Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Old West Dorset media to battle it out midweek

THE Bridport News and the Lyme Regis News will appear in future on Wednesdays.

The move is announced on the papers’ website but not (that I can see) in the papers themselves.

The shift means the two Newsquest publications will come out on the same morning as the free newspapers View From Bridport, View From Beaminster and View From Lyme Regis.

“The Bridport News and Lyme Regis News moving to Wednesday is purely for operational reasons relating to available press slots,” says Toby Granville, editor of the Dorset Echo, who also oversees the two weeklies.

View From editor Philip Evans comments (via Twitter): “@RealWestDorset By moving to a Wednesday publishing date they lose their only exclusive news day to the View. Great decision – for the View!”


Myself, I think there are three things worth remarking on.

One: when the News did first move from Friday to Thursday that was done to compete more directly with View From titles and the Western Gazette (which comes out on Thursdays). Yet I know people who still dislike that shift intensely and refuse, as a matter of principle, to buy the News on a Thursday, because they believe it should still come out on a Friday. That’s a powerful testament to the strength of the connection that the News had with people, and to the force of habit. It’s Friday: it’s Bridport / Lyme Regis News day. Friday was a crucial part of the papers’ brand identity. Changing to a Thursday affected that, but perhaps moving to a Wednesday will not, particularly, because the first move was the one that showed the brand could be tampered with. Like ITV’s News at Ten; there are people who have never seen that in quite the same way since ITV began moving it around…

Another comment via Twitter: “oninbridders @RealWestDorset Bridport News belongs to Friday, a nice way to end the week, sort it out @Dorsetecho. Though at this rate it will loop back”

Two: it will interesting to see what effect it has, three editions of the View From and two editions of the News coming out on the same day, midweek. All sorts of permutations are possible. Good for the View because people might choose to pick up a free paper rather than pay for one that is now covering exactly the same last week? Good for the News because it’s got more pages at the moment than it’s had for years and people might think that a paid-for publication is always going to be superior to a free? Or good for them both because, if you’re in the shop, why not get them both? Neither is going to want to have exactly the same content as the other so they should (in theory) both get better and more various.

Three: and what of the 60p Western Gazette, which fewer people in West Dorset seem to care about these days, despite the best efforts of its local reporter Danielle Hoffman? (It was noticeable, for example, that she turned up for the recent South West Quadrant appeal hearing whereas no one from the News was seen – a situation that people commented upon.) Alas for the Western Gazette, it won’t have much of an “exclusive news day” to itself on Wednesdays because the deadline for its West Dorset edition is late on Tuesday. Oh well.


View From Publications are now planning something for Fridays called the View Online Dorset Weekender – “a brand new weekly paper you’ll only be able to read online!”

6 Responses to “Old West Dorset media to battle it out midweek”

  1. Philip Evans

    The Bridport & Lyme Regis News moving their publication date to a Wednesday will have absolutely no effect on the View and will make it even more difficult to rebuild their circulation.

    People pick up the View throughout the week, not just on a Wednesday/Thursday. It’s Saturday afternoon and I have just completed the topping up process with another 400 copies at the major outlets in Lyme, a process which continues until Monday evening.

    They made a big mistake moving from a Friday to a Thursday which gave the View an advantage in that we were then able to be first on the streets with news from the Wednesday night council meetings.

    It will be interesting to see the Bridport and Lyme News’ circulation figures for 2009, due for publication by ABC next week. The Lyme edition is currently down to 1,153 (source JICREG). The View’s distribution in the Lyme area is 3,300 plus, and this will rise to over 4,000 in the summer months.

    Thank you for the plug for our new forthcoming digital edition.

  2. Bill Stanley

    In view of modern publishing priorities I, sadly, feel that this decision on the part of the owners of the paid-for title, none of whom could find Bridport if a map of Dorset were to be tattooed on their buttocks, has more to do with the needs and, perceived, desires of the advertisers than any considerations for the mere readers who actually pay for the title. We truly have become a land fit for estate agents.

  3. Jonathan Hudston

    Mr Evans – It makes me smile to see your excitement about being first with the news of Wednesday night council meetings. Only (if you don’t mind me saying so), only a true old-fashioned local newspaper journalist would ever feel that way these days. But you’re right of course; in a place like Lyme, it must have given you an advantage.
    It’s always interesting to see official circulation figures. I’m told that both the Bridport News and the Dorset Echo are among Newquest’s top-performing titles nationwide. As you probably know, the Echo is currently advertising for a new reporter and boasting that it’s one of the few daily papers where sales are going up.
    One recent edition of the Bridport News was up 8 per cent year on year, but I think that was probably an exceptional blip. From memory, its official circulation rate is 10,001. Will it stay in five figures? We shall see.
    I’m intrigued by your Dorset Weekender plan. IF you can make it mobile-friendly, you might well be on to a winner. For example, I think people coming down for a weekend will nearly always bring a mobile phone with them, quite possibly a smart phone, but a computer to page through a facsimile edition, which is the way of doing things currently offered on your website? Not necessarily.
    If I had the knowhow, I’d pitch to develop an app for you!

    Mr Stanley – the only reason given for the move to Wednesday is the availability of printing press slots. Again, as you probably know, all press owners are desperate at the moment to keep their presses as busy and as efficiently run as possible. I’m still amazed at the impending shut-down of the Harmsworth / Northcliffe press in Plymouth; imagine printing papers like the Plymouth Evening Herald or the Exeter Express & Echo in somewhere like Didcot in Oxfordshire! I can remember working on big city papers with Late Finals coming out late in the day with really fresh news from that day. Compared with that, the deadline to allow for distribution from somewhere like Didcot must be pre-historic…
    We could debate how much readers do really pay for papers. They might contribute towards the overall cost, but surely advertisers have always mostly paid for them, including, indeed, estate agents. So publishers must always think about them. Don’t you – however sadly – agree?

  4. Margery Hookings

    Which ever way you look at it – economically, news exclusive potential, sideways, upside down, the natural end to the working week and the ‘feelgood’ factor on a Friday – it makes no sense at all. The BN must have taken up a very lucrative press slot for Newsquest to make such a major change. I also couldn’t understand the change from Friday to Thursday for the same council meetings reasons cited by Pip Evans.

  5. Banjo

    It’s interesting American-owned Newsquest should make this move at this time. Bouncing the paper from its printing slot for “operational reasons” will not endear it to loyal readers, especially in the face of the View From’s resurgence.
    I’m sure the Weymouth-based editor will be only too pleased to explain why the Bridport News wasn’t an important enough newspaper to keep its Thursday printing slot. What has precedence over the Bridport News? For that is by definition what’s happened.
    It’s just as well it wasn’t a reaction to the View From as this might suggest panic or indeed huge confidence (moving a weekly newspaper’s publication day is a huge undertaking and a very risky strategy. The Bridport News has moved twice in the space of six years – so clearly the circulation is going from strength to strength which will be welcome news to advertisers).
    Meanwhile it’s interesting to see the revamped arts pages – minus the TV – in the View From. It is the clearest sign that changes are happening, oh! to do something about that messy front page – two ads max and you might actually be able to compete with the BN!

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