20 October 2014

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Trinity Mirror: ‘We tried to sell closure-threatened titles’

Regional publisher Trinity Mirror has revealed it tried and failed to sell three weekly Midlands titles which have been earmarked for closure.

The company’s Midlands division announced the closure of the Cannock Chase Post, Stafford Post and Sutton Coldfield News on Monday as part of a shake-up set to lead to 45 job losses.

Yesterday the National Union of Journalists urged the publisher to find a buyer for the three free titles as an alternative to shutting them down.

Now Trinity has revealed it tried to do just that but found there was “no appetite” for a deal and the recent unsuccessful bid by the KM Group to buy Northcliffe’s Kent titles had not helped.

A spokesman said: “We conducted discussions with a number of publishers over the potential sale of these titles however there was no appetite for buying them.

“We believe that the recent referral of the Kent Messenger Group’s bid to buy Northcliffe’s Kent titles to the Competition Commission was unhelpful in this regard.”

As well as the closure of the three titles the restructure will also see production and features staff at the company’s Birmingham and Coventry titles merged in a regional hub.

The union said that the only beneficiary of the closure will be Northcliffe Media which has rival papers in the area.

The NUJ will hold an open debate called Crisis in Midlands Journalism to be held on Thursday 8 December at Birmingham Council House.

In a statement on Monday, Trinity Mirror Midlands managing director Steve Anderson-Dixon said the review was vital to ensuring the future of the company’s newspapers and websites in the Midlands.

7 Comments

  1. Buckner

    Didn’t the Bullivants want them? Trinity would rather shut down all operation than sell to a rival. Its all a matter of pride, not business.

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  2. Blustringer

    Hmm.
    Asking a few other croaking dinosaurs in the herd of monster-sized publishers to which Trinity Mirror belongs whether they want a sniff at these titles and putting a For Sale sign on them on the open market are quite different things.

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  3. Chris Youett

    What planet does Trinity Mirror live on? Is the company really saying that it can’t make money from a paper that serves Sutton Coldfield, one of Europe’s wealthiest towns?

    If TM wants to arrest its profits decline it is very simple: stop giving away online/digital services & start charging the market rate. After all this is what two of the world’s most successful & powerful companies, IBM & Microsoft, told media owners a decade ago.

    Continuing to close offices is like falling into a whiskey vat and trying to drink your way out.

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  4. The Big Exclusive

    Shouldn’t the intro read “…Trinity Mirror has CLAIMED it tried and failed to sell three weekly Midlands titles…”?

    Unless, of course, Trinity provided HTFP with conclusive proof of its attempts to sell, ie forwarded email exchanges, minutes of meetings etc.

    The Competition Commission decision was idiotic though.

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  5. Gotcha

    Big Exclusive, the headline does have the statement within quotes to prove that it’s something the company is claiming. We need to be more worried about what the NUJ is saying. On Twitter, Lawrence Shaw of the NUJ appears to be accusing Trinity Mirror and Northcliffe of questionable things and says Trinity Mirror made no attempt to sell the papers. The last thing union members facing redundancy is a hot head mouthing off about things he can’t prove.

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  6. Clem

    Chris Youett clearly doesn’t understand how online news works. If newspapers didn’t give the content away free, it wouldn’t boost circulations at all – because there are plenty of other places to get news online – the BBC, for example, and increasingly hyperlocal sites.

    The Sutton Coldfield News was also free to 99% of its readers. Mr Youett’s argument is one which is a big danger to the industry.

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  7. Steve Dyson, Birmingham

    The last two editions of the Chase Post are reviewed in ‘Dyson at Large on Htfp tomorrow, Wed Nov 23. This blog will include detailed points from top Trinity Mirror sources on the reasons behind the closure.

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