The only drawback with the BBC's otherwise invaluable iPlayer is that TV & radio programmes are stored on it for just seven days. Before it's too late, therefore, here's the link for the Roger Phillips Phone-In on BBC Radio Merseyside last Friday:
The programme's first hour was taken up by calls to the Echo editor, Alastair Machray, about the changes at the paper &, of course, the move to Oldham with the loss of up to 100 jobs from the city that the paper ostensibly champions. The ever-genial Mr Phillips gave Alastair an easy ride. So far, so pleasant. Then the calls came in. Many were unswayed by Alastair's honeyed words about maintaining the "quality" of his publication. Some compared the Echo to the Daily Mail. One really put the knife in & twisted it by remarking that it was worse than the Sun.
And on it continued, Alastair gamely defending the job losses, the move to Oldham & the content of the paper that he puts together. There were some good gags, too. Alastair's contention that the Echo really was "the voice of Liverpool" had me chuckling. However, the real gem came when he compared the brand value of his sorry little paper to that of the New York Times. Yes, he really did make that comparison. Laugh? I nearly organised a whip-round for Jason Harborrow!
Just by way of a good old-fashioned compare & contrast exercise, click on this link: www.nytimes.com/ . Now click on this link: www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/ . Like peas in a pod, aren't they?
Of course, the situation facing the Daily Post & Echo's parent company, Trinity Mirror, is grim. Its other titles around the country have seen swingeing job losses. Moreover, its advertising revenues have fallen by 20% (http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=42431 ).
However, in PR terms, it goes from bad to worse for its Merseyside operation. And it certainly isn't helped by the latest round of job losses among its journalistic staff; one quarter of its staff will go (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.com/index.asp?Sessionx=IpqiNwEiNwxrIaqiNwF6IHqi&realname=Jobs_shock_at_Post_and_Echo ).
According to LC, the quality of the content WILL suffer:
"Sub-editors, the people who polish the writing, design the pages, fact check and act as a last legal safety net, appear to be in the sights of much of the 'streamlining' and the ones that survive will be called 'multimedia deskers' who will work across all papers and platforms."
These "savings" could be very costly if an article leads all the way to the libel courts; Rex Makin doesn't come cheap, you know.
It doesn't stop there. The Saturday edition of the Liverpool Daily Post will be no more (http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=42550 ).
All of which makes the Echo's gloss on the situation look even more risible. Take this self-congratulatory missive on its new "look":
It's almost Pravdaesque in tone. It quotes a satisfied reader, who, along with six other deluded souls, was invited to Echo HQ. on Old Hall Street: "We really appreciated being listened to and invited to come to the ECHO. I love the paper and the changes that have been made to the headlines and the text size made a big difference."
It would be nice to treat that quote as verbatim. It would also be nice to think that there is a Santa Claus & that the moon's made of cheese.
The Echo says it wants more comments from its readers...the right comments, of course.