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Jobs to go as two weekly newspapers close

Two weekly newspapers in Northern Ireland are set to close putting six journalist jobs at risk.

The Carrickfergus Advertiser, which is 131-years-old, and the Ballyclare Gazette have been published for the final time this week and are not expected to be republished unless a buyer can be found.

The titles are owned by the Alpha Media Group, which publishes around 15 other weekly newspapers and six radio stations in Northern Ireland.

Six editorial jobs are at risk as a result of the closures, including two photographers, and there are also two sales staff and a part-time cleaner working there.

The Carrickfergus Advertiser was founded in 1883 and it was closed by its previous owners before the Alpha Newspaper Group reopened it.

Jonathan Taylor, managing director of the Alpha Newspaper Group, said the paper had been relaunched in 1991 but had been subsidised by the group since then.

He said: “We are embarking on a major new investment in digital platforms. The subsidy can no longer continue.

“The other major part is that government advertising has fallen significantly from Stormont.

“The Alpha Newspaper Group is Northern Ireland’s largest circulation newspaper group and remains so, even with these two unfortunate proposals to close.”

He added negotiations were taking place with staff and unions and it was hoped that some staff could be redeployed to other newspapers.

NUJ Belfast tweeted: “131-year-old Carrickfergus Advertiser along with the Ballyclare Gazette, which opened in 1994, are to close with the loss of six journo jobs.”

Ballyclare Gazette reporter Ciaran McCauley has also tweeted about the closure of the titles, saying he had been the sole reporter for the title since last May.

He tweeted: “Gutted the Ballyclare Gazette has closed. Been there since July 2012, sole reporter since last May. Always tried our best for area despite often meagre resources.

“Thanks to everyone from the Ballyclare area for their kindness and generosity while I’ve been here.”

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  • January 16, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Very sad news. I was with the group’s sister title, the Larne Gazette, when it launched in 1994. Hope those affected can be redeployed within the wider group.

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