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Oldham Chronicle set to return online as owners say digital is an ‘improvement’ on print

By Freddy Mayhew

The Oldham Chronicle is set to return as a digital title some six months after the daily newspaper and its associated website went into administration.

New owners, radio station Revolution 96.2, are to create a new website and social media presence for the title, which will be known as the Oldham Chronicle Online.

A spokesperson for Revolution said the digital platforms will be an “improvement” on how the news was delivered in print “as it will enable people to find out the very latest as soon as it’s available rather than waiting for the next edition of the newspaper to be published”.

Matt Ramsbottom, digital director of Revolution radio station, said: “The digital delivery enables us to follow breaking stories, and deliver video, images and up-to-date information as it happens.

“However, we’ll also ensure that the character of the Oldham Evening Chronicle remains the same, we’ll be following local human interest stories, supporting local charities and driving Oldham-led campaigns.

“This really is a local news service designed to deliver content on demand.”

Breaking news in Oldham had been kept back to protect falling newspaper sales, according to Revolution. They said the new Oldham Chronicle Online would break news on social media “and have the detail online as fast as journalists can write the story”.

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Revolution told Press Gazette there are still plans to relaunch the Chronicle in print, but the focus is currently on building its digital platforms.

In terms of editorial staff they said that was something they were still “looking into and recruiting accordingly” while a date for the launch of the new website has yet to be set.

The new website technology is to be provided by Rochdale Online. Credible Media, owner of Revolution 96.2, is also an investor in Rochdale Online.

The Oldham Evening Chronicle was first established in 1854. The majority of its 49 staff were made redundant when it was shut down in August last year after previous owners Hirst, Kidd and Rennie went into administration.

In recent months Revolution, which bought the title in October, has relaunched the Oldham Business Edge magazine, with plans understood to be in place to revive quarterly education magazine The Knowledge.

In December it launched a new 52-page lifestyle bi-monthly magazine, called Signature, to serve the area.

A number of newspaper titles sprang up to fill the void left by the Chronicle’s absence, with Ramsbottom having said the plan to print the paper again as soon as possible had been put on hold as a result.

He has previously told Press Gazette that his preference for the Chronicle, if it was “financially sustainable”, would be to make the paper twice weekly, with weekly also an option.

 

Picture: Revolution

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