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Ex-staff to be given priority as paper aims for New Year relaunch

Former staff of an axed regional daily aiming to resume publication in the New Year will be first in the queue for jobs on the title, its new owners have revealed.

The Oldham Chronicle closed at the end of August with the loss of 49 jobs, but has since been bought by local radio station Revolution 96.2, which aims to have it back on the newsstands in early 2018.

Initial plans to resume publication this year have been hit by technical delays in accessing the Chronicle’s picture archive and financial records, Revolution 96.2 managing director Matt Ramsbottom has revealed.

In an interview with Press Gazette, he also said that the 163-year-old title may return as a twice-weekly publication, and that former Chronicle staff would be given priority when recruiting for new roles on the paper.

Said Matt: “The thing we believe in is that experience and local knowledge is valuable in newspapers. Our starting point will be to recruit from former staff.”

Three former Chronicle commercial staff have already joined Revolution’s team and the company is also calling on former editor Dave Whaley for advice.

In the interview, Matt made clear the Chronicle would return as a paid-for title but said his preference would be for it to be twice-weekly.

Matt also acknowledged the revamped paper would be in a “four-horse race” with the three other titles that have sprung up since its original closure, saying it was unlikely all would survive.

Since the Chronicle ceased publication, three titles have emerged to cover its former patch – Newsquest weekly the Oldham Times, the independetly-owned Oldham Reporter. and a new Oldham edition of the Manchester Evening News.

Said Matt: “Everybody knows it is going to be a four-horse race and they have chosen sprint as a method, while we have chosen marathon. They might have run out of energy before we get out of the trap.”