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Weekly which replaced regional Sunday to close after eight months

A weekly newspaper set up to replace a regional Sunday title which closed last year is itself set to close after eight months in print.

Reach plc has announced Bedfordshire Midweek will close later this month because the paper’s financial position is “no longer viable”.

Midweek was launched after Reach’s forerunner Trinity Mirror shut Bedfordshire on Sunday after 40 years in print.

But the company, which says it made the publication date switch in a bid to reduce costs, has blamed the “accelerated” decline in print advertising for the decision to close the new title.

Beds Mid

No editorial roles are affected by the closure, but Reach is currently in consultation with an undisclosed number of commercial staff.

The last edition of the free paper will be delivered on Wednesday 27 June.

In a letter published in yesterday’s Midweek, editor-in-chief David Bartlett wrote: “We are sad to announce that your Bedfordshire Midweek community newspaper will close later this month.

“Last autumn we had to close Bedfordshire On Sunday and launched this community paper in its stead.

“We had hoped that by dramatically reducing our costs that we could continue to provide a free weekly newspaper to Bedfordshire. However, the long term decline in print advertising has not only continued – it’s accelerated.

“Despite the fact Bedfordshire Midweek quickly gained a place in the hearts of loyal readers, the financial position of the newspaper is no longer viable.”

David added: “I’d like to thank our advertisers that helped us continue with the paper after we replaced Bedfordshire on Sunday with the Midweek. We will continue to provide online advertising solutions to our customers through bespoke campaigns.

“I would also like to thank the staff of Bedfordshire Midweek who have worked tirelessly week-in, week-out to produce a brilliant community newspaper.

“Finally I would like to thank you, our readers, and everyone who submitted a story or a picture to the Bedfordshire Midweek – you are what made it such a wonderful community paper.”

At the time of Bedfordshire on Sunday’s closure, outgoing editor Sarah Cox described the decision as “unfathomable”, and later hit out at what she described as “bean counters” in a farewell column.

15 comments

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  • June 14, 2018 at 9:59 am
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    “.,, the long term (sic) decline in print advertising… has accelerated.” So what does this mean for the rest of Reach’s paper estate? Hardly encouraging words from a senior suit for hapless employees still beavering away at what’s left.

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  • June 14, 2018 at 10:40 am
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    This seems like either a predetermined plan to lessen the negative PR impact an immediate closure would have on Trini…..sorry ‘Reach’ , indecisiveness about the viability of the papers commercial potential ,complete lack of foresight and awareness or, more likely failure to accept the obvious signs of a worsening decline in overall advertising revenues.
    Either way shambolic handling of a situation and one which must pose serious questions about the effectivess of those making these Ill thought out decisions and, as commercial revenues are dropping all over, not just in Bedfordshire, to the ( lack of ) future of all other papers and staff in the group

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  • June 14, 2018 at 10:42 am
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    If this is Mr Bartlett’s idea of a “wonderful local newspaper”, it’s a sad reflection of the state of the local press in this country. Having seen the online copy of the print edition, it is just a mess of adverts, press releases and basic ugc which I think it was doomed from the moment they decided to close the Beds on Sunday.

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  • June 14, 2018 at 11:35 am
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    Napoleon Solo
    If you look through majority of the ailing bigger publishers weekly output, particularly the frees, you’ll find your view of the ‘content’ to be exactly the same, so it’s no wonder weekly papers have become pale shadows of their former selves, sell so few copies and are irrelevant to the towns and communities they purport to serve, they certainly are where I am .
    The days of propping up unprofitable and dying papers are over so we must expect more closures, and probably more job losses, in the months to come

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  • June 14, 2018 at 11:49 am
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    It saddens me but I have to agree with Napoleon Solo, although it’s a judgment made on the latest edition when the few staff had maybe just about given up the ghost.

