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October 26, 2011

Tribune magazine to close after 75 years

By Andrew Pugh

The left-wing weekly magazine Tribune is set to publish its last edition next week unless a new owner rescues the magazine from closure.

Tribune Publications said the decision to shut the magazine was taken after a ‘substantial cash injection had failed to raise subscriptions and income to target levels”.

Tribune Publications owner Kevin McGrath, a property investor and former Labour Party candidate for the European Parliament elections in 2009, bought the paper two years ago from a consortium of trade unions including Unite.

The company intends to maintain a Tribune website which will run automated feeds from other left-of-centre sources – but this requires no staff, and the six full-time and part-time staff are to be made redundant.

A statement on its website did indicate, however, that owner Kevin McGrath had indicated to staff that ‘if they wish to continue to run Tribune as a co-operative, he is prepared to transfer the company and the archive of 75 years editions to them free of any historical debt, which he has committed to honouring”.

The NUJ, Tribune editor and staff are now ‘exploring the possibility of setting up a co-operative to keep the title alive but with a deadline of Friday October 28″.

The statement continued: ‘Talks are taking placed in advance of a crunch meeting on that date at which new arrangements will be agreed or the company will be closed.

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‘Among the options under review with experts in co-op models of management is an appeal for short-term donations from readers and supporters on the basis that these funds would be converted into capital in a jointly-owned worker-reader co-op, with representation on a new board.

‘The staff have agreed to continue working in order to get out a final edition and allow some time, short as it is, for an alternative to be found.”

McGrath said: ‘The newspaper format of Tribune has, in a changing world of electronic communications and economics, become unsustainable.

‘We are, however, determined to keep the Tribune brand alive by moving all publication to its web site and through the continued maintenance of the archive of the paper’s 75 years.

‘This means that the company has safeguarded the history of Tribune and will keep the brand alive through the website which will carry automated feeds off other left-of centre political and arts web sites and will offer immediate, up-to-date news coverage. It is a positive and exciting move into the 21st century.

‘I would personally like to thank all the staff for their hard work and commitment to Tribune over the years.”

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