Rival publishers of the <i>Guardian</i> and <i>Telegraph</i> newspapers have clashed over the latter's publication of a rumour that "senior figures" at Guardian News & Media had "seriously discussed" ditching print in favour of online.
The source of the Telegraph article, which was published on its website yesterday, has since been revealed as a blog on the website moreaboutadvertising.com, which cited unnamed sources at The Guardian newspaper.
Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of The Guardian and Observer, tweeted that the Telegraph story was "simply untrue" within 90 minutes of its publication, while Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade took to his blog to denounce the article as "a flyer".
"About an hour ago, the Daily Telegraph posted a story on its website saying The Guardian is 'seriously discussing' [an] end to [its] print edition," he wrote. "But the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is that The Guardian isn't about to do any such thing.
"Of course, as with every paper in this transitory phase between print and screen, its executives are always doing their sums. At some point the economics may work out in favour of going digital only. At present, that just isn't the case.
"There has not been any discussion suggesting that The Guardian will cease publishing in print any time soon."
While The Telegraph article went on to highlight the fact that while GNM's newspaper's generate three quarter's of its revenue, they are loss-making, and that GNM had looked at closing its printing plant and outsourcing production of its newspapers to Trinity Mirror as recently as last year.
However, Greenslade concluded that the story was "in Fleet Street parlance...a flyer - a story you run up the flagpole hoping someone will salute. But no-one will be lifting an arm. It's just wrong. Plain wrong."Tweet
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