Sentinel swims while Sundays sink

The Sentinel Sunday has been the only achiever as every other title in the paid-for Sunday regionals posted a dip in circulation.

The Stoke broadsheet notched up sales of 13,089 in its second ABC audit, which is a 5 per cent increase on the previous six months – although that’s still some way short of the 82,000 that the daily tabloid title sells. Editor Sean Dooley’s decision in 2000 to launch a quality paper in a local market that was dominated by working-class, urban readers was seen to be defying established practice and industry figures predicted its imminent demise.

But this sales increase in the current difficult market is further vindication for The Sentinel Sunday team which scooped four prizes after its launch at the 2001 Regional Press Awards. Dooley said that the chance to launch a quality paper was too good to miss. “It was an opportunity to do something that was going to endure. And I suppose it was a chance to test out this theory of mine that there were people out there who would enjoy a more reflective read.”

The remainder of the Sunday market remains tough. The market leader, DC Thomson’s Sunday Post, dipped by 5.8 per cent while the Glasgow Herald also lost sales but only 1.4 per cent. The Sunday Mercury, Trinity Mirror’s Birminghambased paper, was down by 6.5 per cent on last year. The West Country’s Sunday Independent series shed sales of 4.8 per cent and Newcastle’s Sunday Sun dropped back by 4.6 per cent.

By Ian Reeves

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