The Coventry Evening Telegraph is the latest newspaper to announce plans to switch to morning publication.
Editor Alan Kirby says the move is in response to people’s changing buying habits, and will provide more opportunity for sales.
The first morning edition will hit the streets on October 2, when the paper will drop the word ‘Evening’ from its masthead.
After being printed overnight, readers will be able to buy the Telegraph on their way to work or have it delivered to them at breakfast time.
Alan said: “This is a wonderful new opportunity for the Telegraph and I am proud to be leading this fantastic initiative.
“The Telegraph was originally a morning paper and became an evening in the 1950s. In those days of course our readers’ lives were completely different – the paper was their only source of news and information.
“Today things are very different. People’s buying habits have changed dramatically and they have so much more competing for their leisure time.
“We can no longer dictate to readers when they should receive their paper. Making it available from early morning gives us far more opportunity for sales.”
Alan said he believed that breaking news – while still an important part of the package – is no longer the prime driver of sales for a local evening newspaper, and instead its website would be the priority for breaking news.
He said: “The Telegraph’s localness – its community news, its pictures of people and its interaction with readers – will continue to be its strength. People love us for our unique blend of local editorial and advertising and we must strive to build on that reputation.”
But the National Union of Journalists has been quick to condemn the move.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “Switching the Coventry Evening Telegraph to a morning paper would be a terrible, short-sighted mistake.
“This is entirely the wrong direction to take and flies in the face of all logic and common sense – old news does not sell. The quality, and popularity, of this fine paper would be sure to suffer.”
Chris Morley, NUJ president and journalist on the sister Birmingham Mail title, added: “What use is an evening paper produced the day before, perhaps with the strapline Yesterday’s News Tomorrow?”
Trinity Mirror says that the new publishing time will result in some changes to working hours for some staff, and these will be made in full consultation with those employees involved.
The Telegraph’s first edition is currently published at 9.30am, followed by editions for Nuneaton and Warwickshire and then a City Final at midday.
The paper has a circulation of 53,962 (ABC, July to Dec 2005).