As reported on HTFP yesterday, Newcastle daily The Journal is to lose its its standalone Journal.co.uk website from Monday, with readers being redirected instead to ChronicleLive, the online channel for sister title the Chronicle.
The move is part of a plan to create a regional ‘supersite’ by building on the existing strength of ChronicleLive, which has around 25 times more traffic than its Journal counterpart.
Publisher Trinity Mirror’s North-East editor-in-chief Darren Thwaites, left, has defended the move, arguing that splitting its efforts across the two sites had prevented the business from reaching its full potential.
Wrote Darren: “The Journal was crowned this year as the UK Regional Newspaper of the Year and we’re pleased to say that the title continues to outperform industry standards, retaining a loyal and engaged audience base.
“But analysis shows that our digital readers are behaving differently. ChronicleLive is growing audience rapidly right across the region, beyond the Chronicle’s traditional print footprint. And it’s growing audience across all demographics, again outside what would have been seen as the traditional target audience of the Chronicle newspaper.
“Indeed, ChronicleLive now delivers around 25 times more page views and readers than Journal.co.uk.
“Despite that, we’ve not reached our full audience potential because we’ve split our efforts across two sites. We’re often competing against ourselves by publishing the same content twice, which can penalise our rankings in search engines.
“To achieve the scale and level of growth we want, we need to focus all our activity on one supersite that serves our whole region, across all subject areas.
“This gives us a great opportunity to increase our digital audiences around core Journal print specialisms such as business, regional affairs and culture.
“In this most competitive of digital spaces, it’s important we offer a single brilliant digital service to readers without diluting efforts across two sites.
“We believe our decision to throw our weight behind ChronicleLive will unlock significant growth opportunities, both in audience and revenues. It will ensure we cement our position as one of the UK’s leading digital news publishers, enabling us to reach ever greater audiences.”
Darren also made clear in his article that The Journal would remain a separate title in print.
“It’s important to note that this in no way affects our print publishing strategy. As a newsroom, we will continue to publish two great daily newspapers, skilfully selecting the best content from our digital publishing efforts to serve our print readers in the Chronicle and Journal. And we’ll continue in just the same way to publish the UK’s biggest regional Sunday newspaper, the Sunday Sun,” he wrote.
From Monday, Journal.co.uk will exist only as an archive featuring previously published content.
The Journal has been without a separate title editor since Brian Aitken’s departure before Christmas, with Chronicle editor Darren now in overall control of both papers as regional editor-in-chief.