Speaking at the Society of Editors conference, Neil Benson said newspaper groups should make the most of their resources, equipment and journalists' skills by developing public relations businesses.
Publishers could also work with local authorities to provide hyperlocal websites for local communities - an idea that Trinity Mirror is trialling with Northumberland County Council, he said in a session looking at new revenue opportunities for newspapers.
"The best of PR agencies are often run by ex-editorial people. People who worked in regional press know what it takes to hit the spot in terms of press releases and they know how to package it. So why don't regional publishers think about launching an arm's length PR agency?" he told delegates.
[Audio to follow from Journalism.co.uk's interview with Neil Benson]
Such agencies could be set up as separate businesses to ensure editorial independence, he added.
"We're not looking for handouts, we're looking for payment for services provided," he added.
Newspaper groups using video for news should also look at business-to-business opportunities for making money from the medium, said Benson.
Trinity Mirror is providing paid-for video as a service to advertisers in some of its newsrooms, he explained.
In the same vein, newspapers should make better use of picture galleries, which prove popular with online audiences, he said.
"Around 97 per cent of people enjoy our pictures, but don't click through [from galleries] to make a purchase. Driving that hard is something that we need to do. It's actually easier to do that on an online e-commerce basis," said Benson.
But the opportunities for revenue from print audiences should not be overlooked, Benson added. Publishers should look to leverage this audience together with online readers, he said.