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End of era as Observer press rolls for last time

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

End of era as Observer press rolls for last time thumbnailThe Observer Group headquarters in Dungannon.

FRIDAY last marked the end of an era in Dungannon with major newspaper publishers Observer Newspapers (NI) Group ceasing publication.

Headquartered in Dungannon, the Observer Group has been publishing for more than 90 years.

Their 11 titles included the Dungannon Observer, The Democrat, Mid-Ulster Observer and Armagh Observer, all of which printed their final editions last week.

It is understood there was around 15 staff employed in Dungannon, with numerous freelancers throughout the group also affected.

Each of last week's papers carried a notice on their front pages - under the headline "Final Issue" - alerting readers and advertisers to the shock closure.

In a statement, the company said: "The newspaper industry has been subject to a steady decline in advertising and readership over recent years.

"In these challenging circumstances, Observer Newspapers has struggled to sustain long-term sustainability.

“We regret that this has led to a decision to cease publication.

“We wish to sincerely thank our readers and advertisers for their support down through the years."

Observer Newspapers has been owned by the Mallon family since its incorporation. Its active directors are Desmond Mallon (54) and his mother, Mary Mallon (84).

In its latest set of accounts filed at Companies House just last month, the Observer Newspapers (NI) Ltd balance sheet showed the company with shareholder funds of 4,273,117.

Tyrone Courier Editor Ian Greer said the paper regretted the closure of Observer Newspapers: "The Courier and the Observer have enjoyed a healthy rivalry and respect going back many years.

“On occasions when the Courier experienced technical problems, the Observer was always there to help us with setting, etc.

"The closure of the Observer is a sad day for Dungannon and for journalism."

 

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