The battle for readers in Oldham following the closure of its 163-year-old daily newspaper has intensified after the Manchester Evening News launched a new edition there.
The Oldham Chronicle ceased publication on 31 August with loss of 49 jobs after its parent company Hirst, Kidde and Rennie went into administration.
Efforts to save the title, which had been published since 1854, are ongoing, with local radio station Revolution 96.2 in “advanced talks” with the administrators to buy the newspaper.
But it is already clear that a revived Chronicle would face a tough battle to hold onto its 6,812 print circulation with other publishers keen to expand their presence in the North West town.
And now Trinity Mirror has entered the fray with the launch of a new Oldham edition of its flagship title the MEN.
The MEN is based in Chadderton, near Oldham and already covered the town as part of its Greater Manchester patch, but has not previously published a dedicated edition there.
Said Rob: “It was a sad day for the town when the Chronicle ceased publication after 163 years. But the town still retains a daily newspaper with the Manchester Evening News being a long-standing favourite.
“It is clear from the number of additional readers coming to us in recent days that there is strong desire for a daily mixture of local, regional and national news and sport.
“So we are stepping up our daily coverage of the town and also making sure that Latics fans are well served.
“We have substantially increased our reporting presence in the town and contacting groups and organisations direct and through social media to tell them that the MEN is here for them.”
The new edition will have its own localised front page, several pages of Oldham news towards the front of the paper, and increased coverage of Oldham Athletic.
The MEN says it has picked up many new readers in print and online since the Chronicle’s closure, with the newspaper sales team reporting a “a sharp take up” in orders for home deliveries and an 8pc lift in web traffic.
As reported by HTFP on Friday, Revolution 96.2 says it is in “advanced talks” with Hirst, Kidde and Rennie administrators KPMG to buy the Chronicle.
The station’s managing director Matt Ramsbottom: “We believe there is still a lot of love for the Oldham Chronicle. Oldham has a very strong local business community that also understood the Oldham Chronicle was at the heart of that community.”
Meanwhile Newsquest has recruited four journalists, at least one of whom is believed to be a former Chronicle staffer, for its new weekly title.