Kirby: Move to mornings will save Telegraph

Coventry Telegraph editor Alan Kirby has firmly defended his decision to move the paper to overnight publication from October.

Speaking to journalism students at Coventry University last week, he said it was "exactly the right move" and that he expected many in the industry to follow suit.

A major problem he referred to in the evening newspaper market was falling circulation, with the Telegraph down 6 to 7 per cent year on year.

He said: "It doesn't take a mathematician to work out that a 6 to 7 per cent drop in sales over 10 years, based on our current circulation, will potentially mean the Coventry Telegraph going out of business."

In his bid to "save" the Telegraph, Kirby researched evening papers in Swindon and Worcester which had switched to morning publication and, as a result, cut circulation losses to 1 or 2 per cent annually.

Kirby claimed that circulation had not suffered as a result of the morning move, which was helped by a campaign against hospital charges, though he did admit there were still some problems with morning delivery, leaving customers dissatisfied. He said he was sure the paper's core values would remain, and that content wouldn't change dramatically — "the Coventry Telegraph is a local newspaper through and through", Kirby stressed. The Telegraph is, however, considering ditching its Press Association service as Kirby no longer has the desire to compete with national and foreign news. Kirby told students he was convinced that in "going morning" he was a pioneer for the future. He concluded: "The changes I have made will help sales, but ultimately may help save the Telegraph in the longer term."

n The Evening Herald in Plymouth is the latest paper to switch to morning publication.

The Northcliffe title, which has been renamed The Herald, will be on sale at breakfast time, alongside the Western Morning News.

Editor Bill Martin told his readers: "In response to the changing way of life for many people, The Herald will from today be available even earlier in printed form, and around the clock on the internet, seven days a week."

Some editors and journalists have criticised morning and overnight printed newspapers for missing out on late-breaking on-the-day news.

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