Incoming Liverpool Daily Post editor Mark Thomas has said it is likely the paper will increase distribution of free editions in the city centre following the success of an experiment launched last year.
Thomas is to replace Jane Wolstenholme who is leaving the paper to start a writing career. The Post received a sales boost after an upmarket relaunch in 2004, but sales are back in decline at 17,897.
Thomas said: “Although our sales have declined our circulation is actually up due to the free distribution we launched at the tail end of last year. We were initially distributing 6,000 copies very much focused on the business district, and in the future the free distribution is something that is likely to grow. We are very much continuing to sell the Daily Post and we have a very loyal readership who buy it on a daily basis.
“There’s a perception in the industry as a whole that selling newspapers is becoming more difficult as people’s habits change in terms of how they get their information. Experiments in Manchester and London have shown that if you get the product into people’s hands they still value receiving it.”
Last May Wolstenholme launched a standalone business website businessweek.co.uk, believed to be a first for a local paper.
Thomas said: “Business is a very important part of the Post and we are a hugely influential paper in the business market. In terms of our online offering we will be looking at introducing more specific niches within the business niche. We are discussing extending our online coverage of the legal sector as well as other areas. My aim is to make sure the Post is at the very forefront of the digital age.”
Thomas began his career at weekly group Wirral Newspapers before joining the Liverpool Echo. He left to work at the Press Association as a regional correspondent covering Liverpool, before returning to the Echo in 1997.
In 2003 he joined the Daily Post as assistant editor and in the same year was voted Press Gazette’s Reporter of the Year.