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  • June 14, 2018 at 1:14 pm
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    So they took a title with a massive following and a high level of respect in the community that in the Editors words was still doing financially well and killed it with their stupidity.
    As I said at the time Iliffe tried a Beds midweek and it fell on its face in a matter of months. Midweek is tied up there already. BOS was a highly regarded and still sought out title by the community.
    Yet another decision made by someone with no geographical knowledge 100’s of miles away that has lead to the death of yet another brilliant product. These idiots need to stop patting each other on the back and start slapping each other round the face to wake up and realise a local business will never work based on a national template.

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  • June 14, 2018 at 1:25 pm
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    To add to that the worst thing is if they’d put BOS up for sale instead it would have been snapped up. But no. More redundancies and another stream of 100’s of kids now jobless.

    This one more than all the other idiotic decisions has touched a nerve with me because of my history with the title and also because everyone with half a brain, unlike these captains of industry predicted it would happen. Idiots idiots idiots!

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  • June 14, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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    Oldgit47: unfortunately, the other editions from the first onwards were just as bad. No real journalism and just press releases, ugc and adverts.

    I was in Cambridge recently and the News is also a sad shadow of its former self. Next to the impressive Cambridge Independent (run by the old CN team), it’s an embarrassment. And don’t get me started on the dreadful Trinity websites.

    I wonder if anyone at Trinity is ever held accountable for these ridiculous decisions, like closing profitable titles and launching advert filled rubbish in their place. JP must be laughing their heads off now Mr Bartlett has given them free reign in Milton Keynes, Luton, Northampton and Bedford.

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  • June 14, 2018 at 4:23 pm
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    Im surprised TMs usual spokesperson hasn’t been on to brush sway commenters concerns and to reiterate what are probably his own words “ we will continue to provide online advertising solutions to our customers through bespoke campaigns” or is that how editors really speak these days ?

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  • June 14, 2018 at 5:08 pm
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    “has blamed the “accelerated” decline in print advertising for the decision to close the new title.”

    nothing to do with publication date switch in a bid to reduce costs and axing a lot of talented and long serving staff then?

    I think thats the last LSN title there was after the mass cull. Reach as they liked to be called now (Reaper PLC is a better name) should just sell off all their local newspapers and let someone else run them.

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  • June 15, 2018 at 10:40 am
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    Did they seriously think that making the paper a shadow of its former self would retain advertising revenue? It’s not rocket science to understand that to attract advertisers, you need to make a product people actually want to read. Sadly, the Cambridge News is going the same way too and I’d predict that will end up going weekly before long. I know friends who worked on these titles who are heartbroken by the mismanagement of these titles they worked so hard to build and maintain.

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  • June 15, 2018 at 2:39 pm
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    As Mr Solo is so obviously close to the Iliffe enclave perhaps he can explain why the Cambridge Independent has so far failed to commercially kill off the Cambridge News’ print edition as TM probably hoped. I’m told by a former colleague that the joke in the CN newsroom is that the Independent has more awards than readers.

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  • June 15, 2018 at 5:15 pm
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    I can’t imagine there is many jokes passed about in the CN newsroom to be honest. Last time I was in Winship in 2013 they all had their heads hung as they pointed out all the empty desks of old colleges so I could only imagine the atmosphere now with the hang man permenently looming and even more people gone. Granted they’re not in Winship anymore so it probably looks a lot better being in a small place over in the research park. I bet Reach are very much gutted they couldn’t develop that sight and make millions as they have with so many of the other old Iliffe buildings but hey ho someone will rent it soon.

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  • June 18, 2018 at 9:53 am
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    @formerloyalfollower
    The Winship Road site was owned by Iliffe. Trinity Mirror were paying them rent – a laughable situation given the acrimony following the aborted re-acquisition. And yes, I walked down the road on my morning constitutional this morning and it does appear that at least one floor has been leased.

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  • June 18, 2018 at 10:15 am
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    @Jeremy Fischer – I never realised that. Makes the whole situation with the fencing off and tit for tat arguments going on in the Local World days between press, distribution and them even more ridiculous. Never happened in my time as I’d bend over backwards to help Milton and they did the same for me.

    In that case I’m glad the buildings in use again. I only wish it was in tandem with the press following the buy back but alas that wasn’t to be

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