Belfast Telegraph

One last challenge for Monty?

By Don Anderson

Why is Ulsterman David Montgomery swimming against the trend in the newspaper industry by launching a new grouping of regional titles?

At age 63, he might have been expected to hang up the cost-cutting boots for which he is ruefully known among journalists.

Born in Bangor in 1948, educated at Queen's University, trained at the Mirror, his rise was constant. He went from a sub-editor at the Mirror in 1973, through various national daily editorships to chief executive of Mirror Group Newspapers by 1991.

He founded Mecom, the European newspaper company, in 2000.

David Montgomery therefore knows the business. He is aware that the 1100 regional and local newspapers are the UK's most popular print medium, read by 33m; that 42m unique users rely on their local newspaper websites every month; that over 6000 local newspapers are sold or distributed every minute in the UK, that over 60% of people act on the ads in local newspapers. He believes he can make such figures pay and this optimism has attracted new investment. Commentators believe that Local World will eventually lead to further consolidation, which could be the industry's salvation.

Don Anderson is a writer and broadcaster who began his career in local newspapers

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