There’s certainly a warm smile for both publishers’ seeming commitment to print.
And we all wish the i the very best with JP, despite its Independent parent shutting down as a paper and – removed from its healthy offspring – attempting a digital-only transformation.
This smile, however, turns into a laugh at what feels like a total mismatch of business strategy for JP – an entrenched regional publisher, arguably managing decline, now set to own and grow what was one of the most successful national newspapers, (I suppose they’ll call it ‘uber-plus’).
The warm smile returns at Trinity Mirror’s impending launch of The New Day, but could turn to tears when you compare what’s planned (25p promotional cover price, millions in marketing, no website, 25 new staff, etc) against what’s happened to its regional dailies (cover prices of 65p-plus, next to nothing in marketing, content given away on the web, regular redundancy programmes, etc).
But given that both national adventures have been more than adequately covered elsewhere, what I’ve decided to do today is to have my own little newspaper fantasy – only this time it’s about regionals. So here goes…
GET YER LATE NIGHT FINAL
Britain’s leading regional publishers have revealed plans to launch a new, editionised evening paper to serve the UK’s main urban conurbations outside London.
The title, to be called Late Night Final, will be jointly-owned by Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press, Newsquest and Archant and will have common features, TV, puzzles, national news and sports pages.
The newspaper will then have editionised slip fronts and changing regional news and sports pages that will enable it to serve each locality.
Late Night Final will be distributed after 1pm in ten greater city areas around the UK with an initial cover price of 20p, although 60% of distribution will be ‘free’ via major hotels, café chains, train stations and airports.
And while 80pc of the editorial will be created and laid out overnight, 20pc will be ‘live’ content gathered each morning with an off-stone deadline of 12 noon.
The ten greater city areas are expected to be:
- West Midlands – including Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Solihull, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and surrounding towns
- East Midlands – including Derby, Leicester, Nottingham
- North East – including Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham and Middlesbrough
- North West – including Manchester, Liverpool and Blackburn
- Yorkshire – including Leeds, Hull, Sheffield and York
- South – including Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighton and Plymouth
- South West – including Bristol, Bath and Gloucester
- East – including Norwich, Cambridge, Ipswich and Peterborough
- Wales – including Cardiff, Newport and Swansea
- Scotland – including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen
Late Night Final will have a single editor-in-chief to oversee the entire publication, which will be subbed at Newsquest’s production hub in Newport, Wales.
There will be ten regional news editors heading each edition’s local pages, each with a small but dedicated staff of news and sports reporters and photographers.
The four publishers have appointed the experienced editorial journeyman Alan Geere, left, as editor-in-chief.
He said: “Who said newspapers were dying? We’ll be recruiting the best hacks in every region and will be making waves with the stories that everyone wants to know about but that regional journalism had forgotten how to uncover.
Added Alan: “Late Night Final will be a force to be reckoned with and will defy doomsayers for years to come.
“I don’t know about a New Day… but this is a new dawn – or a fresh dusk – for the evening newspaper.”
The new regional evening will be printed at printing presses across the country owned by Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press and Archant.
And it will be ‘print-first’, with its accompanying website and social media channels primarily used for marketing, carrying just tasters of the full edition’s content.
(That enough dreaming – Ed)
Do you fancy it? Answers on a virtual postcard, please…