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Sir Ray summons up Churchillian spirit

Local newspaper boss Sir Ray Tindle evoked the spirit of the Blitz as he backed his senior staff to steer the company through the downturn.

General managers from across Tindle-owned titles met in Bristol yesterday for a conference on how to survive the recession.

Sir Ray asked all general managers to remember Winston Churchill’s famous words in 1940 which inspired the country when Britain stood alone: “Let us so conduct ourselves that if this country lasts for 1000 years men will still say ‘This was their finest hour.’

“This is now your finest hour” he said. “I know you can do it. You have already shown us that.”

Earlier group managing director Brian Doel told the assembled executives that the situation in the newspaper industry was the worst since WWII and that Media Guardian had said 2009 “would be a bloodbath.”

He went on to outline how Tindle Newspapers would face this challenge and how individual newspapers could beat the downturn.

Executive director Wendy Craig told the delegates that the Tindle group strength was in its strictly local approach. She encouraged local managers to continue building on the relationship the papers had with their communities – in that way they would survive.

Some of the general managers detailed the steps already successfully taken at their newspapers to offset the fall in revenue. Other general managers gave their views and suggestions.

Sir Ray concluded the conference by thanking the managers present for bringing their newspapers and staff safely through the 2008 crisis to mid-January 2009, and told them the local newspaper industry would survive and flourish once again.

He said he was certain that, together with the group’s cash reserves, the general managers all had the knowledge and ability to see their companies through.