Newquest closes free Banbury Cake newspaper after 40 years in print

Free weekly newspaper the Banbury Cake has stopped printing after 40 years.

Owners Newsquest are continuing to cover news in the Oxfordshire town through the title’s website, which Press Gazette understands is to be “developed further” in the coming weeks.

The newspaper, which takes its name from the town’s eponymous sweet treat, published its final edition on 14 September.

Jeremy Wilton, whose father Graham started the paper as a rival to the Banbury Guardian (now owned by Johnston Press) in 1977, said: “I just think it’s sad that they can’t keep it going.

“It’s a shame – people around here liked it because it was typical Banbury really. Sad to see it become a TV screen, but there we are.”

Wilton, a former national newspaper photographer who now owns Four Shires Magazine, said his father began the Cake from his front room and initially bought unused phone directory paper to print it on – meaning it was variously blue, green and pink.

Wilton said: “[My father] pissed everyone off because he stole all the staff from the local paper to set up this independent one.

“The Banbury Cake was a bit of a ground-breaker at the time because there were very few free newspapers back then.”

He added: “It was a good local community thing.”

The paper distributed about 53,000 copies a week in the 1980s. Full-year ABC figures for 2015, the latest available for the Cake, showed it had an average print distribution of just over 13,000 copies, down from more than 34,000 at the turn of the millennium.

Wilton said that last year the paper stopped being distributed to homes and was left to pick-ups in supermarkets and newsagents.

Banbury Cake staff are based at the same office as Newsquest daily the Oxford Mail in Osney, Oxford.

A Newsquest spokesman said: “The Banbury Cake will continue as a digital only platform, and in print we will be increasing the number of our Banbury focused magazines.”

The Banbury Guardian is no longer audited by ABC. The most recent figure, for 2012, showed a paid-for circulation of 12,656.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Newquest closes free Banbury Cake newspaper after 40 years in print”

  1. There were no Banbury Cake staff at the Oxford Mail office. After Newsquest closed the Banbury office the Cake was written by Oxford reporters who had no knowledge of Banbury – and their lack of knowledge showed in the reports

    You can’t run a local newspaper from 25 miles away, though the Banbury Cake became so un-local the reporters could have been 2,500 miles away.

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