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Housing group confirms it is in talks to buy weekly

A housing assocation in Greater Manchester has confirmed it is in talks to buy a weekly newspaper threatened with closure after 157 years.

The Tameside Reporter, where legendary editor Sir Harold Evans started his career in the 1940s, was put up for sale earlier this summer.

No buyer was initially found and staff were told the title was likely to close but, as reported by HTFP on Monday, the Manchester-based New Charter Housing Association has now launched a rescue bid for the paper.

A story in today’s edition announced that it will be the last under the current ownership of former Emap executive Martin Lusby but editor Nigel Skinner says no deal has yet been finalised.

Said Nigel: “The Reporter and Chronicle Newspaper Group has a long and proud tradition in the area and, as editor, I’d like to see it survive to celebrate its upcoming 160th anniversary   as an independent paper.

“New Charter has been good enough to facilitate discussions along those lines but no deal has yet been finalised. Talks are well advanced and could bring financial strength and other advantages to the newspapers.”

Ian Munro, chief executive of New Charter Housing Trust Group said: “We can confirm we’re in discussions about the future of the Tameside Reporter with its owners Reporter and Chronicle Newspapers Ltd.

“The Tameside Reporter has been bringing independent journalism to local communities since 1855 and we’re keen to see that continue for many more years to come.”

The 157-year-old title was known as the Ashton-under-Lyne Weekly Reporter when future Sunday Times editor Sir Harold started there as a 16-year-old school leaver in the 1940s. It has been under its current ownership since 1997.

Today’s story said the paper would now be taking a break from publication pending the outcome of the talks.

It said:  “This edition is the last to be published by the present owners. They thank all their readers and advertisers for their support over many years.

“The newspaper will, for a short time, not be published, but if matters progress as planned they will be back in the very near future with the local news for Tameside and Glossop.”