Depending on cross-subsidy to keep a newspaper alive is always a dangerous game. When Matthew Freud and Piers Morgan bought control of the Press Gazette 16 months ago they must have thought they could win.
The Gazette has depended upon the profits from running the British Press Awards, but that revenue stream was hit by rowdy behaviour, recriminations and boycotts. The new owners have failed to restore peace and profitability to the awards and Freud cites lack of support from some publishers as a reason for their decision to put the weekly up for sale.
Peter Cole in The Independent on Sunday wonders if the Press Gazette will be bought by a publisher who could encourage the defectors to return, but, he says, “there would still be the issue of the profits going to the magazine. Perhaps there will be no awards.”
It will be sad if the Press Gazette, much improved with its strong team of young journalists and an excellent website, founders. With a weekly print circulation of fewer than 6,000 it is going to be a tough time even if all the editors learn to love each other and turn up at the expensive awards dinner. They might even behave like angels.