Roll call of newspaper closures, launches and job losses
9 June 2015
This list has been compiled from NUJ press releases and reports from the Press Gazette and Hold the Front Page.
Reach plc has launched the latest of its new ‘live’ websites as its digital expansion continues apace. Durham Live and Sunderland Live brands have gone live as part of its Newcastle-based Chronicle Live website. While Reach’s Chronicle and Journal titles have always covered both Durham and Sunderland, the patch is also served by JPIMedia’s Sunderland Echo and Newsuest’s Northern Echo.
Reach has hired 12 journalists as it prepares to extend its online coverage across Yorkshire, part of a major digital expansion at the news publisher. A team of editorial staff has been put together, with five poached from rival publishers and others moving across from Hull Live in East Yorkshire, which is also owned by Reach. It comes ahead of the launch of Yorkshire Live on 2 March, one of seven new regional websites planned for the north of England in a “significant expansion” of Reach’s digital network announced last year.
Brendan McGinty, editor of the Sunday Mail, was one of seven redundancies at the Reach-owned newspaper and its sister Daily Record.
One editor will oversee six Scottish newspapers, including The Scotsman, as JPI Media restructures its newsrooms to focus on digital growth. Edinburgh Evening News editor and Scotsman deputy editor Euan McGrory will become editor for Scotland, but only for print. He will also oversee Scotland on Sunday, Falkirk Herald, Fife Free Press and Southern Reporter. JPI Media is creating a new all-Scotland structure with its “digital acceleration programme” following a successful pilot of the model in the North East of England.
Five new editorial jobs are being created at publisher Reach as it expands its South West newsbrands following “record” growth in the past year. The company said its Cornwall Live and Devon Live websites recorded year-on-year growth of 70 per cent and 35 per cent respectively to a combined 25m monthly page views.
Local news websites reached four in ten online readers during December’s general election campaign, according to new research. The University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has revealed its findings after conducting a unique tracking study on the online news consumption of 1,711 people aged 18 to 65 during the six-week campaign. The findings have revealed 40pc of those surveyed accessed at least one of 879 different local news websites recorded in the study. Although this compared to 71pc who visited at least national news site, local sites compared favourably with partisan and alternative websites such as The Canary or Russia Today, which were visited by 6pc, or satire sites such as the Daily Mash, visited by 3pc.
Six jobs have been lost at the Cumberland and Westmorland Heraldand a further 20 are at risk after it went into voluntary administration after 160 years of publication.
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner has brought to an end the pilot five-month online paywall trial in its Examiner Live website charged 25p for access to some articles up to a maximum charge of £1 per week. Breaking news and traffic and travel information remained free, as well as some court and crime stories. Examiner editor Wayne Ankers said the experiment had shown “a large number” of readers were happy to pay for online news, but he has not so far responded to a request from HTFP to provide the actual figures.
The latest announcement from the BBC brings the total number of job losses proposed in the World Service, radio and News to more than 500. This amounts to an existential threat to the BBC at the same time the corporation faces an ideological attack from the heart of government, says the NUJ. Full story
The union has condemned the government's response to the Cairncross Review recommendations as a wasted opportunity to address the crisis facing local journalism. Nearly a year after the review was published, the statement from the government ruled out the creation of an Institute for Public Interest News to help save the news industry, claiming such a body could be seen as government interference in a free press. Full story
Vegan Living, a glossy monthly magazine aimed at the UK’s vegans and others interested in learning about a plant-based diet, has closed after three years in print, despite the current vegan boom. It was launched by Select Publisher Services in October 2016, but it closed inDecember after 37 issues.
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has formally intervened in Mail and Metro owner Daily Mail and General Trust’s £49.6m purchase of the i paper from JPI Media by issuing a Public Interest Intervention Noticeafter she decided there should an investigation into whether the deal adversely affects the plurality of views in the UK newspaper market.
Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, is pulling out of the ABC newspaper circulation audit, saying it is no longer a “key metric” for its subscriber-first strategy. The group said it would instead publish its core subscriber numbers each month for the first time as it focuses on its target of reaching 10m registered users and 1m paying subscribers by 2023.
The Observer saw the smallest paid-for circulation drop among UK national newspapers in December, according to the latest ABC figures.The Sunday newspaper and sister title to the Guardian reported sales down two per cent year-on-year to 163,449 copies.The biggest declines were at the Scotland’s Sunday Post and UK tabloid the Daily Star on Sunday. The Sun remained the UK’s top-selling newspaper with a circulation of 1.2m with the Daily Mail still close at its heels, just over 7,800 copies behind it when the Sun’s bulk copies are removed. National newspaper circulations for December 2019
Newsquest is launching a new paid-for weekly newspaper and daily website covering the city of Salford, Greater Manchester, with plans to recruit local reporters who know the area. Salford City News will print its first edition, with a cover price of 80p, and launch online at salfordcitynews.co.uk on 24 January. The regional publisher is also launching a new edition of daily the Northern Echo covering Teesside.
Pre-tax profits at Scottish publisher DC Thomson fell by three-quarters last year, from £86.4m to £21.1m. The owner of the UK’s top-selling regional daily, the Press and Journal, reported advertising revenues down by 5.6 per cent to £37.1m for the year ending 31 March 2019. New accounts filed with Companies House show the company, which also publishes the Sunday Post and Evening Express, grew its overall revenues from £207.3m in 2018 to £221m.
The Weardale Gazette is closing after almost 33 years as an independent venture with the loss of three jobs owing to “falling circulation and shrinking advertising revenues”.
Reach plc has announced the Burton Mail will shut its local office in January. The plan involves staff, who work for the regional daily title, moving to the Derby Telegraph office part-time and also working from home. Keep the Burton Mail local, urges NUJ
Newsquest Glasgow has lifted the threat of compulsory redundancies in response to the NUJ’s ballot for industrial action. Full story
Edward Iliffe of Iliffe Media Group has teamed up with Peter Fowler, majority shareholder in Scottish Provincial Press, to take over the Inverness-based company. The move safeguards 135 jobs at SPP which publishes 18 weekly titles and nine news websites including the Highland News and Inverness Courier. SPP briefly went into adminstration earlier today before the buyout by newly-formed Highland News and Media Ltd, a joint venture between Mr Iliffe and Mr Fowler. It is the duo’s second such venture in recent months, having previously purchased the Newbury News from its former owners. In addition to its core titles in the East of England, Iliffe Media Group also owns the KM Group which it bought from the Allinson family last year.
David Montgomery, the founder of Local World and a former News of the World editor, has confirmed he is in talks to buy JPI Media’s regional titles with his new publishing company. Journalists on JPI Media’s Scottish titles expressed their anxiety over the imminence of a takeover.
Reach is closing two offices in the South West, including its last newsroom in Cornwall, with journalists to work remotely or hot desk in shared working spaces while others are moved to a hub in Plymouth. No jobs will be lost as a result of the closure of the Truro and Exeter offices, Press Gazette understands, while two new senior editorial roles will be created in Plymouth, which is about 50 miles from both cities.
Journalists at Newsquest’s Scotland titles, including flagship dailies The Herald and The National, are set to ballot for industrial action over proposed staff cuts. Members of the National Union of Journalists who work on the titles fear compulsory redundancies will fall if Newsquest cannot achieve planned cost savings of £500,000 by other means. He pointed to Canada’s £70m annual fund which will support local journalism over the next five years, and a six-year fund in Denmark that provided £44m in 2018. “It certainly looks light compared to the £1bntax credits that go to other creative industries,” Faure Walker said. “Why does a local museum get support but not local journalism?”
Reach has said it will launch at least seven new regional news websites next year and recruit 46 journalists in a “significant expansion” of its digital network. The publisher will launch websites under its “Live” branding covering Sunderland, County Durham, Sheffield, North Yorkshire, Bradford, Newport and Bolton.
Henry Faure Walker, chief executive of Newsquest, called on the Government to provide “proper help now” to local journalism, adding: “Time is running out.” He said the Government must “get out of the slow lane” and be bold in its support for local journalism, including the BBC-funded local democracy reporter service.
The first cohort of Facebook-funded community reporters has begun studying for a new senior journalism qualification run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists. A group of 22 journalists from across regional publishers Newsquest, Reach and JPI Media are working towards a National Qualification in Journalism which has been tailored for their roles.
Newsquest has announced a new wave of cuts in Cumbria. There are three feature writers roles at risk of redundancy in Carlisle. The role at risk of redundancy in Kendal is the arts and leisure writer for the Westmorland Gazette. Those affected by the risk of redundancy were told individually and the rest of the staff got to hear about the cuts from a note pinned to the office noticeboard. The newspapers impacted by the cuts will include the Cumberland News, Carlisle News and Star, and the Westmorland Gazette. Local newsrooms have already suffered catastrophic cuts. In Carlisle all of the sub-editors, four out of our five photographers, and the majority of the experienced reporting staff have left because of previous rounds of cuts. There has been a separate announcement about cuts to the portfolio of premium magazine titles including Cumbria Life, Dumfries and Galloway Life, Carlisle Living and a business magazine. These new redundancies are separate and will impact on the magazines operation where the six employees have all been put at risk of redundancy. This was announced on Friday 1 November and staff have been told that just two jobs will remain. These cuts will mean that most of the production work on the Cumbria magazines will now take place in Newport, Gwent.
The BBC has laid out “ambitious” new plans to expand its local democracy reporting service, recruiting new reporters to cover local councils as well as extending coverage to magistrates’ and sheriffs’ courts. But the expansion is entirely dependent on the scheme, which is funded and run by the BBC, with the help of the News Media Association, finding new sources of financial support from outside the corporation.
A Welsh weekly newspaper has been saved from closure with an “eleventh-hour” investment, saving ten out of 24 jobs thought lost. Staff at the Pembrokeshire Herald, Camarthenshire Herald and Llanelli Herald were told on Friday last week that they were at risk of redundancy as publisher Herald News UK was no longer commercially viable.
The BBC-funded local democracy reporting service has been opened up to news platforms aimed at black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in the UK to help its journalism reach a wider audience. BAME-targeted publications like The Voice newspaper or Gal-dem magazine can now apply to access the Local News Partnership, which allows its partners to use public service journalism from the BBC’s 150 local democracy reporters based at local news titles across the UK.
Archant, publisher of the The New European and Eastern Daily Press titles, made a pre-tax loss of £7.6m last year, new full-year accounts show. Group revenue for 2018 was down 9.6 per cent to £87.3m. Advertising revenue, which makes made up the majority, fell by 10.8 per cent to £64.2m. Newspaper circulation revenue fell 6.6 per cent to £16.4m while magazine circulation revenue fell 4.4 per cent to £6.6m. But digital revenues were up 13.2 per cent to £9.3m, of which £2m was from classified ads and the rest from display and other. Archant made a pre-tax loss of £334,000 in 2017.
Two weekly newspaper offices are to close with journalists and commercial staff relocated to a sister daily HQ, publisher Reach plc has announced. Staff currently based at the offices of the Loughborough Echo and the Hinckley Times will move to the Leicester Mercury offices by the end of the year. The move affects seven members of staff, including five journalists, who are now in consultation with the company. Five of the affected staff – including three journalists – are based in Loughbrough while the other two – both journalists – are based at Hinckley.
HTFP understands that four manager roles overseeing six titles in the Tindle Newspapers group are to be reduced to two roles, with two jobs to go. Four of the newspapers affected by the plans – the Monmouth Beacon, Abergavenny Chronicle, Brecon & Radnor Express and Glamorgan Gem series – are based in Wales. The other two – The Forest Review and Ross Gazette – are based just over the border in England.
Archant has announced a new three-year partnership with the search engine giant called Project Neon, which will target up to three UK communities “identified as being currently underserved by local news”. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said the funds come at a time when the existing level of investment in quality local journalism is “at an all-time low”.
“However this funding is obviously a drop in the ocean compared to the scale of the problem – created by ruthless cost-cutting by media companies but also by the major online platforms sucking up the vast bulk of online advertising revenue and benefiting from editorial content that they haven’t paid to create,” she said.
Ex-News of the World editor David Montgomery has outlined his plans to “transform the sector” by foregoing “archaic industrial practices” and buying up struggling titles for his new publishing company. Local World founder Montgomery is the executive chairman of National World. He is expected to bid for titles such as the i or the Scotsman from JPI Media, which is in talks with other publishers to sell assets. In a document published yesterday, ahead of the company’s shares going live on the London Stock Exchange, National World said it “aims to transform the sector through acquisition and partnership”.
Former Bath Chronicle deputy editor Paul Wiltshire, who lectures at the University of Gloucestershire, said work needed to be done on pay rates for trainees and more-experienced journalists after a report published by the National Council for the Training of Journalists revealed pay for graduates from its accredited courses has increased since 2015. Many newsrooms are paying their trainees around £17,000 per year. He went on to note there were “many reasons to be cheerful” in the report, including an average salary of £27,500 for those who graduated in 2015. Employment rates at a high for NCTJ diploma students, new research finds https://www.nctj.com/latestnews/destinations-report-2019 The report said: “Salaries have also seen a boost, with recent NCTJ diploma graduates receiving a median salary of £22,500 up from £17,500 in 2015. It is now slightly higher than the comparable level for all HE graduates. The median salary for NCTJ graduates from 2015 has now increased to £27,500. Of those in work who graduated in 2018, 27 per cent were working in newspapers, compared to 30 per cent in 2015. Fifteen per cent were working in magazines, four per cent in television, four per cent in radio and thirteen per cent in the online/digital sector. Thirty-two per cent were working in other sectors of the economy, which compares to 35 per cent in 2015.”
A BBC survey has found that news outlets using the BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporting Service gave it a 75 per cent satisfaction score. The study found that 3,500 LDR-generated stories were published or broadcast across the UK during a single week in June.
Social Spider CIC, which publishes the Waltham Forest Echo, Tottenham Community Press and Enfield Dispatch, was named as a finalist in the UK Social Enterprise Awards. The awards are run by Social Enterprise UK, the national membership body for social enterprises.
A research study held at Bristol Magistrates’ Court showed that only one journalist attended court to report on one case out of the 240 heard that week, according to a study by academics from Bath & UWE. The academics Phil Chamberlain (Bath), Marcus Keppel-Palmer (UWE), Sally Reardon (UWE), Tom Smith (UWE), Bernhard Gross (UWE) said in an article in the Press Gazette the “absence of journalist presence, and regurgitation of press releases all mean that the cherished principle of “open justice” is diminished by the lack of independent scrutiny”.
Reach, which owns the Mirror, Express and Star national papers and more than 150 regional titles, has begun trialing a micro-paywall on Examiner Live, the website of the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. The website is using payments platform Axate, formerly Agate, which allows readers to put money into a digital “wallet” and pay a small fee per article. Some articles, including breaking news, traffic and travel information and some court and crime stories, will remain free of charge.
A second council has been forced to stop printing its own freesheet more than four times a year after losing an appeal against a High Court judgment. Waltham Forest Council had joined Hackney Council in requesting a judicial review of a Government directive ordering them to stop publishing in breach of the Local Authority Publicity 2011 code.
Ex-News of the World editor David Montgomery is looking to buy up newspapers to form a new publishing company, the Daily Telegraph has reported.It said Montgomery, who created regional publisher Local World, is eyeing “struggling newspaper publishers” to bring under his new company National World. The ex-Mirror Group chief executive holds more than 75 per cent of shares in the new publisher, formerly private firm Carno Capital Ltd, which has £100,000 of total assets, according to Companies House filings. The Telegraph reported that the 70-year-old could bid for the i newspaper and Scotsman titles from owner JPI Media, which Press Gazette has already revealed to be in talks about selling off its titles.
A weekly newspaper in Ireland has blamed the “rapid impact of the internet and free online platforms” on both advertising and circulation revenues as it closed down yesterday after 14 years. Staff at The Clare People were told that yesterday’s edition of the newspaper, launched by businessmen Domhnal Slattery and Sean Lyne in June 2005, would be its last. According to the National Union of Journalists, which expressed “grave disappointment” at the closure, the newspaper employed at least 13 people. The Irish Independent reported that 16 jobs had been lost including ten editorial roles, listing these as the editor, five journalists, three sub-editors and one photographer.
Six regional news websites have been put under a partial micro-paywall in the biggest such “experiment” by one publisher with payment platform Axate to date. Iliffe Media has introduced the scheme to its Stamford Mercury, Grantham Journal, Newark Advertiser, Spalding Today, Lynn News and Fenland Citizen websites in an attempt to “help sustain local news and monetise the content of its websites”. Breaking news and many other stories on the websites will remain free to read. ut some online content will now be put behind a micro-paywall, including some content that previously only appeared in the titles’ print editions.It will cost readers of the paid-for content 20p per article, with a capped cost of 60p per week, although they are asked to pay at least £3 into their digital wallet.
The Oxford Mail has slammed politicians who dodge the regional press after the daily was “shunned” by Boris Johnson on his visit to the area last week. Downing Street failed to send over any details of the Prime Minister’s Oxfordshire trip last Thursday to the Mail, according to local democracy reporter Nathan Briant who was alerted to his imminent arrival by a contact the night before.
Newsquest’s American owner Gannett has been bought out in a $1.4bn deal by New Media creating the largest US local-to-national news organisation, with 263 daily publications across 47 states and more than 160 Newsquest brands in the UK. New Media, which runs the Gatehouse chain of local community newspapers in the USA, says the move will lead to “cost synergies of $275-$300 million annually”, while also allowing it to “invest in newsrooms.” NUJ comment.
The NUJ’s Welsh Executive Committee has put out a statement saying the Prime Minister, who posed with chickens near Newport on a visit to Wales, should have taken questions and allowed filming by the Welsh-based media.
The Newbury Weekly News, an independent weekly newspaper, is to introduce a pay-as-you-read system on its website – saying continuing to give away stories for free is “not sustainable.” has announced it is bringing in the system, which will allow readers to continue using its site without taking out a subscription. Users will have to pay 20p to read a single premium article, after which all content will be free for the rest of that day. Most stories, including breaking news and crime updates, will remain free to access.
The NUJ has warmly welcomed the agreement enabling trade union recognition at VICE UK, giving journalists at the company a formally acknowledged, independent voice at work.
Following Reach plc’s announcement on the potential deal to buy parts of JPI Media, the NUJ called the move “alarming”, and warned of the potential impact on journalists and media plurality.
Local radio will become increasing London-centric and rural areas hit hard by changes in regulations which have already resulted in 100 job losses and station closures. NUJ event in Parliament.
