Express poised to take on further PA services

Richard Desmond

Express Newspapers is believed to be on the brink of signing contracts with the Press Association for more page-ready content for sport and news.

There have been regular talks with PA about supplying more than the racing, TV and weather pages it currently sends the Daily and Sunday Express and the Daily Star.

Dummies are said to have been prepared for both news and sport pages.

Express boss Richard Desmond and his editors are poised to decide whether taking further services from the national news agency can further his vision of paying top dollar for columnists while keeping costs down on bread-and-butter editorial content.

The titles’ recent big swathe of redundancies has left gaps across the editorial floor, with cross-title working now the norm for the remaining journalists.

PA is already supplying a big percentage of sports news to the group, owned by Northern & Shell, to dovetail with the papers’ own sports coverage. It also supplies racing pages to the Sunday People and financial pages for the Sunday Mirror.

Desmond’s N&S spokesman said: "The company enjoys an extremely cordial and constructive relationship with PA and is always looking at its services which could be of potential interest."

Paul Potts, the chief executive and editor-in-chief at PA, is keen to increase the scope of his agency’s contracts. He was once deputy editor of the Daily Express.

National newspaper journalists will be holding their breath to see if Express Newspapers does hand over more of its coverage to PA and whether the rest of Fleet Street, suffering badly from an advertising recession and cutting costs, follows suit.

PA’s reputation for excellent, fair journalism is acknowledged but some feel the agency may not be able to provide the diversity of content needed by a market stretching from red-top to broadsheet.  

Jean Morgan

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