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Press Gazette to close with loss of five jobs

The monthly media magazine Press Gazette is to close with the title’s five editorial staff under threat of redundancy, its owners announced today.

In a statement this lunchtime, proprietors Wilmington Group announced that next month’s edition of the magazine would be the last hard copy edition.

The company said the companion website would continue, but has made it clear that it will no longer be carrying breaking news.

HoldtheFrontPage understands that Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford and four other editorial staff have all been issued with redundancy notices.

The statement read: “For 43 years Press Gazette has been the leading magazine for the UK journalism profession.

“Wilmington Group plc bought Press Gazette out of administration in 2006, since when we have invested significant sums each year to try to develop the magazine and to bring it to profitability.

“Unfortunately Press Gazette, along with much of the profession, has suffered from a declining market during these years and its losses have increased.

“We have therefore been forced to conclude that the market required to sustain a commercially viable Press Gazette magazine no longer exists. The last hard copy edition of Press Gazette will therefore be the May edition which will be published in April.

“During Wilmington’s stewardship there have been several positive developments. One has been the rapidly increasing traffic to the online edition of Press Gazette.

“Whilst we will no longer be able to offer the magazine’s content online, we aim to develop this site as a resource for the UK journalism community, and we plan to roll out additional functionality in the coming months.”

Les Kelly, the managing director of Wilmington’s media and entertainment division said there would be no news content on the site after this weekend.

“There will not be news coverage but we will develop the site to offer other services such as training and freelance referrals. There will be no journalism on the site,” he added.


Mystic Megson, Bolton (06/04/2009 15:30:23)
Hold the Front Page? … Can’t be long can it? …

Geoff Perfitt (06/04/2009 16:24:07)
Sad to see it go after all these years. A long history from way back for many of us. It’s a sign of the whole decline in press staffing levels nationally, and more news online plus magazine shared reading in offices.

Ian Whiteley (06/04/2009 17:26:41)
Can you run that past me again? “(A) positive development… has been the rapidly increasing traffic to the online edition…(which) will no longer be able to offer the magazine’s content.” Is this a joke or is our industry over?

Willie (06/04/2009 21:21:26)
I always remember my first editor keeping the UKPG under lock and key because: “My reporters only read the back half-a-dozen pages.”

john elworthy (06/04/2009 22:37:21)
Years ago I was chief reporter of the Rugby Advertise when Phil Cockburn was deputy editor, and we didn’t get on. Every Friday PC would leave UK Press Gazette open at the jobs section, and every Friday I would scan them for a move. Luckily I found the job as Editor of the Oxford Journal, and lived happily ever after. Later I even subscribed to Press Gazette and it’s been part of my life since. Very sad to see it go- but it’s been nice knowing you. But an on line edition with no breaking news and no journalism? What is the world coming to

regionalhack (06/04/2009 23:01:00)
UKPG, as I still think of it, was an essential part of my early journalistic life. I read it,and subscribed to it for years. But it lost its way a bit when it went glossy, then became a management mouthpiece rather than being for working journos, and then just got too expensive. I haven’t read a copy for a couple of years, though I look at the website regularly. Now the magazine is gone, and the website will be a news-free worthless thing. A very sad demise for a once fine journal of our industry.

Alun Hill, MCIJ (07/04/2009 09:44:00)
… but will the Grey Cardigan continue?
And will he ever get the 2 grand he’s owed from “a previous owner”?

MarionHaste (07/04/2009 09:48:36)
My commiserations too on the demise of PG, although as someone who hasn’t bought the magazine for more than 20 years (the editor’s copy was always kept under lock and key, with the old curmudgeon growling: Those bastards can pay for their own copy f they want to find another job) and has wholly relied on its free on-line offerings, I guess I am as responsible as anyone else.
The editorial has always been head and shoulders above HTFP and congratualtions to the editorial staff for keeping standards high in terrible times for a once proud industry. Good luck to you all.

steve (07/04/2009 10:07:23)
Sad news having received this publication since 1964. Like others, my editor used to keep it away from reporters for fear they were just looking for a job. Some chance in today’s climate.

Patrick Nicholson (07/04/2009 16:11:50)
It’s a sad day for journalism. When I started my career in 1947 there were two thriving periodicals dedicated to our profession – World’s Press News (which produceed an annual called Inky Way) and Newspaper World, both rock solid like everything else in those days when London alone had three flourishing evening papers.

Nick Rudd (07/04/2009 16:32:37)
I have subscribed to PG for over 30 years and got at least three jobs from its pages, so I will be sad to see it go, but more for old times’ sake than the pale impression it is now (Pop Bitch and Daisy McAndrew, anyone?). The ironic thing is its demise began when Hold The Front Page was introduced and major groups didn’t advertise in PG any more. Well done to Wilmington for trying to give it new life but when it switched from weekly to monthly and kept the subscription rate the same (12 editions for the price of 50?), the writing was on the wall. Long may Hold The Front Page continue as the new home of breaking news from the journalism industry. It has been beating PG hands-down for ages now, anyway.

Mr Mobile (08/04/2009 20:49:51)
I’m afraid I have to agree with Nick Rudd above. Commercially speaking PG has been struggling against HTFP, MediaGuardian and for some time. However, its editorial problems are somewhat of its own making. Only yesterday it carried a story about an agency boss overturning a court naming order which appeared on HTFP on 27th March. Posting something a day later is one thing, but nearly a fortnight?!?!?! Come on!!! Regular readers of HTFP and PG will soon spot this. If PG had written authoritatively and extensively about one or two industries instead of dipping its journalistic fingers into local press, national press, B2B, broadcast……..then maybe it would have stood a chance.