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MEN Media to shut Manchester branch offices

MEN Media is to make a series of cutbacks to its weekly titles around Manchester, HoldtheFrontPage has learned.

Six branch offices are set to close with journalists on some local papers being transferred to locations in neighbouring towns.

Papers understood to be affected include the Heywood Advertiser and Middleton Guardian, which will be produced in future from the offices of the Rochdale Observer.

But MEN – part of the Guardian Media Group – is denying that the changes will result in any “loss of focus” to local markets, and says the overall number of journalists employed on the titles will not decrease.

As well as Heywood and Middleton, other branch offices set to close include Didsbury and Beswick. The current Accrington office will also close due to lease expiry but a new office is expected to be opened nearby.

Meanwhile the South Manchester Reporter and Manchester Metro News, both currently based at Didsbury, will now be produced from Stockport.

Andt the Macclesfield Express and the Wilmslow Express are set to combine in a new office in Macclesfield, meaning there will be no presence in Wilmslow for the Wilmslow Express.

Staff currently based at Beswick are likely to move to the Tameside office.

A GMG statement said: “As a business we are constantly seeking to make operational efficiencies and the merger of some of our existing branch offices is a prudent move at this time as several of our leases in these areas were up for renewal.

“We remain fully committed to the localities we serve with our weekly titles and these closures will not result in any decrease in the numbers of local journalists we employ nor editorial focus we give to our local markets.”


EP (16/09/2008 09:47:57)
“Committed to the localities” they “serve”?!! C’mon! What a load of tosh. How can you serve a community by moving the office four miles away to another town? People in the town of Heywood hate being associated with neighbouring Rochdale – they lost their town council in the 70s and were swallowed up by their bigger neighbour; now their paper is moving to Rochdale too. An old, traditional paper like the Heywood Advertiser, in an old, traditional mill town, depends on people coming in on foot to offer up stories. It’s a great paper with a long history spanning back to the 19th century, but, I believe, this could well kill it off. Shame on Guardian Media!

Kent Brockman (16/09/2008 14:38:06)
I might have had a modicum of respect for the decision if they’d been able to stop themselves from using ridiculous ‘management-speak’ in an attempt to dress things up a bit. A newspaper office being closed and moved miles away to a neighbouring area is being ‘fully committed to the locality’. Shouldn’t that take pride of place in the next HTFP round-up of “funnies”?

Roland Rat (16/09/2008 16:40:03)
Yet again viable, respected local newspapers are put to the sword by the Guardian Media Group to squeeze more profits to keep the Guardian, Observer and the ludicrous Channel M afloat – cue more big bonuses all round for Rusbridger, Dodson et al.
Beware though if you continue to euthanise every paper that makes money by serving its community there will soon be nothing left to keep the Grauniad and Oscurer afloat.
Just a thought – why not close their ultra expensive London offices and move to Rochdale too!

Unhappy (16/09/2008 21:06:18)
Another example of newspaper bosses being totally out of touch with their readers.

realworld (17/09/2008 16:47:37)
Usual management rubbish protecting their own backs with double-speak.
It’s true the reality is the economic climate has forced some of this on management (some of it is just an egoistic opportunity for empire building) but why the lies about staying local?
Any hack on the ground can see it is not true.
One of my nieces works for a once-proud community paper that now has no editor or sub editors on the premises for the first time since Victoria was ruling the world and is controlled by people miles away who neither know nor appear to care about the paper or the area it serves.
It already looks like a “pale shadow” of what is was months ago, a sort of identikit product looking like loads of others instead of having its own LOCAL identity and flavour.
Financial reality not withstanding the public will rumble this gross deception soon and I hope it is the top dogs who cop it instead of the workers on the ground. Central control of local papers doesn’t work and never will. Ask anyone (but a management crawler) on a local paper who has suffered the same fate.
God help the journos in Manchester if what is happening across the country is anything to go by.
Proud to be local- you’re having a laugh!

alf hunt (17/09/2008 17:01:00)
Realword sums it up beautifully. Journos have to live the fact that the economic crisis affects them too. But can’t management cut the crap. Anyone with an IQ above that of a cabbage knows you do not improve lcoal coverage by having a boss 10 miles miles away and cutting the staff at your local office to the bare bones or closing it. The 100-year-old weekly paper one of my relatives works on has lost 50 per cent of its staff in a few years and is still expected to produce a decent paper and feed the internet and film videos. Directors of all newspaper companies need to get real about demands on staff very quickly or we are heading for disaster.
And they will be the ones walking out with the big pay-offs.
Stop insulting the intelligence of your journos and readers, please.

Hugh Thigh (18/09/2008 23:01:00)
At least Captain Edward John Smith didn’t deliberately seek out the iceberg.
Shame on you Dodson!!!!!