Trinity Mirror has announced the closure of seven regional newspapers, with the loss of 50 jobs expected.
All three of the publisher’s Berkshire titles – the Reading Post, GetReading and the Wokingham and Bracknell Times – are to close along with the Surrey Herald, Surrey Times, Woking Informer and Harrow Observer.
The closures in Berkshire will result in 17 editorial job losses and are part of plans to turn the county into a “digital-only” zone for the publisher.
Centuries of newspaper publishing history are being brought to an end with the closure of titles which were launched in the Victorian age.
The Surrey Herald was launched in 1892, the Harrow Observer in 1855 and the Wokingham Times in 1903.
In addition, three administrative and six commercial roles are to be lost, with ten digital editorial roles and two digital commercial roles being lost.
In Surrey and West London, Trinity Mirror said there would be a loss of approximately 24 roles across editorial and commercial.
In Berkshire, the publisher is aiming to build on its traffic to getreading.co.uk, with the site devoted to breaking news, entertainment listings, Reading Football Club and sport. The company will also be investing in a new app.
Simon Edgley, managing director of Trinity Mirror Southern, said: “This is a bold digital-only publishing transformation that will re-establish us as a growing media business that delivers the best quality journalism to our digital-savvy audience. We wholeheartedly believe that the future of our business here in Berkshire is online and this is an important and pioneering step that might, in time, be applicable to other existing markets or indeed new ones.”
Trinity Mirror said: “As a result of this change the operation’s Berkshire print titles, namely Reading Post, getreading and Wokingham & Bracknell Times will close. This will see the reduction of approximately 17 editorial, three administrative and six commercial roles and the creation of around 10 new digital editorial roles and two digital commercial roles.”
In Surrey, a new edition of the Surrey Advertiser is launching next month, which will now cover Chertsey and Addlestone.
A company statement said: “As a result of these changes in west London and Surrey there will be a reduction of approximately 24 roles across editorial and commercial.”
Edgley said: “Decisions that impact our staff are never easy to make but they are absolutely necessary if we are to continue our transformation into a modern multiplatform publishing operation, with the flexibility and agility to invest and grow our news brands.”
On the West London changes, the company said: “A radical new structure is being implemented across the west London titles in Uxbridge, Ealing and Hounslow that focuses on driving more traffic to the getwestlondon website. The newsrooms are being restructured to support a revised print portfolio while concentrating on accelerated digital growth.
“We intend to withdraw from the Harrow market and the Harrow Observer will close."
Trinity Mirror has closed more regional newspapers that any other UK publisher in recent years.
Earlier this year it axed the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle series in a move which said to have left a borough with a population of 150,000 without a dedicated newspaper.
The Liverpool Post was closed last year and in 2012 the Prestwich Advertiser was closed. And more than a dozen titles were closed by the publisher in 2009 including the Lichfield Post, Tamworth Times and Whitchurch Herald.
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