The Bath Chronicle is going from daily to weekly in a move which will leave the city without a local daily paper.
The Chronicle is one of the oldest local papers in the country and has been published since 1760.
Owner Northcliffe has admitted that the move will lead to job losses, but it has promised to limit the number of compulsory redundancies.
The Bath Chronicle has seen sales fall from 13,871 in the second half of 2005 to 12,363 in the same period in 2006.
In November 2006 the paper switched to overnight production meaning it was no longer an “evening” newspaper but would be on newsagent shelves at 5am. At the time, editor Sam Holliday said that those who thought readers were willing to wait 24 hours for their news were ‘arrogant and complacent’and said the website would fill the gap..
Following today’s announcement Holliday said: ‘The staff have worked fantastically well to try and keep the Chronicle as a daily title but in a fast changing multimedia world we now feel the paper’s long term future will be best secured by converting to a weekly title. It is our belief that we will create the best weekly newspaper in Britain – and in our opinion Bath deserves the best.
‘No-one else has ever attempted to do what we’re about to do and no-one else will end up with the high quality paper that we are committed to producing. This is a very exciting time and we know our readers and advertisers will support us as we make this important move to secure the future of our precious local newspaper.”
The paper, to be published on Thursdays, is due to switch to launch on 27 September.
Northcliffe has predicted that the weekly Bath Chronicle will be up to 250 pages, making it one of the biggest newspapers in the industry. Daily news updates will still appear on the website.
Holliday said: ‘Not all of our readers have internet access, but the rise in our on-line readership is remarkable and it shows that whether people are reading in print or on-line there is a real hunger for the kind of quality journalism that the Chronicle provides.
‘It is our intention to use every medium possible to make sure our readers and advertisers do not miss out – and the cornerstone of it all will be a fantastic new product which we believe will set the benchmark for the whole of the newspaper industry”.