The Oldham Echo's decision to speak up for Merseyside from Greater Manchester is examined by Matt Finnegan on the Liverpool Confidential site (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.com/index.asp?Sessionx=IpqiNwEiNwEmJwy6IHqjNwB6IA ).
He quotes the regional secretary of Unite, Paul Finegan: " 'We were always up against it from the start, because we couldn't argue with the figures. Trinity paid lip service to consulting us.
" 'Over the years, the Echo has been one of the most profitable parts of the regional business for Trinity -- but they creamed off massive profits without investing anything back into Liverpool.
" 'They left the cupboard bare and then, when hard times hit, it's the workers who pay the price.'
"And he revealed: 'I'm confident we could have rallied the people of Liverpool behind a "Boycott the Echo" campaign, just like Liverpool fans did to The Sun over Hillsborough.
" 'But although we lobbied MPs and local councils and got great public support, we did not want to kill off the Echo -- we still have 200 members working there. So has the NUJ. A boycott was never really an option.' "
It's true that a boycott of both titles was mooted, not least in the article & subsequent responses on the now-sadly defunct Liverpool Times blog (http://www.liverpooltimes.net/2008/09/08/liverpool-echo-and-daily-post-to-move-to-manchester/ ) at the time of the announcement last year. The author of the piece was a printer at the paper. He remarked: "When this happens in November 2009 the only newspaper printed on Merseyside will be the Sun!!!"
Clearly, Trinity Mirror brought forward the timetable by a few months. My only quibble with the author's point is that the Sun cannot remotely be described as a "newspaper". However, the fact that the publication which libelled Liverpool fans at Hillsborough & sneered at Merseyside in general is the only one to be printed in the city is a damning indictment of Trinity Mirror & their middle management minions on Oldham Hall Street.
Matt Finnegan notes in his LC piece:
"The National Union of Journalists claim the move will fatally undermine the paper's editorial credibility as a champion for Merseyside -- a charge which editors are acutely sensitive to."
And with good reason. I'd go further: it doesn't undermine their right to champion Merseyside, it removes it altogether. The city they claim to represent has been starved of reinvestment from Trinity Mirror's profits. Result: the Liverpool printing presses are allowed to become outdated & inefficient, giving management the perfect excuse to move printing operations out of the city. Next time the Oldham Echo professes concern at job losses on Merseyside, remember the short-term thinking which led to the city's presses being denied investment.
And remember the 100 printers who are now jobless.