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Gloucestershire's two daily local papers to be replaced by weekly editions

The decision to change to weekly editions was based on falling sales. Photo: ITV West Country

Gloucestershire's two daily local papers will be replaced by weekly editions.

The Gloucester Citizen and The Echo, both owned by the Trinity Mirror group, will make the change from tomorrow.

The decision was announced last month and the parent company says it is based on falling sales.

Five people have been made redundant as a result of the changes.

Gloucestershire Media managing director Sarah Pullen said that the papers had a loyal print audience but the majority of the people who read the Echo or the Citizen "do so just once a week".

The paper started life in 1722 as the Gloucester Journal, later amalgamating to become the Citizen, earned the accolade of being one of the oldest daily local papers in the country.

In the heyday of the newspaper industry, it was a mechanised, hot metal process which was labour intensive, but which was profitable, with papers like the Citizen selling 40,000 copies a day.

Credit: ITV West Country

But the rise of internet news and services like e-Bay have helped to kill off the market for small ads, once a mainstay of local papers. The latest figures available show The Citizen and Echo each had print circulations of under 9,000 - halving their sales over the last five years.

Hugh Worsnip, a former Citizen journalist said it was 'a very sad day'.

“There isn’t the staff to cover all the political and social events of the city," he said, "which is a tremendous loss, and the surveillance of local government is very important for local life.”

Senior editor Rachael Sugden said: “I believe passionately in what we do, delivering quality stories about real people, holding authorities to account.

“The difference now is that our audience want to read that ontheir phone or on their iPad or on their desktop in their lunch break.”

Alongside the new weekly versions of the usual Tewkesbury and Forest editions, which includes an additional edition for Stroud, TMG says it will transfer more material onto its website, Gloucestershire Live.

A daily edition of the Western Daily Press is also set to hit the stands to fill the gap for a daily Gloucestershire print product.