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Editor shares ‘hope’ for first paper after absorption by sister title

John Wilson HerefordAn editor has shared his message of “hope” for the future of his first newspaper after its sister title absorbed it.

Hereford Times editor John Wilson has revealed his thoughts on National World’s decision to make the Morpeth Herald, where he began his career, into a change edition of the Northumberland Gazette.

Despite revealing his “sadness” at the decision, John has stated his belief that the change was a sign that the news industry has “always adapted, and will survive”.

John has written in a personal blog about the move, noting the tactic of absorbing smaller papers into bigger titles “has been repeated throughout the country”.

In his blog, he wrote: “Folding less viable newspapers into their stablemates is a tactic that has been repeated throughout the country as newspapers, particularly smaller weeklies, respond to tumultuous changes sweeping the industry.

“But I was not able to read this news without sadness. The Morpeth Herald is different, you see.

“It is special because it was my first newspaper; the place where many years ago I not only cut my teeth as a reporter but learned to value communities and understand the vital role newspapers play in holding them together.”

John, pictured, went on to recall an incident when the Herald’s former owner Jim Mackay, a direct descendant of the paper’s founder, had demolished his old printing press after selling the title to the Tweeddale Press.

He added: “It was no longer needed. The Herald was now being printed by its new owners up in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

“Sadly, Jim has gone now, but the memory of him that day comes back to me often. It reminds me that change has been ever-present through my career in the news business.

“It gives me hope when things look bleak because I know that we have always adapted, and will survive.

“And when I come to think of it, even the Herald’s new incarnation as an edition of the Northumberland Gazette is nothing new.

“When I worked in Morpeth the Tweeddale Press ran its new acquisition as a slip edition of its more firmly established Alnwick Advertiser. Plus ça change.”