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Has Manchester Evening News exploited child salesmen as sales slump to nothing?

Has Darth Horrocks, Editor of The Manchester Evening News, hit a new low? Gordo investigates the worrying rumours that no-one in central Manchester will pay for a copy of the newspaper any more...

Written by . Published on August 3rd 2006.

Has Manchester Evening News exploited child salesmen as sales slump to nothing?

Has Darth Horrocks, Editor of The Manchester Evening News, hit a new low? Gordo investigates the worrying rumours that no-one in central Manchester will pay for a copy of the newspaper any more and that sneaky Darth’s puppet masters, the worldwide firm Sheik, Down Consulting have forced him to take on children as young as 12 months to sell the paper on the streets of Manchester, slashing costs in the process. Crikey, it wasn’t that bad in 1878!

Gordo felt bound to investigate. A concerned ManchesterConfidential.com reader sent in the photographic evidence, published on these pages. Surely these two rumours can’t be correct?

In fact Gordo has to report that one is true. The paper is indeed selling no copies at all in central Manchester, having to give them away. As for the other rumour. Gordo interviewed the sales lady in the readers photograph, who explained that the children weren’t selling, they were being given away with each copy of the paper as a sales promo. You can never be too careful, but this story was untrue.

In another development it transpires that Sir Howard ‘Bobby’ Bernstein over at the Kremlin has become increasingly annoyed at the huge number of copies of The MEN being dumped on the streets of Manchester. Apparently Bobby gave Darth a bollocking about the cast offs shortly after he had finally given up the battle and told distribution to give them away;

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“Look here Darth, either make it readable so people take it home, or put a big notice on the front page”.

It seems Darth threw in the towel. The front page now carries the following plea.

“When you have finished reading this newspaper, please remember to dispose of it thoughtfully and responsibly. Thank You.”

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Too funny Mr Garner!!!

Fiona Guy

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Fools I'm sure many people are would be quite willing to pay for the Evening News. Especially if it means actually getting one. I often get to Shudehill Bus Station before the lazy buggers have put them out and finish long after they have been snaffled. I have read the paper for years and have no intention of switching allegiance to the monthly newcomer (total waste of time by the way). Please keep your pathetic snipes to yourself or you may find that alot of your subscribers will grow sick and tired of the childish comments and stop bothering. Your offers really aren't that great to justify reading such bitter ramblings.

Debbie Atkin

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Don't suppose it IS Mr Horrocks who has been making all these bizarro decisions as the MEN battles to stay profitable. Although the regional newspapers group made £30M profits last time out this has not stopped them chucking in the towel at City Life which was apparently only selling around the same numbers as the original Workers Coop (including myself) had been managing for five years in the 1980s. Just as with MEN these days City Life was being given away, though more cleverly only to City Centre residents not to commuters and visitors also, but bizarrely the MEN was competing against it with a 10p Friday edition full of what's on listings too. The man with all the clever ideas (avoiding any content shift in the product) must surely be Mark Dodson or some other smart executive rather than Mr Horrocks though. Surely if the editors were in charge they'd beef up the editorial staff, run more of the racier stories they are sent every day but which are regularly spiked over good taste or legal fears, and run less about local events the other end of the country. They would also wake up, smell the coffee and recognise that their traditional paying public are in cemetaries and nursing homes and that Manchester's demographic is now more diverse, more energetic and more liberal/progressive. This would lead them to drop the cretaceous columnists and some of the more venerable reviewers too and introduce writers who are more at home in the village, at the mela, and very likely protesting against the BNP rather than reading right wing contributions to the famous Postbag. As someone who reads the paper every single day I must say that this accountancy problem needs a radical EDITORIAL solution not meaner bean counting. And that the lavishing of £6M on Channel M by the group is also a daft accountancy solution to what is clearly not really a COMMUNITY station and won't become one by having more cash slushing about.


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This is perhaps the best article i have come across, it made me laugh out loud! The M.E.N should be the council's new newspaper. Have you ever seen a copy of the council's Manchester People quarterly edition News Paper? Bobby is having problems with distribution in getting it out to certain areas if not the whole of Manchester. What a modern city.

Germaine Nichol

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Debbie get over it and please don't make generalisations about other subscribers to Manchester Confidential. Some of us prefer our newspapers with more substance than how good David Beckham looks in a pair of trunks. I for one think the MEN is good for nothing but wrapping chips in and am grateful to you guys at confidential for having the guts to speak out against a ''news''?paper trying to monopolise the whole market and prevent anyone else from actually reporting intelligent news stories to the people of Manchester.

Paul Dinsdale

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What a great story Gordo! Geez, you'll be up for the Pulitzer next thing we know. It's almost as though you have some personal vendetta against this Darth guy... but obviously that can't be true, 'cause that would be REALLY unprofessional, eh?

Rachel Cummins

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