Ramzy Alwakeel, editor of the Islington Gazette has hit out at cuts to the justice system which he says have led to his reporters missing out on covering important cases despite being present in court. He has criticised what he believes is a lack of trained staff to deal with journalists attending court. Ramzy said he was sometimes having to withdraw reporters from court because of a failure on the part of court staff to make them aware of when, or why, certain hearings were taking place.
Tindle Newspapers has closed the Yellow Advertiser, with last Thurday’s edition being the last to be published. A message in what proved to be the final issue stated that the four-edition paper was in consultation with staff and that this “could result in the closure of the titles.” HTFP understands between 15 and 20 staff, including three working in editorial, are affected by the closure which was confirmed to staff on Monday. The decision comes after the Basildon-based weekly won the ‘Making a Difference’ prize at last month’s RPAs for its investigation into a child sex abuse ring in Essex.
The Chester Chronicle is shutting its office in the city leaving the newspaper without a base in the community for the first time in its 244-year-old history. No jobs however have been put at direct risk by the move. Reach Plc has told staff its Sealand Road office will shut on 12 July, affecting about 14 journalists in all, working for The Chronicle and the North Wales Daily Post and associated websites. Staff will be expected to travel to a regional office at Liverpool, Colwyn Bay or Manchester or work from home.
JPI Media is set to close free weekly newspapers, The Bucks Advertiser and the Thame Gazette, in Buckinghamshire. Both are based in the same office in Aylesbury. JPI Media revealed earlier this month that The Buteman weekly newspaper would publish its final edition on 21 June, more than 160 years after it was founded in 1854, after its circulation dropped below 550.
Press Gazette reported earlier this year that JPI Media, formerly Johnston Press, was looking to cut as many as 70 full-time editorial jobs across the UK.
The Scotsman has gone behind a paywall three months after publisher JPI Media said it would trial subscriptions in the face of falling ad revenues. Readers are allowed to access five articles for free each week or pay £3 for the first three months when they subscribe, rising to £8 a month thereafter or £72 for an annual subscription.
Local newsbrands reach more than 40m adults on a monthly basis. The new audience data measurement system Jicreg True Local found that 40.6m people read regional print and digital titles every month. Its research also found that mobile boosted local media audiences by 94 per cent with 10m young people reading regional titles on their devices every month
Reach is to launch two new fan websites for Liverpool football club. Ten journalists will be hired to work across new titles Liverpool.com and LFC Stories, the publisher said. Reach already owns regional daily newspaper the Liverpool Echo.
John Grogan MP has put this early day motion down to highlight the job losses and cuts in local news in commercial radio stations owned by Global. NUJ story
A former Fleet Street sub-editor has set up a free monthly newspaper in Ilkeston, his Derbyshire hometown, after leaving the Sun last year. Lawrence Hatton, 58, worked for the national tabloid for about 30 years before taking voluntary redundancy and retiring last year.
Chris Morley, NUJ Newsquest group chapel coordinator and Amy Fenton, MoC at Newsquest Barrow are both in McLean, Virginia (near Washington DC) today to link up with colleagues from sister union the NewsGuild-CWA to attend Gannett's annual meeting and speak up on behalf of NUJ members. NUJ story
JPI Media told staff it has not opened a “formal sales process” for any of its titles after a Sky News report claimed the group could be looking to auction some of them off, including daily the i newspaper. JPI Media chief executive David King said management was “developing business plans for the group” and confirmed it was working with advisers as part of the process, adding “nothing had been decided” about potential title sales, but did not rule it out.
Regional publisher Newsquest has reported a pre-tax profit of £108m for 2018, up from a loss of £213m the year before, new accounts show. The company reported turnover of £197.3m last year, up from £130.4m the year before but down from £107.8m on a like-for-like basis, according to full-year accounts for Newsquest Media Group on Companies House.
Ten jobs at Newsquest’s Bournemouth and Southampton Daily Echo newspapers are to go with plans to create a joint editorial hub covering both titles. The last staff photographer working across the daily Oxford Mail and weekly Oxford Times has left in the latest round of cuts there at Newsquest. Another editorial job is also at risk at its Oxford titles.
JPI Media is preparing to pilot a newsroom restructure which move journalists away from the traditional print production process to focus on writing online content. The “digital acceleration programme” will be tested in the publisher’s north east region for three months starting in June and see staff split into three main teams: “digital first”, “print optimisation”, and “smaller brands”.
JPI Media, publisher of the i and Scotsman titles, is looking to cut up to 70 full-time editorial roles across the UK. The company is seeking voluntary redundancies until 14 May. It is understood that daily national newspaper the i is exempt from the cuts. Sixty of the proposed redundancies will fall across JPI Media’s 170 regional titles, which include dailies the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Sunderland Echo, Belfast Newsletter, and The News in Portsmouth. A further 10 roles are at risk across Scotsman titles, published under The Scotsman Publications Ltd, which include dailies the Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News, as well as Scotland on Sunday. Press Gazette reported last month that JPI Media would close eight newsrooms in a regional restructure resulting in 34 staff either work remotely or relocated to one of 19 remaining offices.
Newsquest has closed the office of Peeblesshire News in the town of Peebles, a Scottish weekly newspaper, in a move that will result in more local reporters working remotely, with others based in the offices of fellow Newsquest title the Border Telegraph 18.5 miles away.
The Greenwich Mercury will no longer have a standalone print title as it merges with sister title the South London Press. But the closure of the 186-year-old weekly newspaper’s standalone print title has not resulted in job cuts, according to new owners Street Runners. The London-based leaflet distribution firm bought the South London Press and Greenwich Mercury after previous owners Capital Media Newspapers went into administration in 2017.
The vast majority of senior local news journalists are concerned they do not have the resources to hold power to account in the way they once did, a new survey by the Society of Editors and Index on Censorship has revealed. Of the 45 SOE members who took part in the study (both current and former journalists), 97 per cent shared this concern, of which 70 per cent said it worried them “a lot”. The survey, which was carried out in February, also found that half of those who took part said their biggest fear about the future of local journalism was that no-one will be doing the “difficult” stories.
Two staff photographers are facing redundancy as regional publisher Archant makes further cutbacks. The cuts are understood to affect titles in London and Hertfordshire. In London, Archant’s titles include the Ham & High, Hackney Gazette and Islington Gazette, while the Herts Advertiser, Stevenage-based weekly The Comet and the Royston Crow are among the newspapers it publishes in Hertfordshire.
The Halesowen News and Dudley News will be printed as a single title after 34 years in existence.The change is the second such regional press consolidation in the area in recent months, after the Midland News Association closed the Halesowen Chronicle in November last year. It was among seven titles to shut when the MNA launched the five-edition Chronicle Week to serve the Black Country, with news for Halesowen now appearing in the Dudley edition of the paper.
The Portsmouth-based daily The News will lose its four district editions as they move to a single edition. from next month. The News published separate editions for Portsmouth, Havant & Waterlooville, Gosport and Fareham, but will run one edition covering its whole patch from 15 April.
Andy Parkes, left, group managing editor of Newsquest South London and Sussex, was placed at risk of redundancy and on gardening leave on Thursday as his role was reviewed. Andy had been responsible for overseeing Brighton daily The Argus and Newsquest’s weekly titles in South London.
Archant is closing five newspaper offices across three counties with reporters expected to work remotely from home or on patches. A spokesperson said: “Archant can confirm that, as part of an ongoing review of the suitability of its offices, five town offices in Norfolk, Suffolk and Hertfordshire will close.” The note sent to staff by Archant chief content officer and New European editor Matt Kelly said the move would help save money and make titles and journalists “more visible in our communities”.
JPI Media has made redundancies across its specialised community news reporting teams. The 22 full-time equivalent staff are based in regional hubs covering multiple titles, filling community pages with village news, leisure content and similar items.
Mirror, Express and Star newspaper publisher Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror) increased its cash pot for dealing with phone hacking cases by £12.5m last year, new figures show. It spent £9.6m of the more than £70m provision in 2018, with £13.6m remaining. The publisher has faced more than 100 civil claims for historical phone-hacking carried out on the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People. Following its acquisition of the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday in February last year, Reach’s adjusted revenue jumped by just over £100m to £723.9m in 2018, with an adjusted profit before tax of £141.9m, both figures up by 16 per cent year-on-year. But, when compared like-for-like, Reach’s revenue fell by 7 per cent year-on-year. It made £623.2m in turnover in 2017. Reach made an operating profit of £145.6m last year.
B2B publisher Caspian Media has entered administration and sold off its three titles Real Deals, Real Business and Business Advice.
Caspian Media went into administration on 6 February, selling its Real Deals and events divisions to Real Deals Media Ltd as part of a pre-pack deal. It sold its Real Business and Business Advice titles to Prosper (Media) Ltd two days later. Prosper (Media) Ltd was incorporated on 5 February by two directors of Prosper Squared (Investments) Ltd. Prosper Squared, which runs a business club and loyalty rewards scheme for SMEs, confirmed it had bought the titles.Caspian Media Ltd reported losses of £1.7m despite an operating profit of £309,762 in the year to 30 June 2017, according to the latest available figures on Companies House. The company said it had 52 employees at that time, including 23 editorial and design staff.
On Valentine’s day the NUJ is calling on Newsquest to show some love for journalists and journalism. Newsquest is the second-largest regional and local newspaper company in the UK and is owned by American company Gannett. In the UK local news industry, Newsquest is one of the worst employers – it made journalists redundant just before Christmas in 2017 and 2018. Many journalists working for Newsquest have had only two cost of living pay rises in the last 11 years. Trainee journalists now working for Newsquest can start on £16,500 and some of the highest-paid reporters, with up to 30 years’ experience, earn £26,000. But the company has also started taking on editorial apprentices who currently earn the minimum wage of just £3.70 an hour when starting.
Newsquest has launched a new weekly newspaper, the Harlow Guardian, following Reach plc’s decision to close the Harlow Star last month. It follows last week’s launch of a new Amersham & Chesham edition of the Bucks Free Press in order to cover areas affected by Reach’s decision to shut the Buckinghamshire Advertiser and Examiner, announced at the same time as the Star’s closure.
Last week, BuzzFeed made over 200 employees, 15 per cent of its overall global workforce redundant. On 25 January, 43 of BuzzFeed’s 250 employees in the USA were made redundant, including the entire news desk. In London, 17 positions at BuzzFeed were put forward for redundancy, while on Tuesday 29 January, staff in BuzzFeed’s Australia offices were told that as many as 25 of the 40 employees would be made redundant. BuzzFeed Spain and Mexico were closed as part of the global restructure.
Regional publisher Archant has closed its remaining luxury lifestyle print titles under The Resident brand in west London. Archant relaunched 16 Resident magazines in 2013, distributing them for free in London’s affluent areas, but stopped publishing four of them in 2017. The company confirmed that five west London Resident print titles have now been cut: the Resident, the Guide Resident, the Hill Resident, Living South Resident and SW Resident. January appears to have been their last published edition. Those covering outer east London, including the Havering and Brentwood Resident magazines, remain untouched.
Archant said it will also continue to publish The Resident magazine online. Press Gazette understands that one editorial and two advertising staff have been made redundant as part of the print closures. However, Archant has not confirmed these figures.
Two hyperlocal publishers have agreed a syndication deal which will allow them to boost coverage of political news affecting their patches. Wrexham.com and Deeside.com have teamed up with Senedd Home, a political news website which covers the Welsh Assembly, to allow the two North Wales-based sites to bring their readers more news from Cardiff. The deal comes 18 months after the publication of a report by the Assembly’s digital news and information task force, which said the Senedd must “look beyond the fragmented media in Wales to better communicate its work to a wider audience and address the democratic information deficit”.
The NUJ balloted members at the Independent News and Media PLC in Northern Ireland and the ballot included NUJ members working at the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life.NUJ members have voted in favour of industrial action and action short of a strike. Following the result, the union is still willing to engage with the company to find a solution. The outstanding issues are the pay claim, minimum rates of pay, and acting up allowances.
Gannett, the US parent company of regional publisher Newsquest, has rejected a takeover bid from publishing rival MNG Enterprises. MNG, also known as Digital First Media, made a cash offer for Gannett of $12 per share on 14 January after building up a 7.5 per cent stake in the publisher, which bought Newsquest in 1999.
In a statement published today, Gannett said that its board had unanimously decided to reject the unsolicited offer after deciding it “undervalues Gannett and is not in the best interests of Gannett and its shareholders”.
An FT report has rvealed that an unnamed investor bought a 20 per cent stake in the Evening Standard’s parent company in December through a Cayman Islands firm, but owner Evgeny Lebedev has refused to shed further light on their identity. The free daily newspaper’s parent company, Lebedev Holdings, received a £14m investment from the unknown financier, according to the Financial Times. The FT reported that the mystery Cayman Islands-company owner bought more than 20 per cent of Lebedev Holdings and has an 18 per cent indirect share of the Evening Standard.
Facebook’s Community News Project officially launched today, revealing the full list of 82 new reporter roles which will cover “under-served” news locations across the UK. The social media giant is donating £4.5m to the National Council for the Training of Journalists over two years to oversee the recruitment of trainee community journalists across nine publishers, including four new independents. The new roles will be based up and down the country from Hackney in London to Fife in Scotland and West Wales to ensure “under-served communities will have the strong local coverage they deserve”.
A BBC live web feed which features links to regional press stories is set to be scrapped this year. The corporation has confirmed it is set to replace the ‘Local Live’ feed on the regional pages of its news website during 2019. HTFP reported in 2014 how the BBC had introduced the content-sharing deal on a pilot basis, with links to stories from newspapers in Yorkshire and the North-East of England appearing on the BBC’s web feeds for those regions. The scheme was introduced across England the following year.
Reach is closing three newspapers in the south east, saying the “continued decline in local print advertising” has made them unsustainable. The free Harlow Star as well as the paid-for Herts and Essex Observer, and Buckinghamshire Advertiser and Examiner (which ran two editions) will all see publish their last in print next week. There will be no editorial redundancies as a result of the closures, according to Reach.
JPI Media has put its property portfolio under review in a move that could lead to newsrooms being relocated, merged or see office space cut back, according to an email to staff seen by Press Gazette. The email, from chief executive David King, said the i and Yorkshire Post publisher would be reviewing its “space requirements” in Belfast, Peterborough, Sunderland and Harrogate and Cavendish Square in London.
The NUJ's national executive council met today, and expressed concern about the News UK request to change the existing legal undertakings and amend the existing rules on editorial independence. Cuts are likely to follow if the company are allowed to proceed with the proposal to share content and staff at the Times and Sunday Times. The union will be seeking further clarity and consulting members affected about the details contained within the proposals announced
The NUJ has expressed grave concern about further cuts at Independent News & Media and is assisting editorial workers faced with the threat of redundancy.
The union said it does not believe the introduction of a restructuring, involving yet another round of redundancies, is in the best interest of staff or the company. The NUJ understands that up to 23 editorial posts and 8 non editorial posts are being targeted for redundancy and that a 30-day consultation period has commenced. INM's titles include the Irish Independent, Irish Daily Star, Sunday Independent, the Herald, Sunday World and Belfast Telegraph.
Newsquest has confirmed the closure of the Burnley Star, which was launched by the company in March last year. The revived Star, which was named in an “affectionate nod” to an evening title last published in Burnley in 1983, was edited by Lancashire Telegraph editor Steve Thompson and produced by existing staff at the Blackburn-based Newsquest daily. Its closure comes after Newsquest confirmed last month that the Darlington Despatch, another revived weekly title named in homage to a defunct daily newspaper, was also set to shut for good.
Gannett has confirmed it has received a proposal from MNG Enterprises Inc. to acquire Gannett for $12 per share in cash. The current share price for Gannett is $9.75. Gannett has said their board of directors will now review the proposal. Gannett owns Newsquest, the second largest regional and local newspaper company in the UK. In reaction to the proposal, the union expressed grave concern about the bid and the potential detrimental impact on quality, sustainable journalism in the UK.
Archant has closed the free weekly Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton edition of the Comet in Bedfordshire two-and-a-half years after it was relaunched, saying it “no longer makes financial sense”. It was relaunched after an eight-year break in May 2016 and had a distribution of 9,315, according to full-year ABC figures for 2017.
NUJ newspaper journalists on strike in Cumbria The newspapers affected by the strike were the Carlisle News and Star, the Cumberland News, the Workington Times and Star and the Whitehaven News.
Reach, publisher of the Manchester Evening News, will merge its regional and club football writers into one team as part of a “major investment and restructure” that it claims will create 16 new jobs. The Football Project will create new roles in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, the East Midlands and West Midlands, as well as on its website football.london which covers the capital.
Around six jobs have been lost at a weekly newspaper group as a result of changes to production processeses and a managerial restructure. The KM Group, now part of Iliffe News and Media, has confirmed the recent redundancies which affected both editorial and commercial staff. It is understood that the two editorial roles lost were those of a sports sub-editor and a villages editor responsible for sub-editing community pages. KM Media Group, formally known as Kent Messenger Group, operates local newspapers, radio stations and websites throughout Kent.
The founders of independent monthly the Salford Star had launched an ambitious appeal to raise up to £1m by selling off a series of quirky items from the city’s recent past, saying that is the value that should be placed on independent local news. In the event, the auction – carried out by Coronation Street actor-turned journalist Nigel Pivaro – raised £3,000 – but the publishers say that is enough to secure the magazine’s immediate future.
The NUJ is to ballot its members in two Belfast-based newspapers following two years of pay talks and attempts by the union to secure a new collective agreement. Independent News and Media owns the titles and the latest derisory offer from the company has prompted the ballot for action. Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life journalists have faced almost two years of delays and procrastination from INM, and the union has previously opted to try and resolve this dispute by referring the case to the Labour Relations Agency in Belfast. However, the company has offered a meagre one percent pay increase, proposed to eradicate the acting up allowances, and demanded all minimum pay levels be removed from the existing collective agreement.
Journalists working for Newsquest-owned titles in Carlisle, Whitehaven and Workington have agreed to take strike action on Thursday 20 December over poor pay. Newsquest has made more than a 100 people redundant since it took over the CN Group in March and now staff are being made redundant three days before Christmas. This has led to huge workloads for the staff remaining.The titles affected are the Carlisle News & Star, the Cumberland News, the Workington Times & Star and The Whitehaven News. In Workington (with an 80 per cent turn-out) there was a 100 per cent vote for strike action and action short of a strike and in Whitehaven (with a 100 per cent turn-out) the votes were 80 per cent to take strike action and 100 per cent to take action short of strike action.
