Shrewd editors of local newspapers still know how to use sport to sell their product, as Devon’s Express & Echo showed over the recent bank holiday weekend when they trumpted the triumphs of Exeter in reaching rugby union’s Premiership.
According to the industry website holdthefrontpage.co.uk’s regular review of local newspapers by Steve Dyson, the special edition of the Express & Echo devoted to the Exeter Chiefs’ success was a sell-out.
“ALL HAIL TO THE CHIEFS” sang the page one wipe-out, beneath a great shot of coach Rob Baxter atop the bus with high street packed with happy faces below him.
“Another 10 pictures of the celebrating public were spread across pages 6 and 7, the paper cleverly boosting ahead to 12 more pages of fans and players in Wednesday’s Echo.
“This was good planning to meet popular demand by the team down in Exeter, and the rest of the paper clearly showed how seriously they take sport.
“There were another seven pages of sport packed with 42 reads in the back end, scoring highly when compared to many dailies I’ve reviewed, especially when you consider that day’s paper had just 32-pages in all.
“But I did feel that the rest of the slim book risked disappointing readers, with just 13 pages available for news, features and comment.
“Fortunately, editor Marc Astley and his team obviously believe in story count, and they employed some neat tricks to pull off a front-end count of 95, quite decent given the pagination.”