MD leaves, but Glover says it's not the end of The World

By Dominic Ponsford

Stephen Glover remains “confident and optimistic” that his
long-awaited serious national tabloid The World will be launched –
despite the departure of managing director Vicky Unwin.

Unwin, the former MD of PR Newswire, revealed this week that she had
taken a job as chief executive of arts publisher Third Millennium
Information. Glover said: “She left a couple of months ago because
she’d been working for us for 18 months on no pay and simply didn’t
feel able to continue. It doesn’t really have any bearing on where we
are.”

He revealed that internet entrepreneur and former Sydney
Morning Herald editor Eric Beecher is the project’s prospective chief
executive. And he confirmed that former Guardian columnist Francis
Wheen remains involved, as do “one or two journalists whom I can’t
mention because they are working for other newspapers”.

Mail
columnist and Independent cofounder Glover first revealed his plans to
launch The World at the beginning of 2004. He said the project had been
delayed by The Guardian’s plans to re-launch in the scaled-down
Berliner format some time in the next 12 months. “There is a school of
thought that The Guardian is going to try to reposition itself and take
on something of the role of the old Times – the predumbed down Times,
which is in the market which we’ve identified for ourselves,” said
Glover. “It creates a little bit of uncertainty in what is already a
volatile market.”

The
World has attracted criticismfrom those who believe the £20m seed
budget is far too low and argue that the British newspaper market is
already overcrowded.

But Glover maintains that his plan for a
niche upmarket publication with a circulation of around 100,000 remains
viable. He claims that it would need a journalistic staff of less than
100 and that costs would be saved by ignoring lightweight
celebrity-style content and carrying little sport.

Instead, the paper would concentrate on areas such as politics, foreign affairs, books, business and economics.

He
said: “We think newspapers are too fat, they have too many sections and
the reason why they are so fat is not because anybody wanted them to be
fat, it’s because of advertising. We think there are a lot of readers
out there who want a high-quality paper that isn’t dumbed down, they
want a paper that’s easy to read and manageable.”

Glover claims
research shows a minority of Independent, Telegraph and Times readers
“object to dumbing down but have got nowhere else to go”.

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