Trinity Mirror’s top marketer Zoe Harris has hit back at critics of the publisher’s now-defunct national paper experiment the New Day, championing the need to innovate in order to unlock print’s potential in a digital age.
The paper’s final edition was published today (6 May) just two months after it launched.
Just hours after Trinity Mirror Group announced it was to fold the New Day yesterday (5 May), its marketing director Zoe Harris stood in front of a crowd of industry professionals at The Drum’s Media Slap.
Her presentation, which was booked in months before the closure news, explained how the group continues to innovate across its national and local portfolio. Harris also did not shy away from addressing the elephant in the room, stating: "There is a sense of 'printism' at play in the way that people are talking down about print more than they need to....Sales [of the New Day] are not where they need to be but there is a real difference between what Soho thinks about products and what readers think.”
“There are still millions of people going out of their way to buy a print title everyday. This sense that it is all over for print is really unfair on all of the print titles,” she added.
The audience's reaction to her appearance in the wake of the news was overwhelmingly positive.
Speaking the The Drum afterwards, the marketing director said: “We’ve obviously worked really hard on it for a long time - we’ve spent hours looking at the product and working with the team - but above all I’m incredibly proud and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the product we put out.
"In terms of the launch we’ll obviously have a look at what we could have done better...but broadly when we look back we wouldn’t do much differently,” she explained. "We don’t look at it and feel like there were things we fundamentally got wrong. We’re disappointed with the sales numbers but the response to the campaign from the target audience to the title as it launched really couldn’t have gone better for the parameters of this project.”
The target audience, a final core of 40,000 readers a day, is demonstrably affected by the news. Comments such as "Such a terrible shame. I don't really think you were given a fair chance to get it established" and "Gutted for you all, you worked so hard you have produced a brilliant newspaper" appear in their hundreds on the New Day’s Facebook page, which was used primarily as the print product’s online platform.
Harris added that when the news broke, the office phones were ringing "off the hook" to say thank you for giving the new format paper a go.
Looking forward, the publishing group is keen to learn from the New Day, however the experience will not halt its desire to innovate. "The growth in the next year or so will come from developing products that have shown potential, and also continuing to innovate and try different things," explained Harris. "You have to learn from your mistakes and really try and build on the learnings you have, and that’s what we’ll try and do."
Additional reporting by Jessica Goodfellow.