Threat to local papers looms

Deep do-do for regional and local papers, famously more popular on the island in Ireland than anywhere else. Even so, that lean machine Johnston Press, the UK’s third largest regional newspaper group and owners of the (Belfast) Newsletter, the free sheet Belfast News and the Derry Journal and 11 former Morton local papers is suffering a massive loss in advertising revenue, of “ more than 35% in the first months of 2009. as overall revenue fell by more than 12% last year.”

Johnston’s are trying to offload 14 papers in the Republic after having gone through a rash spate of acquisition there and elsewhere om the last few years, including netting the troubled Scotsman.

The total package is expected to fetch upwards of €70m, leaving Johnston Press with a hefty writedown on the estimated €250m it spent compiling its Irish portfolio.

If the banks turn up their noses – and what do you think? – can the sale or even closure of some NI papers including the ailing Newsletter be long delayed?

  • … can the sale or even closure of some NI papers including the ailing Newsletter be long delayed?

    Well, that’d be no loss. The News Letter will remain available on-line … on

  • As long as the Mourne Observer is not sold I don’t care. It is the last bastion of truth in these rabid times.


  • ed

    I wish the news letters online page kept up with the letters to the editor. It was very informative about what unionists think with out the political filter

  • Gregory

    The Nesletter do stories the other media simply skip. If anything the tendency to bought in stories, makes the Newsletter, look like good, in comparison.

    The Irish News spent years devoutly avoiding stories hostile to the SDLP, which were issues of ‘happenings’ or ‘events’ not opinion. No single paper is perfect.

  • cut the bull

    Speaking of local papers the Andersonstown News thursdays edition front page may prove to be an editors night mare.
    Covering the rally at the city hall and showing a placard with the message NO MORE KILLINGS. A clear reference to two killings at the Massereene barracks and one killing at Craigavon, the bottom of the page carries an advert for a pizza mega deal with three toppings.
    An editorial over sight or a naive mistake, this is surely an embarrasment.

  • jone

    CTB I think the Tele’s placing of an ad for an undertakers on the same page as a story about Constable Carroll was much worse.

    And what about the pre-roll on some of SKY’s online video about the two Sappers – an ad imploring viewers to join the army.

  • cut the bull

    thats the media for you a lack of thought beyond the headlines