Tag Archives: Trinity Mirror

HTFP: Wales on Sunday pays BNP for copyright breach

Trinity Mirror has made an out-of-court settlement with the British National Party after a breach of copyright in an article published last November.

The piece included a picture of BNP West Wales party organiser Roger Phillips, taken by a party official, which the BNP said was taken from Facebook without permission.

Full story at this link…

Regional online traffic compared; Johnston Press comes out top

I’ve had a little play with today’s Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s (ABCe) six-monthly multi-platform report for July – December 2009 and produced a few graphs.

Johnston Press was top of the traffic charts with 384,016 daily unique browsers – partly thanks to the Scotsman which attracted 86,694 daily browsers on average over the past six months. In second place for daily unique browsers (which ABCe now prioritises over monthly statistics as a better measure of site popularity) came Newsquest with 320,975 browsers. Closely behind, Trinity Mirror, which recorded 287,130. Of the bigger groups, it was Northcliffe in fourth position with 256,123. GMG saw the biggest drop-off overall when period-on-period monthly unique browser figures were compared: -17.8 per cent.

For the next multiplatform report, it could be all change: GMG regional titles will be part of Trinity Mirror, following the sale agreement earlier this month; and the effect of Johnston Press’ pay walls, launched in November may well have kicked in. They seem to have had a limited effect on this period’s statistics, but it’s worth noting that traffic had fallen for the Johnston Press network from 6,985,175 uniques in October to 6,161,875 in December 2009: down by over ten per cent in two months. Traffic had been dropping off since July, however, well before the pay walls were introduced and of course, the group has only rolled out the scheme over a few of its smaller sites so far.  Unfortunately, the trialled sites don’t feature in the individual site break-down.

This chart shows the period-on-period change for each newspaper group, July to end of December 2009. (ie. compared with the previous six months)

Unique daily browsers, by regional newspaper group:

GMG Regional Network

Trinity Mirror

Iliffe News & Media Ltd (note that the largest column is its entire network overall, which includes other sites as well)

Johnston Press

Newsquest

Midlands News

NUJ members in Manchester join forces after MEN sale

More than a 100 NUJ members at the Manchester Evening News and its weekly counterparts are forming a joint chapel to strengthen the union’s rights and help prevent job losses.

The move follows the recent announcement of the MEN Media titles’ sale to Trinity Mirror and the union’s fears that it could lead to future job cuts.

NUJ also raised concerns that moving journalists from the communities they serve poses a threat to media diversity and plurality in the north west.

Journalism.co.uk reported last week that Trinity Mirror wants MEN staff to move from the Manchester base to Oldham, a proposal that was critised by MEN union members.

MEN mother of chapel Judy Gordon and MEN Weeklies mother of chapel Bethan Dorsett said in a joint statement: “Though traditionally the MEN and weeklies have been separate chapels, it is common sense to bring them together. After all we are now under one roof.

“A strong, united chapel made up of over 100 journalists can take positive action to prevent any job losses or other damaging changes that our new owners may want to implement at a later stage.”

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear welcomes the move: “This is a big step forward for our members in Manchester and gives them added strength at a very important time.”

The deal with Trinity Mirror is to be completed on March 28.

Round-up: Reaction to GMG Regionals sale to Trinity Mirror

Trinity Mirror’s acquisition of Guardian Media Group’s regional businesses, including Manchester Evening News publisher MEN Media, and plans to relocate MEN Media staff to Oldham has stirred mass discussion amongst media commentators online. Below are links breaking down the fundamental aspects of the story:

The Guardian’s Steve Busfield covers the imminent MEN move, reporting claims by Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of Guardian Media Groups, that the £44.8m sale of GMG is in the best interests of GMG Regional Media.

Holdthefrontpage.co.uk has a statement from Bethan Dorsett, organiser of the NUJ chapel at MEN Media Weeklies, and Judith Gordon, director of the MEN chapel, describing their concerns for MEN staff.

