Star fills Mirror void in bid to surpass the million mark

Welsh Daily Star: the first edition  Whittow: will edit Welsh Star

The Daily Star is launching a Welsh edition in a drive which could push its sales past the one million mark.

The paper hit news-stands for the first time on Monday, but it will be officially launched next week with a major TV campaign, followed by a Tom Jones covermount CD on 8 November.

A team of 10 reporters and photographers, based in Cardiff, are working on the edition, which is being subbed at Express Newspapers’ Broughtonbased offices near Preston.

The Welsh Daily Star launch follows the Daily Mirror’s decision in August to scrap its standalone Welsh edition with the loss of seven jobs.

Star deputy editor Hugh Whittow is in charge. A Welshman, he started his career on the Western Telegraph in Pembrokeshire and also worked for the South Wales Echo in Cardiff.

He said: “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do ever since I was news editor on the Star. I think South Wales is a perfect area for the Daily Star.”

He added: “We were going to take the Mirror on while they were established there. But they pulled the plug and everything they created vanished overnight. The Mirror has given us a great present by pulling out.”

The Welsh edition will be printed on Northcliffe-owned presses in Swansea, giving the Welsh edition an off-stone time of 10pm. According to Whittow, this will give it a later deadline than Welsh editions of the other nationals and allow it to include more local sport results.

New columnists include rugby international Rupert Moon and former footballers Mickey Thomas and Kevin Ratcliffe.

The Daily Star currently sells 40,000 copies across Wales and Whittow’s initial target is to at least double that figure.

He said: “We will be covering all the best Welsh stories, have comprehensive sports coverage and a Welsh presence on the front page.”

The Star has been a singular success story among national papers in recent years. Its ABC circulation figure for last month was 922,000, up 25.5 per cent year-on-year.

Under editor Peter Hill and his deputy, Whittow, the Star is on course to have nearly doubled its sale in just three years.

Whittow said: “It’s because we decided to give the readers what they wanted to read rather than what we thought they should read. “We provide the best news, for our readers, gossip, celebrities, pictures and very good sports coverage. “We sat down and decided we were going to give them something to enjoy and it’s worked.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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