The deputy editor of the Wolverhampton daily the Express & Star is among five staff on the left to have left the newspaper. The Midland News Association announced that Diane Davies, along with the weekend supplement deputy editor Lisa Harrison, business editor Simon Penfold and editor’s secretary Karen Baker had left. Keith Harrison, the editor had also stepped down after five years in charge and 25 years at the title.
Reach said the door-to-door distribution model for free newspapers is “no longer sustainable” before closing the weekly Solihull News. The News served the West Midlands town since it was founded as Warwickshire News in 1930 and will cease publication on 21 December. Tfree title had a distribution of 44,786, according to ABC figures to the end of December last year.
Local democracy reporters are breaking important stories about local councils and public bodies, they are appreciated by their readers and enjoy the job, but there are a number of problems caused by the management of the scheme. Full report.
Reach plc has announced it plans to close receptions at the offices of the Leicester Mercury, Nottingham Post, Derby Telegraph, Stoke-on-Trent daily The Sentinel, Coventry Telegraph and Tamworth Herald. Up to 15 full-time equivalent roles are set to be made redundant as part of the changes, which also affect support staff in Birmingham and Coventry, as well as Bristol and Blackmore Vale in the South-West of England.
The NUJ has called for meaningful guarantees to protect jobs and titles across Johnston Press, following the company’s decision last night to initiate a pre-pack administration process. The move into administration – which is being rubber-stamped in court processes in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England this morning – sees the creation of a new company formed by the holders of its current debt. It also allows the company to ditch its defined pension benefit scheme which will now go into the Pension Protection Fund in a serious blow to current and deferred members who will see their entitlements cut.
Up to six jobs are due to be lost as Reach plc announced it will be merging the print production operations of seven daily newspapers across its East and West Midlands dailies, the Birmingham Mail, Burton Mail, Coventry Telegraph, Derby Telegraph, Leicester Mercury, Nottingham Post and Stoke-on-Trent daily The Sentinel. The company revealed both regions would now come under a single editor-in-chief in Marc Reeves. He said he hoped the cuts, which are understood to mainly affect sub-editing roles, can be achieved entirely through voluntary redundancies.
The Midlands News Association has closed a weekly digest magazine for Shropshire after less than eight months, saying it had been extremely difficult to achieve the necessary sales to sustain the new title. Shropshire Weekly launched on 2 March and was aimed at people who “no longer feel they have time” to read a daily newspaper like the Shropshire Star, which is also owned by the MNA.
Journalists at Newsquest titles in Cumbria have voted for strike action as they push the regional publisher for a pay deal. Newsquest has nine titles in Cumbria. It bought out family-run publisher the Cumbrian News Group, whose titles included the Carlisle News and Star, Hexham Courant and Whitehaven News, in March this year.
The Midland News Association’s new free weekly, the Chronicle Week, is replacing the seven-edition Chronicle series. It will have five editions covering Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Cannock, which were all previously served by dedicated versions of the Chronicle. Readers in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Cannock will continue to receive a dedicated edition but the Dudley edition will also feature news from the towns of Halesowen and Stourbridge, which previously had their own editions. Two MNA editorial staff have taken voluntary redundancy and two other members of staff have retired.
The NUJ is speaking to management following the announcement that it has puts itself up for sale. The newspaper group which publishes 200 titles including the i, the Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post, Belfast News Letter, and Sheffield Star, put out a statement saying: “Since commencing the strategic review of financing options first announced in March 2017, the company has focussed on exploring all options available to it in relation to its £220 million due for repayment on 1 June 2019. Pursuant to this strategic review and in order to assess all strategic options to maximise value to its stakeholders, the board of Johnston Press announces today that it has decided to seek offers for the company.” The company said it would be considering initial expressions of interest over the next four to six weeks.
Newsquest said two photographers were facing the axe in Mold, Flintshire, while a content manager role is under threat at Colwyn Bay. Its office of the South Wales Guardian, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, is to close.
The Croydon Citizen has announced it is ceasing publication, saying it is unable to generate enough advertising revenue to keep the publication going. Founded as an online-only venture in 2012, the Citizen has also existed as a monthly print magazine since December 2013.
The Waltham Forest Guardian, Chingford Guardian and Wanstead and Woodford Guardian have been replaced by the East London and West Essex Guardian. At the same time Newsquest has also relaunched the Epping Forest Guardian so that its design matches that of the new East London title. Both titles are edited by Victoria Birch, who took over the role of group editor for Newsquest North London in January 2017.
Newsquest is closing a free newspaper in Wales due to challenges caused by the “significant impact” on the industry caused by the “digital revolution”.The weekly Campaign Series newspaper, which covers the Caerphilly and Blackwood areas in south Wales in two editions, had been in print for more than 20 years. Newsquest said it did not have “a sustainable future in print” and last week's paper would be the last issue of Campaign.
The Midland News Association has confirmed the last edition of the Oswestry & Border Chronicle was published yesterday, with its five staff to be redeployed on to other titles. The Chronicle was launched as a free title in 2011, in opposition to the then NWN Media-owned Oswestry and Border Counties Advertizer, now owned by Newsquest following its purchase of NWN last year. Its three editorial and two advertising staff are now likely to be redeployed in other roles across the company, which also publishes the daily Shropshire Star and Express & Star as well as several other weekly titles.
Tindle Newspapers has closed the last remaining View From newspaper title, the monthly View From The Blackdown Hills. The 16-page free paper was bought by Tindle in December 2009 as the publisher sought to widen its circulation area in the south west of England. Its last edition, which had a distribution of around 6,000, was published this month.
Non-profit local news magazine the Croydon Citizen is to close because it is “too short of both love and money to survive”, according to its editor, who said Facebook and Google has “won the battle for eyeballs”. The independent title, owned by Citizen Newspapers, will cease publishing entirely – both its website and monthly print edition – next month. The magazine was founded by editor James Naylor in 2013, after he raised more than £2,000 through a crowdfunding website.
Scotland’s Herald and Times group has reported a £7m pre-tax loss for last year, with turnover also down by nearly £2m to £42.9m at the publisher, which is part of Newsquest. The figures come within weeks of major changes at the group that resulted in the closure of the Sunday Herald and the launch of its replacement the Herald on Sunday as well as the Sunday National, sister title to the National. Staff costs were down by more than £1m to £12.8m for last year, according to the figures published at Companies House. Staff numbers fell from 392 to 364, but actually rose by three to 123 for editorial staff alone.
The Epsom Guardian in Surrey has closed as Newsquest announced plans to relaunch the weekly title as part of its Surrey Comet series. The Epsom Comet will launch on 27 September as the Epsom Guardian website will also become part of the Surrey Comet online. Newsquest will simultaneously launch a Kingston edition of the Surrey Comet and “reinvigorate” its general Surrey Comet news pages with news from across the north of the county.
The editor of a Newsquest weekly celebrating its first anniversary has said its successful first year showed “just how important having a local paper fighting for its community still is”. The newspaper launched three weeks after 160-year-old daily title The Oldham Chronicle closed down in August last year as owners Hirst, Kidd and Rennie fell into administration. It relaunched as an online-only title in February under new owners Credible Media.
12 September 2018
The NUJ’s Swindon chapel has reacted to the announcement about further job cuts in both Wiltshire and Oxford. In Wiltshire, Newsquest wants to axe two members of the features department and the sports editor. In Oxford Newsquest plans to cut one staff member from features and another from sport and axe the assistant editor, to be replaced by a new audience and content editor. The company wants the changes to take effect by Friday 28 September. Newsquest confirmed that seven jobs at its Oxfordshire and Wiltshire editorial departments could be made redundant. The company is also considering closing the Trowbridge office, home to the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald and Wiltshire Times, saying it is “no longer fit for purpose”.
The websites for Reach-owned weeklies Crewe Chronicle, Chester Chronicle and Macclesfield Express will merge into one online title called Cheshire Live this week. The new website, plans which were first announced in March, will go live on Thursday. Cheshire Live will cover towns around the county including Warrington, Knutsford, Wilmslow, Congleton, Runcorn and Widnes.Reach also publishes the Runcorn and Widnes News in neighbouring borough Halton.
Social Spider Community Interest Company has announced the foundation of the Enfield Dispatch, which will come out for the first time on 1 October. Social Spider currently publishes two other newspapers in North-East London – the Waltham Forest Echo, established in 2014, and the Tottenham Community Press, established in 2016. The Dispatch will be edited by Echo editor James Cracknell, who lives in Enfield and will add the title to his current responsibilities.
A former local radio station news editor has launched an independent news title for Bedford, with plans for a website to go live later this year, saying towns like it are “not getting good local coverage like they used to”.
Bedford Independent co-founder Paul Hutchinson said the new title will be the “modern news desk that would give the people of Bedford easy access to genuine news”. Hutchinson – who worked at Bedfordshire-based local radio station Chiltern FM, is one of three co-owners of the Independent, which has begun publishing news items on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
A third of Newsquest’s sports department in Bradford - serving the daily Telegraph & Argus and four weeklies - will be axed under new company plans. Staff were told that the weeklies sports editor role, together with a sports writer and editor’s PA, would go. The proposed new structure would leave a sports editor, sports sub editor, Bradford Bulls/Bradford City reporter and sports apprentice to serve the T&A daily title, Keighley News, Wharfdale Observer, Ilkley Gazette and Craven Herald. The news comes the day after Newsquest’s US parent group, Gannett, reported its second quarter results. The company revealed it had benefited from a $13.2m windfall from changes in the value of the pound in the first six months of this year.
It also said it was giving shareholders an $18.1m dividend payout for the second quarter.
Manchester online media outlet The Meteor will introduce a co-operative model with the aim of creating a sustainable model enabling it to eventually expand into print. The not-for-profit local news website plans to follow in the steps of co-operative media websites The Ferret in Scotland and the Bristol Cable to place ownership in the hands of its readers.
Tindle Newspapers has announced changes at The Forester and Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Review which would result in the closure of the former’s office in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, putting five journalist jobs, including an editor role, at risk.
The Whitby Gazette has closed its office in the town, which has had at least one staffer based there since it as originally founded in 1854 – most recently at its office at St Hilda’s Business Centre, on The Ropery. The Gazette staff member who used the office will now work from home full-time.
A former sports journalist has criticised the absence of any local reporters at Brentford FC’s opening game of the season, calling it a “tragedy”. Jim Levack said the absence of any local journalists at Saturday’s game against Rotherham FC followed in line with the UK media’s failure to pick up on residents’ concerns ahead of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. Levack, who reports on every home game for PA and covered the west London club for Hounslow Chronicle for 20 years until 2008, claimed it was the first time there had been no local media representation at a Brentford FC fixture in its entire professional league existence – more than 100 years.
Steve Sowden, who in May launched the Ilminster Press, a free monthly title to serve the Somerset town and compete with his old Newsquest-owned paper the Chard & Ilminster News, has now expanded his business with the launch of the Yeovil Press to go up against Reach plc’s Yeovil-based weekly the Western Gazette. Since going freelance in 2013 Steve has set up four news-based websites entitled Yeovil Press, Bridgwater Press, Chard Press and Ilminster Press.The new Yeovil print title will be published initially every other month, while the Ilminster Press is a monthly publication.
Kevin Black has set up the Oxted & District Gazette news website following his departure from the County Border News, which covers parts of East Surrey and West Kent.
Independent hyperlocal and community news publishers have become “part of an emerging local media system that cannot be ignored” despite not yet meeting initial expectations to become a “potential saviour of local journalism”, according to a new report. The London School of Economics report, Hyperlocal news: after the hype said small community-oriented publications began “popping up” five to ten years ago and appeared to provide an antidote to the “doom and gloom” surrounding the local news industry. However hyperlocals today continue to face major challenges of funding and sustainability, as they are often reliant on a tiny team and therefore vulnerable.
26 July 2018
Management at Newsquest’s Northern Echo, which faces the loss of eight further posts, had already been warned by staff that the situation in editorial was at crisis point.The latest cuts, and failure to fill a vacancy, represent a fifth (21 per cent) of the staff who produce the flagship Northern Echo and Darlington and Stockton Times, Durham Times and Advertiser Series.
18 July 2018
The BBC is proposing drastic cuts to its political coverage, with the loss of journalists' jobs. The Sunday Politics programme is to be axed and the Daily Politics replaced by a shorter programme. This represents around two hours of network politics coverage being lost on BBC1 and BBC2 every week, as well as the loss of eight journalism jobs. The BBC Parliament channel is to lose all of its original programme-making and a third of its small editorial team. The channel will concentrate solely on live and recorded broadcasts of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, some select committees and the proceedings in the devolved parliaments and assemblies of the UK
Newsquest has moved the newdesk of the The Mail at Barrow-in-Furness 30 miles away in Kendal; reporters will be expected to work from home.
There are still 30 vacancies for BBC-funded local democracy reporters just over six months after the scheme launched at the start of this year, with 115 of the 145 roles having been filled.
Rochdale Online, which claims to be the oldest hyperlocal news website in the country, has celebrated its 20th birthday. The website has been a source of local news in the Greater Manchester town since the site’s launch in June 1998. It claims to have an average of 160,000 visitors a month, up from 58,000 in 2011 (own figures), with news being its most popular section.
Behind closed doors: Are councils routinely abandoning meetings because of public dissent - or is it just Lambeth? Press Gazette feature
Reach has announced Bedfordshire Midweek will close later this month because the paper’s financial position is “no longer viable”. Midweek was launched after Reach’s forerunner Trinity Mirror shut Bedfordshire on Sunday after 40 years in print. The company said it made the publication date switch in a bid to reduce costs, has blamed the “accelerated” decline in print advertising for the decision to close the new title.
Reach has announced it will close the newsroom of the oldest newspaper in Wales after a review of “customer footfall” at the office. Staff at the weekly Carmarthen Journal, which was founded in 1810, have been told they can work from home or on patch after the closure of the town centre office in King Street.
Yorkshire Post and i publisher Johnston Press has said its group revenues are down 9 per cent for the first five months of the year.
The Ham and High newspaper, which has been published for nearly 150 years, no longer has its own dedicated editor after changes to the team at publisher Archant’s north London newsroom. The Hampstead and Highgate Express, and its two slip editions: the Wood and Vale, and the Ham and High Broadway, is now under the editorship of Hackney Gazette editor Ramzy Alwakeel. Alwakeel, who also edits the Islington Gazette and now the Brent and Kilburn Times, oversees all four titles in his new role as north London editor, effective as of last week. A merged team of seven reporters, including chief reporter Sam Gelder, and features editor Bridget Galton will work across the north London titles.
An independent publisher of three weekly newspapers has closed suddenly following the death of its owner and managing director. Taylor Newspapers published five weekly of the Oxfordshire Guardian, the Oxford Paper and the Basingstoke Observer, but all titles closed with immediate effect yesterday after the death of founder Howard Taylor. Taylor died unexpectedly on Friday last week aged 63.
Iliffe Media has announced it is buying the 164-year-old Newark Advertiser to add to its portfolio of newspapers spanning the Midlands.The Advertiser, which is owned by independent publisher the Advertiser Media Group, has provided news to the town of Newark, Nottinghamshire, since 1854. It has become the latest acquisition by regional publisher Iliffe Media, which bought 13 titles from Johnston Press in January last year and took over the KM Media Group a few months later in April.
STV will cut 34 news jobs as part of savings of £1m per year as the Scottish broadcaster launches a three-year restructure and growth plan. Another 25 jobs will be lost and a further £1m in annual savings made with the closure of the loss-making STV2 channel at the end of June, as STV shifts content investment online and sells local TV assets to That’s Media. Despite the job cuts, which is believed to include the entire digital reporting news team, STV is recruiting a new head of news “to lead this transformation”.
Tim Dixon, former Western Gazette and Western Daily Press editor, has launched the Paper for Honiton, a print-only weekly title covering the Devon town where he lives. After a free launch edition on 3 May, Dixon officially put the newspaper on sale for 50p on Thursday last week. By Monday afternoon, 700 copies had been sold, he said.
Paywalls have been going up across a number of news websites of late as publishers look to create a stable digital income separate from online advertising, where Facebook and Google are claiming the lion’s share. US news agency Bloomberg has become the latest major publication to charge readers to read its content online, expanding a metered paywall on Businessweek across all of Bloomberg.com.
10 May 2018
The NUJ has welcomed a report which has called on the Welsh government to fund public interest journalism, because the commercial model is failing.
The Walsall Advertiser and Great Barr Observer has ceased publication. Up to 11 editorial jobs were reported to be at risk as a result of the cuts – brought about as part of the company’s introduction of its new ‘Live’ newsroom model, which could result in almost 100 jobs lost across the country.
Regional news publisher Archant's total revenue fall 11 per cent to £95.5m in 2017, with the company blaming declining ad revenues and print readership for “disappointing” financial results. Operating profit was down by 44 per cent on a like-for-like basis to £4.7m at the company, which publishes more than 50 titles including Norfolk daily the Eastern Daily Press.
Trinity Mirror is closing the office of the Hertfordshire Mercury and Herts and Essex Observer newspapers, moving journalists to the Essex Live newsroom, in Chelmsford, some 30 miles away. The Press Gazette said it had been told that one senior multi-media journalist, one trainee reporter and one sports reporter would be made redundant from the Hertford office
Hartlepool Life’s owners have announced the launch of East Durham Life, to be available in areas of County Durham to the north and west of the original title’s circulation area. The East Durham title will have the same “positive news” stance as the Hartlepool weekly, with no crime or politics stories.
Trinity Mirror has announced 49 further job cuts as it continues the roll-out of its digital, "Live" brand. NUJ story
The Midlands News Association has launched a new weekly digest magazine for Shropshire, creating three new editorial jobs.
An independent publisher has launched a new paid-for weekly title aimed at people who “no longer feel they have time” for a daily newspaper. The Midland News Association’s Shropshire Weekly launches today, promising to offer “essential writing around life and culture in Shropshire and surrounding areas”. Four jobs have been created as a result of the launch, with the new paper due to be sold through retailers and postal home delivery at a cover price of £2.50
ABC figures show the Wigan Post saw its average circulation leap by 42 per cent in the period July to December 2017 and the Scotsman also posted an increase of 2 per cent, but the Yorkshire Post's circulation slumnped 29 per cent to 11,494. Full list
Local newspapers are viewed as three times more trustworthy than social media as a source of local news and information, a YouGov poll, commissioned by regional press industry marketing body Local Media Works, revealed that 74 per cent of respondents agreed that they trusted the news and information in their local newspaper. This compared with local commercial TV and local commercial radio, both at 73 per cent, search engines at 43 per cent, other wesbites at 39 per cent and social media at 22 per cent. A total of 2,131 people took part in the survey which was conducted at the beginning of last month.
