ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; Is the seven-day-a-week newspaper a good thing for PR?

The Daily Express and the Sunday Express have unveiled plans to merge

The Daily Express and the Sunday Express have unveiled plans to merge

Vivien Goldsmith Fishburn Hedges

‘The impetus comes from the accountants and it’s all about shedding

costs and staff rather than better journalism. Inevitably resources are

stretched and editors will have to rely more on freelancers who are

hungry for ideas from different sources. From a PR point of view you

have the opportunity to suggest clients who could make a useful and

interesting contribution. But it has to be handled sensitively and

imaginatively so it isn’t just plugging free advertising.’

William Clutterbuck The Maitland Consultancy

‘I don’t think there is any correlation between journalists being

stretched and them being more open to the blandishments of PR people. If

you give them a pre-packaged story they are going to examine it and use

it on the basis of its own merits just the same as before. If you have a

good idea and journalists are pressed then they might put it in the

paper, but it depends on the individual.’

Stephen Armstrong Freelance journalist

‘Sunday newspapers always had a tradition as the papers that could take

more time to get behind stories and investigate. The seven-day

journalist will be increasingly overworked and very open to people who

ring them up with a fully arranged story. And as they become more

reliant, the PR companies will increasingly be able to set the agenda.

But whether or not that’s a good thing for journalism is another


Jim Dunn TPS

‘As far as the leisure industry is concerned it’s great news. It will

streamline the format across the whole week and cut out separate phone

calls to different journalists. You can also get across to the combined

readerships of two newspapers. It’s an interesting trend and there’s no

reason why it shouldn’t work. These days the communications world works

24 hours-a-day and seven days-a-week anyway, so it’s more in tune with

the PR industry.’

Peter Gavan National Grid

‘It is the quality of the journalists that will determine the success of

the product as well as the marketing and correctly identifying the

readership. If PR handouts are simply manufactured into easy copy it

will not sell the product. As a profession we are not all that good at

writing handouts as stories. There are some exceptions, but generally we

don’t have the quality and calibre to match journalists.’

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