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West Country weeklies merged in wake of cutbacks

Publisher Reach plc has merged four of its weekly titles in the West of England into two publications amid the ongoing cutbacks at the company.

The Shepton Mallet Journal has merged with the Wells Journal while the Central Somerset Gazette has merged with the Cheddar Valley Gazette.

The four titles have shared the same editor for several years but until last month were distinct publications.

New mastheads have now been produced to reflect the titles’ newly-combined identities and these are pictured below.



Three of the four titles date back to the Victorian era, with the Wells Journal first published on 2nd August 1851, the Shepton Mallet Journal in 1854 and the Central Somerset Gazette 1862.

The Cheddar Valley Gazette is a relative newcomer, having first been launched in 1957.

Reach declined to comment on the mergers when approached by HTFP.

The publisher is currently looking to axe 450 jobs – including 320 editorial roles – following a downturn in digital revenues.

As part of those cutbacks, Reach closed its Bristol office – the nearest centre to the four Mid-Somerset titles – at the end of November.

It is due to be replaced by an “editorial meeting space” but no details of this have so far emerged.