The Birmingham Mail yesterday ran a special late edition to bring readers the much-anticipated news on the Prime Minister’s announcement over his future.
The paper was off-stone at 3.30pm, two-and-a-half hours later than the usual last edition press time.
It was able to tell readers how Blair admitted he was to quit within a year, stating: “This year’s conference will be my last.”
A total of 2,200 extra copies of the Extra Late Night Final were distributed to Birmingham city centre and to certain late night outlets in the suburbs.
The story was filed direct from the paper’s political editor Jonathan Walker in North London, where Tony Blair was visiting a school for a question-and-answer session.
Editor Steve Dyson said the set-up at the Mail was able to accommodate such breaking news.
He said: “We expected it between 2pm and 3pm.
“We keep the press on until 2.30pm every day just in case there’s a breaking story.
“It’s very rare but there was always the chance he might actually have announced his resignation.”
The announcement came on the very limit for the Mail and pushed a tale about the city’s first lapdance club for women onto page 2, with all the preparatory work done ready for the new front page to be slotted in.
Steve added: “The bills went up before the papers and the vendors were having to tell people to come back in a few minutes.”
The paper had reported earlier in the day how it had discovered that two-thirds of the city’s nine Labour MP’s wanted the PM to quit. Only two had actually spoken out in favour of their leader.
Some evening regionals decided that there was not enough fresh information to justify a new press run, while some have switched to what amounts to morning production – and others have dropped the word “Evening” from their title altogether. Do you have a story about the regional press?
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