The end is nigh for the High & I

By Sarah Lagan

Archant’s paid-for weekly Highbury & Islington Express is to
close this week after nearly a decade due to strong competition from
the Islington Gazette, now owned by the same company.

Management has said there will be no job losses among the five
editorial staff and the five other editions in the Ham & High
series will continue as normal.

Ham & High series editor
Geoff Martin said: “We intend to go out with a bang and with Arsenal
just winning the FA Cup we can certainly do that.

The paper has
been a breath of fresh air but the problem has been the take over by
Archant and having two paid-for titles. Everyone has agreed it was an
excellent product.

“It’s a measure of the professionalism and commitment of the staff that management decided there would be no redundancies.”

The High & I launched in 1996 with its own editor and offices in Islington.

The
office closed in 2001, staff were moved to the Ham & High’s
headquarters in Swiss Cottage and it was edited by the editor of the
Ham & High.

Archant bought the Islington Gazette in 2004.
High & I sales reached around 5,500 in 1999 but the last ABC figure
was 1,895. The Gazette sells 12,832.

The Camden New Journal
launched the free Islington Tribune in 2003 but Archant’s regional
managing editor Richard Thomson said it had “no impact whatsoever” on
the closure.

He said: “We will focus more resources on the
Gazette. It’s always sad when a paper closes – the emotional decision
would be to keep the High & I open but the business decision has to
be to close.

“The Islington Gazette is a tabloid product which is
very successful there whereas the High & I is more cerebral and had
difficulty in attracting readers despite large investment.”

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