Journalists on the Burton Mail have written an open letter to management and readers saying that Trinity Mirror’s plans to close its website and merge it with the new Derbyshire Live website will be huge mistake.The NUJ’s chapel said: “Our main concern is that the new website will be branded Derbyshire Live – while the town of Burton is in Staffordshire. The Burton Mail covers an area of East Staffordshire, north west Leicestershire and south Derbyshire with the majority of its content deriving from areas outside of Derbyshire.
Newspaper publishing giant Trinity Mirror has announced a further 49 redundancies. The specific details of the cuts and restructuring remain unclear. Nevertheless the cuts will have a major impact on already weakened newsrooms and four regions will be affected by the announcements so far. Bristol, Gloucester, Somerset and Dorset in the South West, the East Midlands, West Midlands and the North West of England will all be subjected to significant and harmful changes. The latest restructuring move arises from the roll-out of the Birmingham Live project.
The union has welcomed the government's announcement of a news and media review.
The NUJ has been pressing the government on this issue and called for a government-led inquiry during the union’s Local News Matters week of action in April 2017.
Johnston Press has increased the price of theBlackpool daily The Gazette and Yorkshire Evening Post by five pence, while three pence rises have been introduced at Portsmouth daily The News, the Sunderland Echo and Sheffield daily The Star. An increase of two pence has been made at the Edinburgh Evening News.
A company spokesman said the move will help pay for up to 60 new staff it is recruiting, although this figure also appeared to include journalists being recruited via the BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporter scheme.
Quarterly magazine the Bristol Cable has received a £100,000 grant for two years from investment firm the Omidyar Network. The community-owned title was launched in 2014 by three university friends and publishes a free quarterly magazine along with running local events and media training sessions. It has 1,900 contributing members and a “small team” of paid contributors and claims its mission is to support independent media.
Editor of the Ceredigion Herald, Thomas Sinclair, told Swansea crown court that the newspaper had been “killed off” as a result of his prosecution for identifying a sex offence victim. His conviction, which he is now appealing, followed a report on a voyeurism case which identified “familial links” between the victim and the defendant, potentially enabling the public to make a “jigsaw” identification.
The first edition of the Bridport Times has been produced as a sister title to the independent Sherborne Times, which was founded in 2008. Bridport was one of a number of towns in Devon, Dorset and Somerset hit by the closure of the weekly ‘View From’ series – which ceased publication earlier this month with the loss of around 20 jobs. A crowdfunding campaign has since been launched by Dorset-based marketing service the Poole Post to revive the series, which had a dedicated Bridport edition. Bridport is also served by the Newsquest-owned Bridport and Lyme Regis News which operates out of the Dorset Echo’s office in Weymouth. The Times, which is made up largely of lifestyle features, is free and will be published monthly.
Newsquest has announced that it will close the Chester edition of The Leader series three months after taking over the daily title. The regional publisher bought out NWN Media in September last year, assuming control of its 13 local news brands including The Leader which also has editions covering Wrexham and Flintshire. The closure comes after Newsquest opened a voluntary redundancy scheme to all editorial staff across former NWN media publications this month. The company has said that it could move to a compulsory selection process if there aren’t enough volunteers by the closing date of 19 January. The Mold-based Leader was first launched as an evening edition in 1973 before transitioning into a morning title. The final edition of the Chester Leader was printed on 29 December.
Newsquest has launched a VR scheme for staff working the former NWN Media titles which were taken over by the regional publisher last September. Newsquest has declined to mention how many redundancies it is aiming to make through the programme, but says all areas of the editorial department will be considered. Papers in the former NWN stable include Wrexham and Flintshire daily The Leader, as well as weekly titles the Chester Standard, South Wirral Standard, Oswestry & Border Counties Advertizer, Rhyl Journal, Powys County Times, Denbighshire Free Press, Whitchurch Herald, North Wales Pioneer and North Wales Chronicle. The opening of a voluntary redundancy scheme echoes a similar move made by Newsquest at the Isle of Wight County Press in November, which it bought in July.
The ‘View From’ series – which serve towns in Dorset, Devon and Somerset – has ceased publication with immediate effect due to “falling advertising revenue and the continued difficult trading climate”. It is understood around 20 staff have been made redundant as a result. The affected jobs are all based in Lyme Regis, while other editions cover Bridport, Dorchester, Weymouth, Axminster, Seaton, Honiton and South Somerset.The titles, which had a combined weekly distribution of 33,000, were purchased by Truro City Football Club chairman Peter Masters in July last year, following his buyout of the Liskeard-based Sunday Independent earlier in 2016. The Independent had ceased trading in April – eight months after the death of previous proprietor Brian Doel. Capital Media had owned the ‘View From’ titles for 18 months prior to the July takeover, having previously acquired them from Tindle Newspapers in a management buyout.
Trinity Mirror has confirmed the closure of the Ellesmere Port Pioneer following the “move to online news consumption”. Stories about the Cheshire town will now be covered by TM sister titles the Chester Chronicle and Liverpool Echo, while a dedicated Facebook channel for the Pioneer will remain open. The last edition of the paid-for Pioneerwas published on 27 December. TM has closed a number of other weekly papers in recent months – including free titles the Surrey & Hants Star Courier, Bristol Observer, Bedfordshire on Sunday, the Ely News, Haverhill News and Newmarket News. No jobs have been lost as a consequence of the closure.
Trinity Mirror is closing its Reading-based digital venture which it heralded as creating a “different future of regional publishing” after three years and is merging it into its new regional aggregation site. The publisher launched Getreading in December 2014, following the closure of three of its print publications in the Reading area: the Reading Post; Get Reading and the Wokingham and the Bracknell Times, with the loss of 17 editorial roles. GetReading will continue as a brand on Facebook and Twitter.
The first edition of Beverley Life hit the streets yesterday, after being set up following the closure of Trinity Mirror’s Beverley Advertiser the week before Christmas. The monthly free paper has been launched by Driffield & Wolds Weekly founder Andy Stabler and will circulate in Beverley, Cottingham and their surrounding villages.
The entrepreneurial team behind two hyperlocal free London papers are to launch a third one in Lewisham, pledging to hold the local “council to account” and give the community “a voice and platform”. Freelance journalist Kate White and Mark McGinlay, a social media manager, who live in Catford, Lewisham, are the brains behind the Lewisham Ledger, a title which will be published six times a year and run to at least 24 pages. Like sister titles the Peckham Peculiar and Dulwich Diverter, the paper will cover a blend of local human interest stories, interviews, and endeavour to hold the local council to account.
Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser have begun two days of strike action. The industrial action was called as part of a dispute over low pay and working conditions at the Newsquest-owned regional daily newspaper. Strike news
The Aberdeen Press & Journal (P&J) and Dundee-based The Courier, have increased their cover prices by 10p more, citing a “challenging market”.
Journalists working for Newsquest in Darlington have voted for industrial action. The NUJ members balloted work on the Northern Echo, Darlington and Stockton Times, Durham Times and the Advertiser series.
Newsquest Christmas cuts & redundancy as boss pockets £1m-plus: Details of the cuts
The last edition of the Southern Daily Echo’s Sports Pink came out on Saturday after 119 years in print. The closure of the Southampton-based Pink means the Sports Mail, published by The News in nearby Portsmouth, is the last Saturday sports paper in the country. The Mail had itself ceased publication in October 2012, but was revived 10 months later in response to reader demand
Peter John, who edited the Worcester News for the past six years and is regional editor for the company’s Midlands South and Gloucestershire division was told he was being made redundant just prior to the news editorial staff’s Christmas meal. Over the past month, Newsquest had made a series of job loss announcements at other publishing centres including Blackburn, Bolton, Bradford, Gloucestershire, Oxford, Wiltshire and York, with a total of 34 editorial roles, including Peter’s, set to be lost
BuzzFeed is to cut 45 of its 140 staff in London, including 24 journalists who face redundancy. These cuts are a major blow not only to the staff who face redundancy, but to the whole media industry. BuzzFeed, an international news and entertainments website, was a bright upstart in digital news media, billing itself as the "media company for the social age" and has had a number of influential backers and funders, including Comcast's NBC Universal, which invested £300m last year.
Newsquest Hampshire has launched a new weekly title serving the town and surrounding communities of Eastleigh. The Eastleigh Times replaces the former Eastleigh News Extra and is distributed door to door but can also be bought in some outlets for 40p. It is produced by existing journalists based at the Southampton offices of the Daily Echo.
Eight more journalists working on Newsquest newspapers are at risk of redundancy. Five newsdesk staff at the Bradford Telegraph & Argus are to be cut to three, while three senior staff working on the Craven Herald and Ilkley Gazette will be reduced to two.
Trinity Mirror has launched the digital-only Leeds Live in the Yorkshire city, home of Johnston Press flagship dailies the Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post.The site will be overseen by Wayne Ankers, editor of the Huddersfield Daily Examiner and Ed Walker, editor (digital) for Trinity Mirror Regionals. They will be supported by a five-strong team of journalists who have all been recruited from other Trinity Mirror titles.
In Scotland, Johnston Press had threatened to close 24 titles across Scotland, but NUJ negotiations saved the
titles, with 20 voluntary redundancies. The union also won some members a pay rise of between £1,000 and £3,000, following a restructuring. MPs in Scotland voiced concerns about cuts to Newsquest and Johnston Press titles, the loss of editors at The Herald and Evening Times and bullying of staff.
Newsquest is seeking to make three roles redundant at the Northern Echo’s offices in Darlington. HTFP understands three newsdesk positions at the regional daily will be reduced to one under the proposals, while one of two copy editor roles working on associated weekly titles the Darlington & Stockton Times and the Despatch series is also under threat. Newsquest relaunched the Despatch as a weekly in October, more than 30 years after it was last published as an evening sister title to the Echo.
Newsquest confirmed it is making redundancies in the advertisement creation department at NWN Media in Mold, North Wales. It is understood 20 roles are at risk at NWN, which the company purchased in September, with production being moved to Oxford.
Newsquest is planning to shut the office of the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, in Cirencester, while four jobs are also at risk in the South-West of England. The company has also opened a voluntary redundancy scheme at the Isle of Wight County Press, which it purchased in July.
Trinity Mirror says the Surrey & Hants Star Courier will cease publication at the end of the month. There are no job losses as a result of the closure. The closure follows that of Get Hampshire, which was the companion website to the Star Courier and sister title the Aldershot News and Mail until it closed in July. The Star Courier is the latest in a string of Trinity Mirror free titles to close in recent months, including the Bristol Observer, Bedfordshire on Sunday, the Ely News, Haverhill News and Newmarket News. The Bedfordshire title has since been replaced by a new free print product called Bedfordshire Midweek.
Herald editor Graeme Smith and Evening Times editor Graham Shields are to leave Newsquest newspapers on 22 December after 17 years and 19 years of service respectively. Donald Martin, former editor of the Sunday Post will edit both newspapers.
Trinity Mirror has confirmed the Bristol Observer will go to print for the last time on 30 November. It is the fifth weekly title to be closed by TM in recent months – after Bedfordshire on Sunday, the Ely News, Haverhill News and Newmarket News. although the Bedfordshire title has since been replaced by a new free print product called Bedfordshire Midweek. No staff roles are at risk as a result of the closure of the Observer, which operated as a free companion title to city daily the Bristol Post.
The Ramsey & Warboys Reporter, which covered central Cambridgeshire since July 2015, is to close owing to the publisher's ill-health. Maurice Kendrick, a former Local World account executive, said he was “unable to further commit physically” to the Reporter. The paper had been run as a not-for-profit community interest company and had a circulation of 7,000 copies per month.
The Oldham Evening Chronicle’s new owner has said it is unlikely the newspaper will publish again this year and that the former daily title could return as a twice-weekly publication. Plans to return the paper to newsagents’ shelves “as soon as possible” have since cooled after a number of rival titles sprang up in its absence. Both Newsquest and Quest Media have launched weekly newspapers serving the town in Greater Manchester, while daily the Manchester Evening News has created a new Oldham edition.
Newsquest daily the Northern Echo has announced the return of its former evening sister title the Northern Despatch, which was first published the day after the First World War broke out. Its last edition ran on 18 April 1986, but the Echo will now bring a “part-paid, part-free” newspaper bearing the Despatch name out every Wednesday. It will serve Darlington, where the Echo is based, as well as towns in the southern part of County Durham including Bishop Auckland, Spennymoor, Newton Aycliffe and Willington.
Around half of London's boroughs have just one dedicated local reporter while two have no weekly newspaper at all. Press Gazette report.
Local radio station Revolution 96.2 has bought the Oldham Chronicle, which ceased publication in August with the loss of 49 jobs, when its parent company, Hirst Kidd and Rennie, went into administration. The independent station has also purchased the rights to a series of monthly sister titles including The Oldham Extra, Saddleworth Extra, Tameside Extra and the Dale Times and the quarterly magazines Oldham Business Edge, The Knowledge and Primary Knowledge. The deal opens up the prospect of a four-way battle for readers in the North West town, where three rival publishers launch new titles or editions since the Chronicle’s closure.
Johnston Press announced that it is to cut eight full-time equivalent editorial posts from six commercially poorly performing weekly titles in the North West. The titles in question were not revealed to staff by management for commercial reasons, initially leaving many workers in the dark. Management believes new 40-page templates proposed for the poorly performing weekly titles will free up time for remaining staff to carry out more digital work. NUJ chapel members said staffing levels are already at critically low levels.
Iliffe Media has launched a second weekly independent newspaper title, which will cover Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, following the launch of the Cambridge Independent last year. The Bishop’s Stortford Independent will cost 80p. The title has six full-time staff and one part-time.
Johnston Press has let down its readers in Doncaster by moving its newspaper, the Doncaster Free Press, out of the town after almost a century. The journalists will now work from home or commute 17 miles to an office in Sheffield.
The NUJ welcomed the Welsh government's two-year grant of £200,000 for hyperlocals, but said there should be safeguards on quality and independence and the scheme must provide an opportunity for journalists who have recently been made redundant.
Newsquest has stepped in to take over NWN Media, an independent publisher of titles including one daily and number of weeklies in north and mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire. This follows its purchase of the independent Isle of Wight County Press in July.The titles include the daily The Leader, which publishes in Wrexham and Flintshire, and weeklies including the Chester Standard, South Wirral Standard, Oswestry & Border Counties Advertizer, Rhyl Journal, Powys County Times, Denbighshire Free Press, Whitchurch Herald, North Wales Pioneer and North Wales Chronicle. NWN Media is based in Mold, near Wrexham, and employs around 300 people.
The Banbury Cake, a free weekly, has stopped printing after 40 years. Newsquest is continuing to cover news in the Oxfordshire town through the title’s website, which Press Gazette understands is to be “developed further” in the coming weeks. The paper distributed about 53,000 copies a week in the 1980s. Full-year ABC figures for 2015, the latest available for the Cake, showed it had an average print distribution of just over 13,000 copies, down from more than 34,000 at the turn of the millennium. Last year, the paper stopped being distributed to homes and was left to pick-ups in supermarkets and newsagents
The Midland News Association says it will publish the final edition of the Kidderminster Express & Star on 30 November. The Kidderminster edition of the Wolverhampton-based daily was launched in 2012 after the MNA closed free weekly the Kidderminster Chronicle. It has been distributed in the Worcestershire town for free once a week since its launch.
Archant’s interim financial results for the first half of 2017 declared profits down 46 per cent year-on-year. The group said it had cut almost 100 staff (a 7 per cent drop) since the start of the year to more than 1,250 full-time equivalent employees.
Oldham has a second new weekly newspaper following the closure of its daily title – the Oldham Chronicle – on 31 August. The Oldham Reporter has been launched by Quest Media which publishes the Tameside Reporter covering the neighbouring metropolitan borough to Oldham – and it has a cover price of 50p. Newsquest has launched the Oldham Times, which has a cover price of 80p and four editorial staff. Trinity Mirror has also upped its coverage of the area with a new localised daily Oldham edition of the Manchester Evening News. Oldham is eight miles away from Manchester City Centre.
Johnston Press is piloting the so-called “metered registration” system on three of its newspaper websites – the Sunderland Echo, the Derbyshire Times and the Doncaster Free Press. Although there will be no paywall imposed, the system of registration will activate once a certain number of articles have been read. Thereafter, readers will have to sign-up in order to continue getting free access to content.
Trinity Mirror has put 10 jobs at risk at the Birmingham Mail and will merge the news and features team and rebrand the website re-branded as Birmingham Live. The company plans remained vague and unclear but the union has estimated more than 20 per cent of editorial and production staff will be axed. Only last month Press Gazette reported the ABC figures showed the Birmingham Mail was among the most successful regional daily websites with a 52 per cent increase year-on-year in the average number of daily browsers online. Members of the National Union of Journalists chapel at the Birmingham Mail voted for a no confidence motion in editor Marc Reeves and warned they will hold a strike vote if compulsory redundancies are made. A Trinity Mirror source told the PG that up to seven staff would go with more jobs created.
A Press Gazette report said it understood that about half-a-dozen subbing and production jobs are to go at Trinity Mirror’s subbing hub in Truro, Cornwall, with most of the work moving to its offices in Plymouth. That would leave one sub for each remaining title in Truro, which produces the Cornish Guardian, The Cornishman and The West Briton – all of which were formerly owned by Local World.
Trinity Mirror has announced it is cutting up to 40 jobs in daily and weekly local newspapers. The company’s proposals include greater regionalisation, cuts to print production, and expanding generic content across newspapers. Specific proposals include increasing standardisation, shared content and design across all titles, and using centrally-produced national and international news pages supplied by the Press Association. The company said it intends to "ramp up" and recruit "new community content curators", develop a "regionalised production approach", and "end print production" in specific areas. The restructuring plans also include creating up to 15 new roles but the details remain unclear. In the North West of England the company has announced it will discontinue print production in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. This will be replaced with two sites based in Liverpool and Colwyn Bay. The company has indicated its intention to move to just one site in Liverpool in future and this will cover all local newspaper print production in the North West. Messages sent to staff yesterday announced ending print production in Chester by October, establishing a regional centre in the East Midlands resulting in redundancies in Leicester, plus further cuts in Huddersfield, Newcastle, Coventry and Birmingham. It has also been confirmed that up to 5 print production roles could be lost in Cheltenham.
