Trinity Mirror has announced plans to close six regional newspaper titles with the loss of nine jobs. (Picture: Shutterstock)
The publisher told staff this afternoon that six of its existing titles in the Manchester area are to be replaced by one free weekly newspaper.
Jobs will be lost on the closing free titles, the Stockport Times, Wilmslow Express and the Advertiser series in Tameside, Salford, Oldham and Trafford.
The MEN Media section of Trinity Mirror continues to publish a paid-for weekly title in Stockport.
Trinity Mirror closed seven regional titles in Berkshire, Surrey and London at the end of last year, resulting in the loss of 50 jobs.
The new Manchester Weekly News – dubbed by the publisher "Britain’s biggest free weekly newspaper" – will be distributed to more than 265,000 homes in the area, Trinity Mirror said in a statement.
The publisher also said a large proportion of the editorial content and display advertising will be "editionised" to Salford, South Manchester and Tameside. It said classified advertising will be editionised to East and West Stockport also.
On the nine job losses, Trinity Mirror said "a similar number of new digital roles will be created".
A statement said: "The new roles will aim to further develop coverage of the city centre and South Manchester and to bolster the editorial team in the evenings and at weekends to meet the growing demand for content from readers using mobile smart devices."
Editor in chief Rob Irvine said: “As a result of our multimedia strategy we are reaching more people in Greater Manchester than we have in a generation.
“Our website manchestereveningnews.co.uk is the most popular regional news website in the country. Last month an average of more than 170,000 people in Manchester visited the site every day. Globally we reached more than nine million readers across the month.
“The new Manchester Weekly News will be a great addition to our portfolio, offering an excellent service of local news and opinion and supporting and promoting the Manchester Evening News and our website.
“Roughly half of the content of the new paper will be editionised so that local communities continue to be well served. It will also give people a rounded picture of what is happening around the region.”
Managing director Paul O’Halloran said: “Our Commercial Department sells audience across many platforms. The Manchester Weekly News will provide us with circa 400,000 readers with the high ABC1 profile audience our clients want to reach.
“Adding Britain’s biggest free weekly newspaper to the current stable of Manchester Evening News, Metro, paid-for weekly titles and Britain’s biggest regional website will ensure we reach more than eight in ten adults across Greater Manchester every week. It makes our portfolio easier to buy and easier to sell.”