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July 6, 2015

Johnston Press takes on Newsquest in Brighton, buying independent free weekly newspaper

By Dominic Ponsford

Johnston Press is to start competing with rival regional newspaper giant Newsquest in Brighton after buying an independent free newspaper published in the city.

The Brighton and Hove Independent was launched four years ago by Mark Ansell. Former Sunday Times news editor, turned internet entrepreneur, Greg Hadfield is editorial director of the title.

It is distributed at 300 locations across Brighton and Hove and has a free circulation of just over 13,000.

Newsquest-owned daily The Argus has an average daily paid-for circulation in Brighton and Hove of 5,360, according to the Joint Industry Committee for Regional Media Research.

Newsquest-owned free weekly The Leader, has a free distribution of just over 50,000 in Brighton and Hove (posted through letter boxes).

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield said: “The Brighton & Hove Independent perfectly complements our portfolio on the south coast. It’s a great title with a superb reputation with both readers and advertisers.

“We are very pleased to welcome this well-respected newspaper and website to our stable as we further our efforts to expand our reach in the area. It’s a small but terrific team – who produce an excellent newspaper and website – and we’re very happy to have them on board.”

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Johnston Press already publishes a number of local newspaper titles across Sussex including the Mid Sussex Times, Hastings Observer, Eastbourne Herald and Worthing Herald.

Brighton & Hove Independent managing director Ansell said: "It's a landmark day for us. We started Brighton & Hove Independent with an ambition to change the media landscape, to do things differently. More than ever before, we will be able to serve our city and its residents; there are many voices we have not yet heard, many stones left unturned.

"Being part of Johnston Press will allow Brighton & Hove Independent to fast-track growth, to provide even more comprehensive coverage for the city, and to go from strength to strength."

Editorial director Hadfield said: "This is a big step forward for Brighton & Hove Independent. It means we will be in a much stronger position to deliver a newspaper that our city truly deserves."
According to a press release, there are no planned changes to staffing on the title. 

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