The coronavirus crisis may have sounded the death knell for a number of historic titles this year, but there were also a series of new newspapers launched across the country – some of which filled the void of those lost in the areas they served.
Here, as part of our look back at the past year in regional journalism, we take a look at the titles which were brought to life in the past 12 months and those for which 2020 was their last year in print.
New newspapers launched this year include Newsquest offerings the Vale Journal, while the company has announced weekly title the Oldham Times will go daily from 4 January 2021.
The publisher scrapped the planned launch of weekly paper the Cumberland & Westmorland Gazette just 24 hours after it was announced, but later revived the project as an online publication, while the Salford City News, launched in January, has since suspended print publication.
The new Vale Journal title subsequently became involved in a three-way rural news war following the permanent demise of Reach plc’s Blackmore Vale Magazine.
The prior temporary suspension of the Magazine had prompted Newsquest to launch the Journal, but it then faced challenges from two separate newcomers – The Blackmore Vale and The New Blackmore Vale – when Reach shut its title for good.
Reach plc continued its online expansion this year with new websites for Cumbria, Exeter, Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Sussex, Torbay, Truro and Worcestershire, while a new digital brand for Wirral is set to go live soon.
Archant launched The Torbay Weekly with former Torquay Herald Express editor Jim Parker, as well as digital-only title Peterborough Matters, while independent print titles to launch this year include the Weardale Community News, LymeOnline Extra and the Cheltenham Post.
Online hyperlocal network Nub News also continued its expansion, employing a further 25 journalists and taking the number of towns it covers from 28 to 57.
New Nub News sites launched this year included six in Cheshire, four in Devon, five in London and three in Suffolk, with its 50th site going live in Bridport, Dorset, in September.
Sadly though, the pandemic also brought with it a number of newspaper closures.
Along with the aforementioned Blackmore Vale Magazine, Reach closed the 205-year-old Lichfield Mercury, the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer and the Southport-based Midweek Visiter in August after publication of the titles was suspended earlier in the year.
Tindle shut a number of titles including the six-edition Glamorgan Gem series and the County Border News, which covers parts of Kent and Surrey.
In County Armagh, independent weekly The Examiner met the same fate.
The Gosport & Fareham Sunday Globe also ceased publication but, on a brighter note, plans have more recently been revealed to revive the title.
Here is the full list of launches and closures as covered by HTFP.