A weekly newspaper’s decision to raise its cover price by 50 percent has provoked a storm of protest on its own Facebook page.
This week’s edition of the Hereford Times saw the paper increase its price from 80p to £1.20.
Editor Fiona Phillips says the paper needed to charge a “fair price” in order to maintain its standard of news coverage and has increased pagination for community news.
However the move has been greeted with dismay by readers who took the paper’s Facebook page to register their objections, with some saying they will not be buying the Newsquest-owned title again.
Linda Ingram Williams commented: “Can’t believe the Hereford Times is putting the price up to £1.20 this week.
“Do you really think a 50pc rise is a good idea with finances as they are? Think people may well be giving it a miss and that won’t bode well for the future of our local paper.”
Christine Allen posted: “40p increase on your paper now it’s £1.20 !! Good luck with selling them as everyone I know will not be buying them. The National papers have never increased by 40p.”
And Colette Cutter wrote: “I have bought this paper every week without fail for most of my adult life. I won’t buy it again as I can get all the news online. Putting the price up by this much is an insult.”
Fiona said the 180-year-old paper was “facing up to the challenges confronting the media in the 21st century.”
“I don’t believe print is dead, far from it and The Hereford Times will survive and flourish in the digital age. But it must change with the times and face up to some tough realities,” she said.
“That is why, from this week, there are some significant changes to the 160-page newspaper. The Hereford Times provides its readers with news, comment, sport and features that they can’t read about anywhere else and we know that the news from our local communities is vitally important to our readership.
“So we are significantly upping our community coverage by increasing our County Times pages to six – publishing news from across the county’s towns and villages; and our sports section to 12 pages – focusing particularly on grassroots sports.
“But that’s not all – in addition our entertainments section is being significantly extended to ten pages to include a comprehensive What’s On guide and everyone’s favourite, a full page of puzzles, and we’ve strengthened both our sports and entertainments teams to bring ensure our quality journalism continues.
“In addition we will be publishing even more views and comments by printing another letters page and I know readers will welcome the return of columnist Nigel Heins’ Flashback features every month.
“Finally, and no doubt most controversially, we are increasing the price of The Hereford Times to £1.20 with effect from this week.
“This is a recognition of the fact that many of the advertising sectors which effectively subsidised quality local journalism are receding and if we want to maintain our high standards and provide coverage which is high quality and comprehensive, then we must charge a fair price.”
The Times’ circulation fell year on year by 6.9pc in the first half of 2012 according to the most recent ABC figures published in August.
It currently sells an average of 31,561 copies a week.