31 October 2014

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Harry Evans’ old paper faces closure after 157 years

The weekly newspaper where Sir Harold Evans started his career is set to close within weeks unless a buyer can be found.

The independently-owned Tameside Reporter, which was first published in 1855, was put up for sale a month ago but has so far failed to attract a potential rescuer.

Staff were summoned to a meeting last week to be told the paper may cease trading and that their positions would become redundant as a result.

Around  seven editorial jobs are at risk , including those of editor Nigel Skinner, deputy editor Chris Maxwell, four reporters and one photographer. No-one from the paper or its owners has so far responded to requests for a comment on its plight.

The 157-year-old title was known as the Ashton-under-Lyne Weekly Reporter when future Sunday Times editor Sir Harold started there as a 16-year-old school leaver in the 1940s.

In those days it was owned by the Hobson family and at one point sold around 100,000 copies a week in the area around East Manchester.

However a decline set in after the paper was bought by United Newspapers in 1980, along with the rest of the Reporter Group which included a number of sister titles including the Glossop Chronicle.

Since 1997 it has been owned by Reporter and Chronicle Newspapers Ltd, a company set up by former Emap executive Martin Lusby and his then business partner Barrie Holden.

A former staff member told HTFP: “The paper has been terminally ill for some time. It hasn’t closed but it is in danger of closing.

“The staff are very worried.  They are just waiting to see what happens.”

It is unclear whether the Glossop Chronicle is also at risk of closure or whether it may be sold off separately.

The only other paper covering the Tameside area of Greater Manchester is the Trinity Mirror-owned Tameside Advertiser.

14 Comments

  1. Dave Partington

    Hope a buyer can be found. The ripsnorter gave me my break in journalism in 1980 and was a fantastic local weekly with bags of news from every area covered. But some of the offices we worked in (apart from East Manchester) would have been condemned these days. Still, those were happy days for weekly journos!

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  2. Phil Robinson, North Wales

    Sad to hear the good old Reporter could soon bite the dust.
    It’s the place where I got my start in journalism 43 years ago and I’ll always look back on it fondly.
    How many more historic titles must disappear before weekly newspapers start attracting the right sort of investment?

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  3. A. Gossip, Tameside

    Rumour has it that the local housing association, New Charter Housing will be placing a bid. No doubt to bolster their propaganda efforts with their recent aquisition of Tameside Radio.

    The Reporter is a decent, independent newspaper worth paying for. It’s fair and balanced, unlike the Tameside Andrex. I doubt that independence will remain if New Charter have their way.

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  4. Paul Taylor, Oldham

    Another here who started at the Reporter in 1979, I have very fond memories of the Reporter, which then had, I think, 14 separate editions and a staff of half a dozen in the Droylsden district office alone, where I served my time.
    Had the chance to interview Harold Evans a couple of years ago, and he referred to his early newspaper career as “vanished times”. At 16, he was a junior reporter on the Ashton under Lyne Reporter, earning a pound a week.In those days, correspondents would entrust copy to bus drivers to deliver to head office.

  5. Ed, former East Manchester reporter, Scarborough

    I share the fond memories with my former colleagues who have already commented. Ashton and Droylsden office were great training grounds, and the days spent reporting on areas such as Gorton, Ancoats, Openshaw etc were character-building and real grassroots journalism. Thanks to the Ashton Reporter Group for my NCE. Harold Evans still recalls the names of many staff, who are featured in his autobiography.

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  6. Phil Creighton

    I wonder how much they want for it? Surely the best option would be for a management buy-out, even if it was for a quid or something.

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  7. Jill, Salisbury

    I loved working at the Reporter! They gave me my first job – first at the ‘Chron’ and then in ‘Stalyvegas’. It was the perfect place to start in journalism and a really great paper packed with lots of news. This is really sad. Best wishes to everyone there.

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  8. Lensman

    Really sad to see this paper go…started there as trainee in early 80s with four other photogs, 14 editions and 5 district offices. All the best to photographer David Dent and all the staff who’ve kept it going this far. How much do they want for the title?

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  9. Lensman

    Started there as a photographer in ”82… fourteen editions back then .Best bunch of people I’ve worked with – married one of them ! All the best to those left and those who’ve kept it going through tough times. Can’t believe there isn’t a future for the Ripsnorter!

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  10. sceptictank, sarf

    Ironic and deeply depressing that an independent should be struggling when they seem the way forward. The big national companies like JP and Newsquest aren’t interested in local news, just cheap shape-filling churnalism. The worm must turn soon though.

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  11. Bob H, London

    I was saddened to hear this. I worked on the Glossop and High Peak editions from 77 to 80 and I have many happy memories, especially as I married a fellow Reporter reporter. It was a great place to learn newspaper skills. I hope the current staff manage to find work elsewhere. I fear the newspaper industry is in terminal decline, unfortunately.

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  12. DNP, Antakya

    Nigel Skinner gave me my first staff job as a reporter following work experience at the Manchester Evening News.
    If the paper does close it will be a catastrophe for local democracy and community cohesion and communication.
    It has been a victim of aggressive advertising pricing from the GM group and latterly Trinity Mirror.
    Sadly the propetors inability to encourage and develop innovation and keep up with new media trends and platforms has hastened the papers demise. However there is still hope keep fighting !

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  13. Miss Dukinfield and Stalybridge

    I spent some of the happiest years of my life at the Tameside Reporter after Nigel Skinner gave me my first break in journalism. I met some lovely people, both to work with and in the course of my job and learnt so much. It broke my heart to leave and broke my heart to hear this news.

  14. Panel Beater

    Surely it’s a perfect opportunity for the NUJ? They claim to be very effective when it comes to saving jobs in journalism. So, let them buy it and run it. Just imagine – endless days of ethical journalism, unfettered by the capitalist running dogs of the sales department….the good folk of Tameside will be queuing up to read it.

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