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City final

After 154 years, newspaper printing comes to an end in Liverpool

Published on August 2nd 2009.

City final

THE presses will roll for the last time at the Liverpool Echo tomorrow morning as printing is transferred 40 miles outside the city, to Oldham.

More than 100 jobs have been axed in the cost-cutting move by owners Trinity Mirror which, on Thursday, announced half-year profits of £49.1million.

'We did not want to kill off the Echo – we still have 200 members working there. So has the NUJ. A boycott was never really an option'

The closure of the Old Hall Street plant brings to an end 154 years of printing in Liverpool.

Both the Liverpool Echo and its stable-mate, the Daily Post will now be printed on presses at Trinity Mirror’s huge plant at Hollinwood Drive in Chadderton, Oldham, in Greater Manchester.

Trinity, publishers of the Daily Mirror, say that the move out of Liverpool will mean "a better, brighter Echo for readers and better long-term prospects for the staff and the business."

Union leaders accuse the Echo of “hypocrisy” and say it is betraying Liverpool by taking jobs out of the city and harming the Merseyside community which the paper serves.

The National Union of Journalists claim the move will fatally undermine the paper’s editorial credibility as a champion for Merseyside – a charge which editors are acutely sensitive to.

The union fears that, although there will be improvements in the quality of the paper used and the reproduction of colour photographs, the quality of news in the Echo and Post will suffer from earlier deadlines – 7am in the morning for the Echo.

NUJ Regional Organiser Chris Morley said: “Effectively, the paper will be produced the day before – it will be 24 hours old. Changing the paper to get in a late-breaking news story will be almost impossible.”

However, two editions of the Echo will still be produced – but it’s likely that only the front and back and one inside page will be changed.

The NUJ also fear that the demise of the Daily Post will be hastened because it will be in direct competition with the Echo from 10am every morning, when

By Matt Finnegan

the first editions are expected on the streets of Liverpool.

Already, separate reporting staff from both papers have been merged into one. It is expected that the separate papers will follow suit.

Unite, the union which represents the sacked printers, faced an uphill battle to try to save the jobs and keep printing on Merseyside. Trinity argued that it would cost £24million to replace the ageing and out-dated presses at Old Hall Street – compared to just £6million to invest in the extra capacity at Oldham.

Unite Regional Secretary Paul Finegan said: “We were always up against it from the start, because we couldn’t argue with the figures. Trinity paid lip service to consulting us.

“Over the years, the Echo has been one of the most profitable parts of the regional business for Trinity – but they creamed off massive profits without investing anything back into Liverpool.

“They left the cupboard bare and then, when hard times hit, it’s the workers who pay the price.”

And he revealed: “I’m confident we could have rallied the people of Liverpool behind a ‘Boycott the Echo’ campaign, just like Liverpool fans did to The Sun over Hillsborough.

“But although we lobbied MPs and local councils and got great public support, we did not want to kill off the Echo – we still have 200 members working there. So has the NUJ. A boycott was never really an option."

Will Mr Finegan be buying the new Echo then?

“I haven’t bought it since the day they announced the move to Oldham,” he admitted. I had friends and colleagues there who have now just been thrown out of work.”

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33 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Hmm.....who cares?July 31st 2009.

The Manchester operation is vastly more efficient and the newsprint is much superior to the chip paper printed by the ECHO.Liverpool is a minor city in real terms and should therefore have a free paper comprising ads, footy stories, and wedding pics of toothy clerks and their balding husbands.

Dingle BelleJuly 31st 2009.

Aye, remember when the Echo was a broadsheet and was relevant to local people who could read and write?

DigJuly 31st 2009.

I think both The Post and Echo are struggling for existence. Why else would The Echo be in shops in the mornings now if not to try to regain the readers it's rapidly losing? I know some Echo employees and ex employees read Confidential and they would be much better suited to comment on this. Anybody care to comment anon about the plight of The Oldham Chronic?

