Page last updated at 14:02 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 15:02 UK

Jobs go as two newspapers close

The newspaper industry generally is going through tough times

Two south Wales weekly newspapers, the Neath and Port Talbot Guardians, are to close, it has been announced.

Parent company Media Wales, which also runs the Western Mail and South Wales Echo, blamed the economic downturn.

It said 15 jobs and one part-time role will go as the company also reduces its magazine publishing operation.

The papers' last editions will be published next week. Members of the National Union of Journalists will be balloted for strike action.

Media Wales, which is owned by the Trinity Mirror Group, also publishes the Wales on Sunday and the Celtic group of weekly newspapers, which includes the Glamorgan Gazette, Merthyr Express and Rhondda Leader.

Alan Edmunds, its publishing director, said readers of the Neath and Port Talbot Guardians would continue to be served in the Western Mail and on its website Wales Online.

"It is regrettable that in these tough economic times we are unable to continue publication of the Neath and Port Talbot Guardians," he said.

We are determined that no NUJ member should be made compulsorily redundant as a result of these cuts
Martin Shipton, National Union of Journalists

"We thank readers of the title for their support and will continue to serve them with news through our website, and through the news pages of the Western Mail."

The company said the papers had been "loss-making" and three full-time, and one part-time, editorial jobs will be lost as a consequence of the closures.

A further 12 roles will be cut due to changes in the Media Wales' "niche and magazine portfolio".

Members of the NUJ union are to be balloted for strike action on the same day the newspapers print their final editions - 1 October.

It comes after the company, which has headquarters in Cardiff, failed to guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies

Martin Shipton, the NUJ's father of the chapel at Media Wales, said: "Although we have been briefed fully about the financial position of the company and the group, we are determined that no NUJ member should be made compulsorily redundant as a result of these cuts.

"We expect the company to ensure that will be the outcome."

Heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones expressed concern about the plans.

"Regional news outlets have a key role to play in ensuring that people can read about events and decisions which affect their everyday lives in the newspapers," he said.

"Local papers have historically been, not only a key medium of discussion for local issues, but also a campaigning force within their local communities and I am saddened to hear of the demise of another local title."

Media Wales has announced a two-month consultation period for its redundancy proposals.

Last week, Trinity Mirror also announced the closure of a north Wales paper, the Wrexham Chronicle, along with two others over the English border, the Mid-Cheshire Chronicle and the Whitchurch Herald.

Their last editions will be published next week, and 11 jobs will go as a result.

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