Welsh-speaking town rallies to save local newspaper office which has been open since 1855

The National Union of Journalists will be holding a protest rally tomorrow against the closure of a Trinity Mirror office in Caernarfon, Wales (pictured, Shutterstock).

There has been a newspaper office in the town since 1855.

It is unclear what will happen to the 15 journalists and other staff, including receptionists and advertising staff, who work in the office if it closes.

The NUJ said that the journalists at the site are “vital” to local newspapers in the region, including the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald and the Daily Post.

The office holds an important place in the heart of the local community, said the NUJ, and Caernarfon politicians and community leaders have come out in support of the campaign against the closure.

Alun Ffred Jones, the Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member for Arfon, which includes Caernarfon, said: “The decision by Trinity Mirror to close its Herald offices at Caernarfon must be reversed. 

“Caernarfon has been the focal point of the Herald for 150 years and it is vital we maintain the distinct character of the local papers.”

Alun Pugh, former Welsh Government culture and media minister and Labour parliamentary candidate for Arfon, said: “Local newspapers staffed by professional journalists are a vital community asset and I think it’s important that there is an office serving the Caernarfon area.”

Over 200 people have so far signed a petition against the closure.

According to the 2011 census, over 85 per cent of people in Caernarfon speak Welsh, and the two receptionists at the Trinity Mirror office are able to offer services in Welsh. The NUJ also said that seven of the ten journalists who work in the office speak Welsh.

Paul Scott, chair of NUJ North Wales Branch, said: “This is a very idiosyncratic community and it deserves a bit of special support. They need a local office where they can speak to someone in their first language.”

Scott was based in the office when he first started work as a trainee in 2001. He said it had been “almost like a home” for him. “You get to see how important it is for the newspaper, and for the community to know that they can just pop in to talk about a story,” he said.

Trinity Mirror issued a statement disputing the impact of the closure on the Caernarfon community: “The decision to close the Caernarfon office will have no impact on editorial staff or the newspapers produced in the area.

“The office was rarely used by the public as advertisements and queries are largely submitted digitally.

“This is therefore purely a behind-the-scenes business decision to review where we had an office that was outdated and no longer serving its purpose. There are better ways to use that cost, investing in editorial and digital rather than bricks and mortar. We can reassure the community that it will not impact our editorial commitment to the area whatsoever.”

The rally will begin at 1pm on Turf Square, Caernarfon.

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