A weekly editor whose newspaper published revealing pictures of celebrities on its website despite the lack of a local connection has defended the move.
It was illustrated by a picture of an American fashion model, Erin Heatherton and another celebrity with no known link to the paper’s patch.
But although the move led to criticism from another journalist within the LW group, editor Simon Findlay has defended the practice.
He told the media commentator Roy Greenslade: “You can call it clickbait if you like, which it is.
“We’re a new website, just a couple of months old, and we’re trying to drive an audience to our site. These national stories are teasers. They do get us thousands of hits and that’s a good thing.”
Simon argued that by using national stories to draw readers to the site encouraged users to to read other, more serious, items such as a poll on next month’s Rochester and Strood by-election.
He said: “So far we’ve had 1,500 people take part, which is more than take part in most online polls.”
He wrote: “A paper in our group getting tens of thousands of hits by posting ‘stories’ about nude photos of US celebrities. It’s bullshit and I hate it.”
He followed it up with a second Tweet saying: “Trying to cash in on breach of privacy to get hits off perverts is utterly shameless.”
Simon responded: “I respect Gareth Davies and that’s his point of view, which is fine. He is free to say what he likes. But we’re engaged here in building an online audience and this is proving to be a successful way of doing it.”