More than eighty years of daily newspaper publishing in Torquay came to an end today as the last daily copy of the Herald Express rolled off the press.
Around 16 jobs are being lost at the South Devon title as it prepared to switch to weekly publication from next Thursday.
In an upbeat front page message to readers, the paper promised a “new dawn” for the title and insisted it would remain “at the very heart of the South Devon community.”
The front page leader read: “This will be our last edition as a daily newspaper and the hard work and passion that has made the Herald Express such a resounding success over the many decades should not be forgotten.
“But the end of an era heralds the dawn of a new beginning and now the aim is to make our new weekly publication even more successful and secure for the years to come.
“Our ethos is the same. We want to be — and we will be — at the very heart of the South Devon community.
“It will be very much business as usual as we deliver readers all the news, views, sport, comment and photographs from across the area as well as jobs, property, cars and classified advertising for our customers.”
“The reason for this move has been well documented. The market place has changed for newspapers like the Herald Express. To not respond to those changes is not an option.
“The business community understand that position and are on side. We are confident our readers are, too.
“Our circulation success has made the Herald Express one of the best-performing daily newspapers in the country over many years. For the future, we want to make it one of the country’s flagship weeklies.
“In the past, our readers and advertisers have always set the agenda. It has been about them, not us. In the future, that will not change.”
Editor Andy Phelan added: “In many ways, today is a very sad day. We have had to say goodbye and good luck to some of our friends and colleagues, the people who have made the Herald Express so special to so many people over such a long time.
“But we still have a fantastic team of people who are ready to go forward with the new weekly newspaper.
“Our challenge now is to put together a newspaper which is fit for our tremendously loyal readers and advertisers, and that’s a challenge my team and I relish.
“We are all looking forward to seeing our first edition on the news stands next Thursday, and hearing what you think about it.”