It won't be long now. The Oldham Echo's move to its Greater Manchester base will be sealed at the beginning of August (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/8129727.stm ):
"The owners of Liverpool's two daily papers have confirmed that print production will be moved to [Oldham] at the start of August."
The beeb's rather short piece went on to report:
"From October, the Liverpool [sic] Echo will also be released earlier in the morning to 'compete with the nationals', said a Trinity Mirror spokesman."
Competing with the nationals is only part of it; when Trinity Mirror refer to "the nationals", they aren't thinking of the Guardian, Independent, Times or Telegraph. They're thinking of the Mirror (surely some duplication there, methinks), the Mail (in its more, ahem, considered moments) &, yes, the Sun. Many of the older hacks who left the sinking ship recently were in no doubt that the paper was careering even further downmarket; one ex-journo on the Echo (no names, but she knows who she is) allowed herself to get "tired & emotional" whilst savouring Rigby's fine ales on Dale Street a few weeks back. She expressed her considered view, in terms as colourful as a kaleidoscope, that said paper was now little more than a local version of the national red-tops, obsessed with sex offenders, c-list celebrities & ASBOs, & that the management on Oldham Hall Street had been less than firm in its defence of the paper & staff as Trinity Mirror's cost-cutters swooped into offices & identified "savings". Of course, I heavily paraphrase. Quoting her comments verbatim might shock those of a delicate disposition.
Robin Brown on The Liverpool Culture Blog lifted the lid a little further on the Echo's relatively unlamented leaving of Liverpool as well as hinting what it means for its sickly sister (http://www.liverpoolcultureblog.co.uk/2009/07/trinity-mirror-move-pitches-echo-and-post-against-one-another/ ):
"Reading between the lines, the change in deadlines is to accomodate a switch from printing in Liverpool to Oldham, at least one hour's drive away.
"The consensus -- right or wrong -- in Liverpool's media community is that The [Daily] Post is on its way out, with sales down to under 10k, according to various reports I've heard."
The circulation figures Brown posits for the Post are spot-on; even more ominous for the title is that a sizeable proportion of those sales come from an elderly readership in North Wales. Think of the demographics: the writing is no longer on the paper, but very much on the wall for the Post.
Meanwhile, just in case it's been overloked in the headlines about the move, 100 local printers are soon to lose their jobs. The Liverpool [sic] Echo: speaking up for Merseyside...from Greater Manchester.