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– celebrating 140 years

Staff and readers are this week celebrating 140 years of reporting from the Western Morning News.

The paper, launched in 1860, kicked off its special week by reproducing a copy of its very first edition for every reader.

And it’s even gone as far as inviting actors into its Plymouth headquarters to give the newsroom and offices a distinctive historical flavour.

The paper told its readers: “In 1860 any self-respecting Victorian would find out all his latest regional and national news from The Western Morning News.

“Nothing has changed – 140 years on and we’re still providing an unrivalled service in the Westcountry.”

Journalist Gloria Schofield visited a recently-restored Victorian port and told readers what it would have been like to live in Victorian Britain.

Other features include a look at education, farming, leisure, lifestyle and industry through the years, and a chance to win a family day out at a Victorian tourist attraction.

The newspaper serves England’s Westcountry, with reporters based in district offices across Devon and Cornwall.

The head office team works from the distinctive ship-shaped glass and steel headquarters at Derriford, Plymouth.

The Western Morning News re-launched as a tabloid in February 1997 – under the leadership of editor Barrie Williams – and has seen consistent sales growth, remaining among the fastest-growing regional newspapers in Britain.

Editor Barrie Williams outside the Western Morning News HQ. This picture was taken as a publicity shot for a six-part TV documentary about the paper, called Hold The Front Page screened in the Westcountry region earlier this year

The newspaper won the 1999 BT West of England Daily Newspaper of the Year category for the first time after being a runner-up three times in the previous four years, and in 1998 was crowned Newspaper of the Year in the Press Gazette regional press awards.

Always at the forefront of changes in the newspaper industry, the paper recently restructured its newsroom when it introduced a new computer system – Tera – which allows reporters to receive whole pages on their screens, and even their laptops.

The reporters can access a template onscreen into which they write their stories and the headlines. This means that they can file a story straight to the page from any location – a press conference, for instance, or an accident scene.

Eight of the existing sub-editors have become content editors attached to an expanded newsdesk while three sub-editors remain to make all the legal and errors check on print-outs of the pages.

Do you have a story for us?
Ring the HoldTheFrontPage newsdesk on
01332 291111 x6022, or to e-mail us now – click here