Two more free weekly newspapers have printed their final editions this week as the bout of pre-Christmas industry gloom continues.
The Northcliffe Media-owned Bridgwater and Burnham Times has closed down after 12 years, carrying a report of its own demise on its final front page yesterday.
Also ceasing publication this week is Trinity Mirror’s Darlington and South Durham Herald and Post whose last edition went to press on Monday, bringing the number of newspaper closures in the past fortnight to eight.
In addition Trinity Mirror announced the effective closure of two more free titles as part of its announcement yesterday that the Liverpool Daily Post is to go weekly.
The Bootle Times, Maghull and Aintree Star and Anfield and West Derby Star are to be merged into a single title, The Star, and in future will only be available within the Tuesday edition of the Liverpool Echo.
The news of the Bridgwater and Burnham Times’ closure was announced in a front page story in yesterday’s final edition.
Philip Welch, editor of Mid Somerset News and Media, said: “The economics of producing free newspapers have become more challenging in recent years. We reached this decision with sadness but we are looking at new ways to serve the people of Bridgwater, Burnham and Highbridge.
“Our plans for the future are to further strengthen and invest in our highly successful Mid Somerset Series of paid-for newspapers and to expand our portfolio of other publications and events.
“We will be making an announcement in the New Year with a number of exciting initiatives. Meanwhile may I thank our readers and advertisers for their interest and support.”
The Wells based paper was created following the merger of the former Bridgwater Times and Burnham and Higham Times, with separate editions for Burnham and Bridgwater.
In the last round of ABC figures the Bridgwater and Burnham Times had a circulation of 28,929.
The closure of the Darlington and South Durham Herald and Post, which had a circulation of 48,315, is being put down to falling advertising income.
Trinity Mirror said there would be no editorial or advertising jobs lost as a result, but is in a period of consultation with a small number of affected staff in other departments.
Regional managing director Bob Cuffe said: “Trading conditions in 2011 have been challenging and our revenues are lower than we had expected. In order to ensure we can build a sound base for 2012, further action is needed.
“Consequently, we are announcing a change to our portfolio which will improve our performance in the months ahead.”