Thursday 10 March 2011

Guardian Media Group closes its last local papers

Guardian Media Group is closing its only remaining local newspapers, the 117-year-old Woking News & Mail and free Woking Review.

The titles were not acquired by Trinity Mirror when it purchased the rest of GMG’s regional newspaper business, which includied the Manchester Evening News, in 2010.

GMG said: "Despite our best efforts over the last year to find an alternative buyer, which generated a number of expressions of interest, no viable offers have emerged. In light of this, and the Woking papers’ substantial ongoing losses, we have reluctantly made the decision to close the titles. The last edition to be published will be the Woking News & Mail of Thursday 17 March.

"We deeply regret that such a step is necessary, and have only contemplated closure having exhausted all other options. The company is in formal consultation with all affected employees and their representatives."

The Woking papers are understood to be losing around £500,000 a year.

The Woking Review is believed to be one of the oldest free weekly newspapers in the country.
Circulation of the paid-for News & Mail remains close to 6,000 per week, while the latest ABC figures for the Review shows it has a circulation of 41,000. It is the only paid for newspaper dedicated to Woking and its surrounding villages and towns.

Some 20 staff divided between editorial and sales work for the company, which also owns the website

Editor Colin Parker said: “The News & Mail has been serving the community in Woking since 1894 and has been committed to bringing to residents news that affects them.

“The Woking Review is read by more than 90,000 people across the towns of Woking, Addlestone and Byfleet and has been a permanent weekly fixture for decades.”

He added: “It is a shame these two newspapers, it seems, will be added to the list of local publications across the country that have ceased to exist.

“The papers have been at the forefront of holding to account local authorities, reporting on community events, and following the ups and downs of our town’s football club.

“Advertisers from the towns and villages covered by the News & Mail, Woking, Chobham and Byfleet, benefited from having a market close to their business.”
  • Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said: "The demise of these publications is a major blow to hard working journalists and local news. The current company should have made every effort to continue the publication of these titles. This is another example of a business model that fails local journalism and demonstrates the inadequacy of the present ownership."


The undomesticated goddess said...

I began my career in journalism on the Woking News and Mail under the editorship of Tony L'Estrange. Everyone looks back with rose coloured specs but it really was a fantastic baptism and I had a ball. I left newspapers 10 years ago because all the fun had gone. I still remember the excitement of my first front page splash on the N&M and getting my own edition as a senior reporter. It's a sad day.

Criminal Solicitors said...

Press is considered fourth important pillar of any democracy for the cause community welfare. It feels very bad one sees a good publication is going to close down just for lack financial support.