Amalgamation CAN produce a good paper

Northcliffe editors Mike Lowe, Bristol Evening Post, and Barrie
Williams, Western Morning News, Plymouth, have resigned because they
oppose any integration of staff and companion newspapers. David
Gledhill, Bath Chronicle, has gone because he opposed any plan to turn
his evening newspaper into a weekly or a bi-weekly.

In these
turbulent days the biggest challenge lies in the publication of a
regional morning and evening in the same building. When newspapers were
unrivalled in the information field that worked fine.

Now, in an increasingly changing electronic world, some evening papers are on sale at the same time as their companion morning.

There
are those in high places who say that this does not make economic
sense, and thus we see this move to integrate editorial staffs. Is it
the first step to the merger of some morning and evenings? Is this the
economic inevitability?

If, sadly, it is, all need not be lost. A
strong paper may well be born of amalgamation, appealing to both city
and country readers largely as the result of discreet editionising.

We
proved this with the Western Daily Press after it passed into
theownership of Bristol United Press with a sale of 12,000, which we
increased to 80,000, with no threat in those days to the Evening Post.
In rural Somerset there was no objection to reading the proven story of
the plot to kill the Port of Bristol.

This was hatched by the
Labour Cabinet under the leadership of Prime Minister Jim Callaghan, in
the interests of the ports of Newport and Cardiff.

Callaghan happened to be a Cardiff MP.

Bristol
readers enjoyed the long saga of Rector Grubb in deepest Somerset, who
insulted and fought his flock, tearing down their parish board notices,
until he vanished into ecclesiastic oblivion.

Eric Price Coombe Dingle, Bristol Former editor, Western Daily Press

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