Embley, who is also editor-in-chief of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, told the ISBA annual conference in London on Wednesday that the protracted talks could turn into a “political football”.
“Leveson is taking up an awful lot of time,” he said. “My biggest concern is that we need a solution that is right for everyone and not have it become just a political football.”
Lengthy talks on Tuesday appeared to leave a settlement some way off, with the three main party leaders now set to meet after prime minister’s questions on Wednesday to see if they can hammer out a deal on the future of press regulation.
“If we don’t get it right it will end up castrating the press,” he said. “We need a bit of irreverence [and] probing that doesn’t happen [in the same way] in other media”.
Embley also revealed that the free tablet e-edition of the Daily Mirror, which was unveiled on 3 December, has so far attracted 100,000 downloads.
Embley said that Trinity Mirror‘s newly found digital drive could be viewed as a “digital first-ish” plan.
When stories are set to hit the public domain then digital publishing takes the lead – he highlighted the publisher’s coverage of the Oscar Pistorious shooting story – but when a weighty exclusive can be broken his newspapers still held sway.
“I say [digital first]’-ish’ because we are still trying to crack the [digital] commercial model,” he said. “We know how to make money of the newspaper.”
He added that Trinity Mirror’s titles were premium-priced against its competitors and that the print model remains crucial.
“We haven’t got a billionaire, or two, looking after us as our rivals do,” he said, referring to competitors such as Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Express and Daily Star (and Channel 5).
“There is a lot of loyalty to the papers,” he added. “I like to see ourselves sitting at the top of the red top market. Are newspapers dead? Definitely not. We are not just about paper, we are about brand.”
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Leveson discussions could ‘castrate’ UK press, says Mirror’s Lloyd Embley – The Guardian