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Revived title axed for second time after nine months back in print

A revived regional newspaper title has been axed for the second time less than nine months after re-launching in print.

Newsquest has confirmed the closure of the Burnley Star, which was launched by the company in March last year.

The revived Star, which was named in an “affectionate nod” to an evening title last published in Burnley in 1983, was edited by Lancashire Telegraph editor Steve Thompson and produced by existing staff at the Blackburn-based Newsquest daily.

Its closure comes after Newsquest confirmed last month that the Darlington Despatch, another revived weekly title named in homage to a defunct daily newspaper, was also set to shut for good.

Burnley Star

Publication of the Despatch, whose name was taken from the former Northern Despatch, was suspended in spring 2018 after eight months in print.

The last edition of the Star was published on 13 December.

Originally billed as a “bright new paper for a town on the up,” thr 56-page launch edition included five pages on Premier League football club Burnley FC.

Priced 50p where sold, it also circulated in the nearby towns of Pendle, Nelson and Colne.

A Newsquest spokesman said: “The company took the decision to cease publishing the Burnley Star, with the final edition published on Thursday 13th December.

“We continue to serve the Burnley area via the daily Lancashire Telegraph in both print and online.”

9 comments

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  • January 15, 2019 at 10:16 am
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    Really not surprised this paper was axed. When your first edition – the edition that should set out your stall and show your community what the paper is all about – is about your new free paper, the one that presumably the reader is holding on their hands, you get an idea of the level of journalism inside.
    There are many problems with jthe industry today but when all is said and done the biggest is the fact that newspapers are bereft of decent news.
    And this does affect advertising. If local advertisers see their local customers reading the paper, if THEY are reading the paper, if they hear people talking about it in glowing terms, if the issues raised are discussed down the local, then the advertising teams will have an easier job of selling the ads that support the journalism.
    If, on the other hand, they see piles of papers that can’t even be given away; if they hear people dismissing it and running down the journalists that produce it, they will not bother.
    Of course there many be mitigating factors but too often there are not. It’s just a bad product that no one is interested in.

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  • January 15, 2019 at 10:53 am
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    The most telling few words in this story: “Produced by existing staff.”
    So no new investment in journalism, just more stress put on those “existing staff”.

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  • January 15, 2019 at 12:49 pm
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    You’re absolutely right Percy Hoskins. The product was pretty grim even taking into account the declining standards of some – but not all – regional newspapers.
    Not helped by inept leadership, it was a cynical, desperate attempt to fool readers and advertisers alike, who in turn, were not fooled at all.

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  • January 15, 2019 at 2:31 pm
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    Readers don’t like give-away “free” papers – esp if the content is not up to scratch.

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  • January 15, 2019 at 7:31 pm
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    I take it you’ve actually read it Percy Hoskins, regularly?

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  • January 16, 2019 at 11:13 am
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    @tippex Like the advertisers and readers of Burnley I didn’t need to.

    I made my comments based on the front cover of the issue shown – the first issue.

    So let me expand:: given the fact this was the first edition, the edition that the editorial team had more time to work on we have a splash and an ear that say exactly the same thing. This is a new newspaper… covering Burnley.

    Then the cliched sub deck “read all about it” (honestly). Then the picture, people in your own office. Exactly how is that a draw?

    Ok five pages of sport, great. I take it, this is original content and not just culled from the daily.

    And lastly a dull but worthy page 2 story on the very first front page. – a page 2 story!. And from a press release.

    This is the very basics of newspaper craftwork.if you can’t see that I’ll assume you are not in the industry.

    And if it was such a success, if it was a great product, why did it really close down?

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  • January 16, 2019 at 3:44 pm
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    So Percy, the answer is no, you haven’t read it. You’re jumping to conclusions based on one picture. And you are lecturing the rest of us on quality journalism?

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  • January 16, 2019 at 4:13 pm
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    @tippex these are my conclusions based on many years of experience:

    1. The first edition front page was a mess. Badly thought out and dull. And that’s what the readers would have seen on day one. They don’t say, oh look the front page is dull and interesting but let me pick it up and look inside… they just don’t bother.

    2. A paper targeting a reasonably small area couldn’t attract advertisers for that area. Why?

    3. That too often senior management haven’t a clue on what makes a decent newspaper.

    So yes, I will lecture because I do from time to time pick up my local NQ paper and I could pull that apart in minutes.

    And do you know what? Not one of member of NQ’s management would pay the slightest attention.

    But if you really think it was a great product then why did it fail?

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  • January 16, 2019 at 11:13 pm
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    For many reasons Percy. There’s already the Burnley Express in the local market, publishing twice a week so presumably taking a lot of local advertising, for a start.

    As the paper was mainly free, it stands or falls by the advertising in it – nothing to do with the quality of the paper. I did read it by the way, and enjoyed it. It was a good product, as you’d know if you got beyond a screengrab on a website like this.

    I don’t think you can draw conclusions with any credibility from just one front page that you’ve looked at. Saying ‘my local NQ paper is rubbish’ (axe to grind much by any chance?) doesn’t mean every paper published by a publisher is rubbish – far from it.

    You can’t lecture people about quality journalism when you’re just throwing around speculation based on one screen grab. I suspect you know that.

    Keyboard warriors don’t tend to make good journalists…

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