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Liverpool Daily Post to go weekly

156-year-old paper is latest victim of interesting times in media. Plus comment by Larry Neild

Written by . Published on November 24th 2011.


Liverpool Daily Post to go weekly

THE Liverpool Daily Post, one of the oldest newspapers in the UK, is to switch from a daily to weekly publication in the New Year.

The 156-year-old morning paper, whose circulation fell to 8,200 between June 2010 and July 2011, is owned by Trinity Mirror.

Journalists at the Old Hall Street HQ are beginning work on dummy designs for the new 100 page paper which has ‘The Liverpool Post’ as a working title.

Six more journalists' jobs are expected to go.

It and its sister title, The Liverpool Echo, shed 80 editorial staff in 2009 and recently its political lobby correspondent, Ian Hernon, was made redundant along with syndication executive Tony Hall whose role is understood to have moved to Manchester.

The company has also announced that its free Liverpool weekly titles – The Bootle Times, Merseymart (South) and Star (Anfield & West Derby plus Maghull) – are to be merged into two new community newspapers, The Star and The Merseymart which will now be inserts in Tuesday's Echo.

Larry Neild on the near-death of a local newspaper

Larry_NeildLarry NeildIT'S survived two world wars, the Great Depression, the death of hot metal, and some say it’s been living on borrowed times for donkeys' years.

Finally, the Liverpool Daily Post is becoming a weekly paper. Speculation reached a frenzied pitch in 2009 when the Trinity-owned Birmingham Post went weekly. Liverpool would be next, the gloom-mongers predicted. In the 1970s and 1980s people who thought they were in the know spread stories about death the Daily Post. But the local thunderer outsmarted them all.

The lovely, morning paper has had more near-death experiences than the entire congregation of the local Spiritual Church.

I always added an extra verse to Peter McGovern’s time-honoured ballad, if yer want a daily paper we’ve got one to spare.

Liverpool is one of a small handful of places to boast a morning paper, helped along financially by its brash brother the Liverpool Echo.

Let’s hope its switch to a weekly is not a case of placing the Post into a media hospice to await its final demise.

The North West EnquirerThe North West EnquirerA good weekly paper for Liverpool could easily work. The well-staffed North West Enquirer tried, but failed, to capture an audience, partly because of bad distribution (WH Smith wouldn't take it) and it ran out of money too quickly.  But I always felt that was because people in Liverpool have nothing in common with Blackburn, Bolton or Bury, let alone faraway Cumbria.

)The fear is for the likely quality of the new weekly, especially as Trinity Mirror is shedding six more journo jobs. To do the job properly would require recruitment, not redundancies.

 When I joined the Post and Echo it was family owned, as were the rival weekly groups serving Wirral and North Merseyside.

Now there is little competition for the Trinity stable around these parts

. Liverpool Confidential has increasingly become an alternative voice for reportage around Liverpool, and hopefully that will grow.

The handful of mega rich conglomerates who own the vast majority of the regional press blame the switch to on-line media as the reason for the fatal epidemic hitting local papers everywhere.

Yet the industry’s own ‘Trade union’, the Newspaper Society, say over 30m people a week still read the 1,200 proper local papers produced around the UK. Around 10,000 journalists work on those publications, albeit as multi-taskers these days.

 

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

Staggered Old Hall StreeterNovember 24th 2011.

Bit sad, but the writing was on the wall really. Nothing dynamic in the Post for years. Combination of many things, not least the fact that it's been deliberately run into the ground by management

AnonymousNovember 24th 2011.

Can somebody tell me how they are going to turn out a 100 page paper every week with half a dozen fewer bodies than already?

JimNovember 24th 2011.

I take no pleasure in its demise (jobs will be lost). However, it was inevitable, not just because of the web's effect on print but also the paper's paucity of genuine local news & an uncritical, even servile approach to certain business interests in the city.

AnonymousNovember 24th 2011.

They'll charge a quid for it. It'll be dead in a year

ObserverNovember 24th 2011.

Did anyone grab that bunch of flowers from the Everyman picture?

AnonymousNovember 24th 2011.

I though all of them had moved to Manchester????

AnonymousNovember 24th 2011.

As Larry says, it's just hard to see what the Post will offer in terms of quality hard news on a weekly basis. As things stand now it simply runs identical stories to the Echo every day, right down to the intros. A weekly would need more staff to source original stories, not less, and it certainly can't pass off week-old Echo content, so what's to do? And as long as there is a shared newsdesk, it's hard to imagine any meaty exclusives being afforded to the Post when the Echo can have 'em.

As ever, both title and staff are being treated with utter contempt.

AnonymousNovember 24th 2011.

Not so very long ago, the Liverpool (soon to be ex-Daily) Post was regarded as the newspaper of choice for the professional classes on Merseyside.

Then someone discovered more targeted marketing, and the Daily Post was redefined as a publication for the decision makers on Merseyside. That might not sound much of a change, but there was an unspoken shift as well is that "decision makers" meant the private sector above all others.

Now just how many REAL private sector decision-makers are there on Merseyside? A thousand? Two thousand? Three? Suddenly the Daily Post's daily sale starts to make sense - but what business model did Trinity Mirror delude itself into believing would work for a market that small?

Remember too that proper decision makers are there mainly because they are good at their jobs, and with that comes a capacity to see through well capable of seeing through the bland one-size-fits-all material that fills so much of the Daily Post these days.

Maybe, just maybe, a weekly Daily Post could work. But as a rehash of the previous week's Echo (minus the wall to wall crime) without its own vigorous voice, I fear the worst.

Time for a change at the top? Editor Mark Thomas is a decent and honest man, but at a time of crisis maybe the paper needs a Kenny Dalglish at the helm rather than reappointing Roy Hodgson.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 25th 2011.

Not two words I'd use, at very least going by the strength of those increasingly preposterous quotes he allows his name to be put to.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2011.

Too many posh boys who don't come from Liverpool editing both the Daily Post and the Echo. Fact.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2011.

I am sorry but the present team are just not up to the job of presenting a real quality weekly. It's not their fault, they just don't have the experience.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2011.

Great pity to see a once great paper bite the dust. When I worked there in the early 80's the then owners wanted to hang on to the title at all costs as it was the mouthpiece for the company. Recently it seems to have been trying to attract the young upwardly mobile market, just the sort of people who don't read newspapers, thereby alienating their traditional audience for the young Turks who couldn't care less. God bless focus groups!!

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

It's a shame but has been coming for years. Having worked at LDP&E towers not so long ago (I got my first byline in the Post) I'm well aware of how it was viewed by the majority of the powers-that-be. Not all, I must add, but certainly the bean counters who simply didn't know what to do with it. Hiking the price to make it anti-competitive with the rest of the popular tabloid and mid-market dailies while stripping pagination back simply defied logic. And the tragedy of all of this? It's a better read than the Echo, which has targeted the lowest common denominator for far too long, selling its soul in the process. It's sad to see the life being suffocated out of the regional press by the likes of Trinity Mirror who care for little else than the bottom line, minimising costs to maximise profits to appease the shareholders. The beginning of the end began long ago for the Post, when they stopped investing in the paper and its staff. The move to a weekly appears as tokenism to one of the oldest and most respected regional papers in the country. It's merely delaying the inevitable. 'But at least we tried,' they will say. No you didn't. Not nearly hard enough.

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