Trinity Mirror became the UK’s biggest regional publisher earlier this month with the completion of the £220m deal.
But former editors Neil Fowler, left, and Alan Geere, who each worked for both Trinity and LW or their predecessor companies at some stage in their careers, disagree over whether the takeover will be good for the industry.
Writing in In Publishing magazine, Neil said the move would give the newly-enlarged company more freedom to experiment – but Alan fears it will become an “oversized beast that is too big manage.”
Wrote Neil: “Four years ago, in one of the conclusions of my research study into the UK’s regional newspaper sector, I recommended that consolidation should take place quickly.
“The creation of Local World three years ago was the first small move in that direction; the establishment of the enlarged Trinity Mirror is the next logical step, showing that the industry is beginning to accept publicly, at least, the realities of life.
“But the main opportunity is an opening much more challenging – the possibility of being radical.
“With so many different brands and titles, Trinity Mirror can try different methods of crafting its wares, to see if other ways may work better – without damaging the whole business.”
Alan, pictured right, countered: “There is no quibble with Trinity Mirror. They have some good people who know what they are doing. The issue is more with the concentration of power and influence.
“The bigger the group, the less room for flair, adventure and independence of thought or deed. I see some consolidation coming resulting in a new oversized beast that is too big to manage properly.
“Many readers neither know nor care who the owner is – and nor do a lot of the staff – but they do mind that their local paper and its digital counterparts cease to be an accurate reflection of their lives.
“The more local media fails to represent its community, the fewer people will engage – and all the economies of scale in the world count for nought if you have no audience.”
Alan, a former editorial director of Thomson Regional Newspapers which later evolved into Trinity Mirror, edited the Essex Chronicle and Brentwood Gazette before they became part of Local World in 2013.