The Enfield Gazette is to drop news and sports coverage to be turned into an entertainment and lifestyle led freesheet and will make one journalist redundant.
The eight staff at the 137-year-old Tindle Newspapers-owned weekly were told yesterday that the paper would become a free slimmed-down ‘what’s on’newspaper designed for shoppers and workers to pick up.
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The Gazette shares some copy with the Enfield Advertiser, which it shares an office with alongside the Barnet Press and Haringey Advertiser.
The paid-for Gazette had suffered in terms of circulation recently and currently sells around 2,000 copies a week.
A spokesman for the NUJ Enfield chapel said: ‘We were told in a meeting that the newspaper was being wrapped up as a paid-forâ€¦ and it will be turned into what they are calling a ‘supermarket freesheet’.
‘We’ve gone through all our contacts and they are sending letters to Sir Ray Tindle who owns the paper.”
The spokesman said staff found it ironic that Sir Ray was cutting back on a newspaper a week after buying three more weekly newspapers Essex, adding to the 200 papers he currently owns and to a combined circulation of 1.4m.
‘He has been quoted all over the press as a champion of the local press and someone that takes flagging papers on and turns their fortunes around, so this is a really odd decision and we were really shocked when we found out,’he said.
The paper’s publisher Alison Cruse said the move was necessary to secure the paper’s future.
The new paper will initially be smaller than its current 40 pages – between 10 and 1 2of which are editorial each week – but Cruse said this could grow with time.
‘We are looking to make it into more of a pick-up publication that’s informative, it has the usual classified platforms, it will have editorial guidance about leisure activity, gig guides and things like that,’she said. ‘It’s a community information newspaper that people can interact withâ€¦ We still have the Enfield Advertiser which is where everybody can get their news from.”
‘We have eight reporters across north London and obviouslythe Enfield Gazette is a heavy news content product with five pages of sport which will not be there any more – we’re looking to see if we can get the voluntary redundancy. If that doesn’t happen we will be looking at other avenues.’