Business Irish

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Johnston Press cull continues as Donegal paper closes

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

ANOTHER regional newspaper is set to close, as media group Johnston Press continues to cut back on its business in Ireland.

The Scottish-owned company, which counts the 'Kilkenny People' and 'Leinster Leader' among its titles, is to close the 'Donegal on Sunday' newspaper, with the loss of three editorial jobs.

Set up in 2004, 'Donegal on Sunday' was one of the last remaining regional Sunday newspapers in the country. It had an audited circulation of a little over 3,500 at the end of last year. That was down marginally on 2009, when it had circulation of some 3,800. The company is now expected to focus on shoring up the long established bi-weekly 'Donegal Democrat'.

The move is part of Johnston's reorganisation of its newspaper business across the UK and Ireland that will see a much greater focus on online content for daily news and a number of the company's 160 regional titles being reduced to weekly publications.

The company is also bringing in fixed templates for most of its newspapers, allowing its titles to be published more cheaply and easily. In the UK, some editorial positions have been combined, with a number of editors leaving the group.

The closure of 'Donegal on Sunday' follows the company's decision to shutter the 'Offaly Express' last month.

A petition set up by the National Union of Journalists to protest that closure has received some 370 signatures. Johnston Press managing director for Ireland Jean Long could not be reached for comment last night.

The end of the line for these papers is the latest in a continuing trend of sales and closures in the regional newspaper space. 'The Kingdom' newspaper printed its final edition last year but continues online, while the 'Sligo Weekender' was sold by Thomas Crosbie Holdings 18 months ago.

There was good news a fortnight ago, however, when a management buyout at Celtic Media secured the future of 100 jobs, in a deal worth €5.5m.

Irish Independent

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