22 September 2014

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Free newspapers axed following Johnston Press review

Four free newspapers are to be axed in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire after publisher Johnston Press decided to focus on its paid-for titles in those areas.

The last editions of the Mansfield and Ashfield Observer, Worksop Trader, Doncaster Advertiser and Chesterfield Advertiser were published last week.

Between them, the four free titles had a combined distribution of more than 140,000, according to the latest ABC figures.

All four were free companions to established paid-for titles, namely the Mansfield Chad, Worksop Guardian, Doncaster Free Press and Derbyshire Times.

No editorial jobs are being lost as a result of the closures, although two sports editor roles in Derbyshire have disappeared as a result of a separate restructure.

John Bills, managing director of JP’s North Midlands and South Yorkshire publishing division, said:  “Following an extensive review of the publishing strategy in Mansfield, Worksop, Doncaster and Chesterfield the free titles in each town will close week commencing 1st October.

“The paid-for titles – the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad, Worksop Guardian, Doncaster Free Press and the Derbyshire Times are successful, highly regarded newspapers of record in their respective towns and with their websites will be the focus of our publishing activity.

“All our advertising customers who used the free titles have been offered alternative choices within our range of titles and websites.”

In their glory days, the free titles had separate editors and distinct news agendas.  Previous editors of the Observer included the late George Robinson, who went on to become editor of the Worksop Guardian, and former Chad deputy editor Tony Spittles.

In the most recent circulation figures, the Mansfield and Ashfield Observer had an average weekly distribution of 46,427, the Chesterfield Advertiser 43,669, the Doncaster Advertiser 33,498 and the Worksop Trader 17,919.

In a separate development, two sports editor roles on JP’s Derbyshire titles have been axed following a restructure.

Derbyshire Times sports editor Andrew Jarvis has left the paper after 32 years for a role at JP’s Sheffield subbing hub, while Kevin Miles, who covered sport for both the Ripley and Heanor News and Belper News, has left the business.

Their work is expected to be divided up among other sports staff across the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire titles who survived the restructure.

John declined to comment on the loss of the sports editor positions.

4 Comments

  1. Legbreak

    Don’t see how a paper the size of the Derbyshire Times can operate properly without a sports editor. I also think that some other sports editors in JP will now be wondering if their positions are secure or could (will) become another cutbacks statistic in one of those all too familiar reviews!

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  2. Mouse Hole

    The Doncaster Free Press sports editor was made redundant last year – which brought about a two month strike.

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  3. ex-JP, Dubai

    …and, at the time, they said there were absolutely no plans to make sports editors redundant elsewhere…

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  4. Spanner

    More frees to go.

    Built on full colour cheap property ads when the established papers were hamstrung by the print unions, property and motors now on the net , no need for a free.

    Also anyone noticed that the big boys all stopped competing with each others free titles about 4 years ago…HMMMM !!!!!

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