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Axed newspaper should have been put up for sale, says founder

A journalist who founded a now-defunct weekly newspaper 41 years ago has said the title should have been put up for sale before being closed.

The final edition of the Northants Herald & Post was published on 1 December after owner Trinity Mirror decided to close the title along with Luton on Sunday and OneMK.

But Tony Boullemier, who founded the Post in 1975, says the company should have given local entrepreneurs the chance to keep it going.

Although he admitted that, at 71, he was now “too old” to buy back the paper himself, he said it was a “crying shame” that no attempt had been made to find new owners.

A picture of Herald & Post staff on the front page of its last edition

A picture of Herald & Post staff on the front page of its last edition

Tony told HTFP: “I have no idea what the profitability of the title was but their last issue was stuffed with ads and ran to 56 pages – bigger than the 48 pages we started with and the low point of 16 at which point we brought it back from the brink.

“Presumably it wasn’t making the money Trinity reckoned its shareholders would want to see. So they simply cut it out, along with other titles at Milton Keynes and Luton.

“But I’m certain that a group of local operators such as ourselves would have been able to achieve good enough returns to make a decent living out of it. As we did.

“What on earth did they have to lose by not selling it on for a nominal sum and letting someone else have a go?”

Trinity Mirror acquired the Herald & Post as part of its £220m takeover of Local World in Octoiber 2015.

It said last week: “We took the difficult decision to close three free weekly titles in Luton, Milton Keynes and Northampton as part of a review of our portfolio, and after a full consultation with the staff affected.

“In the Bedfordshire region we are not exiting the market. We are increasing the focus on Bedfordshire on Sunday, increasing its distribution into Luton, and broadening its online coverage.”

The company has declined to comment specifically on whether the paper should have been offered for sale prior to its closure.

Last week the National Union of Journalists revealed it had written to the Competition and Markets Authority asking it to intervene.

It says the closure decision has created a “monopoly” in Northants for Johnston Press, which owns the Northampton Chronicle and Echo and Northants Telegraph.

The CMA carried out an investigation into the Local World deal at the time it went through, but decided to take no further action.

However the union is calling for that decision to be reviewed.


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  • December 12, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Less than 4 years ago this title averaged well over 100 pages and also had an average leaflet volume of 80k per week mostly made up of locals that had a huge profit margin.

    As said above these titles in the right dedicated hands in an area such as this can still turn a profit. But when you fill it full of shared content and adverts from national sales only it’ll never do that.

    The shortsightedness of people running this industry that I love sickens me

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  • December 12, 2016 at 9:52 am

    It’s all about SHAREHOLDERS. big companies like TM and JP are slaves to them. Small and local is the way to success.

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  • December 12, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Looks like they’ve given Johnston Press a free reign in all areas. Luton, Milton Keynes and Northants. I know they believe that the internet is now the way to go with news etc BUT I’m not convinced. I spent a long time selling advertising for Johnston Press, Local World and several others and their advertisers were never convinced by it. We were always told to give digital ads as a ‘package deal’ when our clients booked print ads, so most of the time they didn’t even know they had ‘paid for’ on line ads. But of course it looked good to the shareholders when they were told that digital advertising was doing well.

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  • December 12, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    It is written that the luton-on-sunday is being replaced by a larger distribution area for the bedfordshire news (beds-on-sunday), but as a long standing deliverer of luton-on-sunday, have had no official word about this happening. Anyone know if increase circulation will happen ?

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  • December 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    John White – I would have thought the increased circulation on BOS will take in the Northern and southern villages that are already close to the current BOS circulation only and will likely only be a few thousand copies if that.

    In all honesty they’re not going to focus to much on Luton. It was not doing good business even under Iliffe as seemed by the attempted rebranding to the LD express that ultimately failed and ended up with them returning to Sunday. They just can’t compete with the Herald and post there.

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  • December 13, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Does Paul Linford not realise that back in his day advertising rates, particularly recruitment were very good… roll forward to the present they are virtually giving the pages away. Putting out niche publications into areas, will save a lot on costs and will make more profit.

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  • December 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    It was not long ago, these titles where doing really well, as “Formerloyalfollower” said. MK News was doing well before Local World takeover. Outsourcing the production of ads was a terrible idea as a lot looked like typeset ads from 15 years ago! No wonder why some advertisers stopped advertising

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