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Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News agree to merge news operations to 'secure financial future'

The Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News have agreed to merge into one news operation in a bid to keep both titles running amid financial challenges.

The weekly newspapers will unite under a charitable trust in plans intended to “secure the financial future of both newspapers and transform into a modern print, digital and events brand” revealed today.

Journalists and commercial staff from each title will begin working across both papers once the merger goes through, raising the possibility of job cuts to come. Both titles will continue to publish.

The Kessler Foundation, which owns the mostly paid-for Chronicle, and the Noe family, which owns the free News, have agreed the merger in principle but they must still raise the necessary funds to complete the deal.

A joint statement from the publishers said: “Despite the loyal support of readers and advertisers, both papers have recognised the trends affecting the newspaper industry and have taken this step to secure their futures.

“The community would be better served by bringing the two operations together to ensure that the high level of independent quality jour­nalism and community news that the UK Jewish community has come to expect from these cher­ished newspapers has a sustainable future.”

Press Gazette understands savings are expected to be made by merging back office, IT and print distribution operations.

Jewish News owner Leo Noe said: “Jewish News has become embedded in the heart of the community.

“With the trend fast moving away from print titles, this merger will preserve top quality independent news provi­sion for the community, while affording us the opportunity to better develop our web-based offering.

“The merged business will combine the best of the two operations and provide a modern, dynamic 21st-century news company.”

Jewish Chronicle chairman Alan Jacobs added: “Merging with the Jewish News provides the best opportunity to secure the independent future of the Jewish Chronicle.

“I am sure both newspapers will benefit from the close association that will follow on from the merger and we look forward to joining with the highly regarded team from the Jewish News.”

The titles claimed today they have a combined weekly print run of more than 40,000 copies and weekly online page views of more than 500,000, covering “well over half” of the UK’s Jewish community.

The News distributes 21,410 copies a week, according to ABC figures. The Chronicle had a mixed paid-for and free circulation of 20,015 in 2017 before it withdrew from circulation auditing.

The Chronicle was given a cash injection of seven figures last summer to turn around its fortunes after facing a “grave” threat of closure due to a series of financial losses.

The News had net liabilities of £1.5m at the end of 2018, according to its latest Companies House filing.

The Jewish Telegraph newspaper also publishes in the UK.

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