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Closed daily set to return as digital brand – but no word on print return

Matt newA closed regional daily is set to return as a digital brand – but its new owner has declined to say whether the newspaper will be revived in print.

Radio station Revolution 96.2 has announced the Oldham Evening Chronicle will return online with a new website and social media presence.

Revolution bought the Chronicle after its previous owner Hirst, Kidd & Rennie was placed into administration in August, resulting in the paper ceasing publication and around 49 job losses.

In a press release announcing the launch of Oldham Chronicle Online, the radio station claimed that breaking news in the town had previously been “kept back to protect falling newspaper sales.”

By contrast, it stayed, the new digital venture “will have the detail online as fast as journalists can write the story.”

No word has yet been given on who will staff the relaunched website.  Some of the 49 staff who lost their jobs in August have since found jobs with rival publications that sprang up in the wake of the closure.

Matt Ramsbottom, managing director of Revolution 96.2, said: “People are more connected than ever before, using digital platforms and social media to keep in touch and informed about the world around them.

“We’re moving The Chron to an online platform to enable the newspaper to deliver the latest local news, instantly, to mobile devices and PCs which now reach 95pc of UK households.”

Matt, pictured, added: “The digital delivery enables us to follow breaking stories, and deliver video, images and up-to-date information as it happens.

“However, we’ll also ensure that the character of the Oldham Evening Chronicle remains the same, we’ll be following local human interest stories, supporting local charities and driving Oldham-led campaigns. This really is a local news service designed to deliver content on demand.”

Asked about the future of the print product would be returning, a Revolution source told HTFP: “We still aim to print an Oldham Evening Chronicle Newspaper however at the present time we’re focusing on the online digital platforms.”

Two new weekly print titles sprang up to cover Oldham following the closure of the Chronicle – Newsquest’s Oldham Times and Quest Media’s Oldham Reporter – while the Manchester Evening News launched a new daily Oldham edition.

Revolution has also ventured into the print market in the town, reviving the Chronicle’s former Oldham Business Edge magazine in November and launching lifestyle publication Signature.


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  • January 19, 2018 at 10:13 am

    While the Oldham Chronicle existed as a newspaper, their online offering was, indeed, a dismal affair…not that having a deliberately poor website did anything to protect the newspaper from rapidly dwindling circulation. Good luck to them if they think they can make a go of a new and improved online Chron, but there are still substantial numbers of older readers who would be candidates for a newspaper. I was speaking to a newsagent in Oldham the other day who used to deliver 165 Oldham Chronicles a night. After the Chron folded, every single one of those readers were willing to pay 80p to take the new weekly Oldham Times instead.

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  • January 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I agree with OldCynic. I think the same can be said for the majority of local newspaper websites where you can’t see the wood for the advertising ‘trees.’ I find it almost impossible to access a story on my old newspaper’s (the Boston Standard) website for fighting off the advertising pop-ups and in-your-face commercial splurge.

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  • January 19, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    “I was speaking to a newsagent in Oldham the other day who used to deliver 165 Oldham Chronicles a night.”

    And therein lies the conundrum ‘OldCynic’ because for the printed newspaper to be financially viable it needs 100 newsagents to deliver 165 copies a night – and that was and is completely unrealistic.

    It is all well and good being nostalgic but local print titles now appeal to an ever shrinking minority of people.

    With a smartphone in most people’s pockets it simply makes no sense to continue to distribute news in a much less efficient and much more costly, to the environment as well as financially, way.

    HKR, previous owners of the Oldham Chronicle, deliberately spiked the previous Chron website in an attempt to ‘protect’ the printed paper, but look where that got them!

    Matt Ramsbottom is wise to learn the lessons from the HKR demise and make digital the priority.

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  • January 24, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Digital is great vanity publishing (“we got 16k clicks!!”), but makes hardly any money. Most local newspapers websites are utterly dreadful, with pop ups, surveys, noisy video ads, all packed onto the page in an attempt to make .002 of a thrupence out of any unlikely clicks. The internet is saturated, people are gradually giving up on social media, while a well produced newspaper is a unique media ‘product’. The future is not digital, just a part of it.

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