A senior editor has hit out at the BBC for making “absurd” claims that the regional press is in decline after his paper’s website topped 1m monthly browsers.
Staff at the Daily Echo in Bournemouth held a rooftop champagne celebration after bournemouthecho.co.uk recorded 1,088,066 unique browsers in January – up 42pc year-on-year.
The photograph was taken using a drone and was subsequently used as the centre spread in the following day’s paper.
Editor Toby Granville said the figures proved that the regional press was continuing to provide people with the best news and information service.
Said Toby: “While the BBC makes absurd claims that the regional press is in ‘decline’ as a means to muscle into our patches, we’ve just recorded our highest ever website figures with over a million visitors.
“Clearly, thanks to our dedicated hard-working team of journalists, these fast-growing figures prove that it is we in the regional press who are providing the local population with all the best news and information they need – and exactly when they want it.”
Vincent Boni, managing director of Newsquest Dorset, added: “This is a historic milestone in our publishing history and we are all grateful for the continued support of the local audience.”
In its recent ‘Future of News’ report, the BBC argued that it may need to expand its local footprint owing to what it called “the decline of the regional press.”
The Echo celebration party – attended by local MPs, dignitaries and business leaders on the roof of the paper’s 1930s art deco HQ in Bournemouth – was photographed by Corin Messer using drone technology.
The website also recorded 9.7m page views for the same month, up 62pc on the same period in 2014.