Old Old Hall StreetJuly 31st 2009.

That's a bit harsh on Dig, Rev Spooner, he is making a serious and salient point. However the arse has fallen out of regional print journalism generally and the harsh reality is that no provincial city can sustain two daily newspapers without investment and there has been none of that for years. It's gone to the Trinity shareholders. But there will be strong avenues for investigative journalism in the regions, in the future, but not blogs which can frequently do more damage than good. Knowarramean?

Former ReaderJuly 31st 2009.

The Echo no longer seems to have those little bulletins at the foot of the page about the activities of the Jewish Lads' Brigade. Have they disbanded?

Angry of AigburthJuly 31st 2009.

Undoubtedly The Daily Post is far better newspaper than the Echo (it has news in it for a start) but I resent stumping up more than ten bob for a slim tabloid that is given away free in certain car parks in the city centre. Also it sucks up to the dreary 'business community' too much and also has that awful 'By Invitation Only' social diary of the yoberati. It ought to be renamed 'Scally Circular'.

CorrespondentJuly 31st 2009.

Matt notes that the editors are "acutely sensitive" to the fact that the move to Oldham weakens their claim to champion Merseyside. I'd go further; it effectively removes any right they may once have had to speak on behalf of the region. As the Unite rep admits, you can't argue with plain figures on a balance sheet. However, what has led to this situation is the decision not to reinvest any portion of the profits made back into the Liverpool printing presses. Short-term avarice leads to long-term uncertainty, followed by redundancy, for the paper's printers. The Oldham Echo has nailed its colours to the mast. No longer can the pretence be maintained that the Echo "speaks up for Merseyside".

Angry is wrongJuly 31st 2009.

The echo dont forget has been a valuable lifeline to older folk and lonely persons for years.The births deaths and marriages columns were the only source of enjoyment for many isolated and poverty stricken pensioners.Families rent apart by drugs, alcoholism and violence could still stay together via the personal ads and many many marriages were celebrated in this wonderful way.The Echo like Liverpool FC will be sadly missed now that it has faded into obscurity for ever.

Reverend SpoonerJuly 31st 2009.

You are quite right on all counts Old Old Old Street. Apologies to Dig if misinterpreted, but please don't judge my comment or me due to the unfortunate associations with my name, there seems to be too much of that at the moment which, as you say, can sometimes do more damage than good. Dig does indeed write with wit and has a salient point. I know this as Nadia sent me a polaroid of it. So keep it up Dig, which by coincidence is what she had written on the back of the polaroid.

DigJuly 31st 2009.

Yeah John, what are the odds on The Daily Post closing?

Major HitchcockJuly 31st 2009.

You're a shower! An absolute shower!

Paddy PowerJuly 31st 2009.

I see the Daily Post is about to kick the bucket for good. Question is will it go weekly or will they scrap it altogether?

Death by a thousand cutsJuly 31st 2009.

It's a great shame. The thumbscrews have been turning for years and years in those offices to make a profit for greedy London shareholders. It's a parable of modern capitalism, sorry to sound so lefty, and a reason why newspapers should never be floated on the stock market. I hope Sly Bailey is sleeping well.

AnonymousJuly 31st 2009.

Daily Post is now down to 11,000. Have the bookies opened a book on it yet as to when it closes? If any posters who happen to work for BetFred know, giz then insider gen!

Professor ChucklebuttyJuly 31st 2009.

Who told you it was my skip? Anyway while you are satying in my house until yours is re-built, I would ask you not to make your insulting comments on here you mad old bat! And stop falling asleep on the toilet. Until we get the light fixed how am i supposed to know you are sitting there? You know what my bladder's like. I couldn't help it in the dark! You can wash your own nighty next time.

LiverpudlianJuly 31st 2009.

As the Echo contains only Beatles drivel, sensationalist tripe about footy, old crimes and articles about 'celebrities' I've never heard of, perhaps it will be of more interest to the people of Oldham than it is to the people of Liverpool?

