All-Wales national paper 'unlikely'

By Clive Betts

Hopes of creating an all-Wales national newspaper have been discounted by industry managing directors.

The Welsh Assembly investigation into the alleged newspaper dominance by Trinity Mirror in Wales has switched into a wider examination of the state of the country’s English-language media.

Cardiff School of Journalism’s Dr James Thomas had argued that an all- Wales morning might be "highly popular"

and would substantially improve the quality and quantity of information available in Wales.

The Western Mail’s claim that it is the "National Newspaper of Wales" suffers from the paper’s poor circulation beyond Machynlleth in mid-Wales.

Dr Thomas argued such a paper would be unlikely to emerge because of the regionality of the Welsh press.

Evidence submitted from locally owned North Wales Newspapers, which owns the Wrexham Evening Leader, pointed out that its advertising was almost all local, with most produced within a five-mile radius. The community of interest for readers and advertisers in the North was local. "Any development across the pan-Wales arena is perhaps more difficult," Dr Thomas said.

Plaid Cymru assembly member Owen John Thomas urged the creation of a national newspaper that followed how Wales is developing, with parallel northern and southern regionals.

Newsquest Wales and Gloucestershire chief executive Gavin Steacy, who was previously with the Western Mail and Echo in Cardiff, said a Welsh national with the penetration and in the style of The Daily Telegraph would not reach a "massive" circulation, but; it might manage 50,000. "It would be great to have a national newspaper, but it would be very difficult to sustain commercially because of the demographics of the country," he said.

Dr Thomas was among several who complained that the need for Wales news was ignored by the England-based papers, which provide 85 per cent of the morning circulation.

He had contrasted the sometimes all- Scottish diet in northern editions of London papers with the near-invisibility of Welsh news in Wales.

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