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Ten jobs saved as National World buys closure-threatened title

A weekly newspaper which had been due to close next week with the loss of 10 jobs has been sold to regional publisher National World in a deal which ensures it will continue to publish.

As reported by HTFP last week, the Newry Reporter was slated for closure on 25 January after 155 years in print.

However the title, which had been owned by the Hodgett family for the past 96 years, has now been purchased by National World, ensuring continuity of publication and preserving the 10 jobs at risk.

Four of the previously at-risk jobs were editorial roles, along with three production and three advertising and admin posts.

NEwry Reporter
Announcing the deal, National World said the Reporter “has been maintained as a high quality paper by its previous owner, Edward Hodgett Ltd and has a strong and dedicated readership and audience through online subscription.

“The Reporter’s long heritage in Newry and the Mournes presents a key opportunity to underpin National World’s growth in its business in Belfast, Derry and other weekly papers, including its Farming Life Saturday publication that enjoys significant circulation in the area.

“The paper was in danger of closure with the loss of 10 jobs, with a final edition planned for 25 January and this acquisition ensures the continuity of the title’s publication.

“It means the preservation of a title that has served the community continuously since 1867.”

Commenting on the acquisition, National World’s Executive Chairman, David Montgomery, said: “The Reporter has a proud history and National World is committed to uphold and foster its heritage.

“It is important that its independent editorial voice is protected and plays a part in promoting Newry and the wider region. We are proud to take on that role and support all The Reporter’s staff and contributors in that mission.”

Edward Hodgett Ltd said in a statement: “For 96 years and across three generations, the Hodgett family has had the immense pleasure to steward The Newry Reporter, serving Newry, Mourne and  South Down, since the Victorian era of 1867, in a span across tectonic global and national rifts.

“World Wars, Partition, The Troubles and Covid have all been taken in the title’s stride. Until now.

“Last week it grieved us to announce the profoundly sad news to our readership and further afield, that we would be producing our last edition at the end of January 2023.

“However, we never gave up striving to find a more positive outcome for both our wonderful staff and one of Ireland’s most historic newspapers.”

Lowry Hodgett, managing director of Edward Hodgett Ltd, added: “National World has done its utmost to save jobs, share our values of service and strongly support The Newry Reporter’s independent editorial ethos.

“The title now has a bright future.”

The Reporter has been published continuously since 1867, save for an eight-week print hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Last year the Banbridge Chronicle, another Hodgett-owned title, was saved from closure by Bann Media Ltd after three months of uncertainty about its future.