It is clearly ‘with some regret’ that Trinity-Mirror (TMG) has decided to axe its brand new national newspaper, underlines Iain Robertson, as the Group’s shares tumbled yet again to a three-year low of 111p each.
Forget the shares issue. Ignore the management pleas. It seems that TMG is reeling from the shock of not selling its anticipated 200,000 copies daily of New Day…despite an insistence that it was doing so, with a staff of ‘just’ 25 people.
My heart bleeds as much for TMG, as it does for Johnson Newspapers, Northcliffe Newspapers (or whatever they are calling their deviant MEBO these days) and the wretched News International. In truth, my heart is not in the least bit leaky.
The arrogance and insistence that newspaper professionals (along with their attendant consultants, financial supporters and baronial owners) somehow know better than the very market that they are supposed to serve is one of those resident jokes that is always set on ‘backfire’. While I do feel some minor sorrow for the foot-soldiers, most of whom mosey along doing what they are told, as well as experiencing negligible personal blood loss, I shall continue to enjoy full nights’ rest too.
Well, dear TMG, here is how to avoid the losses:
1. Write for your readers, not yourselves
2. Cut the staff total to less than twelve.…(I could do it with five)
3. Support it with a website that has relevance and does not replicate the printed word
4. Revert to the aeons-old principle that, if you start-up a new title, give it two years to prove itself, before informing your shareholders that it is a drain on resources, after just two months…it will be a financial sluice for at least 18 months and will not show a profit-on-return until at least 36 months old!
TMG is not the only sinner in this respect. There exists a number of London-based printed word consultants that have made themselves VERY wealthy in the past 15-20 years. These are the very persons responsible for making the regional press such a major turn-off. They are the same people that said, ‘Print is dead!’ but they were wrong. These are the future-biased punters, who suggested that ‘video’ was the way forwards but it is not the case, especially when journalists are presented with a camera and told to ‘Go make the news’! Did any of these people ever watch ‘Drop The Dead Donkey’?
However, while not wishing to levy all of the blame on the con-sultants, editorial and advertising management, both of which are counter-productive roles, ought to take on-board a wee shot of adrenaline, as it is abundantly clear that their glands have been unproductive for the past 20 years at least. They have all become fat and lazy, ignoring the best resources in favour of their trusted, immoral and ill-founded alternatives.
Were the newspaper business to clean up its act, to use proper writers (who can write and use the English language, with proficiency), to work with communities both local and national and to commence telling the truth, rather than banker-supported, oil company-pushed, chemical firm-enhanced and politically-promoted twaddle, I guarantee that they would win. My open challenge to TMG is, give me a fraction of your budget, allow me to hire a decent team of scribes and I shall make you some money…in 36 months’ time.