Slugger O'Toole

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Another two local newspapers fold: The Carrickfergus Advertiser and The Ballyclare Gazette

Wed 15 January 2014, 3:25pm

The Carrickfergus Advertiser and Ballyclare Gazette, published by the Lord Kilclooney-owned Alpha Newspaper Group, have announced their closure with eight job losses (including six journalists/photographers), though “the company has said it hopes some of the workers will be redeployed to other papers in the group”.

ballyclare gazette carrick advertiserThe Carrickfergus Advertiser was established back in 1883, closed by its previous owners Northern Newspaper Group in October 1992, and then reopened by Alpha Newspaper Group in 1991 1993; The Ballyclare Gazette was launched in 1994.

Both titles pulled out of producing ABC audited circulation figures some years ago. However, Alpha Newspaper Group’s website suggests that the Carrickfergus Advertiser Series (which includes the two closing titles along with the unaffected Larne Gazette – it closed last year!) had a weekly circulation of 3607 from a population of around 80,000.

The Ballyclare Gazette’s sole reporter Ciaran McCauley commented on Twitter:

Hold the Front Page blog reports managing director Jonathan Taylor saying that the Alpha Newspaper Group was “embarking on a major new investment in digital platforms” but the subsidy of the loss-making papers could not continue. He added:

The other major part is that government advertising has fallen significantly from Stormont.

The newspaper group’s bold readership claim will still be largely true after these closures:

With a readership of 425,000 for our paid-for newspapers and 120,000 for our free-newspapers … the Alpha Newspaper Group has a greater circulation than the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News or Newsletter.

Northern Ireland still has a relatively thriving local weekly newspaper industry. However, declining advertising income and overall declining readership has taken its toll with these two closures being announced less than a month after the Community Telegraph folded. Further newsprint closures must be inevitable this year.

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Comments (2)

  1. irishbellelynz (profile) says:

    I Have worked for the East Antrim Gazette since November 2000 as a receptionist and sales Executive, I first started in the Larne Office and was relocated to Carrick when they shut the Larne & Ballyclare offices last year. Totally gutted that they are closing the papers completely now.

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  2. sherdy (profile) says:

    Alpha is beta!
    These titles have been on minimum life support for a good 20 years, and if John Taylor had any business sense they would have been dead and buried then.
    Something like the Newsletter which has no viable future but for some reason Johnson Press are keeping it barely breathing.

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