Posts Tagged trinity mirror

More than news in a newspaper

The Manchester Evening News has unveiled a new masthead slogan. The previous strapline, ‘The voice of Greater Manchester’, has been replaced by ‘A friend dropping in’.

I thought I’d be the only person not employed by Trinity Mirror who’d give this switch a second glance, but when I mentioned it on Twitter yesterday other newspaper geeks stepped forward with their opinions. Reaction was broadly negative (‘makes me cringe’ and ‘strange’ were two comments) but I confess I am more enthusiastic.

Assuming the new slogan emerged from focus groups, I imagine participants would have indicated the MEN is seen as a paper of record, strong on politics, crime and business. The old slogan fits that image well. However, there are plenty of readers and potential readers uninterested in ‘high’ issues.

So I see the change of slogan as recognition, perhaps, that other elements of a newspaper are just as important to some readers as the front page scandals and back page action. For the start there are the ‘softer’ subjects, like community news, features, entertainment or columnists.

And, while journalists don’t like to admit this, many readers turn straight to the parts of the newspaper that have nothing at all to do with ‘editorial’. That could be the family announcements to see who’s been ‘hatched, matched or despatched’, or the letters page(s), dating page, classified ads, homes or cars for sale or jobs listings.

I have experienced what happens at newspapers when there’s a printing or subbing error on a crossword or the TV listings – a constant stream of phone calls from dozens of angry readers. The reaction is way above what you experience when something’s wrong with a news page.

A local newspaper is a sum of all these diverse elements. You will find them in isolation elsewhere, principally online, but you can’t get the whole package unless you buy a newspaper. So I rate the slogan ‘A friend dropping in’ as a good way to emphasise a newspaper is a unique mix of hard and soft news, essential information and entertainment.

Or maybe I’ve just put *way* too much thought into it.

UPDATE: I should add, having been told on Twitter three times, that the MEN slogan isn’t new as such but a revival of one from the 1980s.

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