A media pundit has called on a regional daily to go “up-market” after its editor announced he was leaving.
As reported on HTFP yesterday, Michael Beard is to bow out as editor of Brighton daily The Argus after nine years to take up a PR role with Public Health England.
Now the Guardian media blogger Roy Greenslade, who lives in Brighton, has urged the title to embark on a radical change of direction in order to win back lost readers.
He said the Argus should reinvent itself as a Times Literary Supplement-style publication to appeal to an affluent, middle-class audience.
Roy was challenged to say what he would do to improve the Newsquest-owned title’s fortunes by a correspondent on his Media Guardian blog.
He replied: “The chance was missed several years ago – that was to take the paper up-market in a city with two large universities plus several colleges.
“When its audience was large enough to take the risk, it could have been revamped as an up-scale TLS/TES-style publication.
“In fact, that’s what Newsquest should consider doing even now, while it has the brand: long-form journalism in print and online.
He went on: “It should concentrate on attracting an affluent, educated middle-class audience.
“It might not work, I admit, but better to go down doing something really radical than to drift away as it has been doing (no disrespect to Michael Beard, by the way, nor his staff – they haven’t controlled the paper’s fate).”
However Roy also ruled out applying for the vacant editor’s post himself when asked if he had considered doing so.
He added: “Newsquest wouldn’t touch me, of course, but I would hope that there is someone at the company willing to rise to the challenge and appoint an editor with that kind of up-market brief.”