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MEN 'could be weekly in ten years' says boss

The Manchester Evening News could be a freesheet or a weekly in ten years’ time, the boss of the paper’s parent company has speculated.

Mark Dodson, chief executive of GMG Regional Media, made the comments in an interview with the Guardian’s Stephen Moss about the future of the regional press.

In it he predicted that, while he is sure the MEN will continue to exist in ten years’ time, it will be a different kind of product.

“It will look fundamentally different from the way it is now. It could be totally free, or part-paid and part-fee. It could be two days a week, or three days a week, or weekly,” he said.

“There will be a product that serves Manchester, serves it properly and is of high quality, but…it will be a mixture of products that serve the community, and I expect the same in Birmingham, Glasgow and other places as well.

“You have to be totally open-minded, because three years ago no-one would have believed we would be in this position.”

GMG has already announced it is turning the Reading Evening Post into a twice-weekly publication as part of a major shake-up across its regional operation.

Journalists at the MEN are currently fighting plans to axe 78 editorial jobs at the title and its sister weeklies in the Greater Manchester area.

In his article, Moss speculates that the country’s great morning dailies will be gone in a few years – “unless some rich businessman fancies them as a trophy.”

Read it in full here.


Hackette (06/04/2009 09:31:44)
Only problem- there won’t be any weeklies in ten years if they are run down at the present frantic rate. What a great paper the MEN used to be.

Another Northcliffe Old-Hand (06/04/2009 10:08:59)
“You have to be totally open-minded, because three years ago no-one would have believed we would be in this position.” Yet another example of regional press management blaming everyone and everything but themselves. Ten years ago it was blatantly obvious to many of us that the industry would be where it is now if it did not position itself properly and invest in the new classified advertising business models that are now killing it!

Mr_Osato (06/04/2009 14:58:47)
Wise words from Dan Sabbagh in the Times at the weekend “The real problem is caused by publishers having too much debt at this point in the economic cycle. Underneath the debt, almost all local newspapers are, even now, profitable. “
In other words, the current crisis isn’t about the reccession, or a ‘broken business model’ – but down to idiotic mistakes by the likes of Mark Dodson. I see GMG has found 2million quid to ‘rebrand’ its god-awful Century FM radio station – more than enough to save every job that’s being lost at the MEN group. Close Channel M as well and you’ll be able to keep the offices!

George S, Malaysia (06/04/2009 18:22:56)
Newspapers, much like ‘professional’ football clubs, have held an unhealthy belief that they have a divine right to exist. Now, much through a mixture of arrogance, ignorance and a lack of business plan to deal with the World Wide Web, the newspapers are in terminal decline. Your local football club will soon follow.

BND (06/04/2009 20:48:52)
I work at one of GMG’s weekly newspapers currently.
Please help us keep these papers local and fight for the best working conditions for journalists at the MEN by signing our petition.
Log on to

Chappie (06/04/2009 22:37:13)
Mr_Osato is spot on. The problem the MEN faces is that being profitable isn’t enough, it has to sustain that big waste of print that is the Guardian. Three years ago, Dodson was shouting from the rooftops that he’d found the solution for evening papers – make them part-free and distribute everywhere. Given that he failed to predict the rise in printing costs which followed quickly afterwards, I don’t think we can take any predictions he makes seriously unless he puts his money where his mouth is, and organises a management buyout of the MEN group from the Guardian.

Dan Depan (07/04/2009 09:38:10)
… much quicker than 10 years if Dodson (a failed advertising salesman)continues to follow the Gerald Ratner route of underselling his product

Alan Salter (07/04/2009 10:12:15)
Oh my God