WE'RE HERE YOU; PADDY SHENNAN Looks at How the Liverpool ECHO Has Been Bringing You the News across the Centuries

Article excerpt

Byline: PADDY SHENNAN

IT'Sa relationship which has spanned 125 years --and one which seems to just get stronger and stronger.

The Liverpool ECHO and its loyal army of readers: it's a winning team.

We'reproud to serve you and we'reproud to know you. And this week,Local Newspaper Week, is the perfect time to celebrate a very special bond.

ECHO editor Mark Dickinson says: ``The Liverpool ECHO, which continues to go from strength to strength, is a wonderful success story. And it's a success story which is built on the firmest of foundations -the paper's extraordinary relationship with its readers.

``All this week, we'llbe reflecting on different aspects of our rich and col ourful history -a history which crosses three centuries.It's a good news story,and one in which you play a starring role.

``Long may that continue.'' A regional best-seller six days a week, theECHO is the paper that speaks up for Merseyside.

And we'vebeen doing that since 1879, when theLiverpool ECHO was founded by Alexander Jeans, who had previously been the chief reporter and,later, manager of our sister paper, theDaily Post, which was launched in 1855.

The Post,all eight pages of it, was first published at a small city centre printing shop at 29 Lord Street, which was also the home of the Liverpool Journal, a weekly newspaper.

Both the Journal and the Daily Post were owned by Michael James Whitty,a former chief constable of Liverpool who made a pledge to change the face of newspaper publishing.

Whitty told a select committee of MPs that the Stamp Act, under which newspapers were taxed, was restricting enterprise by forcing publishers to charge up to six old pence for a paper.

And he promised that if the Act was repealed,he would bring out a daily paper, with a cover price of one penny.

This led to the birth of the Daily Post which,in turn,led to the birth of the ECHO,both produced at new premises in Victoria Street.

Ten ECHO editions were printed each day and the paper sold for just one halfpenny -a price which remained the same for an incredible 38 years!

Both the ECHO and Post were Liberal in a strong Tory city. This was largely due to the strong influence of Edward Russell (later Baron Russell of Liverpool) who became the editor of the Daily Post in 1869 and held the position for nearly 50 years. The ECHO success story,meanwhile, was kept in the family: Alexander Jeans, who was knighted in 1918, was succeeded by his son,Alan, who expanded the company's interests. And when he died,in 1961, thefamily link at the top of the company was maintained by his son,Alick, who was knighted in 1967 and died in 1972.

A year later, thePost and ECHO moved from Victoria Street to new, pounds 8. …