Weekly Edition and App. for the Peterborough Telegraph

07:21 Friday 25th May 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: It was first published in 1961 at the Advertiser’s offices in Cumbergate, and it’s no more. The Peterborough Evening Telegraph weekly from tomorrow. It’s the last ever daily paper tomorrow. The changes mean readers will be able to subscribe to daily news via the internet, as well as get their weekly bumper edition on a Thursday. Well Roger Parry is the former Chairman of the Johnston Press, which owns the ET. He says, with the service going weekly and on-line, it’s meant people have lost their jobs. (TAPE)
ROGER PARRY: Very significant job cuts, unfortunately, both in terms of journalists and obviously in terms of advertising sales people and printers. Those jobs are probably never coming back, simply because the advertising that used to be there for the daily paper is never coming back. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Exciting times ahead for the new paper and the on-line version. Mark Edwards is the Editor of the ET. He’s with us now. Morning Mark.
MARK EDWARDS: Morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: As I said, exciting times ahead, but sad day as well, not just for the loss of the ET, but also some people are losing their jobs today.
MARK EDWARDS: Yes of course. Yes. It’s a thing that’s got to happen, but it’s also .. there is a downside, and that’s it. But, as Mr Parry said, the world is changing, technology is changing, and we have little choice but to change with it.
PAUL STAINTON: It’s a sad day for everybody really, and I can tell in your voice, you’re a newspaper man at heart. It’s going to be a little bit emotional.
MARK EDWARDS: Well it’s a big change for all of us. I think we’ve had a bit of time to get used to it. We’ve looked at the figures, the trends. The reason for this decision and why we’re doing it is pretty clear. And I don’t think anybody’s surprised by it, to be honest. I think everybody understands the trends, and the impact they’re having on modern media. The change is a big one, and of course there is a fond farewell today for the ET, for the daily publishing schedule. But we do also look forward to what we’re going to be producing from tomorrow. And that’s a very busy website. That’s a very busy news app. And what we hope will be an absolutely superb bumper weekly edition.
PAUL STAINTON: How many people have lost their jobs in Peterborough Mark?
PAUL STAINTON: That is sad.
MARK EDWARDS: Yes it is. It’s extremely sad. It’s a relatively low number, but one is always too many.
PAUL STAINTON: You will have had less and less journalists working on the paper over the years as well I suppose, so it’s got more streamlined. have many people subscribed to your new daily service? Have you been inundated? Or has it been a bit of a slow start?
MARK EDWARDS: We haven’t started yet, so we don’t know, to be honest. What will happen is that the iPad app. will go live next week. The way these things work is that Apple put it live for you, and then at that point you push subscriptions, and people join it gradually. So anyone looking to take up the iPad app. gets it free for an initial period, and then pays £3.99 a month after that point.
PAUL STAINTON: So it’s free to start with, then £4 after that. And of course we’ll get the bumper edition of the paper on a Thursday. When we say bumper, how bumper?
MARK EDWARDS: At the moment, we’re looking at about 172 pages for the first edition.
PAUL STAINTON: Whoah! That’s a big paper.
MARK EDWARDS: It’s a big paper. And frankly we are considering whether it needs to be slightly bigger or not than that. So yes, it’s a very big paper. We have actually had an extraordinary response to that paper. There’s a lot of interest in it. And yes, it will be a big one.
PAUL STAINTON: We’ve had a number of people concerned this morning, a) whether my column is staying, obviously, and b) whether Stewart Jackson’s column more importantly is staying.
MARK EDWARDS: Well you’ll be delighted to hear that both columns are staying.
MARK EDWARDS: (LAUGHS) Yes they are. It’s a big paper. There’s a lot of pages. There’s a large amount of news, stories, sports, features etc in it, and yes, those two very important columns are both staying.
PAUL STAINTON: Roger Parry was saying, daily papers are struggling to fill themselves up with news, but in Peterborough we’ve got an incredibly busy news patch. Are you going to fit it all in?
MARK EDWARDS: Yes we are. Part of the design team that we’ve put together to design the new paper actually had that as a bit of a challenge. They’ll be an extremely high story count in it. And there is a lot that goes on. And we anticipate that there’ll be a lot going on-line every day. There’ll be a great deal going on to the iPad app. But there’ll be absolutely no shortage of stuff for the newspaper. And we’ll make sure there’s a comprehensive news service, and the people who buy the weekly paper will still get details of all the things that have happened in Peterborough during the week. So yes, it’s going to be a struggle to get it all in, that’s true.
PAUL STAINTON: Really nice feature in today’s paper about the vendors, down the years, the people that have sold the paper. We’re going to lose those I suppose. The newsagents are not going to be stocking it every day. We’re going to miss the sight of it on the streets, I think.
MARK EDWARDS: Well obviously it will be a big paper, and it will be on sale basically most of the week, once it comes out on a Thursday. We anticipate it being on sale Friday and over the weekend, and into Monday. But yes, the publishing cycle is changing. The vendors feature today was really .. I think it’s just quite a good idea we had, and Chris Porsz helped us put together. Because there have been so many characters over the years that have been part of the ET, and although things are changing slightly, we still intend to keep that character. We still intend to be Peterborough’s local paper, and we still intend to be all about Peterborough. We’re not going away, but we are changing. ..
PAUL STAINTON: Well, good luck with the new paper. I know you’re very very busy at the moment, putting it all together, and we wish you all the best, to those people that have lost their jobs and done so much and created so much happiness on a daily basis over the last few years. Onwards and upwards, change is inevitable. And we wish you all the best with the new paper Mark.