Former Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson has given his verdict on the Birmingham newspaper war and describes Trinity Mirror's strategy of launching the Birmingham Post Lite spoiler against Chris Bullivant's new Birmingham Press as "mistaken".
Writing on the Stirrer website, Dyson says: "I fear that the main loser in this battle could well end up being the Post, a product with an already delicate circulation which could be decimated or worse by the mistaken strategy of Trinity Mirror.
"And I also worry that the losers could include a reduced-quality Birmingham Mail, robbed of its already stretched manpower to help produce more content for the Lite, an extra sister paper that the joint newsroom was just not staffed up to resource.
"And the Press? Well, its incursion could end up being helped, not hindered, by the confused combat tactics of Trinity Mirror. Especially with the Press’s clever marketing tactics of occasional free delivery, tempting readers to buy it in the weeks it doesn’t arrive."
Dyson suggests: "Surely a better plan for Trinity Mirror would have been to beef up the paid-for Post, and to do so with new resource that did not deplete the Mail?
"Producing an even-better product to compete against an invader could have won the war; but diluting all products to produce a spoiler that only cannibalises sales risks, at best, a Dunkirk."
Meanwhile, ex-Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves' verdict on the Birmingham Press is: "I give it six months", while Bullivant has told Press Gazette that if the Press fails it will be "his Waterloo".
- Steve Dyson edited the Birmingham Mail from 2005 to the end of 2009. His detailed 'Dyson at Large' blog reviewing local newspapers will this week compare the Post Lite and the Press, and can be read at www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk from 7am Wednesday.
- Pic: Steve Dyson