THE NEWLY appointed publisher of The Western Telegraph has challenged its new rival newspaper, The Pembrokeshire Herald, to provide evidence on print figures or face being reported to the authorities.
In a letter to Herald acting editor Thomas Sinclair, The Telegraph’s confident new boss, Dean Merrick, described how he believed that claims The Herald has been making over the number of copies being printed per week were ‘untrue’.
In the letter Mr. Merrick said: “It has come to my attention on your marketing pack that is accessible on your website that you claim that you print 20,000 copies weekly of The Pembrokeshire Herald. We believe your claim to be false.”
He added: “I hereby provide you with seven days notice from August 29 to respond to confirm your print figures. If you fail to respond within the 7 day period my complaint will be passed onto the Advertising Standards Authority who will investigate the matter further.”
Thomas Sinclair hit back saying: “Our old pre-launch media pack claims a print run of 20k, but we have a new revised version. The number of copies printed each week, however, is immaterial for newspaper advertisers. It goes without saying that what businesses need to know is how many readers a publication has – or the circulation.”
Mr Sinclair said: “Something has clearly rattled The Western Telegraph. The latest JICREG data, updated on April 1, 2014 shows that the WT’s circulation is at an all-time low of 15,753 copies.”
The Herald boss added: “We clearly and repeatedly explain to our customers that we have 17,000 weekly readers. This has been printed on the front page of The Herald several times. It is in all our marketing material. It is what our sales staff consistently tell customers. It was even on the huge banners on top of our two storey stand at the County Show this year.”
Mr Sinclair added: “The media pack, which is being referred to, is the one which was designed before the Herald was launched. As reported on the BBC we did launch the paper with a 20,000 print run at launch, but cut this fairly soon after starting. The new and improved media pack which we have been circulating since then quotes a print run of 10,000 copies per week. We do print more than this but we have kept the number to the lowest we print. Contrary to what The Western Telegraph’s publisher has claimed, the old media pack is not accessible via the Pembrokeshire Herald homepage.”
Mr. Sinclair concluded: “Print figures aside, there is one thing which is clear. The Pembrokeshire Herald readership is on the way up, and the Western Telegraph’s is quite obviously on the way down.”
“With what the JICREG data has revealed this year, combined with what our stockists are telling us, I would not be surprised if we have eclipsed the Western Telegraph in reader numbers already.”