Axe falls on the Sentinel Sunday

Stoke’s Sunday Sentinel will close at the end of the month due to disappointing circulation and advertising revenue though staff are not expected to be made redundant.

In a statement last Friday, Staffordshire Sentinel News and Media editor-in-chief Mike Sassi said ‘with regret’that the paper would publish its final issue on 30 September.

Despite a 15.9 year-on-year increase ,the paper has an average circulation of just under 12,000 a week, in contrast to the daily average of 63,000 of sister The Sentinel, according to ABC figures for the first half of 2007.

The paper’s closure means there are now five paid-for regional Sunday newspapers in Britain with a combined circulation of 250,000 q week. The sector lost 5.2 per cent of its year-on-year circulation in the past six months.

Editor-in-chief of the Sentinel titles Mike Sassi said: ‘These figures [the 15.9 per cent increase] are the audited figure for the period up to the end of June 2007, but the figures since then have not been so successful. The change to tabloid had an immediate and very positive impact, but it is the long-term sustainability which we weren’t able to achieve. We weren’t able to make it a profitable paper in its own right.”

Sassi said he hoped there would be no compulsory redundancies, adding that there may be freelance work that will no longer be required and the company would deal with freelances ‘sensitively”.

Sunday Sentinel editor Paul Dutton will remain assistant editor of The Sentinel. He told Press Gazette: ‘A lot of very good people have worked hereand I’m bitterly disappointed to see it go.”

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