I hope you all agree that this newspaper is worth 43p a day
THIS is one of those days which make newspaper executives hold their breath.
For a myriad of reasons we have had to put the cost of the Derby Telegraph up from 40p to 43p.
This is above inflation and is bound to cause waves among our readers.
I would like, therefore, to take this opportunity to defend the move.
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Firstly, I can say that we have kept the Telegraph's price one of the lowest of any in the regional press for many years.
Even now, if readers buy the paper six days a week, they will be paying less than for any title of our size.
A quick glance across the industry shows the Sheffield Star is 47p, £1 on Saturdays, the Manchester News is 50p, the Yorkshire Evening Post 60p, the Birmingham Mail and Coventry Telegraph 47p.
It is true that the Stoke Sentinel and Nottingham Post are 40p Monday to Friday but both rise to 60p on Saturdays.
We like to think what we offer is good value but, of course, compelling writing, breaking stories and exciting photographs all have their price.
I am proud that the Telegraph has won more awards for its journalism than almost any other regional title in Britain in recent years and that we have created a value-for-money mix in the newspaper which also includes great competitions and giveaways. We also have the best advertising reps and newspaper sales team in the business.
I hope you agree that to keep our standards this high will be worth the extra 3p a day.
And, just remember that we are still cheaper than a pint of milk, first-class stamp or almost every chocolate bar on sale.
Talking of standards, those of journalists were put under the microscope again last week.
It was gratifying to hear that Lord Justice Leveson had praise for the regional press but I would argue that we should never have been lumped in with his inquiry in the first place.
The circus which has surrounded the reprehensible phone-tapping and bribery at national tabloids has had damaging fall-out for our side of the industry.
But I ask this: If a particular butcher was accused of cutting corners on the ingredients of its pies and they were consequently making people ill, would there be an inquiry about all pies across the country?
No, the investigation would be centred on those allegedly involved.
Leveson finally accepted that the behaviour of regional journalists was beyond reproach and even went on to suggest government should safeguard the future of regional newspapers.
Sadly, the damage is already done. Many people do not see the difference between national and regional newspaper journalists because the publicity surrounding the Leveson inquiry, particularly on TV and radio, merely uses the words The Press.
Undeterred, the Derby Telegraph will continue to fight for local people in the same way we have done for years. And I guarantee our work will be worth 43p.