Trinity Mirror is turning tow dailies, The Cheltenham-based Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo, into weeklies with the loss of five jobs as it says the titles’ readership is increasingly online and not in print. The paid-for titles, along with the Gloucestershire Live website, are published by Gloucestershire Media (part of Trinity Mirror) which said it will launch a Gloucestershire edition of the Western Daily Press to serve the area on daily basis in print.
Trinity Mirror's Bedfordshire on Sunday has been moved to midweek and its website closed, plus it has closed three weekly titles in Cambridgeshire, the Newmarket News, Haverhill News and Ely News. Some job roles were put at risk as a result of the closures, with new ones being created. Bedfordshire on Sunday is one of a number of former Local World titles bought by Trinity Mirror at the end of 2015 which have been subject to drastic cutbacks. OneMk, Luton on Sunday, the Northampton Herald and Post, Nuneaton News, Newmarket News, Haverhill News and Ely News are among the former Local World titles to have been axed by Trinity Mirror.
Trinity Mirror has announced it is to close the Canterbury Times in Kent, claiming the title is “no longer commercially sustainable”. As well as Canterbury, the Times also publishes editions covering Whitsable, Herne Bay and Faversham which are also to close. The UK’s largest regional publisher said the areas covered by the papers would continue to be served by the kentlive.news website. There will be no job losses as a result of the closure, according to a spokesperson.
The Oldham Evening Chronicle, a .daily, has ceased production after 163 years with the majority of its 49 staff being made redundant, KPMG has announced. The move also affects monthly free titles the Oldham Extra, Saddleworth Extra, Tameside Extra and the Dale Times, and quarterly A4 magazines Oldham Business Edge, The Knowledge and Primary KnowledgeThe Chronicle was first published in 1854 and was one of the few regional dailies still printed on the day of publication rather than overnight. The administrators are to seek a buyer for the paper, but efforts so far have been unsuccessful.
Archant is proposing to centralise part of the content operation for its series of ‘Life’ regional interest magazines across the country. Each magazine will use 15 per cent of shared content from the hub to be chosen by local editors and “customised locally” depending on their title’s requirements. The proposal will create one new role, a part-time editorial assistant who will work four days a week and puts five roles at the risk of redundancy. If the proposal goes ahead, Archant anticipates the new hub will be operational by October, with the shared content system beginning from the January 2018 issues.
Up to eight jobs are under threat as part of a restructure affecting around 14 weekly Johnston Press titles in Northern Ireland. The weekly papers include the Ballymena Times, Ballymoney and Moyle Times, Banbridge Leader, Belfast News, Carrick Times, Coleraine Times, Mid-Ulster Mail, Tyrone Times, Newtownabbey Times, Larne Times, Lisburn Echo, Ulster Star, Londonderry Sentinel and Lurgan Mail. The weeklies will now be published to strict templates under the same basic 48-page format.
Trinity Mirror has confirmed it will close the Ely News, Haverhill News and Newmarket News at the end of next month. Bedfordshire on Sunday will become a midweek free paper and its companion website will be closed in early October. A letter from Simon Edgley, managing director (South East & Central & East), said: "Regrettably this means a number of roles will be at risk of redundancy."
There was double-figure year-on-year circulation decline for more than half of the 37 daily regional newspapers audited, including the Liverpool Echo, Yorkshire Post and Birmingham Mail. Among those worst hit were the Manchester Evening News, down 19 per cent year-on-year to 42,285, and the Carlisle News & Star West, also down 19 per cent year-on-year to 2,256. The Scotsman and the Irish News were the only daily regional newspapers to increase their circulations in June, new six-monthly ABC figures show. The Johnston Press-owned Scotsman, which marked its 200th anniversary this year, boosted its combined circulation to 21,214 – up 9 per cent on December (the last reported period) and 4.5 per cent year-on-year. When bulks are removed, the title’s period-to-period growth dropped to 8 per cent and its circulation fell to -5 per cent year-on-year. The Express & Star (West Midlands) is still the UK’s best-selling regional daily at 51,722, down 13.4 per cent year-on-year. Full list of figures.
Archant has described the first half of 2017 as “arguably one of the most difficult starts to the year for almost ten years” as it declared profits down 46 per cent year-on-year. Chairman of the board Simon Bax said the group made £2.3m in profit over the period, despite cost savings of £3.4m. The group cut almost 100 staff (a 7 per cent drop) since the start of the year to more than 1,250 full-time equivalent employees and noted the closure of “loss-making titles”.
The National Union of Journalists has welcomed a report by the London's Assembly's economic committee which calls on the Mayor of London to show real leadership in standing up for local news as local newspapers become "an endangered species" https://www.nuj.org.uk/news/london-mayor-must-act-to-stop-the-capitals-press-becoming-an/
The independent weekly Cleethorpes Chronicle has published its last edition after nine years in business, blaming “tough trading conditions” and a “shrinking advertising market” for the decision. Five full-time equivalent editorial staff are affected by the paper’s closure, along with four commercial staff. The Chronicle was set up in March 2008 as paid-for weekly.
Archant is planning to sell its local TV service, putting staff at risk of redundancy, as the regional publisher’s chief executive admits the station has not been in profit since launching three years ago. Proposals are to sell Mustard TV to That’s TV Group, which claims to be the UK’s largest local TV licence operator, in exchange for a stake in the business – making Archant a minority shareholder.
Trinity Mirror has announced Richard Duxbury, Michelle Gesell and David Simms will finish their roles at the end of the month as part of a move which will see the remaining regional MDs take on responsibility for larger regions. The East and West Midlands regions, for which David and Michelle are responsible respectively, will now be merged with the Avon area of the company’s South-West operation. The newly created region will be overseen by Sarah Pullen, who is currently MD of TM’s South West region and was last month unveiled as the company’s commercial director.
The future of The Wharf newspaper, Trinity Mirror’s local title covering Canary Wharf and the Docklands area, is under review, Press Gazette has learned. The free weekly newspaper and associated website at wharf.co.uk report on the area where Trinity Mirror’s head offices – and news teams for its national Mirror titles – are based (as well as The Wharf itself).
Gannett UK made a profit after tax of £44.81 million in 2016. This compares with the company's paper loss of £178 million in 2015. The new figures show Newsquest Media Group made an operating profit of £31.2 million in 2016, turning round a restated £47.2 million loss previously. The latest accounts also report that "the company’s debt of £390m has been repaid". The highest paid director, Henry Faure Walker, was paid £479,746 in 2016 (described in the accounts as "emoluments"). He also received £16,925 pension payments. Using these figures (and not including bonus payments or shares) the NUJ has calculated that Henry Faure Walker "hourly rate" for his job on this basis was £254.
The Dungannon Herald in Northern Ireland published its first edition yesterday, plugging a local news gap left behind by paper closures. The new weekly’s launch follows the closure of the Dungannon Observer in April, along with 10 other Observer Newspaper NI titles. Nigel McDonagh, editor of the Herald, pledged to give a voice back to the local community, with copies of the paper on sale in Dungannon and the wider South and East Tyrone area.
Understaffing is affecting the quality of Johnston Press’s newspapers and websites and putting undue pressure on staff, its NUJ chapels have told the company. When interim half-year figures were published, chief executive Ashley Highfield said the business had responded to "challenging" trading conditions and posted revenue growth, excluding classifieds, as a result of its "substantial efforts and clear strategic focus". But behind the scenes there is widespread discontent among the company’s journalists whose pay has been frozen as staff cuts have increased workloads, leaving many unable to take leave or time owed. Analysis of the company’s 2016 results showed the amount of revenue generated per employee, based on total headcount, had risen from £85,246 in 2015 to £89,294 in 2016. NUJ Johnston Press chapel responds to latest company figures
The founder of a new newspaper focusing on community and human interest stories says she is not aiming to compete with established titles on her patch – and has set her sights on UK-wide expansion. The Brighton Beezer which is to be published every two months, is the brainchild of Ilana Fox, who has worked at national titles including the Daily Mail and The Sun. “There’s no news, no politics, no events,” she said. “It’s much more about local people and their thoughts about the city, their dreams, their likes and their dislikes."
Johnston Press in its half-year interim financial report disclosed the group closed four titles in the first half of the year and sold 13 publishing titles and associated websites in East Anglia and the East Midlands to Iliffe Media for £17m in January.
Haverhill Echo reporters have been housed in the Bury St Edmunds offices of sister title the Bury Free Press since their own headquarters were closed in August 2012. Now Iliffe Media, which bought both the Echo and the Free Press as part of a £17m deal with Johnston Press earlier this year, has returned staff to their patch.
As shareholders at Trinity Mirror can look forward to a dividend pay-out of 7.1 per cent and the company forecasts a profit of 19.6 per cent, the NUJ is asking why staff have been offered a one per cent rise, essentially a pay cut. In its interim half-year figures the company said it had made £10m structural savings and intended to increase its cost savings target for the year to £20m. The report said: "Strong management of the cost base limited the decline in adjusted operating profit to 9.4 per cent or £6.5 million despite revenue falling by 14.6 per cent or £54.7 million. Adjusted operating margin increased by 1.2 percentage points to 19.6 per cent. Like for like revenue fell by 9.3per cent or £32.9 million."
Trinity Mirror is shutting two county-wide news websites, Get Hampshire and Get Bucks which covers Buckinghamshire, saying they lack the readership to sufficiently match the company’s “digital revenue ambitions”.
The NUJ has called on Sadiq Kahn, the London mayor, to step in as seven titles in north London, owned by Tindle, have been closed, plunging the capital's local news provision into a deeper crisis. The company has closed the newspapers and websites of the Enfield Advertiser & Gazette, the Haringey Advertiser, The Barnet & Potters Bar Free Press, The Hendon Finchley and Edgware Press, The Edgware and Mill Press, the Edmonton Advertiser & Herald, The Winchmore Hill Advertiser and Herald and The East Barnet Press and Advertiser, with the loss of six editorial jobs. The staff had been responsible for producing the Chingford Times, which was shut two months ago. The Tindle closures came hard on the heels of Capital Media Newspapers, owners of the South London Press (SLP), Greenwich Mercury and weekly titles in west London, going into administration. A buyer for the SLP and Mercury has been found, but the Kensington & Chelsea News, Fulham Chronicle, Hammersmith Chronicle and Shepherd’s Bush Chronicle face closure.
NUJ officials and Johnston Press Mother/Father of the Chapels (workplace union representatives) have opened formal talks with Johnston Press management over proposals which could mean the loss of 25 editorial posts across Scottish titles. Johnston Press has said loss of advertising revenue to the likes of Google and Facebook is behind its decision.
The local newspaper for Kensington, scene of the Grenfell tower disaster, is one of five London local newspapers facing possible closure after going into administration. The title’s owner, Capital Media Newspapers, has gone into administration. The other titles in the group which are under threat of closure unless a buyer can be found are: the Fulham Chronicle, Hammersmith Chronicle and Shepherd’s Bush Chronicle. In April Capital Media closed the Westminster News, leaving the Camden New Journal’s free West End Extra as the only local newspaper covering the borough.
The owner of the Sunday Independent, who saved the weekly paper from closure in April, has taken over eight local newspapers and three local magazines serving the West Country. He has expanded his operations by acquiring the View From series of papers, which serve Dorset, Devon and Somerset, and Experience magazines from owners Capital Media Newspapers. The titles are produced in Lyme Regis, West Dorset, with a team of 31 people – including about 18 editorial staff – with no plans for any redundancies, Peter Masters told Press Gazette.
Seven journalists are facing redundancy as Trinity Mirror looks to restructure the design and features team at daily newspaper the Cambridge News. Four design roles and three features roles are at risk under the plans. The restructure will merge the Cambridge Magazine and Cambridge Business Magazine into a single title.
Newsquest has completed its takeover of the Isle of Wight County Press, despite calls for the deal to be delayed while alternative management options are developed for the independent publisher. The NUJ chapel said experience showed the sorry fate of publications taken over by the American-owned newspaper group. They feared the island will lose its independent press and that Newsquest will cut jobs and prevent reporters from being able to provide readers with the detailed, well researched news articles, sports coverage, features and community news they currently provide.
Johnston Press has increased the cover prices of 41 of its newspapers. The titles affected were in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland and included the regional daily Wigan Post along with 40 weekly newspapers.The price increased from between 10p and 20p. JP said the changes were driven by a need for the titles to “remain viable in print,” but the National Federation of Retail Newsagents said it was “absolutely livid” at the move which it claimed reduced margins for its members.
Johnston Press has merged the Hemel Express, Berkhamsted & Tring Gazette and Hemel Hempstead Gazette have merged to form one title, the Hemel Hempstead Gazette & Express. In October 2015 the Johnston Press merged the Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News to form a single weekly and it did the same to the Dewsbury Reporter and Mirfield Reporter.
The Louth Leader has left its town centre office for a new home a mile and a half away. It has moved to the the Lincolnshire town’s Fairfield Industrial estate. The Leader had previously been based on Eastgate, in Louth town centre.
Archant is to stop the publication of four luxury lifestyle magazines in London. The monthly free titles are part of publisher’s The Resident magazine brand, which are distributed in the capital’s affluent areas. The Westside Resident (covering Ealing), The Barnes & Richmond Resident and The Angel Resident (covering Islington, Angel, Camden, Hackney and Shoreditch) will all stop publishing this month.
Local media should benefit from Newsquest's £245,000 refund to Welsh government, the NUJ said, as the publisher paid back the grant it was given to expand the sub-editing hub in Newport, but then closed down the hub, which at its peak employed 70 people, sacking the remaining 14 staff.
Six sister Johnston Press weeklies, Arbroath Herald, Brechin Advertiser, Forfar Dispatch, Guide & Gazette, Kirriemuir Herald and Montrose Review, have removed all editorial content from their websites in a bid to drive traffic to their social media channels. Readers visiting the websites are now greeted with a homepage offering six different options. Links allow visitors to go directly to the relevant title’s Facebook page, subscribe to the newspaper and email its staff.
The North West Evening Mail and Carlisle News & Star, both owned by the Cumbrian-based CN Group, have called for donations to help them “fight fake news and keep impartial local journalism free for all”. Readers are encouraged to make a “financial contribution”, ranging from a minimum of £5 to a maximum of £1,000, as the publisher looks for a “return” on its “investment” in “local teams”.
Despite launching only eight months ago, the Cambridge Independent has already made a name for itself as a title that is investing in quality journalism amid heavy cutbacks across the local news industry. Owners Iliffe Media, headed by Edward Iliffe, have been rapidly expanding in recent months, acquiring the Kent Messenger Group, 13 local papers from rival Johnston Press and two new magazines. The Cambridge Independent was named Weekly Newspaper of the Year (below 15,000 copies) at the Society of Editors’ Regional Press Awards.
Thirty journalists from across Trinity Mirror’s regional newspapers have volunteered to help relieve staff at the Manchester Evening News who have been working “round the clock” since the bomb attack in the city.
The Woking News & Mail was first published in 1894 but written off by Guardian Media Group, alongside free sister paper the Woking Review, was has found a profitable future as an independent title since being bought by local businessman Philip Davies in 2011. It employs eight part-time staff and is in profit. After relaunching initially as a monthly, it went fortnightly and then back to weekly distribution.
After closing its subbing hub in Newport, Newsquest is stopping production in Weymouth ending what the NUJ has called a monumentally-mistaken policy. In a letter to staff, Carl Blackmore, regional production manager, said 17 full time equivalent staff have been put at risk of redundancy, including copy-editors and regional co-ordinator roles. He said editing work will cease at the end of June. The final 14 journalists working in Newport were told they were being made redundant in March. The centre had employed 70 people.
Justice is not being seen to be done because press seats in courts are almost always empty, a senior barrister has suggested. Court reporters are in decline and may soon be “largely a thing of the past”, according to Bar Council chairman Andrew Langdon QC. The public is getting “no professional narrative” of the “way we arrive at justice”, he warned in an article in the latest issue of Counsel, the Bar Council’s monthly magazine.
Iliffe Media has continued its regional press expansion by purchasing fellow independent publisher the KM Group. It will take over the Kent-based KM’s 13 weekly newspapers, the Kent Online news website and radio station kmfm. The deal represents the latest stage in the expansion of Iliffe Media, following the launch of the Cambridge Independent in 2016 and the acquisition of 13 titles from Johnston Press earlier this year. The media brands include the Kent Messenger and Kentish Gazette newspapers, as well as regional news site Kent Online, radio station kmfm and TV channel KMTV. The deal enabled KM to resolve the long-standing issues surrounding its closed final salary pension scheme.
The Local Voice Network has launched two new editions, the St George & Redfield Voice and Thornbury Voice, of its monthly newspaper series and now runs 15 print titles in the Bristol area. The free Voice series delivers more than 136,000 copies each month to households and businesses across the city and surrounding area, after being set up by former Bristol Post assistant editor Richard Coulter and advertising manager Emma Cooper in 2011.
The only local newspaper dedicated to covering the London borough of Westminster has closed. The weekly newspaper revived two-and-a-half years ago has closed 15 months after its ownership changed hands in a management buyout. Capital Media has announced the closure of the Westminster & Pimlico News, which is part of the London Weekly News group of newspapers, with the company dispensing with a team of freelance contributors. Capital claimed free distribution in Westminster was “extremely difficult”, adding that it had decided to concentrate its efforts on its other Weekly News titles – the Kensington & Chelsea News, Fulham Chronicle, Hammersmith Chronicle and Shepherd’s Bush Chronicle. The company announced the editorial operation of the Weekly News will move to the office of the South London Press, with news editor Geoff Baker, a freelance, among those to losing their jobs. The Westminster & Pimlico News was first established in 1857 and was revived as a brand, along with the Kensington and Chelsea News, by Tindle Newspapers in November 2014. Tindle later sold the titles, along with several others in London and Dorset, to Capital in January 2016. Capital was formed by Tindle executives Philip Evans, Karen Sheppard and Hannah Walker, who each own a 30 per cent share in the company, with Tindle founder Sir Ray Tindle owning 10 per cent.
Steve Scoles has established a free monthly magazine for Northamptonshire, The NeneQuirer (or NQ) magazine, after Trinity Mirror closed the weekly Northamptonshire Herald & Post, where he was editor for three years, in November. He said: “Big media has not served Northamptonshire well over the years. The major local newspaper publishers have reduced or removed their offer to the extent that a network of towns that used to receive a daily paper and at least one weekly free now only have one weekly paid-for in the market place. People tend to think this is some kind of inevitable dinosaur moment for print publications, but on the inside of these big companies the strategies are all about what is the easiest way to capture the most revenue for the least effort.” The NQ launched on Easter weekend will include long-read articles and columns focused on people and organisations in the county, with local news, culture and sport covered.
