Friday, August 04, 2006

Enquirer cutbacks

Sad but not unexpected news from the North West Enquirer, the regional weekly launched this spring by former Newsco honchos Nick Jaspan and Bob Waterhouse. The Media Guardian reports the first round of cutbacks -

Deputy editor Paul Blebta, a former Daily Express night editor, and news editor David Anderson were made redundant after the independent paper, which launched in April, failed to reach its circulation target of 15,000-20,000 copies a week.
The £1 weekly paper, aimed at high income earners in the north-west, sells 10,500-12,000 copies a week.
Additionally, the paper issues about 7,000 free and bulk weekly copies to airlines, which was not part of its original business plan.
"The paper is selling but we had to reduce our costs to fit the shape or the paper going forward," said Nick Jaspan, the managing director of the North West Enquirer.

Given the general parlous state of the newspaper industry, it's far from surprising news. The Enquirer's launch was hardly helped by some unprofessional and rather puerile practices by local competitors, but it's a pretty good paper - generally well written and put together, and certainly a much more appealing package than the hidebound Yorkshire Post.

But it's done well to do as well as it has - too many other new newspaper titles die a much quicker death, as seen last month with the short-lived Sportsman. Given the Enquirer's venture capital backers (Northwest Equity Fund and Northwest Seed Fund), I wouldn't be surprised to see a fairly quick sale to one of the big local newspaper groups - though that would risk losing the things that make it a decent paper.



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