Union says it will not sit back and allow company to slowly bleed newspapers to death

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Journalism (IFJ),

Trinity MirrorThe NUJ has condemned the closure of two weekly newspaper offices.

Trinity Mirror has announced it is to close the offices of the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald and the Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News, moving journalists further away from the community on which they report.

An NUJ Trinity Mirror North Wales chapel spokesperson said: “Caernarfon has had a long and illustrious association with journalism and was known as the ‘ink capital of north Wales’ in the 19th century due to the number of printers in the town that produced a variety of newspapers and magazines.

“There has been a newspaper office in Caernarfon since 1855 and we feel that closing would be a big blow to the town’s history, heritage and culture.

“It would mean that anyone wanting to speak to a reporter, place an advert or a notice in the Daily Post or the Caernarfon Herald would no longer be able to do it face-to-face, as they have done so for decades previously.

“The chapel also has concerns about the Welsh language service the company would be able to offer customers and readers should the office close.

“Inevitably, it would also take journalists further away from the communities they are meant to serve and we fear that this would act as a prelude to the closure of titles within the company.”

NUJ assistant organiser Jane Kennedy said: “This has come as a shock and a bitter blow to colleagues and is a serious attack on the provision of a community-based paper which plays an important role in serving the Welsh-speaking community. It is clear that the community are not going to simply allow this to happen and the NUJ are at the heart of that fight.

“The further announcement to close of the Widnes office shows the acceleration of the withdrawal of Trinity Mirror from local communities and it is a blow for local journalism.”

Ken Smith, chair of the NUJ in Wales, said: “Trinity Mirror’s proposal to shut down its office in what is effectively the capital of Welsh-speaking Wales is exceptionally short-sighted. It is a limited cost-cutting measure that will have long-term consequences.

“If this happens, it would impact severely on quality journalism in North Wales, alienating local readers and making it far more difficult to hold regional decision-makers to account.

“We will make every effort as a union to persuade Trinity Mirror to reverse this decision, and will support wholeheartedly the campaign.”

The NUJ have called a rally on Saturday 11 April on Turf Square, Caernarfon at 1pm.

Paul Scott, chair of the NUJ North Wales branch, said: “We are asking people to rally with us to respond to the announcement and show Trinity Mirror that local people want local news produced by journalists working at the heart of their community. As a journalist who has worked for the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald, Daily Post, Holyhead and Anglesey Mail and Bangor and Anglesey Mail, I know the high regard that these newspaper titles are held in.

“That’s why I’m determined not to allow them to succumb to the slow bleed that Trinity Mirror is subjecting them to.

“If you believe in local journalism as much as I and our members do, please support the campaign and join us in our fight for local news.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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