08 March 2006

Newspapers must remember their primary goal

The constant barrage of free DVDs to boost flagging newspaper ratings can’t disguise an inferior newspaper and long-term circulation rates will always suffer. When Sarah Sands was appointed as editor of the Sunday Telegraph she replaced in-depth articles with glossy, lifestyle features and free DVDs. While the give-aways fuelled short-term circulation gains, eventually the sales were back to the level of her predecessor. While the Barclay brothers have been ruthless in dispensing with Sands after just 8 months, it is widely reported that the new editor, Patience Wheatcroft (pictured), will place quality news back on the agenda. Newspapers are slowly waking up to the fact that free DVDs are a short-term answer and to retain, and indeed attract, readers they must remember the primary purpose of media is to deliver content to consumers.

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