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Weeklies’ web closure sees news split between county-wide sites

Alan WoodsThe websites of two sister weeklies whose patches straddle country boundaries have been closed – with content now split between two online brands.

Trinity Mirror has announced the closure of the dedicated websites for the Herts and Essex Observer and Harlow Star, with content now appearing on its Hertfordshire Mercury and Essex Live sites.

The company says the move has been made to “better serve our loyal online audience by channelling our focus on two websites.”

Essex Live was created from the merger of the Essex Chronicle and Brentwood Gazette’s sites last summer as part of TM’s strategy of bringing the online operations of neighbouring former Local World newspapers under single county-wide banners.

As a result of the latest changes, readers in Dunmow, Harlow and Uttlesford will be able to find local news on Essex Live, while readers in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth will be redirected to the site of the Hertfordshire Mercury.

The move was announced in a message to readers from Alan Woods, brands editor of the Harlow Star, Herts and Essex Observer, Hertfordshire Mercury and Essex Live.

Alan, pictured above left, said: “People might worry that this consolidation will be mean fewer stories for Harlow, Bishop’s Stortford, Uttlesford and Sawbridgeworth.

“That’s not the case – if anything we will be able to increase the amount of stories we write while providing readers with more news in their immediate area and beyond.

“And of course, the Harlow Star, the Herts and Essex Observer and the Stansted and Dunmow Observer will still remain as distinct newspapers serving the community.”

On Monday TM launched its latest county-wide platform in Devon Live, which replaced the sites of the Exeter Express & Echo, Torquay Herald Express, North Devon Journal and Mid Devon Gazette