Press Gazette is to cease publication, its owners, Wilmington, announced this afternoon.
It is understood that all Press Gazette‘s seven editorial and ad sales staff are to be made redundant, and that although the business’s website will continue to appear live, it will cease to carry any breaking news after Easter weekend.
The magazine has gone through some tough times of late, going into administration in 2006 following the takeover by Piers Morgan and Matthew Freud. It was then that Wilmington acquired the title, which had first published in 1966.
Most recently, Wilmington abandoned weekly, news stand publication, opting instead for a subscription-only monthly title with live news posted online. The monthly magazine attracted 2,500 subscribers paying Â£115 a year, while the website has 150,000 unique users a month (by comparison, sportsjournalists.co.uk’s specialist content draws around one-third as many monthly UVs).
Now, it appears, that option failed to attract sufficient guaranteed sales or advertising to sustain itself.
Wilmington say that they “aim to develop” the Press Gazette website “… as a resource for the UK journalism community, and we plan to roll out additional functionality in the coming months”.
But a report on the Guardian’s Media website quotes Les Kelly, the managing director of Wilmington’s media and entertainment division, confiming, “There will not be news coverage but we will develop the site to offer other services, such as training and freelance referrals.”
The announcement comes just a week after the staging of the Press Awards, widely believed to be a major contributor to the business’s balance sheet. In the company statement, Wilmington said that they intend to promote similar events to “continue to celebrate the quality of UK journalism”.
Wilmington broke the news in a statement published on its website at lunchtime:
“We are sorry to announce the closure of Press Gazette magazine.
“For 43 years Press Gazette has been the leading magazine for the UK journalism profession. Wilmington Group plc bought Press Gazette out of administration in 2006, since when we have invested significant sums each year to try to develop the magazine and to bring it to profitability. Unfortunately Press Gazette, along with much of the profession, has suffered from a declining market during these years and its losses have increased. We have therefore been forced to conclude that the market required to sustain a commercially viable Press Gazette magazine no longer exists. The last hard copy edition of Press Gazette will therefore be the May edition which will be published in April.”
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