Lockwood buys-out The Press and eyes launches

Danny Lockwood has become sole owner of independent weekly newspaper The Press and says he is now planning more launches in Yorkshire.

Lockwood bought out The Press last month, nine years after he launched the title in Dewsbury as a hybrid paid for/free in competition against the Dewsbury Reporter and Batley News series, owned by Johnston Press. Lockwood was editor and managing director, but says he took a backseat from the business in 2007.

But he came back to buy The Press from previous owners Leader Publishing in March after the group – run by The Press editor Martin Shaw and ex-Johnston Press managing director Terry Johnson – ran in to financial difficulties.

Lockwood said his intervention helped save the paper’s four full and part-time editorial staff and added that the paper is once again making a profit.

He said: ‘The business had been steadily leaking money, but I’ve brought in my former Yorkshire Post colleague Lucy Tissiman to run the commercial side, and inside six weeks we’re back in profit and growing the business week on week.”

Lockwood is now eyeing up more launches in the area.

He said: ‘I still think there’s a healthy future in local publishing, despite the doom and gloom we read on a regular basis. It’s all about good people, good product, and a simple and cost-effective business plan. Running a newspaper isn’t rocket science, but I look across the regional industry and all I see is fear and decline. It comes through in the papers I read.

‘If you put passion and belief into your paper, your readers and advertisers will buy into it. I also think there are lots of opportunities out there and intend launching at least one more weekly product before the summer – I have the money and the plan, I just need to find the right people.”

In the past The Press has distributed around 30,000 free copies and sold 2,000. Lockwood believes the number of free copies was unsustainable but said it was once again building up toward the 20,000 mark, with paid-for sales at around 2,000. The focus is also changing from doorstep delivery to pick-up.

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