The Bath Chronicle is to convert from being a daily title to a weekly one.
The move – which has been a source of speculation for several years – will see the Chronicle become one of the biggest weekly newspapers in the UK by the end of September.
A number of jobs are likely to be affected in the editorial department as a result of the move, but the Chronicle management has pledged to do everything they can to limit the number of compulsory redundancies.
It is expected that the final daily edition of the 12,330-selling Chronicle will appear on Friday September 21, with the first weekly edition hitting the streets the following Thursday.
The owners, Northcliffe Media, say the decision to turn it into a once a week publication is the best way to secure the future of the city’s historic and much-loved newspaper.
A new design, together with new content, will be created in the next few weeks as executives finalise the best way to retain existing readers and attract new ones to the concept of a weekly Chronicle.
The new paper will appear on a Thursday with the Chronicle also committing to continue to break the latest news and sports stories every day on its increasingly popular website.
The Chronicle is currently one of the smallest daily newspapers in Britain but when it converts to a weekly, the aim is to produce an industry-leading 250 page paper.
Editor Sam Holliday said: “The staff have worked fantastically well to try and keep the Chronicle as a daily title but in a fast changing multi-media world we now feel the paper’s long term future will be best secured by converting to a weekly title.
“It is our belief that we will create the best weekly newspaper in Britain – and in our opinion Bath deserves the best.”
The Chronicle was among the worst-performing Northcliffe titles in terms of circulation when Sam took over two years ago, and it is now the best, with the decline finally slowing.
Sam, who has a pedigree in weekly newspapers, moving to Bath from Central Independent Newspapers in the midlands, told holdthefrontpage: “I don’t get hung up about whether papers are weeklies or dailies or whatever – it’s about delivering the news.
“It is our intention to use every medium possible to make sure our readers and advertisers do not miss out – and the cornerstone of it all will be a fantastic new product which we believe will set the benchmark for the whole of the newspaper industry.”
The decision was announced to staff today.
Sam said: “No one else has ever attempted to do what we’re about to do and no one else will end up with the high quality paper that we are committed to producing.
“This is a very exciting time and we know our readers and advertisers will support us as we make this important move to secure the future of our precious local newspaper.”
Chronicle commercial director Sarah Irvine said: “We want to give our advertisers the best possible response to their adverts and we believe this exciting and bold move will create a much bigger market, which should help all of our highly valued customers to benefit.”