Tyrone Times weekly newspaper to shut after 25 years
THE Tyrone Times weekly newspaper in Dungannon is to close with immediate effect, its owners have confirmed.
Regional publisher JPIMedia, previously known as Johnston Press and which has more than 200 titles across the UK including the News Letter in Belfast, says it is closing 10 papers (the others are in Britain) after they were deemed to be no longer economically viable.
In a statement JPIMedia said: “The decision to close these titles has not been taken lightly, but it is crucial that we focus all our efforts on the long-term stability of the business and deliver newspapers and websites which can sustain our business for the long term.
“We would like to thank all our readers and advertisers for their support through the decades, and we hope they will understand why we have made this decision in these challenging times.
“We can also confirm that no jobs will be impacted by the closures.”
The Tyrone Times was launched in 1993 to build on the popularity of its sister publication the Mid-Ulster Mail in Cookstown.
The paper's paid-for circulation peaked at just over 3,000, but is thought to be less than half that today.
However, those figures can't be properly quantified as it hasn't been registered with industry monitoring body the Audited Bureau of Circulation since 2012.
JPIMedia forerunner Johnston Press had £220 million of borrowing due for repayment this month.
Reports last year suggested the value of its group of titles has collapsed from £160m to £4m, in a further sign of the pressures facing the traditional newspaper business model.
Last month it was also reported that JPIMedia was sounding out advisers about launching an auction of parts or all of the business.
However, the company responded to the speculation by saying “nothing has been decided”.
As well as the News Letter and its Saturday supplement Farming Life, JPI continues to operate more than 20 mainly weekly titles in Northern Ireland, including the Ulster Star, Portadown Times, Lurgan Mail, Derry Journal and Londonderry Sentinel.
But it is understood the company is continuing to slash costs across the business.
In recent weeks the News Letter has failed to produce daily business pages or a weekly business supplement following the departure of its business editor Richard Sheriff.