Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 12:12 UK

Concern as local newspapers shut

Hywel Francis MP
Whilst we all recognize that the new information systems provided by the internet have contributed to declining circulation, there is no real substitute yet for the potential of locally-based newspapers
Hywel Francis MP, Aberavon

An MP has joined a Welsh assembly minister in voicing concern about the closure of two local newspapers with the loss of 15 jobs.

Aberavon MP Hywel Francis said he was "extremely sorry" at the end of the Neath and Port Talbot Guardians.

He spoke after Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said it was disappointing, as local papers were key in discussing local issues and campaigning.

Owner Media Wales said it regretted the closures in "tough economic times".

Dr Francis said the papers had served his constituency and neighbouring Neath for decades with "community news service, local campaigning and sports news".

He added: "Whilst we all recognize that the new information systems provided by the internet have contributed to declining circulation, there is no real substitute yet for the potential of locally-based newspapers.

"I would like to thank the staff for their professionalism and service to the community wishing them well in the future and express the hope that the Evening Post will now rebuild its local coverage in Port Talbot and surrounding communities.'

Earlier, Mr Jones said: "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.

"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."

The papers will publish their final editions on 1 October.

Media Wales, which also runs the Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Wales on Sunday and the Celtic group of weekly newspapers, said jobs would go as the company also reduced its magazine publishing operation.

Members of the National Union of Journalists are to be balloted for strike action after it said the company failed to guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies.



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SEE ALSO
Jobs go as two newspapers close
25 Sep 09 |  Wales
Newspaper shake-up to cost jobs
06 Nov 07 |  Wales
Western Mail selling fewer copies
31 Aug 06 |  Wales
Newspaper site closure confirmed
28 May 09 |  South of Scotland

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