Archant takes on the newspoachers

Archant’s syndicated premature baby story was sold internationally

Archant has launched an in-house copy syndication scheme which is on course to make the company £100,000 this year but could spell bad news for freelances and agencies.

The company is believed to be the first major regional publisher to take on a full-time syndication manager in a bid to make sure it profits from stories in its papers which are picked up by the nationals.

Red Williams – who has worked on the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Leicester Mercury, Daily Mail and Evening Standard as well as running his own agency in Ipswich – works from his home in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

With broadband access to the news baskets of Archant’s 80-odd weekly newspapers and four East Anglia based dailies, he sells the best stories to the British nationals and to magazines around the world.

The proceeds go back to the newspaper which produced the story with a 10 per cent cut for the journalist who produced it.

Williams’ successful sales so far include a Norwich Evening New s story, detailing the remarkable recovery of a baby born four months premature, which made a two-page spread in The Sun and was also sold to several German newspapers and magazines.

He said: “My day starts at around 6.30am when I send out stories from the two morning papers. Then it is straight on to the evening titles, searching for hard news, human interest or something quirky.

“You have to be quick to beat the local news agencies who will get the very first papers available.”

Other stories syndicated by Williams included an Eastern Daily Press tale about a 17-year-old who failed her driving test and gained her pilot’s licence on the same day.

Ipswich Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “Archant spends a great deal of time and money harvesting excellent news stories, often only to see them poached by people who take good profits without carrying any of the overheads.

“Archant Syndication redresses that imbalance.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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