Trinity Mirror has unveiled plans to replace six existing newspaper titles with what will be Britain’s biggest weekly free newspaper.
The Manchester Weekly News, to be launched in early April, will be distributed to more than 265,000 homes across the Greater Manchester city region.
It will mean the loss of around nine jobs on existing free titles the Stockport Times, Wilmslow Express and the Advertiser series in Tameside, Salford, Oldham and Trafford, all of which will close.
However other new digital roles will be created with no net loss of jobs overall.The paper will serve as a sister title to the Manchester Evening News and its website manchestereveningnews.co.uk
Most of its editorial content and display advertising will be editionised to three areas: Salford, South Manchester and Tameside, while classified advertising will be editionised to even more local areas such as East and West Stockport.
Editor in chief Rob Irvine said: “As a result of our multimedia strategy we are reaching more people in Greater Manchester than we have in a generation.
“Our website manchestereveningnews.co.uk is the most popular regional news website in the country. Last month an average of more than 170,000 people in Manchester visited the site every day. Globally we reached more than nine million readers across the month.
“The new Manchester Weekly News will be a great addition to our portfolio, offering an excellent service of local news and opinion and supporting and promoting the Manchester Evening News and our website.
“Roughly half of the content of the new paper will be editionised so that local communities continue to be well served. It will also give people a rounded picture of what is happening around the region.”
As well as local and community news, the Weekly News will include highlights of what’s on in Manchester, fashion, shopping and lifestyle features plus a round-up of the latest news and opinion for fans of Manchester United and Manchester City.
Trinity Mirror said the changes will result in nine positions on weekly titles being made redundant but a similar number of new digital roles will be created.
The new roles will be designed to further develop coverage of the city centre and South Manchester and bolster the editorial team in the evenings and at weekends to meet the growing demand for content from readers using mobile smart devices.
MEN Media also publishes paid-for weekly titles in Stockport, Rochdale, Accrington, Rossendale and Macclesfield which are unaffected by the plans.
Managing Director Paul O’Halloran said: “The Manchester Weekly News will provide us with circa 400,000 readers with the high ABC1 profile audience our clients want to reach.
“Adding Britain’s biggest free weekly newspaper to the current stable of Manchester Evening News, Metro, paid-for weekly titles and Britain’s biggest regional website will ensure we reach more than eight in ten adults across Greater Manchester every week.”