Staff 'gobsmacked' as Daily View folds

By Dominic Ponsford

Seventeen
journalists have lost their jobs after a new non-sectarian morning
newspaper for Belfast was closed down after just five weeks.

Staff
at the Daily View were said to be “gobsmacked” following the
announcement on Friday that the paper was to close immediately.

Some
suggested that the paper’s owners, Local Press Ltd, might have seen the
day after the general election as “a good day to bury bad news”.

It
was the first casualty in a frenetic period of activity in the Belfast
newspaper market which has seen the number of home-grown morning titles
in the city increase from two to five since February.

The
lifestyle-dominated paper was launched on 4 April with a promise that
it would ignore sectarian politics and appeal to both the Catholic and
Protestant communities.

The paper’s launch came two months after
that of Daily Ireland, another Belfast-based morning paper, designed to
appeal to the province’s Nationalist community.

And it faced
strong competition from Independent News & Media-owned evening
paper The Belfast Telegraph – which brought forward plans to launch its
own tabloid-sized morning edition to beat the Daily View to the
newsstands by 10 days.

On the day of the Daily View’s launch the
Telegraph was given away free. The full print run of the Telegraph’s
morning edition was also given away free on 2 May. Other targeted
promotions have included giving away free copies of the Telegraph with
a carton of orange juice.

According to Local Press Ltd, which
also owns the Derry Journal and another Belfast morning paper, the News
Letter, the Daily View was closed because of low sales.

According
to an insider at Belfast’s other morning title, The Irish News, both it
and the News Letter have held on to their circulations during the
recent intense competition.

Former Daily Mirror Northern Ireland editor Greg Harkin was brought on board to launch the Daily View.

Journalists believed that Local Press Ltd had a two-year plan for the paper and multi-million pound investment lined up.

The
journalists are understood to be receiving one week’s pay plus their
notice period by way of severance – which in most cases is believed to
be three months. According to one Daily View insider, sales began at
around 5,000 but dropped to below 2,000.

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