Seven newspaper titles merge into one to create UK’s ‘biggest free weekly’ from Midlands publisher but four jobs lost

A weekly newspaper series covering the Black Country has gone from seven titles to one, with the loss of four reporting roles.

Two titles in the Midland News Association’s Chronicle Series have closed while the remaining five will become editions of new title Chronicle Week, which has published its first issue today.

The MNA, which also publishes England’s biggest-selling regional daily the Express and Star West Midlands, claims Chronicle Week has the largest distribution of any free weekly newspaper in the UK.

Two of the job losses at the Chronicle are through voluntary redundancy and the other two are through retirement, with these roles not being replaced.

Chronicle Week will have editions for Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Cannock and Dudley. The Dudley edition will also contain news from two towns that formerly had dedicated editions: Halesowen and Stourbridge.

In a statement, MNA advertising director Louise Burns said: “The new print title has an improved offering for advertising which we feel will help to engage with readers in a more targeted way.

“Conversations are already underway with advertisers to update them on the changes and the new opportunity to accelerate coverage at a lower cost per thousand, which have been received positively.”

Chronicle Week will be delivered to more than 200,000 households with demographic profiles that match the target audiences of advertisers. It will also be available to pick up for free at 250 newsagents in the region.

The Chronicle Series distributed 271,071 copies each week, according to ABC figures to the end of December last year.

MNA print managing director Graeme Clifford said the new title’s launch was a “prime example of the MNA’s commitment to continuing to invest in print”.

Chronicle Week will feature local stories tailored for each edition as well as a round-up of regional news. MNA will continue to publish the Stafford Express and Star alongside the Chronicle.

Express and Star Editor Keith Harrison said: “We are delighted with the new Chronicle Week and the prestige of laying claim to being the biggest free weekly newspaper in the UK.

“There is a focus on positive stories with human interest, alongside the hard news which readers expect from us, plus eight pages of leisure features.”

Earlier this year, the MNA launched a weekly digest magazine covering Shropshire, hiring three editorial staff.

Picture: Alan Fogarasy/Express and Star

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