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Weekly newspapers join forces for new-look title

Two weekly newspapers in Sussex are merging from next week.

The free East Grinstead Observer and paid-for East Grinstead Courier are combining to become a single bigger edition for the town.

Both titles are now owned by Northcliffe – the Observer was one of 26 weeklies bought from Trinity Mirror last July in a £64m deal.

Editorial staff in Crawley, where the Observer is currently written, will move to the East Grinstead office to produce the newly-titled East Grinstead Courier and Observer.

There are no job losses involved in the move, the Crawley office will remain open for advertising reps and the title will continue to be subbed from Tunbridge Wells.

The 72-page paper, printed in Didcot, will be distributed from Thursday around the town centre as a free and available at a cover price of 40p in surrounding villages. It will be produced by five reporters and one photographer.

Content editor Glenn Ebrey said: “East Grinstead is a relatively small town so from an advertising and editorial point of view it didn’t work so well.

“This one paper will be bigger and will better serve the town. We’re all pretty optimistic about how it’s going to pan out.

“There will be more news from around the villages and at least five or six pages of sport every week.”

The new title will also have specific pages for local schools, nostalgia features and a spotlight on a different local hero every week.

Companion website is due to launch on Tuesday, as part of the latest rollout of Northcliffe’s new look websites.

Richard Karn, managing director for Northcliffe Media South East, added: “We have been publishing two separate titles in the town of East Grinstead, run by different teams, under different editors and effectively competing against one another.

“We believe that it is more important to offer residents of the town the best a combined newspaper can offer and invest in upgrading our website to more effectively cater for readers.

“In addition, the combination of a printed paper and website will represent a more attractive proposition for our advertisers.

“We have taken our time to make these changes to ensure that we adequately considered the views of local people and our advertisers in the development of our plans and feedback has been positive.”


phil dennett (29/08/2008 11:48:15)
Another paid-for going free.
Let’s hope it is not catching.

Joachim Mittwoch (29/08/2008 14:10:15)
Free or paid, the new title will move out of East Grinstead at Christmas when their lease expires, and there will be no on the spot reporters based in the town.It will in effect be a Crawley supplement, which on socio-economic grounds won’t work.

Andrew McPherson (14/09/2008 19:45:42)
PLEASE keep track of the machinations of Mid Sussex District Council and if you feel their behaviour is arrogant and undemocratic as many thousands of East Grinstead residents do, mainly in the context of development planning, please place your editorial magnifying glass on the moral, legal and democratic dimensions of the council’s behavour, much of which is certainly worthy of Private Eye;s Rotten Boroughs column.