Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Strange Saviour of Tameside Reporter

ACCORDING to a report on the journalism website Hold The Front Page (http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/ ), the ailing Tameside Reporter has been rescued from the threat of closure by the New Charter Trust, a Greater Manchester housing association. The Reporter has a long and glorious history (as the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter it was the paper that launched Harry Evans' career) and the move seems likely to save at least six or seven jobs, but there is a suspicion that the new owners are acting as a proxy for Tameside Council, thereby bypassing central government objections to local authority ownership. If so, let's hope they're prepared to slug it out.

The full story by reporter Paul Linford from Hold-the-Front-Page is printed below:

A weekly newspaper threatened with closure for the past three months appears to have been rescued by a local housing association.   As reported by HoldtheFrontPage in July, the Tameside Reporter was facing closure after 157 years after its owners put it up for sale.  However reports circulating in the North West suggest it has now been bought by the New Charter Trust, a housing association based in Greater Manchester. 

Neither New Charter nor the newspaper have thus far been prepared to comment on the reports, which surfaced on the website of the Northern Voices magazine.  The magazine, run by a workers’ co-operative based in the North-West, published a blog post earlier this week in which it claimed that the Trust had now purchased the title.  It also questioned whether the Trust, which it said had close links with Tameside Council, would maintain the newspaper’s editorial independence.

Said the post: 
'Why a housing company with no previous experience of running a newspaper and with very, very, close links to Tameside Council, would want to buy a local newspaper, is to say the least, highly suspect.  But because of its corporate influence and close links with council, one might also question whether New Charter, is an appropriate and suitable organization, to run a local newspaper.'

When contacted by HTFP about the reports, New Charter said it could not comment.  The newspaper’s managing director Chris Wright has yet to respond to requests for a comment on its future.  The newspaper, previously known as the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter, was where the legendary former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans began his career in journalism in the 1940s.  At that time it was owned by the Hobson family and at one point sold around 100,000 copies a week in the area around East Manchester.

Staff were summoned to a meeting earlier this summer to be told the paper may cease trading and that their positions would become redundant as a result.  Around seven editorial jobs were at risk, including those of editor Nigel Skinner, deputy editor Chris Maxwell, four reporters and one photographer.

1 comment:

Rupert said...

What a pity the NUJ didn’t buy it –a great opportunity has been missed for this group of renowned media experts to show everyone how it should be done. A collection of pocket change would have covered the purchase price. But that apart, how strange it is, that a ragbag collective of the brothers should now question the worth of a possible bailout that could save journalists’ jobs. Even stranger that the site which has the Northern Anarchist Network as one of its five topline links, should unsportingly demand £1.50 for a copy of its magazine. Top-hatted capitalists or what? You have to ask yourself whether those behind this organisation are fit and propert people to run a publishing operation – or a whelk stall.