The Western Daily Press is a regional newspaper covering parts of South West England , mainly Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset as well as the metropolitan areas of Bath and North East Somerset and the Bristol area. It is published Monday to Saturday in Bristol, UK. The majority of its readers are in rural areas, small towns and villages throughout the region and the paper's coverage of rural, agricultural and countryside issues is particularly strong. It also has a good record in picking up quirky and bizarre stories which would otherwise not be publicised. Politically it tends to be conservative although its coverage of the UK ban on fox hunting was neutral, recognising that even in rural areas people are very divided on the issue.
It was founded by Scottish businessman Peter Stewart Macliver and Newcastle journalist Walter Reid and first published on June 1, 1858. Macliver went on to also found the Bristol Evening Post and the Bristol Observer.
The Western Daily was bought by Bristol United Press (BUP), the same company which publishes the Bristol Evening Post, in 1959 and since 1974 has been based at the company's building in Temple Way. BUP was bought in 1999 by the Daily Mail and General Trust, the media conglomerate which also publishes mass-circulation UK tabloid the Daily Mail and is now part of the its Northcliffe Group of regional newspapers.
As with most UK titles, the Western Daily Press has been fighting declining newspaper circulation figures in recent years and now sells fewer than 41,000 copies per day. This is a particular problem for the Western Daily Press since its circulation area is very wide and costs of distributing papers and maintaining local journalists are disproportionately high.
In 2005 a number of staff were laid off at BUP titles and management have been trying to achieve economies through staff cuts sharing of resources between the different papers. This prompted some Western Daily Press journalists to attempt to auction themselves on eBay as a joke. The National Union of Journalists has been highly critical of these cuts and is particularly active in Bristol; the union says that despite declining circulation the newspapers remain extremely profitable, partly due to advertising revenue, and that the economies are being driven by the unrealistic expectations of shareholders.
The current editor is Andy Wright.