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HTFP at 20: Charting 20 years of change in the regional press

htfp-20th-motifThe one theme has been present over the course of the 20 years in which HoldtheFrontPage has been in existence is that nothing stays the same for long

Industry consolidation, the digital revolution, new newsgathering techniques that were unimaginable at the start of the new century have changed the industry beyond recognition.

Famous old names like Northcliffe, Trinity and Johnston Press have disappeared, while many once proud daily and weekly titles are no more.

But while print circulations have plummeted, the growth in digital audiences has seen regional newsbrands reaching bigger audiences than ever before, even if it has not yet compensated for the loss of revenues the print readers brought in.

Through it all,  HoldtheFrontPage has been there to record every twist and turn in the industry’s evolution while continuing to highlight the latest job opportunities for those wanting to work in it.

Here is our timeline of 20 years of change in the regional press, interweaving the story of the industry’s development with our own journey over the past two decades.

February 2020

HTFP celebrates 20 years of providing news and jobs for UK journalists.  Read more here.

February 2018

Trinity Mirror unveils launch of new ‘Live’ online brands to be rolled out across the UK, although Liverpool Echo and Manchester Evening News retain their identities online. Read more here.

August 2017

The Oldham Evening Chronicle closes withe loss of 49 jobs.  It is later relaunced under new ownership as an online-only product.  Read more here.

February 2017

BBC local democracy reporting scheme launched in partnership with the regional press. Read more here.

February 2016

Johnston Press buys national daily the i for £24m. Read more here.

February 2015

HoldtheFrontPage marks its 15th anniversary by unveiling a bright new look on a mobile-friendly responsive platform.  Read more here.

December 2014

After six years based at the then offices of the Derby Telegraph, HoldtheFrontPage moves to its current offices at Laurie House, Derby. Read more here

December 2014

The Reading Post closes having previously gone from a daily to weekly title. Read more here.

December 2013

Having previously gone from daily to weekly, the Liverpool Post finally closes. Read more here.

April 2012

Johnston Press announces that five of its daily titles – the Scarborough Evening News, Halifax Courier, Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Peterborough Evening Telegraph and Northants Evening Telegraph – will go weekly.  Read more here.

August 2011

Northcliffe titles Exeter Express & Echo, Torquay Herald Express and Scunthorpe Telegraph go form daily to weekly. Read more here.

February 2011

After a two-year break, the Society of Editors revives the Regional Press Awards, in association with the Newspaper Society and HoldtheFrontPageRead more here.

February 2010

Manchester Evening News and Reading Post among Guardian titles sold to Trinity Mirror in £44.8m deal. Read more here.

January 2007

Archant Scotland acquired by Johnston Press for £11.2m. Read more here.

December 2005

Johnston Press buys Scotsman Publications from Barclay Brothers for £160m. Read more here.

December 2003

INM announces sale of London titles to Archant. Read more here.

April 2002

Johnston Press acquires Regional Independent Media’s 53 regional newspaper titles – which include the Yorkshire Post – in a £560m deal.  Read more here.

April 2001

Newsquest buys Dimbleby Newspapers, headed by broadcaster David Dimbleby, for £8m. Read more here.

July 2000

Trinity  Mirror sells Belfast Telegraph to INM for £300m. Read more here.

February 2000

HoldtheFrontPage goes live.  The first stories on the site include an obituary of former Derby Telegraph journalist Lewis Meakin and a competition to win a job on a regional paper.

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  • February 7, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    An excellent read – it reminds you just how jaw-droppingly large some of those acquisition figures were in the first decade of this chart. Mind, for much of that period I was working in a head office where someone was employed to come in and water the plants. It was a different time!
    Would Johnston Press have survived if it hadn’t paid such an eye-watering sum for The Scotsman? Would Archant have been better not to have splashed out so much for a bunch of weekly London titles? Will many of these groups still be in any viable form by the time of the 30th anniversary? Yes, yes and no, I would say.

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