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Local news title shuts after government funding plea ‘turned down’

A local news title has announced its closure after being “turned down” for government funding during the coronavirus crisis.

The Gosport & Fareham Sunday Globe has closed down following almost six years in business after failing to attract any paid-for advertising since the start of the pandemic.

Gosport Globe Community Publications CIC, the community interest company that published the title, has also suspended operations while its directors investigate the possibility of relaunching the title as a printed tabloid or news magazine once the Covid-19 situation improves.

The free title, which is published online in PDF form, was launched by former Carrick Gazette and Galloway Gazette editor Robin Young in 2015.

Gosport Globe

Robin, who serves as editor and managing director, told HTFP: “The decision to make this week’s edition the last in the current format was inevitable, bearing in mind that we had not attracted any paid-for advertising since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

“Although ICNN – the Independent Community News Network – had lobbied for government funding on our behalf, we were turned down.

“We had the biggest weekly readership of any publication covering the Hampshire boroughs of Gosport and Fareham, but no public health advertising was placed with us either.

“At the start of lockdown, we averaged just over 2,000 pdf downloads a week. That had risen to 3,000 by the end of August.

“Costs are having to be met out of our own pockets and it is impractical to return to our office at Bury House, Gosport, because of social distancing and restrictions on access. Until the situation improves, there is no point in continuing.”

The ICNN has repeatedly called for intervention from the UK government to help its member titles during the crisis, after a study found 95pc had received no support from Westminster during the coronavirus crisis.

Robin, 67, said the Globe had “demonstrated is a clear need for a dedicated news forum covering the area” since 2015.

He added: “Because of that we are hopeful that it will be possible to find financial support to relaunch as and when trading conditions improve.

“The Globe has been published since January 23, 2015, in tabloid format and the pdf pages are just one step short of being camera-ready.

“Provided we can make suitable print and distribution arrangements, there is no reason why a relaunched Globe – with an initial run of 25,000 or so copies serving an area with a population of about 250,000 – should not succeed.

“In the meantime, we have the satisfaction of having kept our readers fully informed throughout the pandemic crisis, with regular news and safety advice updates from a first-rate editorial team headed by chief correspondent Rob Thomas.

“No editor could have asked for more effort from his staff and I look forward to working with them all again in the not-too-distant future.”

HTFP has approached the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport for comment.

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