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January 8, 2018updated 09 Jan 2018 3:26pm

Crowdfund bid to save seven local newspapers shut down in West Country with loss of 20 jobs

By Thomas Kavanagh

Seven free weekly newspapers in the West Country have closed with about 20 staff understood to have been made redundant.

The View From series of local newspapers covering East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset – with a combined circulation of 33,000 (unaudited figures) – published their final editions last week.

The titles had been bought by Sunday Independent owner Peter Masters in July last year after previous owners Capital Media Newspapers went into administration.

A spokesperson said: “We agreed to continue publishing the loss-making titles for six months in a bid to give continued employment for the staff, but in the light of continued falling revenues, we have reluctantly decided that the titles are no longer sustainable.”

Philip Evans, managing director and editor, who launched the papers 12 years ago, said: “It’s not been an easy decision. But having looked at this from every angle, the titles are just not viable in the current industry climate.”

A crowdfunding campaign has been set up in an attempt to establish a community-owned local media group to buy the newspapers.

Media company director Duncan Williams, who set up the fund, said: “Local newspapers are the voice of our communities.

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“In this era of ‘fake news’, brands that have over a 100 years of reporting creditably should not be lost. We now have the whole county of Dorset dominated by American-owned media giant Newsquest.”

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