DESMOND WIELDS AXE
My old boss Richard Desmond defends his decision to lay off the entire Daily Express City desk and outsource the paper's business coverage to PA. Sorry though I feel for my former colleagues on the paper, I have to say I think he's doing the right thing.
Though the Express City pages are pretty good, they are not what the paper is about. In any case, most daily City coverage happens like this. Journalist goes to press conference, chats with colleagues from other papers, reads press release, listens to announcement, asks questions. then follows lunch during which he may discuss the story with other journalists, effectively ensuring that they are all saying the same thing. Back to office to write up story. As a result, all papers carry pretty much the same story. Frankly, PA will do the job just as well and a good deal more cheaply.
Just as papers don't individually compile their TV listings or their share price lists, neither should they individually create stories based on press releases. Get it done elsewhere, as cheaply and efficiently as possible.
This should leave more resources for the paper to focus on areas where it really can be different from the competition - be it investigative reporting or high-quality features. Unfortunately, I don't for a moment believe that Mr D is going to usethe money he saves on City coverage to invest in high-end journalism (it's more likely to go into his pension fund). However, he won't be the last proprietor to outsource his City coverage.