Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Can Sunday Tribune survive for a third time?

Twelve months ago I was delivering training to a newsroom of talented and dedicated journalists at the Sunday Tribune in Dublin. It was then a traditional broadsheet with a lighter touch and renowned for its excellent sports coverage. Edited by experienced Dublin journalist Noirin Hegarty, it went compact in September and there is a video of the design changes here. In newspaper terms it is a Johnny-come-lately, having been set up in 1980, but it has given a good account of itself in a crowded market over the last 40 years. Recently though, with the Irish economy in a parlous state, its sales have dropped alarmingly from more than 65,000 in 2009 to around 54,000. Today the 43 staff have the sword of Damocles hovering just above their heads. The journalists are writing stories for a newspaper that may well not appear. The Receiver was called in yesterday after Independent News & Media, which owns 30% of the paper, withdrew its backing. The staff should find out today whether they still have jobs and whether there will be an edition this weekend. If it does close it will be the second Irish Sunday to disappear in a month, following the Irish Sunday Star's demise in January. The Tribune is a tough old paper though - and no stranger to threats of closure. It survived receivership in 1982 and ten years later it was saved from bankruptcy when IN&M stepped in. Here's hoping it can survive a third time. There is a Facebook 'Save the Sunday Tribune' campaign and also an organised move to get people to buy the paper if it does come out on Sunday. Get your orders in. 

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