The Drum covers the various reactions produced by the deal, questioning whether Trinity got a good deal or gained a dying media group, including comments from analyst Jim Chisholm, who told the Drum it was “a great deal for Trinity Mirror” though “not such a great reflection of the way the regional print industry is today viewed”.

On Press Gazette, the financial benefits of the deal to GMG and Trinity Mirror – pointing towards the FT’s analysis of the sale, which considers the issue of consolidation, but comes down in favour of TM saying it was a bargain for the group.

Crain’s Manchester business takes notice of the exclusion of Channel M in the GMG sale to Trinity Mirror. Channel M lost GMG a significant amount of money since it’s launch and its segregation has left questions being asked about the channels future.

Former Trinity Mirror employee Craig McGill on the GMG Regionals sale

Craig McGill from digital communications company Contently Managed worked at Trinity Mirror – at the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror from 2000 to 2006 – and has freelanced for The Guardian.

Journalism.co.uk asked him for his comments on today’s announcement that Guardian Media Group is selling its regional news business to Trinity Mirror. His reaction is in full below:

Well, this is just comical – or it would be if it didn’t show the state of hysteria in UK press ownership and the fact that it will probably lead to a loss of jobs.

Firstly, we have Guardian Media Group looking as if it wants to go from being a ‘group’ to just looking after The Guardian because I wonder how much this sale was driven by the £89.8 million loss that GMG made last year.

Secondly, The Guardian is the very title that tells us constantly – almost as much as it goes on about The Wire in fact – that local content is what people want, it’s the future, it’s the killer app that will keep people looking for news.

If that’s the case why are they dumping all their local content creators? Or are they admitting that instead of highly paid professionals, a couple of bloggers can do the job instead? Or do they just want to be London-centric with a stringer or two elsewhere? That’s hardly inspiring in an age of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. What should readers in those areas do? Go elsewhere?

Secondly, what makes this even more tragic is that they are being bought by Trinity Mirror. Now there’s two aspects to this: one, Trinity Mirror continually says that it has no money and is skint. However, they managed to pull together a £44 million package – including nearly £8 million in cash – that’s hardly my definition of skint. That’s a complete slap in the face to the journalists Trinity Mirror has thrown out over the years and for the miserable pay freezes, small pay rises and ridiculous cost cutting measures that the survivors have endured – all because there was a lack of money. That £8 million could have done so much more in many titles.

To add to that, Trinity Mirror has a record of poor investment in the regions – it chopped the Scottish Daily Mirror from a team of 30 to one over three years, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail titles work wonders with a small budget but are walloped by having to do more with less each year, which lead to the Scottish Sun overtaking them as the best selling daily in Scotland.

This buy smacks of a panic buy – almost as much as it was a much-needed sale for GMG. Who are the losers going to be? The obvious one is the people who have already lost their jobs – more will follow, we can be sure of that. Over time the readers will be losers too as there’s less journalistic competition bringing more stories.

And even at the Mirror’s Manchester office, there must be people wondering what’s going to happen next. After all, does Manchester need two big news hubs? Surely a building merger is on the cards, followed by ‘shared resources’ and then ‘merged resources’.

Marc Reeves: Why is GMG selling the cash cow?

Marc Reeves, founder of the newly launched Business Desk West Midlands, blogs on news the Guardian Media Group is to sell Manchester Evening News (MEN) to his former employer Trinity Mirror:

[T]he key questions: what do GMG and Trinity Mirror get out of the deal? For the latter, I think it’s pretty clear. With declining revenues and circulation, another round of consolidation is probably an inevitable strategy for the biggest groups, whose scale demands  that de-duplicating resources and cutting costs are required to counter the exodus of readers and advertisers. There’s also a very handy strategic regional  fit for the Manchester titles alongside Trinity’s existing Merseyside titles.

For GMG, though, it’s less clear. Does the disposal allow the group to concentrate on the march towards digital dominance  spearheaded by the Guardian brand? Or perhaps GMG has just decided that the ‘cash cow’ role of the regionals simply doesn’t work any more in the new media economy, and it’s better off without the distraction. Whatever the case, my money is on a rise in the number of deals  amongst the major publishers following  the TM-GMG shuffle, as more try to optimise the geographical ‘sense’ of their sometimes disparate and accidental portfolios.