Two local newspapers and a county-wide website have ceased publication after the sudden death of the journalist-turned-entrepreneur who founded them. Martin Regan, who died unexpectedly in hospital on 4 April, founded the regional website Cheshire Today in 2013 and followed up with the launch of fortnightly print titles Macclesfield Today and Wilmslow Today.
The Sunday Independent ceased trading two weeks ago after more than 200 years in print, but now the title, based in the Cornish town of Liskeard, has revealed it will be up and running again in time for this coming Sunday. West Country businessman Peter Masters, who is chairman and co-owner of Truro City Football Club, has been unveiled as the Independent’s new proprietor. Seventeen jobs have been saved as a result of the paper’s revival. Following the takeover, the Independent will go on sale at £1.20 each week – 20p more than previously.
Observer Newspapers, a series of 11 titles in Northern Ireland, has announced its closure due to a “steady decline in advertising and readership”. The series was based in Dungannon, County Tyrone, and was owned by the Mallon family. Its newspapers circulated across seven counties in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The titles closing are the Armagh Observer, Armagh-Down Observer, Ballymena Chronicle, Dundalk Advertiser, Dungannon Observer, Fermanagh News, Lurgan and Portadown Examiner, Mid-Ulster Observer, Newry Advertiser, The Democrat and Ulster Farmer.
Hartlepool Life has been created by former Hartlepool Mail news editor Steve Hartley, picture editor Dirk Van Der Werff and newspaper sales manager Paul Healey, along with two local businessmen, after conceiving the idea at a monthly get-together of ex-Mail employees. The free weekly, which comes out every Wednesday, pledges to focus on good news about people, businesses and schools in the Hartlepool area.
6 April 2017
Newsquest titles in the Midlands, including one singled out for praise by Sajid Javid, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, face a new set of cuts and redundancies. The office in Stourbridge produces six titles, the Stourbridge News, Halesowen News, Dudley News, Kidderminster Shuttle, Bromsgrove Advertiser and Redditch Advertiser. It is proposed that three of the 11 reporters, including three trainees, will be put at risk of redundancy, plus one of two part-time content managers. Separately, but as part of the same publishing unit, it is understood the company apparently wants to cut two content manager jobs at Worcester where the daily the Worcester News and a series of weeklies are produced. It was only last September that the company announced it wanted to make two reporting roles redundant at Stourbridge and made other cuts at Worcester. The chapel put forward successful alternatives which eliminated the need for a compulsory redundancy at Stourbridge and one journalist took voluntary redundancy.
The Sunday Independent, which has served the Plymouth area for more than 200 years, has ceased trading. The Cornish-based newspaper specialised in local sport and covered a news patch stretching from Bristol to Land's End. Around 20 people will lose their jobs as a result of the move, which was announced to staff this morning. The paper has been in existence since 1808, and previous proprietor Brian Doel died last August. Editor John Collings, who has been at the helm since 1988, said: "Last Sunday's Indy was the last one. That is, unless somebody comes over the horizon on a white horse."
Regional publisher CN Group has made group editorial director David Helliwell redundant. Editorial teams will now report to group development director Jonathan Lee. Carlisle-based CN Group has 11 news and magazine titles, including daily the News and Star which has a total daily circulation of 9,365 copies across two editions covering east and west Cumbria.
MPs queued up to support the NUJ's call for a short, sharp inquiry into the future of local and regional news during a debate in Parliament during the union's Local News Matters Week. Report on the debate
Journalists at the Brighton Argus, which has changed editors three times in as many months, have just taken part in a survey about workplace stress, with most results showing the highest-risk score of "red". Initial results of the survey.
A survey by the National Union of Journalists has revealed that the BBC has closed more than 20 district offices in the past 10 years leading to many parts of the country receiving an inadequate news service. The BBC plans to shut most of the remaining district offices as part of a cost-cutting measure. The survey found that once the office is closed, the designated reporter post for that area soon disappears. As £15m cuts must be made to the English regions buget of £150m, more are expectd to go. Survey results.
Former Local World titles are set to lose their publicly-accessible online archives when their websites are upgraded, Trinity Mirror has confirmed. The upgrades – which have already taken place at titles including the Bristol Post, Cambridge News and newly-created county-wide sites such as Kent Live – involve switching to a new content management system, with past attempts to migrate the archives having led to reader complaints. However, the pubsisher says archived stories can still be accessed by reporters working at the affected titles.
Johnston Press, publisher of the national i, and 200 regional publications, including the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, has announced a £300m pre-tax loss in 2016 and a writedown of its titles. The NUJ said journalists on the ground are bearing the brunt of continuing budget cuts while questioning the strategy of the newspaper group's chief executive officer Ashley Highfield. He cited falling advertising following Brexit for the loss of revenues, which dropped by 8 per cent to £222.7m last year. The company’s net debt increased from £179m to £203.9m last year. The company said it had saved 26m in 2016 and a total of 100m since 2012.
The NUJ has launched a campaign for greater transparency among local authorities in Ireland, North and South. The 'Access All Areas' campaign will include a survey to establish the level of so called 'in committee' meetings held by city and county councils. Local authorities frequently exclude the press and the public from their deliberations by going into 'committee', sometimes referred to as 'in camera'.
The majority of people in the UK (58%) no longer have a local daily newspaper, 45 per cent of local authority districts are served by a single publisher and more than 418 journalist jobs have been cut in the past 17 months, research launched during the National Union of Journalists' Local News Matters Week has revealed.
Mapping changes in local news 2015-2017. More bad news for democracy?, a follow up to a report on the UK's regional newspapers published in May last year, showed a net loss of nine titles between November 2015 and March 2017, with 22 titles closing and 13 launching. More details of research
Members of the Welsh Assembly have marked the beginning of the National Union of Journalists' Local News Matters Week with a statement of opinion, calling on local newspapers to be made community assets. And in a debate later this week in Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, will call for an inquiry into the future of Welsh print news.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has launched a two-year project to support local media data investigations funded by a €662,000 grant from Google. The Bureau has also contributed to the project with The Bureau Local coming to €945,000 (£816,000 at the current exchange rate). The Bureau said in a statement: “The aim is to bring computational skills and investigative capacity to time-starved local reporters, in order to find the public interest stories hidden in vast banks of data. The Bureau Local will build and collaborate with a network of local journalists, technologists, community-minded citizens and specialist contributors, seeking input from them on the stories they want to tell, and working together to access and interpret the relevant datasets where those stories are found.
The Bournemouth Echo has re-launched the Christchurch Times which started publishing for the first time since 1983. The Times, which is being distributed on a part paid-for and part-free basis, will have its own dedicated reporting team – including journalists Nick Churchill, Luke Hastings and Jason Lewis. It will be available from retailers at 40p, though there will also be some bulk distribution and door-to-door delivery.
As objections to George Osborne's appointment to the editorship of the Evening Standard continue to grow, the National Union of Journalists will tell the London Assembly that Londoners do not deserve to have their flagship newspaper edited by a politician to further his personal and political ambitions. The NUJ also presented the committee members with a briefing outlining the crisis in local news provision in the capital.
The NUJ’s Parliamentary Group will meet James Purnell, the BBC’s director of radio, to discuss concerns about ’its plans to outsource 60 per cent of radio production. In a letter to Lord Hall, the BBC director general, Helen Goodman MP, chair of the cross-party body, said: “While we are concerned about the long-term impact on national radio of outsourcing of up to 60 per cent of BBC in-house production, the issue we would like to discuss with you is the consequence for BBC staff. The Parliamentary Group has been informed that this outsourcing to independent providers will mean staff will be increasingly employed on fixed-term contracts of shorter duration, with the resulting loss of rights such as maternity leave, holiday and sick pay entitlements currently received by staff working in-house."
Trinity Mirror has been taken to task by Welsh Assembly Member Lee Waters following the merger of the Swansea-based South Wales Evening Post website with its Wales Online platform. The AM was a producer for the BBC’s Good Morning Wales and chief political correspondent for ITV Wales for more than five years and has served as Labour Assembly Member for Llanelli since May 2016. He said: “I think there’s a real danger that we are trashing well-established, trusted brands." No job losses were proposed as part of the merger.
Trinity Mirror’s Media Scotland division has announced the launch of Insider.co.uk to serve as the online arm of Scottish Business Insider. The site will provide a mix of live breaking city news, expert analysis and original economic data, as well as a daily email bulletin.
The Press Gazette published "apparent shortcomings in Newsquest production systems" – the lead story on page two of the daily Lancashire Telegraph was gibberish. The gaffe happened as the regional press group rolled out new technology which largely does away with sub-editors and instead will see reporters write directly on to templated print pages. Under the “Write to Shape” project Newsquest has said that much copy editing work is no longer required.
The National Union of Journalists in Wales has renewed its call for the establishment of an expert news advisory group by the Welsh Government after it emerged that more than £300,000 had been paid to Newsquest to set up a subbing hub in Newport which is now closing.
Journalists at a newspaper which has changed editors three times in as many months will take part in a survey about workplace stress. The National Union of Journalists will carry out the Health and Safety Executive survey to learn more about morale and the wellbeing of staff after a series of changes at the Brighton Argus in the past six months. The newspaper’s NUJ chapel raised concerns over continued cuts to the editorial team – including the loss of another senior member of staff within the past two weeks – and the effect this was having on staff.
The closure of Newsquest's subbing hub in Newport, with the loss of 14 jobs, has been described as a disaster by the National Union of Journalists. John Toner, NUJ national organiser for Wales, said: "The announcement is a huge blow for the staff who survived a redundancy process just a matter of months ago and now find they will lose their jobs after all. Is there another company as incompetent and brutal in equal measure?" The subbing centre in Newport was responsible for copy-editing of scores of weekly and daily titles across the UK and at once point employed more than 70 people. Much of the work has now moved to a sister hub in Weymouth.
Journalists working on the Croydon Advertiser, Crawley News, East Grinstead Courier & Observer and Surrey Mirror will be relocated from Trinity Mirror’s Redhill office to the Guildford home of the Surrey Advertiser. This means the Courier & Observer will be based 38 miles from its East Grinstead patch, while the News and the Advertiser will be produced almost 30 miles from Crawley and 35 miles away from Croydon respectively. The move affects more than 20 staff currently based in Redhill, where the Mirror was first published 138 years ago.
Journalists at Johnston Press have been hit with a six-month pay freeze. Staff have been told that all annual pay reviews in editorial have been postponed as the company seeks to cut costs. It means many journalists at the company will not have their next pay review until 2018.
Scotland’s The National newspaper has teamed up with the pro-independence Bella Caledonia website to launch a new monthly magazine covering politics and culture.
The 24-page title will provide a “counterpoint to Scotland’s increasingly Unionist mainstream media agenda”, according to its founders.
Richard Bowyer, former editor of The Advertiser, a sister weekly to Stoke-based daily The Sentinel, questioned whether weekly free newspapers are becoming an “endangered species”. He said The Advertiser was closed “quietly” by owner Trinity Mirror just before Christmas. Other free titles shut by TM in recent months include the Crawley News, Luton on Sunday, the Northants Herald & Post and Milton Keynes-based title OneMK.
The NUJ has criticised the Evening Standard for moving to a one-edition a day print publication, cutting sub-editors work and pay by half and putting reporters on a four-day week. More than 30 members of staff look to be affected by the changes, however the final figure is not clear. All reporters and full-time sports sub-editors have received letters asking if they would to change to a four-day week.
Up to four editorial jobs are going at Newsquest's titles in north London. Under the proposals, the number of staff photographers would be cut from two to one and the number of content editors would be reduced from three to two.
Newsquest has launched a new free edition of its daily Brighton title The Argus, covering the Sussex towns of Lewes, Seaford, Newhaven and Peacehaven, in direct competition with Johnston Press.
Trinity Mirror has made a series of announcements concerning its regional weekly and daily titles, with 78 jobs to go and 44 new roles, including 17 video journalists and producer roles, to be created.
Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker collected a pay package worth up to a maximum of £1.5 million – the equivalent to hiring 75 newly qualified journalists, according to the latest official figures obtained by the NUJ.
The information came to light at the same time as Newsquest staff, who have not have an across-the-board pay increase in the past nine years, were told by the company: “We are not in a position to offer an increase in 2017.”
Journalists at the Northwich Guardian have called on the local and regional Newsquest management to retain a base in the Cheshire town. The high-street office closed last week and the staff were moved to the premises of the Warrington Guardian, 15 miles away. The newspaper has had a presence in Northwich for the past 157 years.
Newsquest has announced the launch of a new free weekly newspaper in East Lancashire.
The Post will be distributed to 10,000 homes for the first time on Friday and is a sister title to daily the Lancashire Telegraph, which covers Blackburn and the wider East Lancashire community.
The NUJ has condemned the regulation authorities for taking no action over the closure of newspapers in Luton, Milton Keynes and Northampton which will have a serious effect on choice and media plurality. The union contacted the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after Trinity Mirror announced the closure of OneMK, in Milton Keynes, Luton on Sunday and the Northampton Herald & Post, without consultation and with the loss of six editorial staff. The titles closed last week.
Newsquest has turned Scroogequest at Christmas by announcing redundancies at its Subbing Hub in Newport. But the NUJ will be querying whether the stated timetable complies with the law. On Tuesday 29 November, Newsquest announced that 26 out of 39 jobs at the Hub would disappear, with the collective consultation due to end on Thursday 29 December.
The Dover Society has written to Trinity Mirror about the Dover Express over what it calls a “lack of information about what’s going on in the town.” The Society says readers are now seeing more news in the Express about villages near Canterbury, almost 20 miles away. Society chairman Derek Leach OBE wrote in the letter:“With a lack of reporters out and about some important local events do not get a mention and some details are out of date."
Regional publisher Johnston Press has confirmed it is in talks to sell some of its newspaper titles in East Anglia to Iliffe Media.The company, which announced earlier this year that it was seeking to offload parts of its local newspaper portfolio, says it is in “late stage discussions” over the disposal of certain titles. Although the newspapers in question have not been named, they are thought to include the Suffolk Free Press and the Newmarket Journal. Both weeklies were listed as “core” assets in a list of Johnston Press titles drawn up in January.
The CN Group plans to shut the Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser, after 168 years of publication, but it hopes to find a “community benefactor” to take over the title before then. The Advertiser, which has an editorial staff of two, was established in 1848 and currently has a paid-for circulation of 1,200 copies in and around the town of Langholm, in the Scottish Borders.
The first issue of Blog Preston came out last week, with 20,000 copies being distributed free to homes across the Lancashire city. Blog Preston was launched as an online-only venture in 2009 by Ed Walker, current head of digital publishing for Trinity Mirror Regionals. There is no involvement from TM in the project, which is a community interest company run by Ed in collaboration with local charity Creative Works Preston.
Archant has unveiled a radical shake-up of its content operation which could result in the loss of up to 57 jobs and the creation of 40 new roles. Design and production of the company’s newspapers will be separated from the content creation function with a centralised production unit in Norwich responsible for all print titles.
The Bradford Telegraph and Argus has put five editorial posts at risk of redundancy, in Newsquest's latest cull of journalist jobs. Under proposals announced by the newspaper's editor Perry Austin-Clarke, two sports writers will have to vie for one role, the business reporter’s job will go, while the crime and court reporters are taking voluntary redundancy and the vacant role of the Aire Valley reporter will not be replaced. These proposed changes, which are expected to take place by November 25, will result in the editorial department losing one sixth of its workforce.
19 October 2016
Trinity Mirror has announced that it will be closing OneMK (Milton Keynes), Luton on Sunday and the Northampton Herald & Post, with the loss of six editorial staff. The former Local World titles were bought back by Trinity Mirror as part of a £220m deal last October. The only newspaper left in its portfolio for the area will be Bedford in Sunday where it will be creating three new roles of content manager, reporter and photographer. It currently employs two reporters and an editor.
Newsquest started a ten-day strike (five days, then three back and a further five) from 13-28 October. The company, the UK's second biggest newspaper group, had put all but a handful of the 29 staff at risk of redundancy and proposed a "restructure" which will result in 12 reporters covering news, sport and leisure across 11 newspapers and associated websites under a single content editor. The company said it wanted the per-page cost to drop from £109 to £53 and it axed a contract with a photographic agency. Six reporters have resigned and many of them left last week, leaving the picket line shorter but even more resolved to carry on the action to fight for more staff to produce quality newspapers and websites and to prevent unacceptable workloads for those who remain. The titles include the Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Wandsworth and Wimbledon Guardians, the Richmond & Twickenham Times, the Surrey Comet and the News Shopper in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham.
The cuts have resulted in:
- Wandsworth without a reporter or content editor..
- Croydon with no reporter or content editor.
- New Shopper titles covering five titles and four boroughs with two trainee reporters.
- The Surrey Comet, the newspaper founded 1854 which covers Kingston-upon-Thames and surrounding area, with no content editor and two reporters.
- Wimbledon with one reporter and no content editor.
- Epsom with one reporter and no content editor.
- Sutton with two reporters and no ontent editor.
Newsquest's titles in south London have lost their professional photography coverage after an agency partnership has ended after more than a decade.There are no staff photographers at the Sutton newsroom which produces titles including the Croydon, Epsom, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton, Wandsworth and Wimbledon Guardians, the Richmond & Twickenham Times, the Surrey Comet and the News Shopper (Bexley, Bromley, Dartford, Gravesend, Greenwich and Lewisham editions) as well as their associated websites.
The Stevenage edition of the Midweek Mercury, which covers Hertfordshire, has closed. The free title is understood to have folded because it was losing money. It was created two years ago after the merger of the Stevenage Advertiser with the Mercury. ABC figures to the end of December show it had an average total circulation of 16,301 copies.
Titles in the north and midlands, including the Birmingham Mail and Liverpool Echo, have seen the steepest drop in sales across paid-for daily regional newspapers, the latest ABC figures show. The figures, for the six months to the end of June, painted a predictable picture of overall decline in the daily regional press. Press Gazette report.
Stressed-out staff ballot for strike action at Newsquest titles in London. Journalists on Newsquest titles in London are balloting for industrial action over inadequate staffing levels, excessive workloads, reduced quality of newspapers, the health and safety of employees, plus pay.
About 20 posts are expected to go at Newsquest’s subbing hubs in Newport and Weymouth.
Newsquest has announced that all six of the photographers it employs in Essex are under threat of redundancy as part of proposals which would see it keeping no more than three full-time equivalent positions in that department. The plans were unveiled days after the announcement that up to six other editorial jobs were under threat across the county, with Colchester Daily Gazette editor James Wills among those at risk.Newsquest’s Essex division also publishes Basildon, Southend and Castle Point daily The Echo and 11 weekly titles.
