New research from Press Gazette has found that at least 242 local newspaper closed between 2005 and the end of 2011.
This compares with just 70 launches. The research was conducted for a feature in the April edition of Press Gazette which identified news gaps – parts of the UK which are no longer covered by professional journalists.
These news gaps include Port Talbot, a 50,000-strong community in South Wales which has been without a local newspaper since 2009 when the Port Tablot and Neath Guardians were both closed by Trinity Mirror.
While Port Talbot continues to be covered by regional daily – the South Wales Evening Post – it no longer has the in-depth coverage offered by its own title.
Other news gaps identified by Press Gazette include: Rugeley in Lancashire, Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, Leominster in Herefordshire and Long Eaton in Derbyshire,
In the wake of local newspaper closures by the big regional publishing groups there is evidence that independent entrepreneurs are stepping in to launch new titles.
Last month, Stuart Parker launched three fortnightly newspapers covering Corby, Wellingborough and Kettering last month – specifically to target areas he felt were no longer served by existing local newspapers.
Parker said that the Extra Newspapers titles are modelled on the sort of titles which have been launched by Ray Tindle in recent years.
Journalist Susy Macaulay launched a new monthly newspaper for the Outer Hebrides called Island News and Advertiser in March.
She said: ‘I would encourage any journalist out there who sees a gap in their local areas to give it a go. It can be done on a shoestring and your community will soon get behind you if you do it right.”
Click on the link below to see an interactive map – Mind the News Gap – created by Press Gazette showing UK local newspaper launches and closures 2005-2011.
If you would like to provide extra information for this map, email firstname.lastname@example.org.