Uncover a scoop, win cash Leader tells its reporters

A Welsh daily newspaper is inviting its journalists to cash in on their scoops by taking a cut out of syndication fees.

The Wrexham-based Evening Leader has not revealed what percentage journalists can take. But editor Richard Williams claims the proceeds of sellingon one recent exclusive were enough for the reporter and photographer to go on holiday.

Williams said: “Other newspaper companies syndicate the stories and keep the money but we’ve decided to give staff a cut. It’s a financial incentive for staff and they also get great kudos for seeing their stories used in the nationals.”

North Wales Newspapers’ syndication operation is being run by Richard Williams and Graham Breeze, editor of the company’s weekly papers.

The last story the paper syndicated was that 64-year-old Brian Williams was to marry his 17-year-old girlfriend Stacey Furneaux. The story was uncovered by photographer Les Evans and chief reporter Matt Warner.

The Evening Leader paid for the couple to stay at a secret location, a guesthouse outside its patch.

National newspapers, TV and magazines phoned the paper asking for contact details and The Leader opted to sell The Daily Express exclusive rights to republish the story and pictures.

Williams said: “We realised we had a big story and decided it was in everybody’s interest to keep the couple out of the way. We had four days of exclusive coverage and the syndication rights. The couple have managed to avoid the media scrum that developed outside their house.

“Les and Matt have worked incredibly hard on it and, with news editor Jonathan Barnett and picture editor Rick Matthews, we carefully managed the publication of the story to keep The Leader ahead every day.

“We turned away dozens of offers from papers and TV wanting to speak to the couple. At one stage The Sun got through to Brian and we heard he had told them ‘I’m not signing anything for you, I’m with The Evening Leader’.

Dominic Ponsford

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