Looking on the bright side

I’m all for looking on the bright side, and by golly we need a bit of sunshine, so thank you Steve Auckland, group managing director of Northcliffe Media.

But maybe claiming a 50 per cent rise in sales of the Torquay Herald Express was putting too much gloss on what was in reality a massive fall?

Last June this excellent newspaper changed to a weekly after 86 years as a daily publication with the loss of around 16 editorial jobs. Before the switch it was selling 20,000 a day, around 120,000 a week, so a 50 per cent rise would mean a marvellous 180,000 a week, wouldn’t it?

Actually, no. The new weekly sale is 30,000, a fall of 75 per cent. According to Press Gazette, Mr Auckland calls this “a fantastic success”. I’m happy for him, I really am.

Apparently Northcliffe has achieved other “fantastic successes” in Exeter, Lincoln and Scunthorpe by transforming ailing dailies into weeklies.

It’s good that these titles have been reborn as weeklies in difficult times, and 30,000 is a good circulation these days for a weekly. No doubt they will serve as models for other publishers of small dailies.

This certainly isn’t failure, but nor is it “success”. Surely the appropriate word is “survival”.

– GARETH WEEKES, Deep South Media Ltd.