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Two weeklies change hands in publishers’ swap deal

David MontgomeryTwo weekly newspapers have changed hands in a swap deal between a regional publisher and an independent group.

National World has announced the purchase of Northern Irish paper the Banbridge Chronicle just 13 months after the title was saved from extinction by Scottish firm Bann Media.

As part of the deal, Bann Media owner Medquest Group Ltd will take over the running of National World weekly the Galloway Gazette.

The announcement comes just a matter of weeks after National World stepped in to buy the Newry Reporter, another Northern Irish paper, after it was threatened with closure – saving 10 jobs in the process.

National World executive chairman David Montgomery, pictured, said: “I first read the Chronicle as a schoolboy when visiting my uncle’s farm near Banbridge.

“So I know how valued it has always been in the community.

“National World will protect the Chronicle’s editorial heritage and independence and will continue to promote Banbridge, its families, businesses and the cultural life of this beautiful part of County Down.”

Discussing the disposal of the Chronicle, previously owned by the Hodgett family, Bann Media managing director Peter Laidlaw said he felt the “best interests of the staff, the title and the community were better served by being included in a larger progressive company due to the “ongoing consolidation within the regional press”.

He added: “As part of the overall agreement with National World, Medquest Group Ltd who own weekly newspapers in South-West Scotland, will acquire the Galloway Gazette.

“This title fits in very well with the DNG Media group of titles which we already own.”

DNG publishes paid-for weeklies the Annandale Herald, the Moffat News and the Annadale Observer, while it also runs free title the Dumfries Courier.