It was originally founded in 1896 and ran until 1918 before being acquired and closed by the owners of its sole remaining rival at that time, the Isle of Thanet Gazette. It was reintroduced in 1958, giving the town two weekly paid tabloid newspapers. However, it switched to being mostly a freesheet after absorbing an earlier companion weekly freesheet, the Thanet Adscene, in October 2009. In its final months less than ten per cent of the circulation was sold through the news trade.
It was published by Kent Regional News & Media, which has been a branch of the Daily Mail & General Trust‘s regional newspaper publishing division, Northcliffe Media, since they bought it from Trinity Mirror in 2007. The editorial offices were in Margate, although they moved in January 2009 from Union Row, where the Gazette had been based since 1899.
It was very much a red-top in character; its local nickname was the “Thanet Crimes”.
It came out on Tuesdays. An e-edition was also available free, although it wasn’t linked to from the website (which from 2011 onwards was Northcliffe’s portal site for Kent rather than the newspapers’ own web presence).
The final issue went out on 2 October 2012, less than a year after an attempt by Northcliffe to sell seven Kent newspapers including the Times to the KM Group. The deal fell through when the Office of Fair Trading decided to refer it to the Competition Commission. Roy Greenslade, former editor of the Daily Mirror and Professor of Journalism at City University, commented in his blog on guardian.co.uk:
The irony is that the OFT’s rationale for ordering a referral was based on its belief that the merger would give KM a virtual monopoly in the east Kent region. The latest closure suggests it will happen anyway.