Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has confirmed that two weekly newspapers with a “long and proud history” are set to close next month.
One reporter, a community content curator and two photographers are set to lose their jobs as part of a series of cuts which will see both the paid-for Crosby Herald and sister free the Formby Times cease publication at the end of March.
The closure plans come just weeks after the closure of seven Trinity Mirror-owned titles in the South East of England, including the Reading Post which has since moved to an online-only operation.
The two North West titles will be replaced with a relaunched Midweek Visiter freesheet, which will cover the boroughs of Sefton and West Lancashire, while a companion website has already launched.
Staff were told in a message today: “Both titles have a long and proud history and this decision is made with huge reluctance and in the knowledge that it will be accompanied by significant disappointment.”
Editor-in-chief Alastair Machray added: “It is vital we continue to meet changing reader demand for up-to-the-minute information as well as the needs of advertisers for new and exciting marketing options.
“Our new free newspaper and website will do this and ensure people are kept in touch with what’s going on in their community.
“It is sad to announce that long-established and much-loved newspapers are to close.
“However we are confident that readers will find all the local news and information they need in the new title.”
As well as the reporter and community content curator roles being lost as a result of the closures, TM also plans to cut two photographers in a merger of its Liverpool and Chester picture operations. Four photographers are currently based in Liverpool and two in Chester.
According to the National Union of Journalists, the four who remain permanently will be permanently based in Liverpool with Chester only being covered photographically for major events.
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser said: “The roll call of fine newspapers that have ceased to be gets ever longer with this announcement.
“It is a loss that everyone needs to sit up and take notice of. When a newspaper goes, another light in the community goes out. Again, the relentless trend to eliminate professional staff photographers continues to the detriment of quality.
“It puts newspapers and websites at the mercy of vested interests, who submit free pictures they want published, or the chance that witnesses to news events pass on free photos, to fill the gap of proper, trained photographers who know their patch.
“Journalists’ jobs are at the same time being created by Trinity Mirror at Merseyside, so we would be clear that any reporter put at risk by these proposals should be able to transfer across to prevent redundancies.”
A Trinity Mirror Merseyside chapel rep added: “Members are very concerned about the reduction in photographers. We don’t see this as a way forward; they are already stretched to breaking point, without having to cover Chester as well.
“That would mean a 40-minute drive to get there at the very least and probably an hour.”