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June 20, 2017updated 22 Jun 2017 3:41pm

Trinity Mirror to close Wirral News in July in the wake of council newspaper launch

By Zainab Mahmood

Trinity Mirror is to close fortnightly free newspaper the Wirral News in July.

The move follows the launch of a rival free monthly title on the same patch called Wirral View in October 2016 by Wirral Council. This contravenes government guidelines which say council newspapers should be no more than quarterly in frequency.

There is a third free newspaper operating on the same patch, Newsquest’s Wirral Globe.

Trinity Mirror said no journalists are to lose their jobs as a result of the closure.

In its statement, Trinity Mirror says: “The Wirral marketplace has become increasingly crowded with free print products with now even Wirral Borough Council producing a monthly free print publication themselves.

“We believe that there is no longer a viable, scalable or long-term future for free/giveaway print products within the Wirral marketplace and have therefore, decided to bring forward our digital plans and ambitions which will benefit readers and advertisers alike.

“We have made a number of changes to the Wirral News operating model to extend its life whilst we concentrated our efforts and resources in developing and growing a digital audience of unrivaled scale and quality, targets which we continue to surpass.

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“The sheer size, quality and targeting capabilities for advertisers of our audience and its penetration on Wirral and Merseyside now provides modern, bespoke and compelling digital solutions for advertisers as well as continually updated news and video content 24/7 for readers.”

Wirral News readers attempting to gain online access are now redirected to Liverpool Echo, the digital platform into which the Wirral News staff will be absorbed.

Wirral Council’s head of communications Kevin MacCallum said: “We are disappointed to see a well-loved local title like the Wirral News close.
“For many years, we have seen its circulation reduce significantly and frequency fluctuate between weekly, monthly and recently bi-weekly.
“It’s been clear throughout this time that the title has been trying and struggling to find an effective place in the market where it could be competitive.
“We must make it clear however, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest Wirral View had any commercial impact on the Wirral News.
“We have deliberately not sought to compete with the local media for advertising revenue, and we have ensured Wirral View is a completely different product to the existing local free-sheets.
“More and more, local news is being provided digitally – the statement from Trinity Mirror this morning makes it clear they see their future in online news.
“We think there is a place for free, not for profit, community and public service information in a print format. It does not compete with the local independent media nor does it impinge on their business or ability to attract advertising.
“They are entirely different products.’

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