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West country dailies to unveil shared new look

Two regional dailies which recently merged their content and production operations are to unveil new designs on Monday.

The Plymouth-based Western Morning News and Bristol-based Western Daily Press have each had a revamp designed to give them a similar look and feel.

Both titles are now under the control of a single editor-in-chief, Alan Qualtrough, following last month’s shake-up which saw their content operation centralised in Plymouth and production centralised in Bristol.

Andy Wright, editor of the WDP for the past five years, is retiring today after a 40-year career in journalism.

Alan said the two titles will share the same design and pagination but will have different content except for some shared pages such as racing, national and international news, national sports results, TV and puzzles.

He told HTFP: “The themes of the new look are authority, clarity, entertainment and conversation. The design enables us to increase word count by around 10pc thereby giving our readers better value for money.”

  • The new-look Western Morning News, right, minus the current version’s white-on-blue masthead
  • The ‘conversation’ section comprises four pages of opinion, issues, columnists, letters, photography and first-person pieces, plus family announcements and the register which are behind the fold.

    Sections common to both titles such as farming, equestrian, business, art and antiques, leisure and regional features will be synchronized to appear in each title on the same day.

    The two titles are retaining separate mastheads, although both of these are undergoing significant tweaks.

    The Daily Press gets an entirely new masthead while the Morning News has dropped its white-on-blue header and is now black-on-white.

    The Morning News, whose facelift coincides with its 150th anniversary year, is the second Northcliffe title to drop a white-on-blue masthead in the past month. The Croydon Advertiser recently did the same.

    Eleven jobs are being lost as a result of the merger of the content and subbing desks at the two titles.

  • The revamped Western Daily Press, right, alongside the version it is replacing