Five former MEN Media staff members are using money from their redundancy packages to launch a series of free monthly newspapers to compete with their former employers.
The first to launch, the Rochdale and Heywood Independent, will start distribution in 10 days’ time in direct competition with MEN’s weekly, the Rochdale Observer.
The new company ‘PIP Media’ comprises: Richard Catlow, formerly editorial director of MEN Media’s weeklies, ex-Accrington Observer editor Mervyn Kay, former Stockport Express editor Mandy Leigh as well as commercial staff Kath Fielding and Brent Armistead.
Kay told HTFP: “We weren’t happy with MEN Media’s policy of closing the branch offices and moving everything into Deansgate, in Manchester.
“We were just sitting around with our redundancy money and not much to do.
“Hopefully, it is the right time. We have newspapers in our blood and wanted to have a go at it.”
Their bold move comes after MEN Media, a division of Guardian Media Group, took the decision last March to make 150 staff redundant as they closed the editorial district offices of their 23 weekly papers across Greater Manchester.