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Former staff vent spleen as ents magazine axed

A magazine dubbed the ‘Time Out’ of Bristol has been axed by publisher Local World after more than 30 years of publication.

Venue magazine was founded in 1982 by a group of Bristol journalists and became regarded as the city’s entertainments Bible, championing the likes of graffiti artist Banksy and trip hop pioneers Massive Attack before they were famous.

It was sold to Bristol Post owner Bristol United Press in 2000 and later acquired by Northcliffe, which turned it into an online-only publication in 2011.

Now Northcliffe’s successor company Local World has closed it altogether – prompting an angry outburst from a group of former staff and freelance contributors.

Some 50 past and present employees of the magazine put their names to a final, expletive-ridden editorial post lamenting Local World’s decision to close the site and merge it with the Post’s What’s On channel.

The open letter actually briefly appeared online earlier today before the plug was pulled on the entire site.

“Last year, having suffered death by a thousand cuts and a colourful assortment of full-frontal stabbings, the magazine was closed down,” read one excerpt.

“Today, it’s fallen to you, Local World, to apply the coup-de-graceless and bring down the final curtain on 31 years of work.”

Local World has declined to comment on the closure, but the reasons for the decision were set out in an internal email to staff by Bristol News and Media managing director Sarah Pullen.

She described the proposed development of the What’s On module as “a fantastic opportunity to grow our digital audience and a great platform to sell advertising on.”

Dougal Templeton, who helped found Venue in 1982, described the move as “a sad day for Bristol.”

“Having taken over the stewardship of a highly regarded, invaluable and profitable organisation, it is distressing to see Venue has finally been driven into the ground,” he told local news website Bristol24-7.

“The one positive outcome from Venue’s closure will be the opportunity for something else to take its place. Local World will come to regret their regressive decision.”

It is understood that two full-time posts were lost as a result of the decision to close the website.