Union chiefs and civic groups have voiced concerns after two Yorkshire weeklies were merged into a single newspaper.
It was published for the first time last Thursday under the name Hebden Bridge Times & Todmorden News, although both titles have retained their own stand-alone websites and social media channels.
The offices of both the Times and the News were closed by JP in May 2012, with staff being transferred to the base of sister paper the Halifax Courier.
A JP spokeswoman said: “A decision was made recently, at a local level, to merge the Todmorden Times and the Hebden Bridge Times into one single edition – with a new masthead and incorporating the two names
“For some time now the two titles have been produced by one team and, as a result, there will be very little change to the local news and information that’s featured in the new, single edition. Obviously there will be a saving on production costs but no impact on jobs. ”
However Todmorden Civic Society posted about the merger on Twitter, suggesting that Todmorden news would be downgraded in the newly-merged title.
Its account posted on Thursday: “It was always going to happen. The Hebden Bridge Times with one or two articles about Todmorden.”
Officials of the Calderdale branch of the National Union of Journalists have also released a statement, attributed to its chairman Mark Metcalf and secretary Jenny Shepherd, criticising the move.
The statement reads: “The end of a dedicated local paper for each town breaks a tradition which goes back a century, and is another sign of the way that the local media in Britain is being starved of resources and professional skills.
“Within the memory of members of our branch both the Todmorden and Hebden Bridge papers each had a team of four journalists pro-actively seeking stories, monitoring local authority decisions and reporting from the courts.
“These journalists had pride in the newspaper which they produced each week, and several went on to significant national careers. Sadly the combined local paper now has material put together in an ad-hoc way by Courier staff based in Halifax. The local connection has been broken.”
The NUJ statement continues: “The papers are owned by the Johnston Group, a major regional newspaper group who purchased the titles from local ownership about twenty years ago and who have since run the Halifax Courier and the local papers as cash-cows, starving them of journalistic resources.
“Johnston have been happy to take the profits but have felt no obligation to maintain high standards of reporting in our communities despite the valiant efforts of many local journalists (including many in our own union) who have struggled against the odds to maintain integrity and professional standards.”
Last week JP announced it has closed 11 free newspapers as part of its ongoing cost reduction programme. Eight small free titles closed altogether with a further three titles integrated into paid for titles.