Northwest regional weekly gets funding for May launch

By Jon Slattery

The new quality regional weekly planned for the Northwest has secured seven-figure backing and aims to launch in May.

Called the North West Enquirer, the independent paper hopes for a settledown circulation of between 15,000 and 20,000 and will have a £1 cover price.

The managing director is Nick Jaspan and the launch editor Bob Waterhouse.

A 14-strong editorial team is currently being recruited for the paper on salaries said to be above normal rates for regional journalists.

Backing has come from two venture capitalist firms and 12 individuals.

Non-executive directors of the paper include former Trinity Mirror regional newspaper chief Stephen Parker, ex-Conservative minister Sir David Trippier and Sir David Henshaw, chief executive of Liverpool City Council.

Jaspan told Press Gazette: "It is scary that a lot of regional papers are making redundancies and cutting back, but we are going for a different upmarket readership.

We’ve had a very high quality of staff applying for jobs."

The Enquirer is aimed at the 1.3 million AB adults in the Northwest and will be sold in Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

Waterhouse claims the concept of a regional weekly with such a large circulation area is unique. He told Press Gazette in December the paper would target professionals who are "interested in something broader than local issues".

He said: "The paper will be editorially led and stand or fall on the quality of its reporting and of its whole editorial."

It is planned as a 96-page paper with regular supplements and will publish on a Wednesday or Thursday.

The Enquirer will be distributed by the FT. Its head office is at Bank House, close to Manchester’s Chinatown in the centre of the city.

?¡ Manchester–based consultancy Glorious Creative, headed by former Scotland on Sunday media correspondent Scott McCubbin, has been awarded a design contract for the paper.

McCubbin was editor of the monthly regional business title EN before joining Glorious in June.

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