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Six jobs at risk as Reach closes free east London weekly The Wharf after 20 years

Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror) has closed free weekly newspaper The Wharf in east London, blaming Brexit, a fall in property revenues and the delay of Crossrail coming to the area for the title’s demise.

The Wharf launched in 1998 and was targeted at offering a “different perspective” for workers in the Canary Wharf and Docklands area.

The final edition of the newspaper was published on Thursday 20 December, with the last online stories published two days later.

Press Gazette understands six roles across editorial and advertising are at risk of redundancy as a result of the closure, with consultations ongoing. Staff were based at the Daily Mirror’s Canary Wharf office.

A Reach spokesperson said: “Due to challenging market conditions including Brexit, decreasing property revenues and the delay of Crossrail, Reach can regrettably confirm the final issue of The Wharf was published on Thursday 20 December.”

Crossrail, also known as the Elizabeth Line, was due to open last month but has been delayed until autumn 2019. The rail route will connect the Canary Wharf business district to Heathrow Airport, the West End and the City of London.

The spokesperson added: “Reach has worked hard to secure the future of the publication, gaining investment from Canary Wharf Group, as well as new business from the sales and commercial team, however, unfortunately, there is still no viable route toward profitability.”

ABC figures from 2007, the most recent available, show the newspaper had an average weekly distribution of 23,609.

The closure came two weeks after Reach launched a new London-wide news website called Mylondon.news, merging its Get West London and Croydon Advertiser titles online as it moved into areas it had not previously covered, including the north, east and south of the capital.

Readers who try to visit wharf.co.uk or use a direct link for old stories on the websites are now redirected to Reach’s In Your Area, a website which enables readers to type in their postcode to see aggregated news and information relevant to them.

Above links to stories from the Wharf, published before its closure, the redirected landing page says: “Wharf has moved to In Your Area. To see your personalised homepage, simply enter your postcode below.”

The future of The Wharf was previously put at risk in August 2017, just three months after a redesign of the newspaper.

Newsquest editorial development director Toby Granville, a former Wharf editor, tweeted yesterday: “Sad to hear The Wharf folded just before Christmas after 20 years – great memories of launching the paper, having my first editorship and winning Press Gazette [Free Weekly] Newspaper of the Year in 2002.”

Comments

2 thoughts on “Six jobs at risk as Reach closes free east London weekly The Wharf after 20 years”

  1. Not surprised. It had been going downhill for years, poor leadership and lost its way years ago. Stopped trying to be a proper paper a long time since, there’s not many tears to be shed….

  2. What’s Brexit got to do with it? Love the way when anything closes these days let’s blame Brexit. The paper survived before when properties prices were down and before the arrival of Crossrail? What a load of nonsense. Is Brexit responsible for the decrease in print as well?

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