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Newsquest launches paid-for Harlow Guardian edition to fill void left by closure of Reach's free Harlow Star

Newsquest has launched a new print edition to fill the gap left by the closure of the Harlow Star last month, the second such launch in as many weeks.

The free Star, which launched in 1980, closed after publisher Reach found the “continued decline in local print advertising” had made it “unsustainable”. Two paid-for titles also closed.

Rival Newsquest today launched the Harlow Guardian as an edition of the 134-year-old Epping Forest Guardian and put together by the same team.

The new title will be handed out for free in the Essex town for the first two weeks and will be priced at 70p thereafter.

Newsquest said it aims to provide a “balanced look at the town, celebrating its successes while holding the powers that be to account”.

Group editor Victoria Birch added: “Every town deserves a newspaper, but especially one of Harlow’s size and stature.

“Following the sad news that the Harlow Star has ceased publication, we knew we had to step in and provide coverage of this town.”

Harlow MP Robert Halfon raised the closure of the Star in the House of Commons last week, saying it means “for the first time since 1953 our town does not have a local newspaper”.

“Thousands of elderly people will now be disfranchised from local news, despite there being an excellent online newspaper called Your Harlow,” he added.

Halfon said today: “It is vital that residents are able to access local news. After the demise of the Harlow Star, I am delighted that Newsquest are launching the Harlow Guardian today and will be providing an important service to the people of our town.

“I am looking forward to reading this new paper and I wish them the very best of luck.”

Michael Casey, editor of independent hyperlocal news website Your Harlow, told Press Gazette he wished the new title well, but added: “As a journalist, you have to earn the respect of Harlow people and you do that by, week in, week out, attending community, sports and social events, council meetings, the lot.

“So I look forward to seeing all their journalists at these events. If you don’t then you may be perceived as another karaoke local paper that may soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

The launch is Newsquest’s second in as many weeks aiming to fill a news gap in an area abandoned by Reach.

It previously announced a new edition of the Bucks Free Press to provide news to the towns and villages left without a newspaper after the closure of the Buckinghamshire Examiner and Advertiser.

Newsquest’s group editor for Bucks and Berks, Andrew Colley, said: “Following the sad news of the closure of the Advertiser and Examiner, we knew it was important to continue their work and ensure people of Amersham, Chesham and Little Chalfont were still represented.”

Comments

5 thoughts on “Newsquest launches paid-for Harlow Guardian edition to fill void left by closure of Reach's free Harlow Star”

  1. Michael Casey hits the nail on the head: “As a journalist, you have to earn the respect of Harlow people and you do that by, week in, week out, attending community, sports and social events, council meetings, the lot.” That is also our USP at the Bishop’s Stortford Independent. People want real local news which reflects their community.

  2. Having worked at Newsquest Enfield title & living in the Epping area I didn’t once see a reporter in the Enfield Independent offices. These offices also serve all the Guardian newspapers which in recent months went from 4 area editions to 2.

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