In the 14 weeks he has been at the paper, editor Terry Manners has transformed the Western Daily Press, appointed a former regional news paper editor as his new deputy, rebuilt the editorial floor and made 14 new appointments, completely restructuring the editorial team.
The former Daily Express and Press Association executive declared this week: "We are going to make this paper grow." He is already looking forward with confidence to next month’s regional ABC figures.
Long-term deputy editor Chris Binding has left to pursue a freelance career and been replaced by Chris Cowley, former editor of the Oxford Mail and currently production editor of Metro in London. Cowley and Manners met at PA.
The morning paper now has a new masthead, body and headline typefaces (Antigua and Meta) to bring it a slicker, easier-to-read look.
Manners was helped with the design by art director John Hill of London’s Evening Standard and it got the full approval of BUP chief executive Alan Goode and Northcliffe Newspapers managing director Alec Davidson.
Manners said he had been anxious not to lose the authority of the book. The new masthead appeared for the first time last Saturday.
"There is a whole new look for the WDP from front page to back page," said Manners, who has launched three new sections, hired new columnists TV vet Trude Mostue and novelist Lesley Pearse and created a new weather section from PA as well as revamping the TV section.
The three new sections for the paper are West Country Women – eight pages on a Tuesday; Westlife – eight pages on West Country lifestyle on Wednesdays; and a Culture section on Thursdays.
Manners said he had been very mindful to keep a big element of local news across the region.
He has also spent £35,000 on restructuring the editorial floor to include a new conference room and library.
His other appointments have been mainly in-house promotions, except for Ian Wilson, also from Metro, as his features chief sub-editor to head a new subbing department especially for features.
The new appointments are: Peter O’Reilly, associate editor from assistant editor (news); Lynda Cleasby, assistant editor (features) from women’s editor; Ellen Campbell, news editor from assistant news editor; David Webb, backbench executive editor from head of production; David Edler, production editor from night editor; Jon Mills, picture editor from chief photographer; Christopher Rundle, agriculture editor from Minehead district reporter; Paul Breedon, deputy features editor from acting assistant features editor; Susie Weldon, Culture section editor from feature writer/sub-editor; Quita Morgan, Westlife section editor from consumer affairs correspondent; Emma Smith, deputy chief features writer from head office reporter; Christopher Spittles, chief football writer from sports reporter; and John McNeilly, managing editor, with a roving role in charge of budgets, promotional activities and new editorial business and administration.
By Jean Morgan