In the crazy world of newspapers, silence is an acceptable PR strategy

Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford has been having some fun at the expense of Newsquest, the UK’s second biggest regional newspaper publisher. Given what Newsquest does, the company would naturally be of interest to its weekly trade magazine, but all the more so because of its bruising approach to industrial relations and a senior management team that refuses pay rises to journalists while enriching themselves.

Ponsford says the company’s CEO Paul Davidson has a strange PR strategy: not once has he returned calls or engaged on any level with the many stories written by the Gazette during his 13 year tenure. It can’t be easy running a business where journalists make up the majority of employees. Herding cats springs to mind. But Newsquest’s relationship with the UK’s National Union of Journalists also leaves plenty of room for improvement, adding further to the impression that Newsquest’s most senior executive is struck in a 1970s time warp.

Earlier this month Davidson handed over the CEO job to Henry Faure Walker, so Ponsford decided to mark the occasion by recording a musical tribute to the tune of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind. The Gazette’s editor must be hoping Davidson’s replacement will have a different style. Nobody should hold their breath because Mr ‘no comment’ Davidson will still be down the corridor in his continuing role as Newsquest chairman. Here’s the video.

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