Former ReaderJuly 31st 2009.

Who'd a thunk it!

Reverend SpoonerJuly 31st 2009.

Good to see Dig back with his usual shining wit.

Mr. ChatterboxJuly 31st 2009.

Ah, remember Stanley Reynolds' attempts to get a 'café society’ column going? Material was a bit thin as it was just non-stories about cronies he met in Kirklands and Keith’s!

scouse_mouse_2000ukJuly 31st 2009.

So the Echo is going, the football is going. Is there anything else people want to take from our City? Maybe a cathedral or two. The Liverpool Echo will be the Manchester Echo.

Angry of AigburthJuly 31st 2009.

And the people of Liverpool who contribute to Liverpool Confidential have had their paragraphs taken away too. Why must we always be the ones to suffer?

whatdoIknowJuly 31st 2009.

Thank you for running this. Matt Finnegan has hit the tip of the iceberg in this excellent report, but still it has a lot more truth to it than anything TM would be about to tell the public - or their staff.

Going, going....gone!July 31st 2009.

LLiverpool’s Daily Post has lost more than Angry of Aigburth as readers. The Oldham-printed paper has seen an 18% drop in readership year-on-year according to the latest ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) figures. Average circulation has been around 11,600 for each issue over the last 6 months. The Liverpool Echo has had a 10.1% drop in circulation to just over 92,000.ABC figures for regional, daily titles: Liverpool Daily Post - 11,648Liverpool Echo - 92,093Daily Post (Wales) - 33,938Wrexham Evening Leader - 19,437ABCe (websites) Unique monthly usersDaily Post Wales - 152,059Liverpool Daily Post - Certificate PendingLiverpool Echo - 582,115Manchestereveningnews.co.uk -1,062,750

Angry of AigburthJuly 31st 2009.

Since when did The Echo "champion Merseyside"? All it does is promote mawkish sentimentality or laughable scouse nationalism that makes us the laughing stock of the national media. It can't even get this right. The last Echo I bothered to read had a sensationalist front page pleading for the banning of guns (and they have been banned since the Dunblame shootings) a few pages in was a photograph of pouting 'columnist' Amanda Harrington in a swimsuit posing with a gun. It would be funny if it weren't so lamentably tragic.

Mrs HewitJuly 31st 2009.

Please stop having a go at the echo it brings back unhappy memories of my dear cat brutally flattened by an idiot neighbour lowering a skip into his garden. To make it worse he tried to pass off a local feral moggie named Ken as a double so he wouldn't be found out. Took the shins off me it did. Haven't seen it since the house burned down after the same idiot and his friend set light to a stolen motorbike in the garage. But anyway all this talk of the demise of the Echo upsets me as it used to fit perfectly in the cat tray which is the only reason I ever bought it. I think Tiddles used to enjoy doing his business on minor celebrities. He particularly looked forward to Pete Price night which always seemed to ease his constipation. So if the Echo goes, it's like losing the last link with my little friend. It's amazing how something so unabsorbing can be so absorbent at the same time. I remember one evening the neighbour picked it up from the cat tray and said why is the Echo full of sh*t (he is rude) I joked, you ill have to ask the editor and we had a good laugh, as he sniffed his fingers and wiped them on my best linen table cloth - the filthy man!

H SamuelJuly 31st 2009.

It's the same story everywhere, but if the costs have been stripped to the bone, you are just going to do what's easiest ie: fill the space betwen Rapid Hardware ads with stories about the Beatles

Professor AnonymousJuly 31st 2009.

