Lichfield Mercury editor says farewell to readers

The Lichfield Mercury

The Lichfield Mercury

The cutbacks and restructuring at media group Northcliffe have been felt at the Lichfield Mercury where editor Tim Hewitt has left his post after 21 years with the paper.

He is one of three editors to go at Central Independent Newspapers – an arm of Northcliffe – and has written a poignant letter to readers in his final edition.

In the letter he writes:

“Following my departure, I hope and trust that you will continue to support and show the same thoughtfulness and esteem for the small number of remaining Mercury staff who will in turn continue to show professionalism, enthusiasm and compassion in endeavouring to do the job they do best.”

And support is exactly what the Mercury will need in spades if it is to survive this latest tightening of belts in the media industry.

You only have to look at the virtual inactivity on the Mercury’s website apart from on a Thursday and Friday when they’ve gone to print to see that things aren’t as they should be at a modern media business.

It’s not the fault of the team at the Mercury who, like most small newspaper teams, are a dedicated bunch who work their socks off for little reward. But due to the reduction in soldiers on the ground and the lack of modern, long-term thinking from on high it means they will always be fighting an uphill battle.

And unfortunately, when these battles aren’t won, it’s the indians and not the chiefs who pay for it.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

5 Comments

  1. GrovesMedia

    2nd April, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Interesting to compare and contrast the differing fortunes of Northcliffe and Lichfield DC (the story below this).
    One has invested wisely and looks to engage with an audience in as many innovative ways as possible – good work from all the team at LDC.
    The other throws a miniscule amount at its business, fails to acknowledge the changing times and simply expects an audience to stay loyal – and you could level the same criticism at just about every newspaper publisher in the country, not just Northcliffe.
    The Mercury and the staff on it, from the editor down, have become victims of their own publisher’s shameful head in the sand attitude.

  2. Michael Fabricant

    2nd April, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Sammy J is right. Although newspapers have been hit by an inrease in the cost of newsprint and a drop in advertising due to the recession and competition from specialist car and property webites, newspaper groups have sought short-term solutions.

    The solution most certanly is NOT to cut down on circulation or the quality of journalism. That is akin to ITV shutting down some of its transmitters to save money and broadcasting only 10 hours a day.

    I will miss Tim Hewitt whom I have known at the Mercury in various guises for 18 years – man and boy!

  3. Tony Piper

    3rd April, 2009 at 7:40 am

    There’s a good piece on this trend in the Guardian today:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/apr/03/local-newspapers-journalism-democracy

  4. Sammy J

    3rd April, 2009 at 8:59 am

    This will be the same Guardian group who are axing regional newspaper jobs left, right and centre?