22 October 2014

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Merger bid failure may hit more Northcliffe titles

Further newspaper titles look set to fall victim to the collapse of Northcliffe Media’s bid to sell its Kent newspapers to the KM Group.

Last week the company announced up to 35 job losses with the closure of the Medway News and the East Kent Gazette.

It followed a failed attempt to sell seven Kent titles to the KM Group after the Office of Fair Trading effectively blocked the deal.

Now it has emerged that five of its remaining weekly titles in the county could be merged.

They are the Canterbury Times, the Faversham Times, the Herne Bay and Whitstable Times, the Thanet Gazette and the Isle of Thanet Times.

John Nurden, editor of the Canterbury  Times and Herne Bay and Whitstable Times, took to Twitter to comment on the possible merger.

On the day of the announcement he tweeted: “There are moves afoot to axe Medway News, Sheppey Gazette and East Kent Gazette.  And merge Canterbury, Whitstable, Faversham and Herne Bay Times with Thanet. The words fire and frying pan come to mind.”

The company has also confirmed it is looking at relocating staff from the Croydon Advertiser ten miles away to the Surrey Mirror office in Redhill.

A Northcliffe Media spokesperson said: “It is possible there will be a merger. The Croydon staff may be relocated to Redhill.”

The National Union of Journalists said the closures and mergers could further weaken a local media already in crisis.

NUJ Assistant Organiser, Don Mackglew said “Northcliffe’s announcement could have great repercussions for the regional press. We have already seen in the last couple of weeks announcements of closures of regional titles across the Midlands and the North West and now it is happening into the heartland of Kent. How many more titles will disappear over the next 12 months?”

Talks between the union and Northcliffe Media will take place on Friday and a consultation with staff affected by the closures is currently under way.

2 Comments

  1. nick, Kent

    If merging of five titles into one does happen, then that would be a sad loss and any remaining paid for circulation would surely plummet. Canterbury (with Faversham, Herne Bay and Whitstable) and Thanet are distinctly separate areas – readers in one are rarely interested in the other.

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  2. Samuel Johnson, Gough Square

    I work in Canterbury but live in Thanet. They are distinctly different areas.

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