On a rare trip back to Birmingham I read yesterday’s feedback in print, for once.
So sad to hear your news – but the important thing is to turn it into an opportunity.
I’ve been a business journalist/media person for 40 years, including five years as business editor of the Mail in the 70s. In that context I’ve been involved in several launches/relaunches/repackaging projects.
So here’s my take. The shrunken daily option is pointless. It [pardon me for the marketing speak but this is about business] devalues the brand and dilutes the USP. Forget it.
The sensible option is the combination of a live website plus a weekly regional magazine.
The website has two parts: free and paid.
The free part both stands on its own for “skimmers and dippers” and acts as a taster for the subscription title, which is available both online and weekly in print.
The trick is to focus the weekly content on analysis and in-depth coverage that people will pay for. Make it look more like a magazine – NOT a newspaper. But you could still have a “newsy” front like Campaign, which is a great format.
If your presses can handle a better grade of newspaper (magazine quality) so much the better. Advertisers prefer it, and editorial photos look better.
The other key point is to widen the talent pool. Find experts in every field plus two-three good columnists with hard-hitting views: they could be bankers, lawyers, day-traders or dog-walkers. Even politicians. But they need to have that “must read” factor that will have everyone clamouring for next week’s issue.