Wednesday, 6 May 2009

'No future for the regional dailies' R4 told

Interesting debate about the future of regional daily newspapers on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning between former Northern Echo editor Peter Sands and MediaGuardian's Roy Greenslade.
They were meant to be talking about the Evening Standard's jaw dropping "We're sorry campaign" in which the paper apologises to Londoners in a new advertising campaign for being too negative in the past and not celebratory enough about the capital.
The debate turned to the future of regional daily papers. Sands claimed they could survive if they adapted quickly to a print and internet model, gave reporters "their status back", were prepared to get off diary stories and develop campaigns.
He also suggested that they might be able to flourish under more local ownership.
But Greenslade was adamant that while regional weeklies would survive: "The regional daily is dead in the water. Their day is over." He said they covered too big an area to be local and could not find a central position that appealed to readers.
Greenslade argued that current owners of the regional press would not be expanding their reporting staff and local owners would not be able to run them as cheaply as the big companies are able to achieve now through economies of scale.
He predicted that in 10 years hardly any regional dailies would be published.

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