No plans to take Johnston North West dailies weekly

The managing director of Johnston Press North West has said there are no plans to convert any of its daily titles – including the Lancashire Evening Post – into weeklies.

Gary Fearon made the announcement two days after his company announced plans to turn the Halifax Courier, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, Peterborough Evening Telegraph and Scarborough Evening News into weeklies from next month.

Johnston’s dailies in the North West include the Blackpool Gazette, the Lancashire Evening Post and the Wigan Evening Post.

Fearon said: ‘Our daily titles – along with our stable of weekly newspapers in the county – have a long and proud tradition of serving their local communities and are successful operations that are well respected.

‘Our titles are at the heart of the communities they serve and we are committed to reporting local news and continuing to serve as a powerful platform for readers’ views and concerns.

‘We recognise the value of our loyal readership and will continue to serve it in whatever format is required.

‘While we clearly need to be mindful of audience demands and trading conditions, we have no current plans to convert our daily titles to weekly publications.”

There was speculation over the future of the papers after the editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, Simon Reynolds, was placed on leave last week.

Johnston also announced that the deputy editor positions at the Lancashire Evening Post, the Gazette and the Wigan Evening Post were being scrapped as part of a wide-ranging restructure in the region.

According to the latest ABC figures for the last six months of 2011 the Blackpool Gazette had an average daily circulation of 21,156 (down -9.1 per cent year on year), the Wigan Evening Post averaged 6,754 (down 5.6 per cent) and the Lancashire Evening Post 22,079 (down 7.1 per cent).

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