Presses stop at award winning Salford Star

The Salford Star, the award-winning investigative magazine, has moved online-only as it can no longer afford to produce a print edition

The quarterly magazine, founded in 2006, is free, delivered door-to-door, and has a circulation of 15,000.

In 2008, it won regional newspaper of the year in the Plain English Campaign’s awards. And in 2007 it was nominated for The Paul Foot Award for its investigations into Salford City Council.

On its website, it even carries a quote from council leader Cllr John Merry: “I get hammered, on the whole, in the Salford Star.”

But, with revenue drying up, the magazine – a not-for-profit venture run entirely by volunteers – cannot afford to be printed. It will continue as a website.

Although it says advertising has remained steady, it has exhausted the grants the magazine relied on.

Editor and co-founder, Stephen Kingston, told Press Gazette the public sector does not advertise in the magazine because of its often-critical stance.

He also criticised the council’s decision in November to take its magazine, Life in Salford, from six issues a year at 16 pages to monthly and 24 pages.

Kingston said: “We have local journalists being sacked all over the place, offices closing – and there’s absolutely no public money because the council puts its money into its own publication. The local authorities won’t advertise with us, because they’re the organisations we investigate.”

In an article on the Salford Star website, Kingston wrote: “Good journalists make democracy and accountability. They ask awkward questions that no-one else can ask, and feed information back to the community, particularly through local papers. Journalists are democracy’s knights and nurses.”

The Salford Star’s difficulties are the latest blow to local papers in Greater Manchester.

Last month, MEN Media, publisher of the Manchester Evening News and sister weeklies, announced it was cutting 78 editorial jobs and closing all weekly editorial offices – including the Salford Advertiser’s.

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