The acquisition of the Manchester Evening News by Trinity Mirror – publishers of my old paper the Birmingham Post – has baffled some of my former colleagues.

Why would Guardian Media Group, MEN’s owner, sell the very cash cow that existed only to keep the venerable – and loss making – Guardian newspaper alive?

Moreover, why would Trinity Mirror embark on yet another bout of corporate indigestion as they attempt to swallow yet another acquisition, with all the financial, cultural and managerial angst that goes with it.

I remember (yes dear reader, because I was there) spending many of the early years of this century as part of the team that was charged with incorporating the old Southnews group of weekly newspapers in London and the Home Counties into Trinity Mirror’s southern business.

That October 2000 acquisition came with a £285m price tag for around 60 free and paid-for newspapers (no one bought websites then – don’t you remember the dotcom bubble?). The deal announced this week, in which Trinity Mirror gets the Manchester Evening News, the Reading Post and a stable of other regional titles and websites for less than a fifth of that price. The Southnews deal came back to bite Trinity Mirror, as the early noughties advertising slump forced it to post a considerable write-down against the acquisition just a few years later.

Of course, the very economic foundation of the regional newspaper industry has shifted irreversibly since then, so comparisons are probably unfair.

However, back to the key questions: what do GMG and Trinity Mirror get out of the deal?

For the latter, I think it’s pretty clear. With declining revenues and circulation, another round of consolidation is probably an inevitable strategy for the biggest groups, whose scale demands that de-duplicating resources and cutting costs are required to counter the exodus of readers and advertisers. There’s also a very handy strategic regional fit for the Manchester titles alongside Trinity’s existing Merseyside titles.

For GMG, though, it’s less clear. Does the disposal allow the group to concentrate on the march towards digital dominance spearheaded by the Guardian brand? Or perhaps GMG has just decided that the ‘cash cow’ role of the regionals simply doesn’t work any more in the new media economy, and it’s better off without the distraction.

Whatever the case, my money is on a rise in the number of deals amongst the major publishers following the TM-GMG shuffle, as more try to optimise the geographical ‘sense’ of their sometimes disparate and accidental portfolios.

Full post at this link…

Coventry Telegraph editor promises digital fireworks

Darren Parkin is, at 37, one of the youngest editors in the history of the Coventry Telegraph. But he is determined not to be the last captain of this mini-flagship of the Trinity Mirror empire whose alumni include Jeremy Vine of the BBC and Dermot Murnaghan of Sky News.

Parkin took over the Telegraph ship in a storm last November. He was the third in a year and the third to come and address the Midland’s major media forum – the Coventry Conversations at Coventry University. He attracted a packed house last Friday.

Fortunately for him, he is of a cheery disposition and refused to be downhearted by the task of turning round rapidly declining advertising, declining sales and fewer journalists. He advised the (student) journalists manqué too not be downhearted at the state of the industry either.

They had to learn that they were entering a rapidly changing industry and one in which multi-platform skills were at a premium. It was adapt or die, in his view. But the core journalistic skills of finding, researching and writing  were still vital even if complemented by the newer web based ones.

Parkin announced the launch of a unique internship scheme brokered with Coventry’s Journalism department. Four desks in the Telegraph newsroom will be set aside for Cov university students to be interns three days a week. Seven had already applied. As for his plans for the paper, Parkin said he was planning some fireworks for the Telegraph website with “one of two things that will make other newspapers very jealous”.

He hoped these would be available later in the year but refused, despite being pressed, to give any more detail. As for local news partnerships, he was willing to join in with the likes of BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and did not regard the broadcaster as an enemy “as at least one of my predecessors did”.

The Telegraph like other local papers, he said, needed to reconnect to the audience and do that through any platforms available. He would be encouraging his journalists to once more become active members and the scribes of their community.

