Archant closes 145-year-old free weekly

Archant has scrapped its 145-year-old free weekly the Stratford & Newham Express, but says no jobs are under threat as a result of the move.

The newspaper, which was first published in 1866, has been replaced by an 80-page edition of the Newham Recorder with a Stratford masthead and a number of editorial and advertising change pages. The Stratford & Newham Express was last ABC-audited in 2009 when had a free distribution of 21,778.

According to an internal memo sent to employees, the decision to drop the Express brand was part of a long-term plan to develop Archant’s East London papers ‘in line with the expected new demographics, post the 2012 Olympics”.

The new Stratford Recorder aims to capitalise on the increasing number of rail and underground passengers using Stratford in coming years, and the opening of the new Westfield shopping centre later this year.

While the Newham Recorder is a paid-for title, 5,000 free copies of the Stratford Recorder will be handed out at Stratford Station. A further 5,000 copies of the Newham Advertiser will also be distributed for free at locations in East Ham, Upton Park and Forest Gate.

The following statement appeared in the last copy of the Express: ‘From next week the Stratford and Newham Express will become part of the prestigious Newham Recorder series, which has been providing the borough with the very best news, features and sport since 1968.

‘With double the amount of pages, we will be giving our readers and advertisers more than ever.’

Editorial director for Archant London, Bob Crawley, said: ‘We are extending the powerful Recoder brand into a major area of regeneration. This new edition reflects the changing importance of Stratford in the borough.”

The first edition of the Stratford Recorder hit the streets on 4 April.

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