Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Let's play every newspaper exec's favourite game!


First produced by Parker Brothers in 1935, the game without an end has been a family favourite ever since.

Unfortunately the version of the game played by Britain's regional newspaper publishers isn't so much fun, for staff, advertisers and readers alike.

And it looks like someone at Newsquest Towers in South London has decided they can complete a colour group by doing a swap with East Anglian based firm Archant.

The errant email originated from the headquarters of Archant (bear with them, they've only just got electricity in Norfolk) and seems to indicate that the company which already owns the Easetern Daily Press, East Anglian Daily Times and daily papers in Ipswich and Norwich fancies spreading into Essex, taking over an evening paper and several weekly papers which go head to head with some of its own titles - plenty of opportunity to cut back!

Meanwhile Newsquest could take on a series of papers which it currently competes with in and around Somerset - more cutbacks and Pims all round in the boardroom (although our management are all so presbyterian it'll probably be mineral water).

Expect it to go quiet for a while, but the idea is just too obvious to go away completely. After all, the greed of these people knows no end - you just wander what other cosy little deals are being cooked up around the country?

And the losers keep on losing - isn't it about time they were packed off to jail (without passing Go or collecting £200 million?)

Monday, June 12, 2006

To our new friends

Professor Roy Greenslade and the Press Gazette's Martin Sable both give Newsquest Watch a mention - not bad for a morning's work. I wonder what they'll make of this enigmatic effort which appeared a couple of weeks ago? Hopefully the former Newsquest manager in question isn't going to get cold feet about the excercise. There is a story here that needs telling and it sounds like Mr eX might have a little less to lose than this 'mysterious' writer!

Mourning Edition

For our next trick, says the Newsquest manager, we're going to make all of our evening newspapers vanish - and replace them with brand, spanking new, morning papers!

Evening newspaper sales have been declining for the last 40 years as the public have discovered the radio, tv and now this thing called the internet, he drones. So what we're going to do is put all of our papers on sale at the time everyone is going to work. Because they will have, what we call, a longer shelf life, hopefully more people will read them nd circulation will pick up!

He, and it is usually a he, chuckles at his own villainy. Of course we're relying on the idiots - sorry, valued readers - who currently buy the paper (sent to press at 8.30 in the morning) thinking it contains today's news - to carry on buying it - after all, it's not like they've got any alternative...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Up Yours-ski!

The Kremlin should be the perfect place for Newsquest managers to hang out - after all, they combine the worst tendencies of the Tsars, pilfering from the serfs while keeping them in poverty, with the outrageous back-stabbing of previously loyal underlings for which the leaders of the USSR were associated.

But even in the cloistered environs of the World Newspaper Congress in Moscow, it looks like Newsquest's top brass can't bet away from the bain of the lives - those pesky journalists.

Witness this exchange from The Guardian's Media Monkey diary, reproduced below:

So much for glasnost
One final anecdote from the World Newspaper Congress in Moscow to demonstrate that the desire for secrecy and state control of the media is alive and kicking in, er, the UK. During lunch in the Kremlin State Palace, Monkey tried and failed to strike up a conversation with a neighbouring British newspaper executive. When asked over the entr ée for his views on regional newspapers turning into freesheets, Paul Hunter, finance director of the Newsquest Media Group, responded: "I don't give interviews." How very Soviet.