Journalists' disgust as wrap advert is sold on paid-fors

By Sarah Lagan

Editorial
staff at Trinity Mirror Southern have written a protest letter to the
company after 12 of its newspapers carried a wraparound advert which
obscured front and back page news and sport.

The paid-for
papers, including the South London Press as well as titles within the
East Surrey and Sussex Newspapers, ran the advertisement for the Flora
Family Marathon.

One source said: “The order has come from
Trinity big-wigs at boardroom level and they made the decision without
consulting staff. We are up in arms about it.

“Wraps are for free papers, not paidfors.

Yet
again Trinity Mirror shows it is not in the business of selling papers,
but would rather run them down and boost shareholders’ profits.”

But
Marc Reeves, editorial director of Trinity Mirror Southern, countered:
“We are immensely proud of the editorial quality and independence of
our newspapers, and would never agree to an advertising partnership we
believed would compromise that or damage sales.

“Like all
regional newspaper publishers we are in fierce competition with TV,
radio and other media to attract national brand advertisers. Wraps on
paid-for titles are by no means unique, but the partnership with Flora
is a great example of how we are responding to the challenge in
increasingly innovative ways with our newspapers.

“We would not have agreed to wrap advertising if we did not think the subject matter was in line with our newspapers’

own values as family reads and community publications.”

Barry
Fitzpatrick, national newspapers organiser for the NUJ, said: “This is
another example of how Trinity Mirror Southern is commercialising the
editorial quality of its newspapers.

We view it as disturbing.

By
Alyson Fixter Top jobs at Emap Automotive – which publishes
market-leading motorbike magazines – have been reshuffled in advance of
“difficult” ABC figures.

Tim Thompson, previously editor of
top-seller Bike, has been switched to Performance Bikes , which
industry sources suggest will see the biggest drop in circulation in
the next round of figures, due out on 17 February.

John Westlake,
previously editor-inchief at Automotive, has moved to Bike to oversee a
relaunch due to hit the newsstands in spring.

Phil Thomas, group
managing director, said: “Tim Thompson was a highly successful editor
of Bike and he’s gone on to Performance Bikes , which is great for PB
because it shows that we are committed to the title even though it’s
had a very hard time recently.

“John Westlake is a very talented
editor and we have put him on Bike, which is very important as well
because it’s our leading title. We are expecting some difficult ABC
figures and it has been a tough year, but these changes will mean that
we will turn around our performance in the bikes division.”

Industry
insiders estimate that all four of Emap’s biking mags – Bike, Ride,
Performance Bikes and MCN – will show sales drops in the coming ABCs.

Rival
mags Two Wheels Only and Superbikes are expected to show rises,
although they are unlikely to come close to overtaking Emap’s
big-sellers.

Rob Croxall, previously managing director of the
motorcycling division, has moved to Emap Active, which produces mags in
areas such as golf, fishing and photography.

Mark Frost has moved
across from Emap Active to Automotive, to oversee the motorcycling
monthlies, including Bike and Performance Bikes .

By Jon Slattery Cavendish Press news agency has scored three major exclusives in a row on Harold Shipman.

The
Manchester agency broke the story that the Shipman Inquiry was probing
137 deaths of patients while Shipman was a junior doctor at Pontefract
General Infirmary.

Cavendish followed up with an exclusive
double-page spread in the Sunday Mirror of 23 January with a picture
showing a young, clean-shaven Shipman on a holiday beach.

Cavendish
editor BrianWhittle had a page one exclusive and four-page spread in
the Sunday Express last Sunday with the story of how Shipman mocked his
victims and his colleagues in previously unpublished prison letters.

“Shipman
remains a major story of our times,” said Whittle. “There are more
revelations to come with the inquest in April and the prison
ombudsman’s report after that. The story is far from over.”

ITV is scheduled to show its major documentary on the story, called Shipman , on 1 March.

“Numerous journalists have contacted me to express their disgust. It’s another example of decisions being made by advertising.”

The casual figures for the issue will be known next week and market research is being undertaken to gauge readers’

reaction to the wrap.

The advertising deal is part of a £650,000 regional campaign by Unilever to promote the Flora Family Marathon.

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