More than 150 years after its first edition brought news of a siege on Sebastopol during the Crimean War, the Liverpool Post published its last on Thursday.
Editor Mark Thomas said a combination of falling advertising revenue and declining readership, mixed with the digital revolution, had produced a “perfect storm” culminating in closure.
Former Chief Constable Michael James Whitty founded the paper as a daily in 1855, the first penny daily paper published in the UK, after he had successfully campaigned against the abolition of the Stamp Act under which newspapers were taxed. Its final edition included a 20-page souvenir covering the paper’s history as well as tributes from across the city.
Screenwriter and former Post columnist Phil Redmond said: “Despite the frustrations, irritations and occasional intrusions, democracy suffers when the media spotlight is extinguished and those who would profess to ‘rule us’ are left to skulk in the shadows.”
Dr David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool, said: “At its best, the Liverpool Post was unmissable. It did investigations – such as on slave labour, or Merseytram – that were a credit to journalism. At NML we always saw the Post as a staunch ally in the freedom of speech. It’s a disaster that The Post is to cease publishing and I wish the staff there all the best for the future.”
Mr Thomas said the decision to move from being a daily to a weekly paper in 2012 was a move which helped sustain the title a little longer but could not stop the inevitable.
Writing in Thursday’s final edition, headlined ‘The last Post’, he said: “The digital revolution has seen the role of the printed newspaper marginalised. Many of us still read newspapers, but less frequently than we used to.
“For the younger generation of digital natives growing up today, the tablet and the smartphone have almost entirely supplanted the newspaper. Much of the local advertising upon which regional newspapers traditionally relied has also migrated online. That, and the arrival of the world economic downturn of recent years, has added up to a perfect storm for the newspaper industry.
“The sad reality is that we had reached a point where our advertising and circulation revenue were no longer enough for the newspaper to remain viable.”
No jobs have been lost however with Post staff expected to be offered new roles at sister newspaper the Liverpool Echo or elsewhere in the company.
Following the ‘banging out’ ceremony, a journalistic tradition marking the last day for staff, Mr Thomas tweeted: “And now for that other great journalistic tradition…the pub.”