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Journalism News Digest: A troubled week for Trinity

If last week’s inaugural digest reflected concerns over the future of Johnston Press, this week the focus of attention in the industry was all on fellow regional publisher Trinity Mirror.

The week began with TM issuing a profits warning allied to a promise of further efficiencies that sent its share price tumbling by 25pc.

Within 24 hours a recruitment freeze was imposed, and HoldtheFrontPage reported that TM’s national subsidiary Mirror Group Newspapers had scrapped two places on its famous graduate training scheme.

Thankfully, by Wednesday, the good old NCTJ had come riding to the rescue by offering the two disappointed students the chance to apply for funding.

By the end of the week, City brokers were even suggesting that Trinity and Johnston could solve their respective problems by merging though the two companies predictably gave the idea short shrift.

It would certainly have some interesting repercussions across the regional press – but the House of Lords, which voiced fears about industry consolidation in a recent report, would presumably have something to say about it

Away from corporate politics, the Coventry Telegraph was celebrating success in its campaign to save the city’s rugby club after raising more than £50,000 in a fortnight.

And a group of journalism students found themselves in the right place at the right time when Kate and Gerry McCann’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell visited their college on the day a major new development in the Madeleine story broke.

Major industry moves saw Northcliffe’s Michael Pelosi take over as president of the Newspaper Society, while top jobs on HFTP included those of Editor of the Dorset Echo in succession to David Murdock, and Premiership Sports Writer for the Lancashire Telegraph.

The latter role is being vacated by Andy Neild, who brought in last week’s LT scoop about the appointment of Paul Ince at Blackburn Rovers and who is now off to pastures new.

Elsewhere the South Wales Evening Post in Swansea discovered the power of the web after its coverage of a fatal road accident in the city generated a huge online debate and several follow-up splashes.

And the social networking site Facebook served up a top scoop for Torbay’s Herald Express after an eagle-eyed reporter spotted plans for a huge beach rave, later cancelled after generating headlines around the world.

Sadly, though, it seems this potentially highly productive source of news is not open to all regional press journos.

As one anonymous hack commented on HTFP: “Our office has put a computer block on Facebook use, so such stories will be impossible to locate. Another bureaucratic intervention to stop us finding some decent stories.”

Perhaps now the summer silly season and its traditionally slow news days are almost upon us, they should try news agency boss Richard Orange’s new web resource about four-week council audits.

The former regional press man has produced a potentially invaluable guide to the dates when reporters can go through the books of their local councils.

If enough journalists take up his suggestion, we can presumably expect a wave of stories about councillors claiming everything on their expenses from holidays to new kitchens to plasma screen TVs.

Or is it just MPs that do that sort of thing?


Lauren Chadwick (05/07/2008 15:10:21)
You should ask to set up a Facebook page for your newspaper – I’ve done one for the Mirfield Reporter and although it’s fallen slightly by the wayside with my NCE stress thre are some people who have joined it without even being invited! Now I just need to get some news!!