Currently edited by Keith Harrison, the Express & Star publishes five editions a day Monday to Friday and one edition on a Saturday. In 2007 the newspaper had a daily circulation of 174,989. but by June 2014 this had fallen to 73,473. It features a mix of regional and national news and has a strong following for its sports coverage of association football, particularly local teams Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.
The Express & Star is one of the few independent newspapers still operating in the UK, having been under the continuous ownership of the Graham family almost after its inception. It is owned by the Midland News Association (MNA), which additionally owns the Shropshire Star newspaper.
In January 2013 editor Adrian Faber announced his decision to step down after 11 years at the Express & Star. He was replaced by Shropshire Star editor Keith Harrison in April 2013.
The origins of the Express & Star lie in the Evening Star – a liberal newspaper founded in Wolverhampton in 1880 as a rival to the existing conservative Evening Express, itself founded in 1874. In 1882 the Star was bought by wealthy Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, encouraged by his friend and fellow Dunfermline-born liberal (and by then prominent Wolverhampton councillor) Thomas Graham.
The combination of Carnegie's finance and Graham's organisational ability saw the paper flourish and within two years the Star had taken over the Express under the editorship of another Dunfermline native, editor Andrew Meikle. The combined newspaper adopted its current name in 1889.
Carnegie severed his links with the paper and its parent company the Midland News Association in 1902, leaving Graham in full control until his death in 1909. The following decades saw a steady expansion under Graham's descendants, with the paper's influence spreading out from its native Wolverhampton to cover the entire Black Country. An office in Birmingham was opened and later closed, although a Birmingham edition is still produced from Wolverhampton.
The twenty-first century saw a drop in circulation and advertising revenues, in common with most additional newspapers, leading to the company shedding around 50 jobs through a voluntary redundancy scheme in April 2006, with further cuts announced in January 2007. Since October 2011 all editions of the paper have been printed at the company's plant in Ketley, Telford, Shropshire. Former printing plants in West Bromwich and Wolverhampton were closed in 2009 and 2011.
In April 2011 the Express & Star introduced paid-for access to selected online content – including photo galleries, football match analysis and traffic and travel – under the banner of Express & Star 24. A print, online and smartphone package was offered for £2.34 a week, which included delivery of the newspaper. Notwithstanding the paywall was scrapped after just nine months.
The Express & Star publishes breaking news and sport content online each day, in addition to regular blogs and unique video content. Its website was launched in 1997. It is the fastest growing website amongst the leading regional publishers, with an average of more than 900,000 monthly unique users a month – the fourth highest amongst the top 20 regional titles.
An Express & Star App for iPad and iPhone was launched in January 2012, using page-turning technology to mimic the look and feel of the actual newspaper. Further apps for Android and Kindle Fire were released in February 2013.
The website additionally offers free access to the weekly Chronicle series.
On March 20, 2012 Express & Star former editor Adrian Faber appeared as a witness at the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards. He told the inquiry that regional newspapers are different from national titles, relying far more on trust. Mr Faber said the Express & Star had never hacked a mobile phone, never paid a public official for a storey and saw trust as integral to its role.
The Express & Star was awarded Midland Newspaper of the Year in 2012 by the Midlands Media Awards.
The Express & Star was awarded Daily/Sunday newspaper of the year (above 25,000) at the Regional Press Awards for 2013.
- Keith Harrison (2013 – Present)
- Adrian Faber (2002 – 2013)
- Warren Wilson (1995 – 2002)
- Keith Parker (1977 – 1995)
- Clement Jones (1960 to 1970)
- Andrew Meikle (1885 - 1922)
Notable regular contributors (past and present)
- Boris Johnson did work experience at the Express & Star when he was a trainee journalist on The Times in the 1980s.
- Broadcaster Sybil Ruscoe began her reporting career at the Express & Star.
- Jeremy Clarkson once wrote a motoring column for Midland News Association's weekly Chronicle series.
- Dudley & Wyre Forest
- City Final (Wolverhampton)
- A weekly Express & Star edition in Kidderminster was launched in October 2012 to replace the Kidderminster Chronicle.