Tuesday 9 February 2010

'Guardian may have had to close MEN'

Guardian News & Media's head of media and technology Steve Busfield (left)describes today's sale of the Manchester Evening News by Guardian Media Group to Trinity Mirror as the "least worst option" and claims it may have faced closure.
Writing on the Greenslade blog, he says: "Many northerners still refer to The Guardian as The Manchester Guardian. It hasn't been so since the early 1960s, but there was clearly an affinity and a pride that came with such a long-standing link.
"But the Manchester Evening News was not the Manchester Guardian. It is a regional newspaper, in an industry which is buckling under the twin pressures of the credit crunch and the growth of digital rivals. Guardian Media Group, with its small disparate regional network, was not the organisation to pull the MEN out of that hole.
"Trinity Mirror, on the other hand, has a large and still relatively successful regional newspaper business. Trinity Mirror's papers are not exempt from the pressures afflicting the industry, but it does have a larger portfolio, it can make economies of scale and it has other papers, such as the Liverpool Post, in the north-west of England.
"There will, inevitably, be cost-cutting, but, for the sake of the business, that has got to be better than closure. Just how far local newspapers can be cut back is a reasonable question to ask, though. The staff who remain and the readers are the ones who will find out just how damaging that might be"GMG clearly did not want to close the MEN, but, without the sale, it might have had no option."
  • Trinity Mirror has told MEN Media staff they will be moving to Oldham, where the Manchester Evening News is printed. A spokesman for Trinity Mirror told Press Gazette: "Due to the lease requirements Trinity Mirror has only been granted a six-month license for the occupation of Scott Place. Therefore we are required to relocate operations and it is proposed to relocate to Trinity Mirror's Greater Manchester premises in Oldham."

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