24 April 2014

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Weekly titles merged after sale by Johnston Press

Two weekly newspapers which cover the same town are set to be merged together next week after regional publisher Johnston Press sold two titles to an independent publisher.

It was revealed last month that the paid-for Selby Times and free Goole Courier would be sold by JP to Chronicle Publications Ltd and the sale has been completed this week.

The Selby Times and Selby Post are now set to be merged together to create one weekly newspaper from next Thursday, which will be known as the Selby Times & Post.

Staff who worked for the Johnston Press titles which have been sold did not transfer to Chronicle Publications and have been given other roles within South Yorkshire Newspapers, according to a story on JP’s internal newsletter The Word, which has been seen by HTFP.

These include content editor Chris Page, who has worked for 35 years at the Selby Times.

The merger of the titles has been confirmed in a statement by Chronicle Publications, which said the Times & Post would have a cover price of 50p, lower than the 70p charged by JP for the Selby Times.

The company said the Goole Courier would continue to be published as a standalone title.

Chronicle Publications director Mark Dunkerley said: “We are really delighted with this acquisition. The Selby Times and Goole Courier titles fit perfectly in the geography of titles we already publish and bring additional strong brands into our newspaper portfolio.

“As well as providing excellent opportunities for advertisers in their own right, with our ownership the titles will also offer great new selling platforms when paired with our other title, the Goole Times.

“As a company we are very keen to expand into new markets wherever possible and see this acquisition as an outstanding growth opportunity.

“We are pleased to be in a position to continue to expand in this way, even in the current tough economic climate.”

Selby Times content editor Chris Page wrote a farewell leader in this week’s paper about leaving the title.

He wrote: “Please always support your local press. As I sign off this last leader column, thank you one and all.

“Good contacts have become even greater friends on a patch I’ve been proud and privileged to cover for so long.”

Chris and other staff from the sold titles will take on new roles for JP titles based at Sunny Bar in Doncaster, which include the Doncaster Free Press.

In The Word article, SYN editor-in-chief Graeme Huston said: “Chris and the team are very welcome. Although they are no strangers to the Sunny Bar office, it will be good to have them based here full time to help with our plans to develop our Doncaster-based newspapers and websites.”

Johnston Press declined to comment on the sale.

6 Comments

  1. Tim Moat, York

    I cut my teeth on the Selby Times and am genuinely saddened to see Chris depart the town he so obviously loves. Just hope the new owners don’t do a Gorvale Media on it. Wouldn’t want a siege… (ref Alan Partridge in Alpha Papa)!

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  2. JP Cost Cut Victim

    Glad to see that with all the redundancies at JP the staff have been given new roles. I wish them well.

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  3. Dave C., Barnsley

    Chris did a first class job on the paper he loved and his enthusiasm inspired others. Great guy and always a pleasure to work with. Hope the move to Sunny Bar isn’t too painful.

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  4. Dick Taylor, Wakefield

    Good luck, Chris!

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  5. David Ward, Leeds

    Good luck Chris, no one knew a patch as comprehensively. Enjoyed working with you all those years ago, even if travelling with you in the driving seat was one of my most frightening experiences.
    Hope it all works out.
    David Ward (editor Selby Times 1987-94)

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  6. Steve Taylor, Barnsley

    Chris Page. Man of the People. Like a stick of rock he was Selby in his centre and from end to end. He was the Selby Times. A great guy. Will be missed. BUT he’s not dead, he’s alive and well and doing what he does best, but in Doncaster.. I feel a watch this space is in order!

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