Parkin started his career as a Youth Training Scheme intern on the Dewsbury Reporter 20 years ago, paid a pittance by the state. Since he has been Young Journalist of the year three times, a chief reporter on the Solihull Times and at 24, Britain’s youngest editor – of the Wolverhampton News.

Since 2005, he had been editor in chief of the well-regarded weeklies division of Coventry Newspapers. He will need all this experience if he is to guide the good ship Coventry Telegraph away from the rocks of media failure and on to a bright future – or any future.

John Mair is senior broadcasting lecturer at Coventry University and producer of the Coventry Conversations series. 

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GMG Regional Media chief exec confirms talks without naming Trinity Mirror

This morning, we picked up news that Guardian Media Group was reported to be in talks with Trinity Mirror, over a possible sale of GMG Regional Media, which includes flagship title, the Manchester Evening News.

GMG Regional Media CEO, Mark Dodson, issued a statement to staff this morning in which he acknowledged talks with an unnamed party, but did not confirm Trinity Mirror’s involvement.

A statement is expected to be released to the media later today.

A MEN media staff member said: “If the rumours are true, then this is a huge blow for staff at the Manchester Evening News and the weekly titles.

“Staff have only just got over a series of redundancies, with more than 70 people losing their jobs.

“This is just another kick in the teeth for hard-working staff who have seen the Guardian bleed the regional titles dry over the last few years.

“The worst thing is that no-one has communicated with staff – we had to find out through How-Do, and although no-one has confirmed it is true, they are not denying it either.”

Another insider said: “A potential sale of the MEN / GMG Regional to Trinity Mirror has been the subject of much speculation for the best part of this year, if not before.”

Update: GMG has issued the following statement, which does not confirm the name of any parties:

“In line with its remit GMG keeps its portfolio under review on an ongoing basis.

“Since the publication of the Digital Britain report we have been considering the potential for further consolidation within the regional press sector, and as part of this there have been some exploratory talks regarding our regional media business.

“However these are at a very early stage and it is not clear whether they will progress or what the outcome is likely to be.”

Trinity Mirror declined to comment.

How-Do: Could GMG sell Manchester Evening News to Trinity Mirror?

How-Do.co.uk exclusively reported this morning that Guardian Media Group (GMG)  is “believed to be in talks” to sell the Manchester Evening News to Trinity Mirror [Update: and the rest of GMG Regional Media, according to the Telegraph].

How-Do, the north-west based media site, has few details to date but promises more soon. It had not managed to obtain comment from either group. It reported:

It is being suggested that GMG Regional Media is to be sold off in a bid to save jobs and continue with the Scott Trust’s overarching objective of protecting the interests of national paper the Guardian.

A figure of £40m has been mooted for the sale, but, again, at the time of writing this could not be confirmed.

Full story at this link…

Update: As noted in the comments, it was the Telegraph which ran the story first ten hours ago –  for some reason its story didn’t show in Google News or a Bing web search (although it does appear in Bing News search). Apologies for the error.

Media Release: Tyne Tees and Borders picked for regional news consortia pilots

The Tyne Tees and Borders television region has been selected as the English pilot region for the Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) proposed by the government’s Digital Britain report.

Additional trials in Scotland and Wales will also take place and the tender process for all three pilots was opened yesterday.

Full release at this link…

Several local media groups have already outlined plans for IFNC bids. ITN has proposed a ‘grand alliance’ between local media groups.

Responding to the announcement of the English pilot region yesterday, John Hardie, ITN CEO, said in a statement:

“We’re excited to be joining forces with the talented staff who provide the current service in the Tyne Tees and Border region and in Wales to create the backbone of our bids for the pilots announced today. We are building a coalition with newspapers, radio and community groups to bring together the best in commercial journalism in each of the regions to offer a compelling multi-platform news service for viewers, listeners and readers.

“IFNCs provide an opportunity to re-invigorate local and regional newsgathering across broadcast, print and online and to ensure that there is an innovative and comprehensive alternative to the BBC. We look forward to playing a key role in this bright new future for local news.”

Trinity Mirror, Press Association and TV production company Ten Alps have announced a joint bid for the IFNC pilot.