Three newspapers, including a paid-for weekly, are to be axed in a fresh round of cutbacks in Trinity Mirror’s North West and North Wales division.
The publisher has announced that next week’s editions of the paid-for Whitchurch Herald and free Wrexham Chronicle and Mid-Cheshire Chronicle will be the last.
In a statement, Trinity Mirror said it anticipates that eight editorial and three commercial roles will be lost as a result of the moves, and a period of consultation is now under way with affected staff.
The company’s Mold office is also expected to close although no redundancies will result from this, with staff relocating to work in Chester.
The Wrexham Chronicle, which has a circulation of 21,576 according to the most recent figures, was created only 15 months ago by combining two existing titles, the Wrexham Mail and Wrexham BuySell.
The Whitchurch Herald, meanwhile, has a paid-for circulation of 3,883 in a town with a population of just 8,944.
Carl Wood, publishing director of Trinity Mirror Cheshire, said: “Whilst these announcements relate to the closure of three titles and the subsequent effect this will have on jobs, these decisions also herald the strength and robustness of the titles that remain.
“It is on these market-leading, healthy and profitable titles and associated online products that we will now focus our attention and efforts.”
Sara Wilde, Trinity Mirror Regional North West and Wales MD, added: “This decision reflects the challenging economic conditions affecting our local advertising markets and, as such, the current revenue and circulation of these titles does not provide us with a strong enough base for sustainable and profitable publication of these titles either now or in the longer term.
“Taking this difficult decision now will enable us to move forward into 2010 and beyond as we look to protect and develop our strong portfolio of print and online products within the North Wales and Cheshire market.”
Observer (22/09/2009 08:29:21)
Here’s what was said by Warren Butcher, MD of Trinity Mirror Cheshire and North Wales, when the Wrexham Chronicle was launched on June 30, 2008:
“The launch of the free Wrexham Chronicle demonstrates our ongoing commitment to provide an unrivalled, unique and easily accessible multimedia service for the people of Wrexham.”
Hmmm. I seem to remember the credit crunch was well with us then, and the recession was close behind.
This lot couldn’t run a business to save their lives and other people’s jobs.
Fools. Absolute fools.
Whitchurch Boy (22/09/2009 09:20:36)
The Whitchurch Herald was my first newspaper as a young photographer. Working on the paper was a real family affair because my father used to print the paper before Trinity bought it. It’s a very sad day to see this good local title disappear.
Fox Mulder (22/09/2009 10:08:56)
I think I’m going to stop reading Hold The Front Page – another day, another headline which drives you to despair about the people who run this industry.
If a paper with the enviable penetration that Whitchurch has is biting the dust, what chance the rest of us?
Talking aside the considerable tragedy of the job losses and the impact on workers’ families, what about the readers of these places that are losing their local paper? Where do they get their news from? Where do local groups get the oxygen of publicity? Who will report court cases? How will councils be held publicly accountable?
The only answer of businesses like Trinity, JP and the like to this crisis is that merger laws should be relaxed so even bigger companies can be created to allow even greater ‘efficiencies’ and centralisation and keep the shareholders happy. Great – create even bigger companies and move even further away from the communities which we used to be a part. There’s no concession to quality or even basic journalism, only money money money. Publishers should be prepared to accept only modest profits. These are sad times for a once proud regional press. It’s time for another business model.
sebastianfaults (22/09/2009 10:21:37)
Fear not – it will come full circle and some hardy souls will set up a local paper and it will thrive.
It will come full circle because there IS a demand and a thirst for local news which these clowns cannot and will not provide because they do not – and never will – understand newspapers.
stewart perkins (22/09/2009 10:32:40)
Why is Trinity Mirror even sullying its hands with newspapers? If they’re closing the Whitchurch Herald, a paid for with a circulation of just under 4000 in a population of just under 9000, they’re in the wrong business. Can’t we all club together to pay Sly Bailey and her cohorts the generous salaries which they shrewdly negotiate with each other, as long as they promise to leave newspapers to people who know something about them, and who might actually keep them in publication?
loco (22/09/2009 10:44:47)
It’s been said before by HTFP writers but companies are still obsessed with websites that make about two quid in every hundred profit for them.
If the Herald paper selling to one person in two can’t survive let’s all pack away our pens and get out the videocams.
Call me a Luddite, but when this multi-media madness dies down someone is going to do very well with a real LOCAL paper that is written by locally-based reporters using good English, good pictures and covers the ground well. It may be a while off though.
tapperT (22/09/2009 11:26:43)
Carl Wood, publishing director of Trinity Mirror Cheshire, said: “Whilst these announcements relate to the closure of three titles and the subsequent effect this will have on jobs, these decisions also herald the strength and robustness of the titles that remain.”
Fox – you left out the current business model mantra: “Spout drivel and hope the punter has a short memory”
UB40 (22/09/2009 11:46:02)
To loco & Sebastianfaults :
The “multi-media madness” is here to stay.Printed news is fast becoming obsolete,we are witnessing the death throws of printed news matter worldwide.
If the free London Paper had to close last week,(forget for a moment that it was filled with celebrity bullshit & reprinted pr releases)there is little or no hope for the rest which are only just surviving thanks to parent companies.
The captains will not go down with their ship,they will cut and run.The shareholders will ensure it.
Bob (22/09/2009 11:57:57)
To suggest these papers are closing because of multimedia is nonsense. Newspapers need to invest in their websites to attract an audience which now just goes online for its news, if it consumes news at all. Online users of newspaper brands are just as likely to want information about a local area as they are the latest news story which, will fascinating to a journalist, may not be of that much interest to many people. As for the sales v population argument, it doesn’t matter whether penetration is 50%, 10% or 1% so long as you cover your costs, including distribution. If the population is too small to generate good revenues – and with a small population presumably comes a smaller number of advertisers – you’re always going to struggle.
Blurt (22/09/2009 12:36:18)
Can’t wait till this lot get their hands on regional television news.
How long before they decide to shut down the stations as their “robustness” is so epic in other areas – such as the area of drivel-spouting?
j (23/09/2009 09:36:47)
4000 out of 9000.
That’s remarkable. Every other person buys the local paper? Who says that newspapers are dead?
tim edwards (23/09/2009 14:14:45)
I used to work at the Herald as a junior then senior reporter. Gave me a good grounding in news and sports journal
ism in a town full of well-meaning, community-spirited people.
It is them this cut is affecting too. Bonkers decision.
Hengist Pod (28/09/2009 15:49:58)
Some of these titles really should be in the hands of others who can show them how it’s done. Individual proprietors who actually have a connection to the community they serve or journalist co-ops perhaps? There’s gold in them there hills, it just needs the right sort of approach to dig it out. Taliking about which there’s a paper in the New Forest that looks like something out of the 1950s but is emminently successful – and it even has a decent website too!