By Jove, Missus, yes I would like to comment anonymouskouri. My neighbour Mrs Anonymous prefers the Echo to the Post saying it is far more absorbent and just the right size for the cat tray, not that she needs it anymore as Anonypuss The feral Moggie did a runner after my anonymous friend from the local key-cutting shop accidentally burned her house down. Now I would argue that since the mass exit of staff, the papers have not only become similar in content, given that the main writers now cover both publications rather than specialising, but that her absorbency argument is nonsense as the type of paper they use for the print run is the same for both. Now Mrs Anonymous says the Echo is more populist but that the Daily Post much sharper. I asked her if she meant in terms of the political coverage but she said no, it cuts you to ribbons and showed me her paper cuts. Pull them back up woman, I said, the curtains are open, in fact the play had already started. Apparently Jonathan Pryce took ill after seeing that in the front row! Anyway use the Andrex, I said, it’s all very well this recycling and doing your bit to save the planet, but what’s the point if you can’t sit down to enjoy it.If or should I say when the Daily Post does go, the main thing I shall miss is the job adverts in Welsh. I used to apply for them all. “No idea what the job is but the money would come in handy” I used to say. Well it’s about transferable skills these days isn’t it? As far as I’m concerned, if you can knot 2 miles of sausages in a week, you can turn your hand to anything. Never got a reply from any of them! I even put Harry Seacombe down as a reference - come to think of it, he hasn’t replied either. What happened to keeping a welcome in the hillside? Maybe they reversed that policy when our very own Sir Diddy David Henshed, bought a house in Harlech. Anyway I hear he’s moved into a new place now - he bought that Duck House from Sir Peter Viggers. It will be a sad day, when the Daily Post does go, not least if it means jobs going with it and on a more serious note when you compare the stories that have been broken in it’s editions and compare them to the sanitised version in the Echo, on current form this site, Liverpool Continental (until they start charging) and the local bloggers will be the only places you can actually get some real information about what’s going on in the city – and I don’t mean Mrs Gerrard’s new hair-do, or full front page exclusives like, “Jimmy Corkscrew to buy Brookside.” Or was it Emily Bishop to buy Baldwin’s casuals? That reminds me, Mrs Hewitt – I mean Mrs Anonymous, has been walking up and down Church Street in her best Bed-jacket, Ben 10 boots and one of Mr Clack’s trilby hats for a month now and she still hasn’t got her picture in one of those Echo Street fashion photo features. Sort it out or you will lose another reader.

Tintin the Boy ReporterJuly 31st 2009.

Does it still have that double-page spread featuring the inhabitants cramped, ugly flats and passing them off as glamorous, fashionable "apartments"? The traditional fare of local newspapers, wedding photographs of overweight office staff would be more interesting than this stuff. Also, who (apart from themselves) is at all interested in the lifestyles of the yoberati that occupy the "VIP" areas of dreary, overpriced nightspots?

poccata poccataJuly 31st 2009.

Is it too late to have an alternative Echo?Why cant the city council publish the paper? It would be a gesture of solidarity after the city has suffered so many tragedies without government support.A free paper is a good idea particularly if it campaigns on real issues like crime, drugs, and the re emergence of the diseases of poverty in Liverpools sink Estates.Many areas of this lovely city have seen TB, Diptheria, Obesity, and Aids bite deeply into the population.Come on council, lets have a freewheeling, radical and fresh free newspaper subsidised from the rates.Who wouldnt part with another couple of quid a week to save the Echo and make it a free newspaper?

AnonymousJuly 31st 2009.


FergusJuly 31st 2009.

2 right. Its like Thatcher. these peopel are just victimising Liverpool. first the slave trade went, then immigrants stopped staying here, then the beatles left, then cilla and jimmy tarbuck, and then the software houses and then the docks.Now the gratest paper ever.Why does everyone pick on Liverpool?Only Doddy and his Diddymen have kept the flag flying for downtrodden scousers.There is no justice.

NickJuly 31st 2009.

Sad to say but it's no great loss. The fact that it give column inches to such luminaries as Amanda Harrington tells its own tale. A woman who epitomises everything anyone with a brain hates about what is wrong with modern Liverpool. Vacuous, celebrity-obsessed, talent-poor but apparently cash-rich.

Stanely ReynoldsJuly 31st 2009.

It wasn't like this in my day. And who is this Price man?

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