A former regional daily editor has questioned the company’s online rebrand of his hometown newspaper – saying he feels “sad” at the decision.
Neil White, left, who edited the Derby Telegraph from 2012 to 2016, has criticised his former employer Trinity Mirror over the renaming of the Coventry Telegraph’s website as ‘Coventry Live’ in line with a nationwide rebranding of much of the company’s digital portfolio.
But in a conversation with Neil on Twitter, Trinity Mirror digital publishing director David Higgerson defended the switch – saying research has shown the ‘Live’ brand name is “proven” to reach more people online.
The Telegraph’s website was relaunched under its new name earlier this month along with those of several other Midlands dailies.
On Twitter, Coventry native Neil posted to David: “I have never spoken out negatively about the media landscape since my departure nearly two years ago but you have made me sad with Coventry Live. The Coventry Telegraph name has been a daily part of my life for 50 years. Why have you taken it away?”
“You are creating a brand new brand against one which everyone knows in Coventry. I would love to see the proof that works. Can’t believe a single reader said they wanted it would be more loyal because of the change.
David responded: “‘Live’ is proven to reach more people and research says a wider range of people turn to it than a print brand online. We think we can get good local journalism to more people online under the new brand. And create more reader loyalty.
“Just because everyone knows a brand, doesn’t mean they use it. And it can mean they’ve concluded it’s not for them. In [Birmingham], we’ve seen loyal readership rise since moving to the Birmingham Live name. But I suspect I’m not going to convince you.”
@davidhiggerson Hi David, I have never spoken out negatively about the media landscape since my departure nearly two years ago but you have made me sad with Coventry Live. The Coventry Telegraph name has been a daily part of my life for 50 years. Why have you taken it away?
— neil white (@everyfilmneil) April 13, 2018
Neil went on to cite previous examples of regional newspapers being rebranded online, including TM’s ‘ic’ sites in the early 2000s and Northcliffe’s ‘thisis’ series, saying the idea had “been done before”.
David replied that existing readers had been polled before the latest changes were announced, saying the results revealed “content was more important than the brand.”
Both Neil and David declined to comment further on the discussion.
Coventry Live is one of a series of Trinity Mirror sites in the Midlands that have recently relaunched under the new branding along with Leicestershire Live, Nottinghamshire Live and Derbyshire Live.