New Liverpool Echo editor to face challenge of multimedia

By Sarah Lagan

New Liverpool Echo editor Alastair Machray has said one of his main aims will be improving the multimedia presence of the paper.

He is looking at how he can maximise the use of the internet as well
as looking at other online and digital opportunities while owner
Trinity Mirror completes reader research for the paper.

Machray,
currently editor of the Echo’s sister title, the Daily Post in North
Wales, said: “One of the biggest challenges for me is in our online and
digital operation.

“It’s a great time to be in newspapers with
the changing backdrop of news consumption. People can get news from
many different media outlets now and it’s important they get it from
the Echo’s stable. There is still a lot of work to be done and we are
not moving fast enough in terms of our multimedia presence.

“Our
sister paper The Journal [Newcastle] has launched an E:Edition and we
will look with interest at that experiment and learn.”

Machray,
43, also said he would consider new product launches. He said all
newspaper groups are looking at the prospect of launching “Lite”
editions for their big city papers following the lead of the Evening
Standard and Manchester Evening News and that this could be a
possibility for the Echo.

He will take over the editorship on 20
June, following the move of previous editor Mark Dickinson to the
Birmingham Post & Mail as editorial director.

Machray was
made editor of the Daily Post in North Wales when it was split into two
editions in 2002, the other is for the city of Liverpool. In the last
circulation figures the Post was one of the few titles to maintain its
sales following a redesign.

Machray joined the Liverpool Echo in
1994 as assistant editor and was recruited to redesign the paper.
Starting his journalistic career on the Sunderland Echo in 1979, he
later joined The Journal in Newcastle before a short spell at the
Evening Chronicle.

He eventually returned to the Chronicle in
1988 and became design editor under Neil Benson, now Trinity Mirror’s
editorial director, regionals.

Machray added: “I have two main
ambitions. Firstly to grow the Echo’s sales and the strength of its
brand to ensure its absolutely perfect for a loyal and passionate
readership. Second, to play my part in making Liverpool the first-class
city that it is on course to become.

“I’m a changer of things by nature. Newspapers
need to evolve all the time in everything from design to changes of
emphasis and I’ll be going through every inch of the paper.

“It’s
a magical brand, the strongest in the regional press and I want to
bring to the paper all the buzz, excitement, fun, the things that make
up the city’s character.”

Machray has recovered from major surgery following a heart attack in 2003 but he insists that it hasn’t tempered his ambition.

“I’m
delighted with the support I’ve had from friends, family as well as
Trinity Mirror. I’m certainly not damaged goods. I’m super fit and
looking forward to the new challenge,” he said.

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