Earlier this year, I was asked to write a weekly political column for the North-West Enquirer, a new weekly regional newspaper based in Manchester. It was a high quality product with which I am very proud to have been associated over the past six months.
Against the backdrop of long-term decline in the newspaper industry, it was a very brave experiment of founders Nick Jaspan and Bob Waterhouse to launch such a paper at this time. Some would say it was foolhardy, but I for one thought that developing a paper as a niche publication might just work in today's increasingly fragmented market.
Sadly, it didn't, and the paper was placed in administration yesterday afternoon after a refinancing package collapsed. The timing was particularly sad in view of the fact that next week's Labour Party Conference is in Manchester and offered great potential for the kind of serious regional-national coverage to which the paper aspired.
I had already written my column for this week, which both looks ahead to the conference and focuses on what seems to me to be the highly damaging issue for New Labour of proposed hospital closures. You can read it in full on my Companion Blog by clicking HERE.