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Trinity Mirror quizzed over closure of the New Day

5 May 2016

The NUJ led questions on the closure of the the New Day after just two months at Trinity Mirror's annual general meeting.

The daily newspaper had been aimed at people who had stopped buying a newspaper, said Simon Fox, the publisher's chief executive officer. He said it had been an attempt at innovation, but had not worked. He said of the 25 staff those who had come from the Mirror would return, the rest had been on short-term contracts.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, asked about the total costs of the New Day experiment and whether it would lead to other parts of the Trinity Mirror's portfolio of publications having to make sacrifices. He said the New Day was the second of the company's dailies to bite the dust, with its newspaper in Nuneaton moving from daily to weekly publication.

Simon Fox refused to give any indication of the costs lost by New Day and was later accused of being secretive by shareholders at the meeting at London's Dockland Museum.

He denied the New Day had been a speculative venture: it had been well researched he said. But the NUJ shared the view of media commentator Roy Greenslade who said the paper had been launched on the cheap. "Although Fox may say that he gave it his best shot, he was firing with blanks. To sum up, the New Day was a misconceived experiment. And the buck stops with the man at the top rather than the journalists who strove to make sense of a nonsensical idea," he said.

Lewis Arnold, an NUJ photographer, asked assurances from the Trinity management that it would not follow the trend in local newspapers of sacking staff photographers. He said the Leicester Mercury's picture desk had been cut by two-thirds. Simon Fox agreed that there was an increased appetite for images and videos, but gave no assurances on the protection of staff photographers.

The board members also had to field angry questions on phone hacking. David Grigson said the company had put by £41m to pay off those who had been hacked, but said there was no-one left in the company who had been associated with the hacking. Graham Johnson, former investigations editor of the Sunday Mirror, said this was not the case.

Trinity Mirror's share price had hit its lowest point since 2013, but rallied after better than expected advertising revenue in April. Simon Fox said he thought the low price had been linked to the difficulties in print advertising, not the failure of the New Day, and said he hoped April's figures were a "sign of things to come".

Tags: , local news, local news matters, local newspapers, trinity mirror, the new day, closure, agm, david grigson, simon fox