A newspaper which went from daily to weekly two years ago may now be published twice a week under plans being drawn up by publisher Local World.
However David Montgomery, who heads Northcliffe’s successor company Local World, believes the move came too early and has left a “gap in people’s lives” in the city.
HTFP can reveal that Local World is now researching the potential for increasing the paper’s frequency to twice or even three-times a week.
The move was revealed by Local World chairman and chief executive David in an exclusive interview with HTFP which is published in full on the website today.
In the interview, David also revealed LW’s ultimate goal of charging for online content, but stressed that the group’s current “relatively unsophisticated” newspaper websites meant it was not option at present.
He also reiterated his view that all the “traditional roles” associated with journalism must go, while arguing that this would be “good news” for journalists.
And insisting print still has a future, he pointed to Exeter as an area where LW is in “expansionist mode” as far as the medium is concerned.
Said David: “Some of the conversions from daily to weekly have been too early. We have at least one city where we went from daily to weekly where we will be reconsidering that decision.”
Naming the city in question as Exeter he went on: “The Express & Echo is very robust as a weekly paper but there is a feeling that there’s a gap in peoples’ lives.
“We’re unlikely to go back to a daily paper but we are looking at launching a second day a week.”
Local World has stressed that the project is still in “research phase” but further announcements are likely later in the spring.
The Express & Echo went weekly in August 2011 after 106 years as a daily paper.
At the time of the frequency change, the paper had an average daily circulation of 17,102 and according to the most recent ABC figures, now averages 18,985 copies as a weekly.
The change prompted the title’s former editor, Marc Astley, to launch a website called The Exeter Daily, saying there was still a demand for daily news in the city.
In the interview, David also defended the controversial policy of allowing public organisations such as the police to post stories direct to LW websites.
As reported on HTFP on Friday, Torbay police published an appeal for witnesses to a bag theft directly to the website of the Torquay Herald Expres.
Some commenters on the site along with media pundit Roy Greenslade questioned the move, warning of potential legal repercussions for the paper.
Said David: “What it illustrates is that communications is no longer the preserve of professional media owners. It’s just facing up to reality.”