Thirty-three local newspapers have closed in the UK since the start of 2019, according to new Press Gazette analysis.
A further 13 print titles were launched, making a net loss of 20 between 1 January 2019 and 19 August 2020.
The latest figure takes the total net loss of local newspapers since 2005 to 265. That year was considered by many to be the high-water mark of print newspaper profitability in the UK; the economy was riding high, automation had made printing cheaper and broadband internet had yet to cause severe disruption.
This analysis is based on reports of closures and launches across Press Gazette and Hold The Front Page, treating editions of newspapers as separate titles.
JPI Media closed the greatest number – 13 – with ten of those closed at once in June last year. The publisher said no jobs would be lost in relation to the closures, with staff moving to other titles.
This was followed by Reach and Tindle on seven closures each, although six of those at Tindle were from the same Welsh series.
Most of the reports on the title closures did not specify job loss numbers, but from the known figures we estimate a minimum net loss of 27 roles.
Newsquest launched the most titles, with a strategy to open new titles or editions after another publisher has pulled out of a patch.
It created the Vale Journal as a new edition of the Salisbury Journal in May after the closure of Reach’s Blackmore Vale Magazine and launched a new edition of the Bucks Free Press to cover Amersham, Chesham and Little Chalfont after Reach closed its titles in the area early last year.
While our tally concentrates on print titles only, Reach has launched at least 15 regional news websites in expanding its Live network since the start of 2019.
Other notable online-only launches include Archant’s Peterborough Matters in partnership with Google, Iliffe Media’s Suffolk News, and Nub News’ network of 44 hyperlocal news websites with 30 journalist hires.
There was a net loss of 17 local news titles in 2015 to 2016, according to earlier analysis.
Local newspaper CLOSURES in the UK from 1 January 2019 to 19 August 2020
*signifies closure happened since Covid-19 hit the UK
|The Weekly News*||DC Thomson||Weekly|
|The Buteman||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Morley Observer and Advertiser||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Tyrone Times||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Epworth Bells||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Hawick News||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Selkirk Weekend Advertiser||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Worthing Advertiser||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Portsmouth View||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Wharfe Valley Times||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Hayling Islander||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Bucks Advertiser||JPI Media||Weekly|
|Thame Gazette||JPI Media||Weekly|
|The Lichfield Mercury*||Reach||Weekly|
|The Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer*||Reach||Weekly|
|Blackmore Vale Magazine*||Reach||Weekly|
|Midweek Visiter (Southport)*||Reach||Weekly|
|Herts and Essex Observer||Reach||Weekly|
|Buckinghamshire Advertiser and Examiner (two editions)||Reach||Weekly|
|Greenwich Mercury (merged into South London Press)||Street Runners||Weekly|
|Llantwit Major Gem*||Tindle||Weekly|
|County Border News*||Tindle||Weekly|
|Yellow Advertiser (since relaunched online)||Tindle||Weekly|
Local newspaper LAUNCHES in the UK from 1 January 2019 to 19 August 2020
*signifies launch happened since Covid-19 hit the UK
|The Torbay Weekly*||Archant||Weekly|
|Isle of Bute News||Argyll Media||Weekly|
|Epworth Times||Chronicle Publications||Weekly|
|Salford City News||Newsquest||Weekly|
|The Northern Echo – Teesside||Newsquest||Daily|
|Bucks Free Press – Amersham, Chesham and Little Chalfont edition||Newsquest||Weekly|
|EC1 Echo||Social Spider CIC||Bi-monthly|
|Weardale Community News*||Weardale Community News Group CIC||Monthly|