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Syndication unit leaves news staff quids in

A new syndication unit at North Wales Newspapers has got off to a flying start – and the staff are giving it their full support.

The Mold-based company has decided to give staff a percentage cut of all material sold for reuse.

It has agreed a syndication policy where staff writers and photographers, as well as sales staff, take a cut of all materials sold on to other media.

Editor Richard Williams said: “This, as you would imagine, is proving very popular with staff who get the kudos of seeing their material appear in the national media and good extra payments.”

Last week the company’s flagship title, the Wrexham Evening Leader, left the nationals trailing in its wake with their exclusive story about the 64-year-old Wrexham man Brian Willliams and his 17 year old girlfriend Stacey Furneaux, who were planning to get married.

The story was uncovered by the Leader’s photographer Les Evans and chief reporter Matt Warner.

The Evening Leader played the nationals at their own game and moved the couple to a secret location on the day the story appeared across their splash and a double page spread.

Within hours of the paper being published their office was inundated with offers from the nationals, TV, magazines and other media for the pictures and words.

With no way of getting hold of the couple, journalists were left to struggle to follow up the evening title’s exclusive.

The paper eventually syndicated the story through the Daily Express.

And the Evening Leader kept ahead of the story each day by publishing new material from the controversial couple from their hideout.

Richard said: “We realised we had a big story on our hands straight away and decided that it was in everybody’s interest to have the couple out of the way.

“As it has worked out we had four days of exclusive coverage, the syndication rights and the couple have managed to avoid the media scrum that developed outside their house.

“Les and Matt have worked incredibly hard on it and with news editor Jonathan Barnett and picture editor Rick Matthews we carefully managed the publication of the story to keep the Leader ahead every day.

“We literally turned away dozens of offers from papers and TV wanting to speak to the couple. It has been a really mad week.

“At one stage the Sun did get through to Brian and we had to laugh when we heard he had told them ‘I’m not signing anything for you, I’m with the Evening Leader’.”

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