REGIONAL PRESS: ME AND MY PAPER - Clients and agency executives examine the style and content of their local press. Compiled by Jade Garrett

BIRMINGHAM POST Stuart Wyss, marketing services manager, Dunlop

BIRMINGHAM POST

Stuart Wyss, marketing services manager, Dunlop



A summit and a song contest have put Birmingham on the map. New

audiences have enjoyed the city but I wonder how many newcomers

discovered the Birmingham Post? For international, national and

particularly Midlands-focused news, the Post delivers.



A reasonably written broadsheet, the Post contains most of the key

sections found in the national dailies, but in brief. The business and

financial sections are locally authoritative and have earned a great

deal of respect.



There’s a unique sense of social and business community in the UK’s

second city and a depth of pride and local interest I have not

experienced elsewhere.



Perhaps that is why this regional morning daily continues to flourish;

it could also have been this local pride that sparked editor Nigel

Hastilow’s slightly xenophobic rant about the ’half-hearted’ and

’patronising’ national media coverage of Birmingham’s G8 summit. The ’if

it isn’t in London, it isn’t news’ issue rumbles on.



MAIDENHEAD ADVERTISER



Craig Fabian, communications manager Volvo



The Maidenhead Advertiser is greyish in style and ominously weighty.



I expect it to be full of local ads. I even wonder if I’ve paid for a

freesheet by accident. On scanning the banners I’m reassured that news

in my village is featured and I also find I can win some Virgin

vouchers.



I’m pleasantly surprised to find the layout is clean and tidy and,

although a bit crowded, easy to get into. Nice links to national news

’Maidonians have their say on England’s Puffing Billy (Gazza)’ add

authority, and the local What’s On and When section is comprehensive and

genuinely helpful.



There are 36 pages of job ads and 18 pages of property. So this is where

the weight is. Overall, the Advertiser is a strong package of useful

stuff, tidily presented and not at all the paid-for freesheet I was led

to expect.



MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS



Shami Ahmed, chief executive Joe Bloggs



The Manchester Evening News has everything you could want from a local

newspaper. It gives good coverage to the main international and domestic

stories and its Comment section affords the reader another

thought-provoking angle on lead stories.



It devotes considerable space to local news items and includes plenty of

space for public opinions, lending the paper a genuine community

feel.



The two-page business section gives an overview of the economy and

financial news relating to local companies, while the coverage of sports

and entertainment is an ideal guide to what’s going on in Manchester.

The sections of the paper mix well to ensure a very enjoyable, relaxed

and informative read.



However, there is one omission. I would have been delighted to have seen

some space - such as a centre-page spread - devoted to fashion.



THE YORKSHIRE POST



Nick Eggleton, new-business director, Poulter



With a circulation of just less than 76,000, the Yorkshire Post is the

UK’s sixth-largest morning newspaper. A consistently excellent product,

the paper has held on to a loyal readership. It’s like reading a quality

national broadsheet. The front page screams national news - in this

issue the story of the two British nurses’ release from a Saudi prison

appears alongside a picture of Mo Mowlam and a piece about the Irish

issue.



But local news is not ghettoised. National and local stories are

interwoven in five pages of home news. An example in this issue is a

Betty Boothroyd story - is it local or national? In fact, it’s both. The

truly local stories are kept to a local edition page. Sports news is

interwoven with national cricket while European and local football

features equally. In the business market, the paper really comes to the

fore. There are more than 130 quoted companies in Yorkshire with stories

on four of them in this issue. The job vacancies advertised are also of

a high quality.



THE SUNDAY POST (Edinburgh)



Peter Mill, founding creative partner The Leith Agency



When I was a boy, the Sunday Post wasn’t a newspaper. It was an

icon.



Generations of Scots learned to do things with vinegar, courtesy of the

Handy Tips feature. Readers believed that if something wasn’t in the

Sunday Post, it wasn’t true. The political column, As We See It, pointed

out that the country was going to the dogs because ’soor plooms’ had

gone up to sixpence ha’penny. Imagine a Scots version of the Darling

Buds of May and that’s the rose-tinted picture of Scotland the Sunday

Post painted.



Today’s Sunday Post has lost almost everything it once had. It used to

be timeless, now it’s dated. It used to be classless, now it’s another

downmarket Sunday tabloid. It used to be bought by almost every Scots

family, now its circulation is falling rapidly. I wonder if people

stopped buying the Sunday Post because it didn’t change, or because it

did?



THE BATH CHRONICLE



Jon Jefferies, managing director McCann-Erickson Bristol



This paper is a good read with excellent colour and lots of local news

and features - and not one lost cat. But there are only two pages of

national news and just three-and-a-half pages of sport to balance a

56-page recruitment supplement along with the usual TV guide.



Front cover stories include a piece about Gary Rhodes’ frustration with

Bath and North-east Somerset Council which is threatening to thwart his

attempts to open a restaurant in Bath.



Also on the front is a curiously prominent story about a local

stonemason whose financial problems are causing a reorganisation of the

business.



The line-up for the Bath Festival - three weeks of world-class and

fringe events - is relegated to page eight.



The Bath Chronicle is a very good local paper with lots of content,

although I’d say it is a little too wordy.



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