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Stratford Herald saved by Iliffe venture

The 160-year-old Stratford Herald and its sister title Midweek have been bought by a joint venture involving regional publishing boss Edward Iliffe after the Covid-19 crisis threatened the papers’ survival.

Stratford Herald saved by Iliffe venture
James Gurney: “I am delighted that the paper will remain independent, being owned by two families that are passionate about the importance of local papers within their communities.”

As reported by Mariella Brown on the Society of Editors website:

The paid-for local newspapers have been bought by Stratford News and Media Ltd, the third joint project by Iliffe, and Peter and Rory Fowler.

George Boyden & Son Ltd, the publisher of the Herald titles, went into administration in May citing a combination of factors including a steep loss of advertising and sales revenue from the pandemic.

The purchase of the previously family-owned paper will include the Herald’s website and monthly Focus magazine.

Edward Iliffe, the chief executive of Iliffe Media, has previously collaborated with Peter and Rory Fowler to buy the Newsbury Weekly News and Highland News and Media last year.

James Gurney, Iliffe Media’s managing director for the central area, will take charge of the Stratford Herald operations, according to HTFP.

Gurney said: “The Stratford Herald is a successful and much-loved title, I am delighted that the paper will remain independent, being owned by two families that are passionate about the importance of local papers within their communities. I am really looking forward to working with the team and helping to take the business forward.

“Over the past ten years the industry has become increasingly challenging for smaller independently-owned local newspaper publishers.

“The completion of this deal will allow us to plug into a larger group where there are opportunities to share resources and ideas, as well as to invest in exciting new initiatives that will help ensure we continue to engage with the local community, producing exceptional content that covers our entire diverse area.”

Edward Iliffe added that his company “believes in the future of local publishing across all platforms and we now look forward to working in a positive way with our new colleagues and the communities they serve”.

Iliffe Media has a portfolio of more than 20 newspaper brands in the Midlands and east of England, including the young title the Cambridge Independent which celebrated its 200th issue this month.