Black Country Bugle To Move To Tamworth

Dudley Archives have housed the publication since October 2015.

Trinity Mirror, who own the publication, plan to cut the staff of the Black Country Bugle from five to two reporters based outside the area, it has emerged.

Editorial production of the publication, which specialises in the industrial heritage and social history of the Black Country’s four boroughs – Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall – is to move to Tamworth and be the responsibility of an editor who already runs five weekly titles in Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

The Bugle was founded as an independent in 1972 but, after various owners, became part of Trinity Mirror when it took over parent company 'Local World' in October last year. Its offices are in the Dudley Archives and Local History Centre, owned by Dudley Council.

When the publication moved, the Mayor of Dudley, Cllr Steve Waltho, said at the opening ceremony:

“It is an absolutely perfect partnership. The Dudley Archives Centre is so proud that such a well-respected and well-established paper is coming to its premises.”

The weekly Bugle sells around 8,500 copies and has been starved of investment, with no dedicated circulation or sales staff and no marketing budget since the weekly prize of a Parker pen for the week’s star letter ended. The cover price increased from 60p to 80p in recent years, which has affected sales. It is unclear where the two remaining reporters will work as the company’s Tamworth centre is outside the Black Country; a 64-mile round trip from its present base.

Chris Morley, Northern and Midlands organiser for the National Union of Journalists, said: “Having been a reporter in the Black Country, I know how much the million people in the area respects their industrial tradition.

“It has punched above its weight and even won a regional journalism award despite being badly neglected and starved of the investment necessary to make it the great success it should be.

“I believe these plans are potentially commercial suicide if carried out as they have been presented. With no dedicated editor in the area and only two staff, I fail to see how it could work.

“The NUJ will do all it can during the redundancy consultation period to identify what issues are driving this announcement and work to develop a better alternative that can be positive, not only for the staff but also for the company.”


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