Founded in 1880, and for many years known as the Evening Argus, the newspaper is owned by Newsquest (since 1999, part of the US Gannett media group) which in 1996 bought the Argus and its sister Westminster Press titles from the provincial papers group's parent, the Pearson Group. The Argus reached a peak circulation of 100,000 in the early 1980s but, like most of its counterparts in the British regional press, has since experienced a considerable decline in sales. In the period December 2010 to June 2011, the paper had an average daily circulation of 24,949 but by the period January to June 2013, average daily sales had dropped to 16,622. For the period July to December 2017 average daily circulation had fallen to 10,581.
In October 2012, the Argus's cover price was increased by 45% to 65p on weekdays and 85p on Saturday, taking readership to an all-time low, but attempting to make more money because of the increased cover price.
In February 2018 the Argus was found by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) to have breached its Editors' Code of Practice with regard to a story which it had published the previous September. IPSO found that the newspaper had behaved in a discriminatory way in its reporting of a court case by describing the plaintiff as an "amputee" in a headline and referring to his disability in the body of the article, in spite of the fact that crime of which he was accused was "plainly irrelevant to his physical disability". The committee found the reportage to be "a serious and unjustified breach of the Code" and was "extremely concerned" by the "serious failure in relation to both staff training and editorial oversight of material published by the newspaper." Further, IPSO was "deeply concerned about the newspaper’s handling of the complaint" and found that "the newspaper’s decision to make its offer to remove the material conditional on the complainant agreeing not to pursue his complaint further, was not a suitable or satisfactory response." As remediation, the newspaper was ordered to publish IPSO's findings both on its website and in its print edition.
In March 2018, the paper was forced to publish an apology after it used the photograph of an unrelated man to illustrate a news story.
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