they respond to it.
“The Birmingham Mail, now overnight, rarely splashes on a story which has been around the previous day, or if it does, it makes sure it takes the story forward. Many of its front pages are exclusives – and stories like the Aston Villa players brawl are brilliant whenever they hit the newsstands, morning, noon or night.
“This isn’t an argument against on-day printing. If it works for a title and they can afford to do it, great. But the solution to our industry’s challenges don’t lie in the time our papers go to bed. They’re more likely to lie in making sure we’re providing people with what they want, when they want it – and that they know they can’t get it anywhere else.
“Perpetuating the myth that newspapers are full of news people have seen elsewhere already certainly doesn’t help. It’s not true, and what’s more, it’s downright dangerous.”
In his speech to last week’s Society of Editors’ regional conference, Chris said that the move to overnight had contributed to the “reduction in relevance” of regional dailies to their readers.
Steve, who resigned as editor of the Trinity Mirror-owned Birmingham Mail in 2009 rather than implement a change to overnight printing, accused evening titles which had made the move of “losing the plot.”