Plans to close a weekly newspaper leading to possible redundancies have been announced by Johnston Press.
JP says it is considering proposals to close the East Lothian News, which also includes the Musselburgh News, as part of a review of its print portfolio.
The plans would leave “a small number of roles” at risk of redundancy, and come after the company closed 11 newspapers as part of its ongoing cost reduction programme earlier this month.
It has further been reported that the free St Helens Reporter has gone digital only, as part of the programme.
Also in Ulster, JP has axed the Sunday edition of the Derry Journal, which ran for the last time on 4 October.
A statement by the company reads: “The East Lothian News (including the Musselburgh edition) may close as a result of a current review of JP’s print portfolio.
“Its future is currently being considered and staff have been informed that a small number of roles may be placed at risk if the proposals to close the title go ahead.
“A decision will be made in due course and staff updated accordingly.”
“The last edition of the Sunday Derry was on 4 October and the Ballymena Times and Antrim Times merged around the same time to become the Ballymena Times and Antrim Times.”
Alison Johnstone, a Green Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for Lothian, has called on the company to rethink its plan.
In a statement, she said: “I’m urging newspaper owners Johnston Press to rethink their decision to close the Musselburgh and East Lothian News titles.
“This is a dreadful decision by Johnston Press, both for readers and for staff, and adds to the already brutal cutbacks at the Edinburgh Evening News. Our communities deserve good quality local information and investigation, and a vibrant local newspaper scene is crucial to that.
“I have asked Johnston Press to explain their reasoning behind this shock decision and for assurances about the future of the skilled staff at these titles.”
“The online media age should mean more local content, not less. Cutting staff and titles is a false economy, and I urge the owners to rethink their decision.”
On 7 October eight small free titles closed altogether, with a further three titles integrated into paid-for titles.
HTFP has asked JP to confirm whether any further merges or closures have taken place, or are planned, at its titles across the UK.