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Regional press boss slams outsiders who say industry is ‘not doing a good job’

Lorna WillisA regional publisher’s chief executive has hit out at industry outsiders who accuse the regional press of “not doing a good job”.

Archant CEO Lorna Willis has criticised what she called the “arrogance” of external commentators discussing innovation within the sector.

Lorna, pictured, spoke out on The Media Show on BBC Radio 4 during a discussion on regional media.

She also highlighted Archant’s recent link with Google, which has seen it launch a number of new projects including news website Peterborough Matters.

Lorna also called for the regional press to “get past” the argument about technologies companies having “eaten our lunch” with regards to local advertising.

She said: “There is a level of arrogance that comes from outside this industry, that looks in and says ‘they’re just not doing a good job’.

“Actually, we’re doing a bloody excellent job – and what Google did was give us the space to breathe.

“They said ‘OK, you’ve got some amazing talent in this business. Here you go, here’s some cash. Go and innovate, and go and be sustainable.'”

Lorna was then asked by presenter Julian Worricker if the partnership provided Archant with a “sustainable financial platform to build on”.

In response, she said: “It will do. We’re going through the news experiment. So yes, that’s absolutely the plan.”

Praising Google, Lorna added: “They got to know our business at a micro level and asked how they could help.”

However, she also hit out at other technology firms’ relationships with the regional press during the interview, saying Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat “don’t engage.”