The Eastbourne Independent has ceased publication. The Independent was set up in September last year – an apparent response by Newsquest to Johnston Press buying a free weekly in Brighton called the Brighton Independent where Newsquest’s daily The Argus is based. The paper’s launch put it in competition with two paid-for weeklies in Eastbourne, the Herald and Gazette, both published by Johnston Press.
Johnston Press is to close three weekly newspapers in Yorkshire: the Beverley Guardian, Malton and Pickering Mercury and the Driffield Times & Post. A free monthly title covering Driffield, Beverly, Bridlington, Scarborough and Filey will be launched on 5 September. The company said there would be no job losses.
Newsquest has announced plans to axe three editor posts in Essex, including the Colchester Daily Gazette’s James Wills. Others whose posts are at risk include the editors of Newsquest’s North Essex and Mid-Essex weeklies, along with an assistant editor covering both the Gazette and the Essex County Standard, a Colchester-based content editor and a sport content manager responsible for both the Gazette and the Echo. One new full-time and one part-time role are due to be created, meaning a net loss of 4.4 jobs overall.
Staff at the Herts and Essex Observer are being moved from the office where the paper is thought to have been founded in 1861. The office in North Street on Bishop’s Stortford’s high street is believed to have been built in 1550. Trinity Mirror's five staff will move to the Hertford office13 miles away.
Managers at Newsquest South London have cancelled job interviews for the second time in five months, as part of an unofficial hiring freeze that has left one newsroom short eight members of staff. Interviews for senior reporter and content editor roles were arranged and then cancelled without explanation by managing director Tony Portelli. Since March two content editors, four senior reporters and one trainee have resigned because they were disillusioned by the company's practices, and are yet to be replaced. A digital editor has also left, without replacement. It has emerged that every hiring decision must now be signed off by Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker. Journalists have been left without any guidance, or any communication from Portelli regarding the future direction of a newsroom where staffing is at dangerously low levels. Repeated requests for clarification have been ignored.
Three Trinity Mirror chapels took industrial action this week over redundancies, heavy workloads and the threat to quality journalism caused by the company-wide restructuring, dubbed as the "merry-go-round of misery". Staff on titles in Newcastle, including the Journal and Chronicle, North Wales, including the Daily Post, and titles on Merseyside titles, including the Liverpool Echo, held two-hour disruptive mandatory chapel meetings today will take similar action tomorrow.
Trinity Mirror's Harlow Star editor Ken Morley and Herts and Essex Observer editor Paul Winspear have been made redundant after a restructure cut five jobs in the region. Hertfordshire Mercury editor Julie Palmer is now in charge of all three titles.
Trinity Mirror has continued its nationwide restructuring of regional newsrooms with a further 12 redundancies planned across titles covering Cambridge, Hertfordshire and Essex. A spokesman for the company, which bought regional publisher Local World in a £220m deal, confirmed seven roles were “at risk” on titles covering Cambridge and five at those covering Herts and Essex.The titles affected all fall under what Trinity Mirror refers to as the Herts & Essex Newspapers region. They include the Herts & Essex Observer, Herts Mercury Series, Harlow Star Series and Mercury Midweek and the Cambridge News (daily) and Cambridge News & Crier (free weekly). Trinity Mirror has said new roles will be created through the restructure – although yet to be confirmed they are likely to be on the digital side – and that there are no plans to close any titles in these areas at this stage
Trinity Mirror's restructuring plan is gathering pace as jobs are to be cut at the Newcastle Chronicle & Journal with new digital roles created. The company announced that two photographers will go, plus an agenda writer and a social media editor. The new roles created are a head of content, head of audience engagement, a fan writer for Newcastle and Sunderland football teams and a Sunderland city writer. Existing vacancies for a multi-media journalist and a content curator will be filled.
As part of the same plan, around 12 redundancies are expected in Cornwall where three weekly newspaper companion websites will be replaced with a single site covering the whole county. An unspecified number of new roles created and will mainly affect the Truro-based weekly titles the West Briton, The Cornishman and the Cornish Guardian. Their existing websites will disappear and be replaced by a new site covering the whole of Cornwall but with hyperlocal content.
NUJ members at Trinity Mirror North Wales have voted to ballot for industrial action over the company's plans which include potential redundancies, putting at risk editorial quality and resulting in unreasonable workloads for remaining staff. The company has told staff that six roles will be lost with six new positions being created. Trinity Mirror's restructuring plans would move the Daily Post's political reporter to North Wales, meaning there will be no specialist based in Cardiff covering the Welsh Assembly. The plans would result in unfilled roles, including the newspaper's executive editor, and the abolition of one digital reporter. This follows two former Daily Post reporters being transferred within Trinity Mirror and not being replaced.
Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader and MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams said quality journalism in Wales has been put at the risk as more jobs go on Trinity Mirror titles, including the newspaper group's only reporter based at the National Assembly. He has tabled an early day motion in parliament criticising Trinity Mirror’s decision to axe Daily Post jobs in North Wales and the paper’s sole Senedd correspondent in Cardiff. The motion has secured cross-party support from Labour and the SNP.
A new round of redundancies has been announced at the Manchester Evening News (MEN) and Huddersfield Examiner as part of Trinity Mirror's re-organisation plans. Three among the eight photographers will go at the MEN, plus one of three assistant publishing editors. The company intends to create five new posts including two digital sports writers, one trend writer, one city beat reporter and one breaking news blogger.
At the Huddersfield Examiner, the head of news role is being made redundant but the successful candidate for the currently vacant post (since February) of executive editor digital will take on both roles. Three other roles are going, two part-time admin staff and a community content curator. A new role of digital sports writer is being created. Archant is also shedding staff photographers on its south-east county titles. Reporters will be expected to take pictures and office-based image curators will have to find pictures from freelance contributions, readers and other sources.
Talks between the NUJ and Trinity Mirror have saved the Black Country Bugle. Three reporters will now remain at the newspaper's office in the Dudley Archives building, albeit in a smaller, cheaper room. The post of editor and the part-time administration staff will be lost, with Gary Phelps adding it to the seven weekly titles he is responsible for in the West Midlands.
The Leicester Mercury’s award-wining features department is losing three staff as part of Trinity Mirror’s programme of cuts across former Local World titles. Some five editorial staff have been placed at risk of redundancy, including Lee Marlow who was named feature writer of the year for the third year running at this month’s regional press awards. The company proposes to replaced features produced locally with generic, non-local, content produced by the national Shared Content Unit.
Trinity Mirror regional centres have been hit with staff redundancies and reorganisation targeting Kent, Essex, Birmingham, Coventry, Merseyside and North Wales.
The company gives the impression these announcements are merely a housekeeping exercise whilst emphasising they are creating jobs in specific areas. The NUJ welcomes new jobs at Trinity Mirror but remains concerned about the strategic direction of the company based on the restructuring proposals and the impact on the journalism produced.
The cuts include: Plans to axe six roles in North Wales. Ten roles to go on Merseyside but with jobs created or vacancies filled this will result in the net loss of two jobs. Two multi-media journalists in Birmingham to go. In addition, the small Birmingham city centre office, used by council and court reporters, is targeted for closure. Moving work and staff to the existing main office at Fort Dunlop. The three non-editorial staff in the Birmingham office will be cut.
At a time when the National Assembly for Wales is on course to acquire tax-levying powers, the Daily Post in North Wales has decided that it no longer needs a Welsh affairs correspondent covering the Senedd in Cardiff.
Reorganisation includes: Nine new journalist jobs in Liverpool and North Wales. Four new jobs in Birmingham and one in Coventry.
Trinity Mirror’s stripping out of former Local World titles continued this week with plans to cut the staff of the Black Country Bugle from five to two reporters based outside the area. Editorial production of the publication, which specialises in the industrial heritage and social history of the Black Country’s four boroughs – Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall – is to move to Tamworth and be the responsibility of an editor who already runs five weekly titles in Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
Two more Local World editors are to step down in the wake of the take-over of the company by Trinity Mirror.
Lynne Fernquest is leaving the Bath Chronicle and Rob Stokes is to leave Western Daily Press. Their departures follow a restructure by Trinity Mirror across the Bristol, Gloucester, Somerset and Dorset region which will see a number of websites close and 14 editorial jobs lost. Six editors have now left Local World titles since the company was bought by Trinity Mirror in a deal which valued the group at £240m in November last year. The others are: David Atkin at the Scunthorpe Telegraph, Neil White at the Derby Telegraph, Kevin Booth at the Leicester Mercury and Paul Brackley at the Cambridge News.
6 May 2016
Staff on Trinity Mirror's Nuneaton News have said they were heartbroken to learn the daily is to become a weekly publication and the town's office closed. The newspaper has a team of seven which serves a borough with a population of 125,000. Trinity Mirror announced the decision to change it to a weekly with two remaining staff, a reporter and sports editor/sub editor, to be based at Tamworth in the neighbouring county of Staffordshire, with an additional Nuneaton reporter to be based at the Coventry Telegraph in Coventry. The newspaper's base in the town will be vacated and it is thought the final publication would be on Saturday 4 June.
David Atkin, editor of the Scunthorpe Telegraph has left his post after publisher Trinity Mirror decided to merge his role with the editorship of a daily sister title. Grimsby Telegraph editor Michelle Lalor will now take responsibility for both newspapers. It is understood that up to four other jobs could be at risk at the Scunthorpe paper, but the company declined to comment.
Around 14 editorial jobs are set to be lost at Trinity Mirror’s newly acquired titles in the south-west of England with 13 websites being merged into three. A group of former Local World titles in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset will have their online channels consolidated into three new digital offerings, while the Bristol Post and Western Daily Press will move to a single production structure. The websites of eight weekly newspapers in Somerset will be condensed into a new offering called Somerset Live, while those of the Gloucestershire Echo, Stroud Life and Gloucester Citizen will be merged to form Gloucestershire Live. The Daily Press site will be incorporated into that of the Post.
The NUJ is calling for an immediate halt to the imposition of new contracts at the Newsquest owned Clyde and Forth Press newspaper titles in Scotland. Newsquest took over in May 2015 and staff have been told they must sign the new contracts by Wednesday 13 April or risk losing their job. The union is urging the company to change its current approach and instead engage in meaningful consultation with the NUJ. The contracts include reducing annual holiday entitlements by one day, increasing contractual working hours, slashing sick pay entitlements by up to half and reducing pension contributions.
Two weekly newspaper editors at Carlisle-based regional publisher CN Group are leaving their roles, as part of its plans to make annual editorial savings of £600,000. Steve Johnston, who edits the Workington-based Times & Star, and Colin Edgar, the editor of the Whitehaven News, are leaving their roles this month.Johnston has taken voluntary redundancy after 13 years as editor while Edgar is to take up a role in CN Group’s new production hub. The departure of the two editors has been prompted by plans for the Whitehaven News and Times & Star to be run by just one editorial team to save money. Deanne Shallcross, currently deputy editor at the Times & Star, is taking on the enlarged editor’s role of West Cumbria editor.
NUJ members working in Alpha Newspaper’s titles, the Coleraine Chronicle and Northern Constitution, the Antrim and Ballymena Guardian, the Tyrone Times, the Newry Democrat, the Ulster Gazette and the County Down Outlook have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a dispute over trade union recognition and pay; more than 30 per cent of journalists employed by the company are just earning a Living Wage
Journalists in the News Letter, the Derry Journal and the Morton Newspapers group of regional titles have voted overwhelmingly in support of industrial action in a dispute over pay, redundancy terms, staffing levels and changes to working practices. Nicola Coleman, NUJ Irish organiser, said:"It is outrageous to propose job cuts when this union has consistently highlighted chronic understaffing and the subsequent pressures on our member’s health and wellbeing not to mind the quality of the papers." Publication of Johnston Press financial results showed the company’s operating profit was £50.6m with the profit before tax increased by 22.6 per cent to £31.5m. Profit margins are at 21 per cent. According to Press Gazette figures in October 2015, Johnston Press has shut or merged 33 titles since 2012. The figures for 2015 show 17 titles were closed in the second half of the year. The company report said that its headcount had fallen from 3,242 a year ago to 2,840.
The director of Court News UK has questioned the role of local newspapers because of the dwindling number of court cases covered by regional titles. In an interview with Vice Media, Court News’ Guy Toyn, who has covered courts for 20 years court reporting veteran, said “You have to really ask yourself: what is the function of these local newspapers if they can’t keep people properly informed? When I first came to cover the Old Bailey, there were about four or five agencies here. Now, there’s basically us and Press Association.And they used to have four reporters, now they have one. You don’t see national newspaper reporters turn up for many trials now at all."
Four Labour Nottinghamshire MPs have written to Johnston Press boss Ashley Highfield seeking assurances that a number of regional titles in the area have a future after the publisher deemed them “sub-core”.John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, Alan Meale, MP for Mansfied, Graham Allen MP for Nottingham North and Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, have signed the letter to Highfield. Johnston Press has identified a number of papers in Nottingham which it has deemed “sub-core”, including Eastwood Extra, Alfreton Chad, Eastwood Advertiser, Hucknall Dispatch and the Retford Trader and Guardian.
A huge number of photographer posts have been put at risk on titles formerly owned by Local World.The jobs of all photographic staff in Essex and Kent are set to go and the Leicester Mercury and Nottingham Post have also be targeted. The newspapers, which were taken over by Trinity Mirror, intend to rely on freelance and readers' contributions and pictures taken by reporters. At the Leicester Mercury, all six photographers' jobs are at risk. The proposal is to have a picture editor plus one full-time and one part-time photographer. According to Hold the Front Page, at the Nottingham Post, the five staff photographers will be reduced to one full-time content curator and two part-time photographers. Mike Sassi, the Post's publisher, said reporters would be expected to take pictures. Two will go from the Derby Telegraph, one from the Uttoxeter Advertiser and one from the Burton Mail. Two jobs will be created. The proposal means the daily Burton newspaper will have no photographer. Titles affected in Kent include the Whitstable Times, Herne Bay Times, Canterbury Times, Faversham Times, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Dover Express, Folkestone Herald and Ashford Herald. Trinity Mirror is looking to reduce the numbers from four photographers to zero.The whole of the photographic staff at the Essex Chronicle and Chelmsford and other local titles are at risk. Titles in East Surrey and Sussex have also been targeted, but the NUJ has not seen the full details.
The full onslaught on Scotland’s newspaper titles was condemned at a meeting of the NUJ’s Scottish Executive Council. A new wave of cutbacks and redundancies across Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Johnston Press titles has put scores of members’ jobs at risk and threatens the ability of those left to produce quality journalism. At Trinity Mirror, nine journalists are at risk of compulsory redundancy in what is the fourth round of cuts since last June. Johnston Press has put 18 editorial jobs across the company’s 28 Scottish weeklies at at risk, adding to of 11 potential compulsory redundancies on the Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News
Almost 100 editorial posts are to be cut on Johnston Press titles, which include the Scotsman, Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, Lancashire Evening Post and Derry Journal. Jeremy Clifford, editor-in-chief, announced a staff review which would include cuts to newsrooms across the board. The NUJ believes 15 jobs will be at risk at the company's production hubs at Edinburgh and Peterborough, with some jobs being transferred to Sheffield. Twenty two management jobs –editors, content editors and deputies – will go across the group.
In Scotland, 32 jobs are expected to go and in Northern Ireland up to 13 editorial posts, 10 reporters and three managers, will be lost. In the north east up to 10 posts are at risk and eight in the north west. However, as there are a number of vacancies which have not been filled owing to a recruitment freeze, these posts may cost towards the total. For example, while there are no reporter cuts in the south, there will be a review of management and four vacancies at Portsmouth will not be replaced. According to Press Gazette figures in October, Johnston Press has shut or merged 33 titles since 2012.
Newsquest's decision to cut as many as 25 journalist posts at the Herald and Times newspapers is putting the titles' future at severe risk, the NUJ has warned. It is the fourth round of redundancies at the Glasgow newspapers in the past 14 months. Newsquest told staff at the Herald, Sunday Herald, Evening Times and The National that to make savings of £1m it would cut between 20 and 25 editorial jobs. The cuts will leave the staff number at the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times newspapers half of what is was before Newsquest took over.
The Western Morning News has been scrapped with the loss of five jobs, a little more than 18 months after it first hit the streets. At the time, seven new editorial roles were created at the Plymouth-based title in order to accommodate the move to seven-days-a-week. However, five jobs are now at risk of redundancy following the Sunday edition’s closure. The closure comes two months after the WMN’s former owner, Local World, was taken over by Trinity Mirror in a £220m deal.
Newsquest now has one editor, Gary Lawrence, for all of its titles in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. Newsquest’s Oxfordshire titles include the daily Oxford Mail and weekly titles: the Abingdon Herald, Bicester Advertiser, Wallingford Herald, Witney Gazette, Banbury Cake, Didcot Herald and Wantage Herald. Wiltshire titles include the Swindon Advertiser and weeklies, The Gazette and Herald and Wiltshire Times.
Six jobs are to go on the Lancashire Telegraph as Newsquest's relentless sackings continue. On Wednesday, picture editor Neil Johnson and deputy editor Alan Simpson were handed redundancy notices and told to clear their desks and not return. They had 40 and 38 years’ service respectively with the newspaper. An online assistant, the editor's secretary, one features writer (from two) and one content editor (from three) are also to go.
Two years ago 23 subbing and production jobs were lost from Blackburn as the work was transferred to Newport, Wales. Just days ago, the company announced 11 redundancies on its Essex titles.
Newsquest has continued its onslaught on staff by announcing redundancies on its Essex titles, with 11 jobs to go.The company is to make four features jobs and seven photographer posts redundant.A rep for the NUJ chapel said: "The loss of photographers will leave just two people covering the entire south Essex region. This includes the daily Echo titles and a number of weeklies in Thurrock, Chelmsford and Brentwood. We will have to rely more and more on submitted pictures, which are often poor quality. If a big story breaks, we will not have the capacity to do the story justice with high quality pictures.
The Hawick News, in the Scottish Borders, will give up the lease on its office at the end of 2015. No alternative arrangement has yet been found for the one full-time member of staff and other part-timers presently based at the News’s Towerdykeside headquarters.
Five out of 12 photographer jobs in Wolverhampton have been put at risk of redundancy and the NUJ is calling on the company, Midland News Association, to reveal the full extent of their plans for staff. NUJ members fear the five photographer jobs put at risk are a precursor to a bigger plan to restructure editorial work and inflict further job losses at the company. The latest announcement to axe staff has come despite healthy company accounts for last year.
