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‘Loss-making’ weekly closes amid further cuts by regional publisher

A weekly newspaper has closed and editorial jobs are under threat in cuts affecting regional newsrooms across the UK.

Newsquest has confirmed the closure of the Chorley Citizen and also announced cutbacks at centres in Lancashire, Shropshire, Wales, Berkshire and Swindon in addition to those previously announced in Carlisle, Glasgow, Dorset and Hampshire.

The two remaining staff photographers from Newsquest’s North and Mid-Wales titles are believed to be at risk along with the ad design teams currently based at Welshpool, Oswestry and Colwyn Bay.

A feature writer and deputy sports editor are at risk in Swindon, while redundancies, including a staff photographer, have also been proposed in Berkshire.

Three positions are further understood to be at risk at the company’s Lancashire titles which include the Lancashire Telegraph and Bolton News.

However no jobs have been lost specifically as a result of the Citizen’s closure, and a reporter working on the paper has been transferred to a role in another newsroom in the region.

The office of the Bolton News

The office of the Bolton News

Discussing the Citizen’s closure, Karl Holbrook, Newsquest regional editor for Lancashire said: “The decision to close the loss-making Chorley Citizen has not been taken lightly, but it is crucial that we focus all our efforts on the long-term stability of the business and deliver titles which can sustain our business for the future.

“I am eternally grateful for the opportunity the Chorley Citizen gave me at the start of my career and have been proud to have been able to represent my hometown in my role as regional editor.

“I would like to thank all our readers and advertisers for their support over the years, and we hope they will understand why we have made this decision in these challenging times.

“We will continue to fight for our readers across Lancashire and Greater Manchester through our other titles, including our daily Lancashire Telegraph and Bolton News brands.”

The latest cuts come in the wake of a number of other job losses at Newsquest centres in recent weeks.

Earlier this month it was revealed up to seven jobs were set to be lost at the company’s titles in Cumbria, while staff at Glasgow-based newspapers The Herald and Herald on Sunday were told the company may be forced to make compulsory redundancies unless “a number” of journalists volunteered to leave.

National Union of Journalists members working for Newsquest in Glasgow are currently being balloted on possible industrial action over the plans.

Elsewhere, five journalism jobs including an editor role are set to be made redundant as part of cutbacks affecting the Southern Daily Echo, Bournemouth Echo and Dorset Echo.

A Newsquest spokesman told HTFP: “The environment for news publishers remains very challenging, given in particular the very substantial loss of revenue to other digital advertising platforms.

“At Newsquest we are focused on ensuring that news brands have a sustainable future. We continue to restructure how we operate to ensure we work as efficiently as possible across the business.

“Whilst these potential redundancies are regrettable, it means we can continue to invest in quality journalism for many years to come.”


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  • November 28, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Yes, you can continue to “invest” in quality journalism – just not so many journalists once you’ve finished making all these redundancies

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  • November 28, 2019 at 10:58 am

    The same old stock HR quotes trotted out by NQ “spokesman said” as was used last week when more jobs were axed

    Let’s just hope for NQs sake that these repetitive and unoriginal excuses for job cuts aren’t indicative of the quality and ( lack of ) uniqueness of NQs editorial content across its news platforms.

    Good wishes to all those people affected yet again.

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  • November 28, 2019 at 11:26 am

    We have to wonder what the future is going to be like. Another round of cuts because ongoing revenue continues to slump despite previous cuts. Circulation levels that now only connected with a small minority in communities making advertising ineffective. Web pages that are booming with ever more clicks but can’t monetise and are seen by viewers as just one option for free news. Newsquest and others stopped investing in quality journalism a long time ago, but perhaps the bosses don’t realise that and think low paid staff shifting through user generated content is quality journalism. Perhaps bosses think they can further drive their journalism costs onto the BBC, Facebook etc to preserve the dividend payouts to shareholders. Despite the very challenging environment mentioned, Newsquest is about to embark on a huge takeover gamble of JPI Media and does anybody think a promising future lies ahead for those employed in both groups.

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  • November 28, 2019 at 11:44 am

    I only buy my Newsquest weekly because I set off there as a cub reporter. But it is dreadful and often an acute embarrassment, and the website is a shocking, shoddy mess. I’d stop buying it to deny NQ a few bob, but what good would that do to the poor kids trapped? All I can say is ‘get out while you can.’

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  • November 28, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    As I understand it, the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporter scheme was set up on condition that the licence fee funded journalists did not replace reporters paid for by the Big News operators.
    Given the number of cuts to newsrooms up and down the country it now looks like that principle has been abandoned.
    Personally I object to propping up this failing news scheme with my licence fee. The BBC should rethink where this money is going. Indeed, an LDR based in a hyperlocal would get far better training and opportunity.

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  • November 28, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Gannett’s share price has dropped $19 from its high in 2015.

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  • November 28, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Echo what has been said so far about the general situation and the crass way the same bland statement is put out every time. It must be really comforting for anybody being shown the door as part of the redundancy process to know that their departure will help ensure “quality journalism” can continue on said title – even though the number of staff has dwindled, countless errors are creeping in due to the absence of sub-editors, a lot of creative flair has been removed and all the photographs within the publication are submitted from the public.

    Reading the above article, it seems that there will literally be no staff photographers left on the North and Mid Wales Newsquest titles (formerly NWN Media). The saddest thing about it is such a move isn’t even a surprise now. You reap what you sow and they can have few complaints if sales continue to plummet.

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  • November 28, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Agree with @Annon about the soulless ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude statements copy and pasted from the company PR book and pushed out whenever job cuts or closures are announced.A tactless and cold hearted slap in the face which shows complete disregard or respect for those soon to be jobless at Christmas.

    @Sub it out, a couple of points;
    don’t forget the overuse of Google Street maps photo screen grabs complete with huge road name on the photo left uncropped , and your last line ‘ if sales continue to plummet’
    Should say:
    “WHEN sales continue to plummet “

    Good fortune and good wishes to the ones soon to be leaving, and the very best of luck to those who’ll stay behind, you’ll need it!

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  • November 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    The daily I used to work on is an expensive joke now. I wonder anyone wastes their money buying it. If the future is the web, my old paper’s site is hardly worth looking at. If anyone had wanted to design a bad site, that is it. Any day now I guess there will be an announcement about NQ buying the skeletal remains of JPI.

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  • December 11, 2019 at 11:06 am

    The depressing decline of NQ’s once-superb evening papers (when they were proper EVENING publications with several editions the same day) is one of the saddest tales of the industry. It seems impossible to reduce sales from 100,000 plus to under 10,000 over the years, but NQ achieved that in the quest for fools gold in the world of clicks.

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