KMG to end 35 years of publishing daily papers

Medway Today is to become a weekly edition of the Kent Messanger, the Medway Messanger

The Kent Messenger Group is pulling out of daily newspaper publishing after 35 years.

Medway Today, the last title of a newspaper that began in 1968 as the Kent Evening Post, is to be made into a weekly edition of the Kent Messenger.

It had a chequered career, in 1992 becoming Kent Today, an evening which, in turn, became a morning paper in 1995. That experiment failed.

Eighteen months ago, it was turned into the Monday-to-Friday Medway Post while Friday’s edition was folded into the weekly Kent Messenger as the Medway Messenger.

Medway Today is now being incorporated into a new heavyweight, early-week edition of the Medway Messenger.

The new edition will be published alongside an improved free Medway Extra which will have increased distribution (90,000) on Wednesday. There will also be a new weekly 16-page lifestyle supplement, Medway Life, in the Friday issue of the Medway Messenger.

Medway Today will cease to appear as a separate publication from 3 April. The new Monday edition of the Medway Messenger will be launched on 7 April.

KMG has announced that there will be no staff redundancies, although there will be changes in working practices including the need for some news and production journalists to work on Sundays.

The decision to go biweekly comes in the wake of the commercial success of the Medway Messenger, which sells 22,000 copies a week, a third more than the Friday issue of Medway/Kent Today.

“The new portfolio of publications is in response to the changing demands of our customers,” said KMG chief executive David Lewis. “People are increasingly turning to radio, TV and the internet for breaking news stories, while wanting more local news and lifestyle information – such as shopping, property, cars and entertainment – from weekly newspapers like ours.

“The decision to close our evening daily newspaper was not taken lightly, but the indisputable fact is that weekly paid-for newspapers continue to grow in Kent, whereas the evening daily sector is in long-term decline.”

By Jean Morgan

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