Arts bodies urge Post not to cut coverage

By Sarah Lagan

Representatives from arts establishments across Liverpool are trying
to convince the Liverpool Daily Post not to go ahead with claimed cuts
to its arts coverage in the run-up to the city becoming the capital of
culture.

According to insiders, publisher Trinity Mirror has taken the
decision to cut the Post’s daily arts coverage from five to two pages,
to cut Friday’s art supplement from 16 to eight pages and axe three
paid columnists.

The representatives, including one from Unity Theatre, have met with management to voice their concerns.

Mike
James from Unity Theatre said: “From Unity’s point of view, we are
hopeful we can get the paper to reverse its decision to cut back on its
arts coverage.

“If the Post goes ahead, it will have a severe
effect on our ability to communicate with our audiences which is
especially important now in the run-up to the 2008 Capital of Culture.”

Liverpool
Daily Post editor Jane Wolstenholme said: “The Post and Echo played a
key role in Liverpool winning the title of European Capital of Culture.
We will continue to be at the forefront of coverage of the arts and
culture in the city, and that coverage is certain to increase as we
move towards 2008.

“The Post’s arts section is subject to the
same constant review as any other part of the paper. We’re not cutting
our arts coverage – we just no longer want it ghettoised on a specific
page each day.

We want to see it forcing its way on to the news pages, including on to the front.”

Trinity
Mirror has also increased the cover prices of the Post and Echo
titles.The Liverpool Daily Post went from 40p to 45p while the
Liverpool Echo rose from 38p to 40p. Trinity Mirror says that poor
circulation figures over the period since the hikes could not
specifically be attributed to the decision to increase prices.

An
insider told Press Gazette: “The Liverpool Daily Post had bucked the
trend in sliding curculation in regional morning papers. Alas no more.

“With
a freeze in recruitment and the axeing of popular regular columns such
as the daily arts diary the general feeling among the staff who have
busted a gut to line Trinity Mirror’s pockets is that what’s going on
is outrageous… and ultimately uneconomical.”

A Trinity
spokesman said: “The increases are part of a long-standing strategy to
raise cover prices on a regular basis, with each newspaper and business
making the decisions as to when and what those increases would be.

“There is no evidence that this strategy has had an adverse effect on sales.

“In
fact, there are several recent examples of where price has been
increased and sales have grown, including the Liverpool Daily Post and
the Western Mail.”

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