A shelved weekly newspaper is unlikely to return in print until next year, its publisher has said.
Quest says it has experienced “dramatic growth” on the titles’ websites after lockdown restrictions were reimposed across Greater Manchester, following on from a 680pc year-on-year increase in the number of unique visitors in March.
Executive chairman Chris Bird, pictured, said: “The economic downturn has made the production and financial support of a printed version of our free Oldham Reporter newspaper untenable at this time.
“But we remain totally committed to continuing to publish the 165-year-year old Tameside Reporter and also the Glossop Chronicle which we have published each week throughout the pandemic.
“We continue to serve our Oldham readers with our very successful online news service and we are looking to the second quarter of 2021 for a return to a print format if trading conditions improve.”
Quest’s online sites received more than 850,000 unique visitors in March 2020, compared to 120,000 in March 2019.
Chris added: “The figures just go to show that local news is still very much at the heart of communities. It serves the people and businesses in our local regions, and asks the questions that they need answering.
“It has been a really hard time for local news, but we have continued to deliver our Tameside Reporter and Glossop Chronicle newspapers in print every week, and we’re on air every day on Tameside Radio.
“Our digital and social platforms continue to grow, and provide the latest developments every minute as they happen.”
Quest’s social media channels on Facebook and Twitter have also experienced growth during the pandemic, with more than 70,000 followers – including more than 22,000 followers on the Tameside Reporter Facebook page – and reach of around two million people a month.
Editor Nigel Skinner said: “We pride ourselves on providing our readers with the news that matters to them about what’s happening throughout Glossop, Tameside and Oldham.
“During these uncertain times, people in the local community and local businesses have turned to us to report on the local news that matters to them, and we are proud to have continued to deliver that throughout Covid-19.”
He added: “We would like to thank all of our readers for turning to us for all their local news and sport across our platforms – your support is always appreciated.
“As we continue to live in difficult times and with the need for reliable information greater than ever, stick with us to stay informed.”