Those journalists recently made redundant at the Oldham Echo will doubtless be cheered by the sunny optimism of Trinity Mirror's Chief Executive, Sly Bailey (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/mar/05/sly-baily-dont-write-off-newspapers ), insisting that the newspaper industry "is absolutely not facing oblivion. We believe in the future of newspapers. We have an absolute belief in our print brands but alongside a growing profitable digital business."
Bailey made her bullish comments on Jeff Randall's Sky News programme.
She also said something about Trinity Mirror's local papers which will amuse any discerning observers of the Oldham Echo:
"This is not cat-up-a-tree journalism...This is about who turns up to the local courts each morning, who is it who are holding the councils to account, where is that planning application being properly investigated? Local newspapers and we absolutely believe in them."
So the Oldham Echo can hold its head high when it comes to scrutinising the city council & the late, unlamented Culture Company, can it? Hmm, I'm sure that Tony Parrish (http://liverpoolsubculture.blogspot.com/ ) & the esteemed Professor Chucklebutty (http://profchucklebutty.blogspot.com/ ) would have something to say about that.
In her interview with Randall, Bailey also made a comment which will have Echo editor Alastair Machray squirming uncomfortably:
"Audience [ie. the readership] doesn't pay the wages and what we have to ensure is that we are generating revenue".
As one of the CiF commenters on the piece noted:
"So, as a journalist, will you be put under pressure to write articles that please the advertisers who are keeping your newspapers afloat and ignore your audience/readership because 'they don't pay the wages'! "
Another commenter referred specifically to the Echo, highlighting the contradiction in Bailey's assertion about no lessening of quality & the "terrible headlines and numerous typos" since 40 journalistic staff, many of them sub-editors, left the paper.
While casting an eye over what fate awaits those still toiling away on Od Hall Street, it's nice to see that Echo editor Alastair Machray has started blogging again (http://echoeditor.merseyblogs.co.uk/ ). Alastair, you may recall, last blogged in September of last year, when he indulged in some typical male, middle-age fantasy reverie about getting to know Catherine Zeta-Jones a little too well (http://echoeditor.merseyblogs.co.uk/2008/09/sept-8-2008-10.html ).
The post prompted a number of complaints to the Press Complaints Commission, which has yet to adjudicate on the matter (take your time, guys, there's no rush). Since resuming the blog Alastair has been on his best behaviour. Keep it up, Ali.