Deal agreed to save Tribune magazine

I wrote earlier this week that the 75-year old left wing weekly magazine, Tribune, where George Orwell once worked, was to close.

However, a last minute deal has been agreed to save the title, according to a letter sent out last night and seen by Paul Anderson who has had a long history with Tribune.

Great to hear. I did work experience on Tribune way back when. It will have a tough time of it, but hopefully money can be raised to keep this magazine on the newsstands and the web to ensure a more diverse choice of views and ideas remain in print.


Staff, management and the National Union of Journalists have agreed a last-minute plan to stave off closure of Tribune. At the end of talks ending Friday evening, it was agreed that the title should become a co-operative.

Publisher Kevin McGrath has offered to take on historical debts and release the title “debt free” and told the meeting that he would do everything possible to help the success of the transfer to a co-operative. Terms are to be drafted in time for a full meeting of the Tribune staff, which has to approve the deal, on Monday.

On his blog Anderson quite rightly points out that it is going to take a serious recapitalisation of the paper and a great deal of work to ensure the rescue comes to something. The biggest challenge as he rightly says is going to be to get the tiny and unsustainable 1,200 circulation back to 5,000.

“I don’t buy the argument that a democratic left weekly that generates most of its income from selling printed copies is doomed to fail. Tribune’s core political stance – socialist, egalitarian, democratic, libertarian – remains as relevant as ever, and it is less marginalised in Labour politics than at any time since the early 1990s. And if it concentrates its efforts on direct debit subscription sales rather than desperately trying to break into newsagents, it has at least a decent chance of re-establishing itself commercially. Subs-based print periodicals can thrive in the internet age, particularly those with a niche market – witness the London Review of Books and Prospect.

“But it is going to need money. I’ve no idea what target for funds the paper will announce next week, but I think that something like £500,000 is what’s required. That’s rather more than I’ve got in my piggy bank, but it’s not much more than the price of a semi in Neasden – and it’s not beyond reach. If 200 people stump up £1,000 and 400 put in £500, there’s £400,000 in the kitty, which would be quite enough to make a decent start on reviving the old lady,” Anderson writes.

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