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New editor promises a Posh and Becks-free zone

The newly-appointed editor of Newcastle’s Morning News has spoken of his confidence in the future of quality, free, regional morning papers.

“I think people just need to look at the way the idea has snowballed for a hint as to where the concept is going,” said Tony Metcalf.

“Within a couple of years there will be free regional mornings in many more major cities.”

But Mr Metcalf, who left the Northern Echo – where he had risen from a district office reporter to assistant editor – to edit the three-month-old Morning News, says his paper is different to many of its competitors.

“Unlike many of the other free mornings around at the moment, we do not run features on the latest diet of an actress, or Posh and Becks’ new hairdos. We feel that magazines, especially, do those things much better than we ever could, and that the Morning News, and papers like it, should steer well clear.”

The Morning News is the first UK venture of Modern Times Group, the Swedishmedia company with an annual turnover of around £370m. MTG produces about a dozen other Morning News/Metro papers around the world.

The paper has just increased from a 24-page tabloid to 28 pages, and Mr Metcalf says more pages will be added soon.

He continued: “It is intended to tackle what we see as the information overload and it is intended to be a serious and trustworthy read – although that is not to say that it is boring. We trust readers to make up their own minds on the issues. We do not campaign, we do not seek out angles.”

The Morning News, he said, was “unashamedly” a news summary and the biggest obstacle they faced was “the perjorative view that most readers have of a free newspaper”.

Mr Metcalf trained on the NCTJ course at Darlington and started his career on a series of weekly paid-fors in East Yorkshire in 1983.

He moved on to the Scarborough Evening News in 1986-87, before joining the Northern Echo.

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