Friday, 17 June 2011

Torquay switch to weekly could herald more frequency changes for Northcliffe's daily papers

Speculation that Northcliffe is considering switching a number of its dailies to weekly or bi-weekly publication will intensify with the news today that the company's daily Torquay Herald Express is to go weekly from next month.

HoldtheFrontPage reports that the last daily edition of the Herald Express, which has an average daily circulation of 21,112, will be published on Friday 15 July, and around half of the current 32 editorial jobs on the paper will go. The first weekly edition will be published on Thursday 21 July.

It follows a review by new Northcliffe managing director Steve Auckland who tells HTFP: “The move to weekly for the Herald Express is part of our strategy to respond to the market and improve the long-term performance of the business."

Northcliffe took the Bath Chronicle weekly in 2005 and Trinity Mirror's Birmingham Post has also converted from a daily to a weekly.

Speculation within Northcliffe is that it is not just the low circulation dailies that could go weekly. It is believed that some big dailies in parts of the country badly hit by the recession could be forced to change frequency because they are no longer bringing in the resources to finance a daily operation.

Any switch in frequency is likely to have a big impact on the number of journalists employed on the dailies.

Rumours that Northcliffe might be considering turning some its dailies weekly surfaced in February as one of its daily papers advertised for staff on short term contracts.

More recently speculation centred on the West Country titles, with Torquay and Exeter mentioned as Northcliffe dailies that could go weekly.

Outside Northcliffe, there has been speculation that Trinity Mirror's Liverpool Daily Post might go weekly.

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