JPI Media has stopped printing all its free newspapers, including North Tyneside’s News Guardian and Northumberland’s News Post Leader.
The publisher said the decision has been made because of the logistical challenges of arranging delivery and the collapse in the local advertising market.
It means hundreds of thousands of people will be without their only local print newspaper, cutting off many self-isolating older readers from a source of news during the coronavirus crisis.
The government has made clear that it considers reporters and print newspaper distribution staff to be key workers during the crisis, due to the importance of getting accurate information to people’s homes.
Last Friday, JPI newspapers ran front pages pledging to support their communities during the pandemic and provide accurate information.
JPI Media said it intended to retain journalists at the non-printing outlets to run websites. Staff have been told that JPI was “carefully exploring how we can use the various government schemes available to support both the business and our staff”.
The publisher intends to continue producing its paid-for print newspapers that can be sold at supermarkets and newsagents during the crisis, including the Yorkshire Post and Blackpool Gazette.
Yesterday, Newsquest, another of the UK’s biggest local newspaper groups, told its staff they would all be having an immediate pay cut and said manywould be obliged to take unpaid leave.