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Will 650 local newspapers really close by 2014?

Media analyst Claire Enders made a bit of splash at today’s culture, media and sport committee hearing in the Commons by predicting that half the UK’s 1,300 local papers would close over the next five years.

Ms Enders claimed that "many titles" were already losing money and were only being kept alive by the "good graces" of their publishers.

Although we at HTFP don’t in any way underestimate the scale of the difficulties facing the regional press, I would certainly be interested to hear what evidence she has for this claim.

It hardly seems credible to me that regional publishers would keep loss-making titles going, and her comments don’t really tally with recent half-yearly results showing most leading groups are still profitable, albeit at much lower margins than was once the case.

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