Five weekly newspapers came under the control of a single editor as part of a series of job cuts at a recently purchased newspaper group. Newsquest unveiled plans to cut jobs at the Ayrshire Weekly Press group, which it acquired as part of its takeover of Romanes Media Group earlier this year. Three editors, a sub-editor and two photographers will go. In their place, those affected are being invited to apply for two new roles, group editor and content editor. A freelance sub-editor is also set to leave under the proposals.Titles affected include the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald, Ayr Advertiser, Cumnock Chronicle, Irvine Times and Largs & Millport Weekly News.
Newsquest is to move eight posts on its titles in south London to its production centres in Weymouth and Newport.
In October Newsquest made 20 redundancies in The Herald and Times titles in Glasgow. Their recently acquired weekly series formerly known as Romanes Group are in consultation/negotiation over job cuts and restructuring. Around 10 jobs are at risk including all the photographers.
Staff at Newsquest-owned Bolton News were reeling after management announced proposals to cut virtually a quarter of the editorial workforce. The jobs of three photographers, two feature writers, a news editor, one sport content editor/writer, one content editor, an editorial content assistant and a graphic artist have been put at risk.There are no planned cuts to the news reporting team. Staff working at Bolton produce the flagship six-days-a-week Bolton News, the Leigh Journal and the series of Bury Times Group titles including the Bury Times, Radcliffe Times and Prestwich and Whitefield Guide
Johnston Press is closing the East Lothian News and Musselburgh News.
The proposed closures may result in a "small number of roles" being placed at risk of redundancy. According to Press Gazette research, this will bring the publisher's total closure number since 2012 to at least 28.
Johnston Press has merged the weeklies Dewsbury Reporter and Mirfield Reporter into a single print edition. They will retain their websites. The combined paper retains the titles of both towns, which lie about three miles apart, in its masthead. The company foled the Antrim Times into the Ballymena Times at the end of the summer.
Johnston Press's Todmorden News and the Hebden Bridge Times have been merged. The Calderdale branch of the NUJ said in a statement: "Within the memory of members of our branch both the Todmorden and Hebden Bridge papers each had a team of four journalists seeking stories, monitoring local authority decisions and reporting from the courts. "These journalists had pride in the newspaper which they produced each week, and several went on to significant national careers. Sadly the combined local paper now has material put together in an ad-hoc way by [Halifax] Courier staff based in Halifax. The local connection has been broken."
More than 300 local newspapers have been closed in the past ten years, according to Press Gazette research. The 11 free newspaper closed byJohnston Press mean it has axed 22 titles since 2012. Among them was free weekly the Northampton Mercury, which was 295 years old and claims to be the oldest UK newspaper with a proven record of continuous publication. Before the financial crash of 2008 the Newspaper Society estimated there were 13,000 journalists employed in the regional press. The trade body (now called the News Media Association) no longer keeps figures, but Press Gazette's preliminary research of Companies House figures kept by individual companies suggest that the current total may be half that figure.Previous Press Gazette research found that 242 regional and local newspapers were closed between 2005 and 2011. At least 60 have been closed since 2012 - including 23 so far in 2015. In the same period, Press Gazette found just over 100 new newspapers launched. This year, for instance, Newsquest has launched four new newspapers or newspaper editions, and Tindle has launched five titles in London.In contrast Trinity Mirror has closed more newspapers - 12 - than Johnston Press. It has also closed at least 22 since 2012. According to the News Media Association there are 1,100 local newspaper titles in the UK.
Johnston Press has closed 11 free newspapers. It has axed eight free print titles in the Midlands and folded a further three into paid-for titles in the North West and South. Johnston Press said the closures will “allow the group to focus resources on its digital offering in those and adjoining markets where the growth potential of digital is stronger”. The closed newspapers are: the Peterborough Citizen, Norfolk Citizen, Rugby Review, Northampton Mercury, Dronfield Advertiser, Eckington Leader, Peak Courier, Sheffield Gazette, South Elms Gazette, South Bognor View and the Lutterworth Mail.
Newsquest's assault on its photographic staff continued this week with the announcement of further redundancies at the Brighton Argus. The company intends to reduce the pictures department from three full-time photographers to one full-time picture editor as part of its policy to use readers' pictures and freelance contributions.
Earlier this year the Southern Daily Echo cut the roles of the the picture editor and deputy picture editor roles at its Southampton office and created a new role of user generated content editor in their place. Now the title has announced plans for a further reduction reduce the number of photographic role by a further two, as part of what editor Ian Murray called a “move away from images provided by staff photographers.” Although the chief photographer role will remain, three staff photographers at the paper have been placed at risk of redundancy with only one of them set to be retained.
Johnston Press is axing around 30 design roles as it outsources more staff to India. The move comes after JP outsourced half its advertising creation work to the company in 2012, with the loss of around 60-70 jobs. The staff are currently based at Johnston Press sites around the UK, including Leeds, Preston, Portsmouth, Sunderland and London and carry out work creating and designing adverts and other visuals for the company.
The Gloucestershire Gazette is closing its office in Dursley and will be based at its Newsquest sister title, the Stroud News and Journal, ten miles away. Reporters will be expected to meet members of the public in cafes. The Bridport and Lyme Regis News office in East Street, Bridport, is also to close, after 40 years, with staff at the Newsquest-owned title expected to work elsewhere.
Newsquest have launched a round of cuts and editorial redundancies at the Reading Chronicle, Slough Observer and Bracknell News. The publisher is cutting editorial staff at its Southampton and Basingstoke sites. Two editing positions, five photographers and two sub-editors have been put at risk of redundancy at Newsquest in Berkshire. The editor of the Reading Chronicle resigned four months after the title was taken over by Newsquest. The title, along with seven others in Berkshire, was previously owned by Romanes Media Group. Newsquest has proposed that the editor positions on the Chronicle, Slough Observer and Bracknell News be replaced by one editor-in-chief.
Trinity Mirror’s Newcastle-based daily The Journal is facing a revolt after inviting various regular paid columnists to provide their services for nothing. Most have withdrawn their services and Press Gazette understands some are now planning to set up an independent comment website for the north of England.
10 September 2015
Trinity Mirror has closed the Nuneaton Tribune, making its nineteenth title to go in a year. The publisher said the closure of the free weekly would have no impact on staff. The Warwickshire town is now left with Local World's free weekly newspaper the Nuneaton News. Last November, the publisher announced the closure of seven local newspapers and the loss of 50 jobs. Since then, TM has closed 11 more newspapers - the free weekly Coventry Times, paid-for Crosby Herald, free Formby Times, the Stockport Times East, Stockport Times West, Tameside Advertiser, Glossop Advertiser, Oldham Advertiser, Salford Advertiser, Advertiser Series and the Wilmslow Express - this year. The latter eight were replaced by the new Manchester Weekly News. Trinity Mirror has also closed a North East newspaper website, merging it with a sister title, and three national Buzzfeed-style websites.
Newsquest has announced a huge cull of staff photographers at its titles in York, Bradford and Darlington. Nine jobs could go, with each centre retaining one "co-ordinator". The titles affected include the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, The Northern Echo, Darlington, and The Press, in York. Newsquest said it intended to make the cuts by September 30. In Darlington, this means that six out of seven staff photographers will have gone in fewer than 12 months. Already this year the company has laid off staff photographers in Oxford, Bournemouth and Brighton.
Newsquest's summer of sackings has continued with eight journalists facing redundancy on the newspaper group's Wiltshire titles, which include the Swindon Advertiser and Wiltshire Times. According to Hold the Front Page, the posts at risk are understood to be a weekly news editor role and a series of production roles, including those managing content at the daily and weekly titles. Four content editor positions, on less pay, are to be created, according to the report, plus a group deputy news editor post.
Glenn Phillips, who worked as a photographer for almost three decades at the Wiltshire Times is leaving after being made redundant. His was one of six photographer and picture desk roles axed at a series of Newsquest titles earlier this summer. The Swindon Advertiser, Wiltshire Gazette and Herald and Wiltshire Times reduced the number of staff photographers from six to two, with the picture editor and picture desk assistant roles also disappearing.
The editor of the Newsquest-owned Lancashire Telegraph is to leave after 15 years following the newspaper group's restructure. He was only the 11th person to hold the role since the newspaper was founded in 1886. In November seven editorial staff were made redundant from the Telegraph, which led to the axing of its free sister weekly the Burnley Citizen. A number of subbing jobs were also lost at the title earlier in 2014 as part of Newsquest’s transfer of much of its production operation to a hub in Newport.
Former Romanes group titles in Berkshire, now owned by Newsquest, are to outsource the production of advertisements to India and production hubs in Southampton and Newport.
Newsquest also announced seven jobs are to go in management, news, photographic and sport on the Oxford Mail and other titles in Oxfordshire. Two photographer roles are being cut in Bournemouth.
Trinity Mirror is to end the Newcastle Journal's dedicated website. It is to be merged with ChronicleLive which covers a patch from the Scottish border to Teesside, through Northumberland, Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham.
The long, term survival of local newspapers in the capital has been put under threat by Newsquest's proposed cuts, a cross-party letter from London Assembly members warned.
Staff on the News Shopper titles started a two-day strike over pay, staffing, redundancies and a proposal to put 16 weeklies under a single group managing editor. Their colleagues in Sutton, where 14 editorial roles are at risk, are continuing their 12-day strike.
Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith have signed an early day motion sponsored by Tania Mathias, Conservative MP for Twickenham, supporting the Newsquest London strikers.
Journalists in south London started a 12-day strike over pay and conditions after talks failed to make enough progress. The chapel’s demands include a 3 per cent salary increase and changes to a major reorganisation affecting Newsquest titles in South and Southeast London, including The Croydon Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Balham and Tooting Guardian, Mitcham and Morden Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Surrey Comet, Elmbridge Comet, and the Richmond & Twickenham Times, and the News Shopper series covering Dartford, Swanley, Lewisham, Catford, Greenwich, Gravesham, Bexley and Bromley.
Ten MPs warn Birmingham Mail being 'wound down' by 'alarming' Trinity Mirror cuts. The publisher is consulting on plans to cut 19 journalism jobs from its Birmingham titles and a further six in Coventry. The move will leave 46 journalists in Birmingham – producing titles including the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post and Sunday Mercury – and 22 in Coventry
Votes of no confidence over 'click-bait' targets
Trinity Mirror group journalists are in revolt over being forced to write "click-bait" stories and new targets to measure their work by the "click-ability" of their stories on the web.
Coventry MPs have written to the editor of the Coventry Telegraph to protest about the six redundancies on the paper, proposed by Trinity Mirror. The publishing group announced it would be cutting 45 jobs: 19 in Birmingham, six in Coventry and 20 in Scotland. The MPs, Geoffrey Robinson, Colleen Fletcher and Jim Cunningham, have requested a meeting with editor, Keith Perry.
Forty five jobs at risk on Trinity Mirror titles. The company is to cut 19 jobs in Birmingham and six jobs in Coventry as part of a newsroom restructuring towards “becoming truly digitally focused". Twenty jobs are also at risk in Scotland. The titles affected include the Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Paisley Daily Express, the scotlandnow.com website, Business Insider and around 20 weekly and bi-weekly local newspapers. A memo sent to staff by Media Scotland managing director Allan Rennie outlined plans to reduce production roles on the Daily Record and admited there will be “fewer checks” on copy in future.
Six photographer and picture desk roles are to be axed at a regional daily and its sister weeklies as a spate of redundancies continues at regional publisher Newsquest. The Swindon Advertiser, Wiltshire Gazette and Herald and Wiltshire Times are set to reduce the number of staff photographers from six to two. Other roles at risk of redundancy include those of the picture editor and the picture desk assistant. The move follows a series of photographic cutbacks at other Newsquest papers in recent months, with the group reducing the number of staff photographers and increasing the use of freelances.
The NUJ chapel at the Rotherham Advertiser agreed to take strike action on Thursday 11 June in response to the decision by the new chief executive, Nick Alexander, to target the NUJ's Father of Chapel (FoC) for compulsory redundancy. FoC Phil Turner has worked for the company for more than 30 years and is a long-serving trade union representative.
Newsquest announced plans to restructure and cut staff across its South London newspaper titles. The titles affected by the proposed cuts include: The Croydon Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Balham and Tooting Guardian, Mitcham and Morden Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Surrey Comet, Elmbridge Comet, and the Richmond & Twickenham Times. The News Shopper series has editions in Dartford, Lewisham, Greenwich, Gravesend, Bexley and Bromley. The company plans to merge the South West London and South East London editorial departments and ask South East London reporters to work remotely. The plans also include job cuts and redundancies will impact on a range of posts including group editor, editor, deputy editor, assistant editor, news editor, editorial assistants, online commercial content developer, deputy news editor, assistant news editor, chief reporters and senior sports roles.
NUJ members working at Newsquest in York start balloting for action today over staff at risk of redundancy, including the Gazette & Herald's editor and deputy editor, its internet editor, digital communications editor, newsroom assistant and deputy sports editor. The company plan to transfer jobs to Bradford including the chief sub, night production editor, features editor and communities editor.
More than 30 jobs have been made redundant or put at risk on Newsquest titles in the north east, Wales, London and Home Counties. The cull was described as a massacre by the NUJ and follows year-on-year cuts at the titles, which include The Press in York and the Northern Echo in Darlington. Ian Murray, Newsquest Hampshire editor-in-chief, announced that production jobs will be lost in Southampton because sub-editing is to be moved to the subbing hub in Weymouth. He said some sub-editing and design functions would also transfer to the Newport subbing hub. The news editor position on the South Wales Argus is also understood to have been made redundant and several photographers are also at risk.The paper could be left with two photographers to cover five counties for three titles. It also said that three newsroom assistants will be reduced to two
Nine editorial posts including two deputy group editor roles are set to be cut as part of a management shake-up. Eighteen Newsquest titles in North London, Essex, Herts and Bucks were recently placed under a single group editor, Tim Jones.. It has now emerged that four newsdesks will be centralised into one, to be based at the offices of the Watford Observer. A memo to staff from Newsquest North London said nine posts are to be placed at risk of redundancy from 22 May, although three new posts will be created.
Trinity Mirror has announced the closure of another weekly newspaper, the 11th to be axed by the publisher so far this year. The Coventry Times will cease publication on 20 April. The free weekly newspaper is produced by staff from its paid-for sister title, the Coventry Telegraph, and no job losses will result from the closure. In February, Trinity Mirror announced the closures of the paid-for Crosby Herald and free Formby Times, both based in Merseyside. The publisher last week replaced eight free weeklies in the Greater Manchester area – the Stockport Times East, Stockport Times West, Tameside Advertiser, Glossop Advertiser, Oldham Advertiser, Salford Advertiser, Advertiser Series and the Wilmslow Express – with one, the Manchester Weekly News. Nine jobs were lost as a result of the closures. At the end of last year, Trinity Mirror closed seven newspapers across Berkshire, Surrey and London (including the Reading Post) – resulting in 50 job losses.
Newsquest has announced the departures of two group editors, leaving another in charge of 18 titles. Peter Wilson-Leary, who was editor of the Watford Observer and St Albans and Harpenden Review, has left the company after 31 years. And Martin Buhagiar, who was group editor of Newsquest North London’s Times and Independent Series, has left after eight years. Their roles have been taken on by Tim Jones, who is already group editor of the East London and West Essex series.
Four long-standing journalists including a sports editor and chief sports writer have taken taking redundancy packages from Newsquest’s Glasgow titles The Herald and Sunday Herald. Those going include Herald, chief sports writer Hugh MacDonald who is leaving 34 years and Sunday Herald sports editor Jonathan Jobson was part of the paper’s launch teamA number of redundancies have also been reported at Johnston Press-owned Scotsman Publications, including three sports journalists who between them have clocked up around 82 years.
30 March 2015
Regional newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has announced the closure of two weekly newspaper offices. The staff work for the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald and the Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News.
25 March 2015
Two of the Brighton Argus's five photographers are to be made redundant and two of the three features writers are also to go. Mike Gilson, Newsquest Sussex group editor, said in a letter to staff that the "news may come as a shock". However, job cuts at the paper, have been a regular feature for many years. Last year, all the sub-editor post were lost as production was moved to a subbing hub in Weymouth.
Up to 16 jobs are at risk in a fresh round of job cuts at Johnston Press titles in Yorkshire, with the publisher is seeking an overall reduction of 16 posts. The Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Halifax Courier, Scarborough News and Harrogate Advertiser among the titles affected. The NUJ said 50 community representatives including local MPs, councillors, business groups and trade unionists have now backed a statement by its Yorkshire Weekly News Group chapel voicing concern over the impact of the proposed cutbacks.
The editor of a regional daily is set to leave his role to pursue “other ambitions” amid a fresh management shake-up at Johnston Press. The move comes as part of a management shake-up across the company which has put six editor roles placed at risk in the South Midlands and admission by the chief executive, Ashley Highfield, that it would employ fewer journalists in future.
Up to 20 production roles could be lost as part of changes at a regional daily newsroom. Sub-editing, sports subbing and page production roles are set to be lost at the Southern Daily Echo’s offices in Southampton, if the proposals go ahead. Newsquest plans to transfer most of the production of its Hampshire titles to its Weymouth subbing hub and introduce the Knowledge editorial system. Some functions will also be carried out in Newport, South Wales. Two production design editor roles will be created to be based at the Echo’s Redbridge headquarters, with the possibility of “one or two” more jobs also being created. However, it is understood up to 20 staff could be at risk of redundancy as part of the plans.
Newsquest is making ten more redundancies at its Herald titles in Glasgow. This is despite circulation success for the Sunday Herald, which grew by 35 per cent year-on-year in the second half of 2014 to 32, 204.
Two picture desk roles are to go at the offices of the Southern Daily Echo. The post of "user generated content editor" will be created to oversee the “central content gathering” operation for Newsquest’s Hampshire titles. The company admitted there would be a shift to fewer staff photographers and greater use of freelances, readers' pictures and images provided by other staff members. The news came less than a fortnight since it was revealed that three weekly editor roles at Newsquest titles in the county would be cut from the Hampshire Chronicle & Romsey Advertiser while the vacant seat left at the Basingstoke Gazette title will not be replaced.
Three freelance cartoonists were relieved of their roles with a group of Johnston Press titles as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Iain Green, Brian Adcock and Frank Boyle have been let go by The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News. It comes after October’s announcement that the three titles would merge their operations, with between 35 and 45 jobs being lost as a result.
Eight subbing jobs set to be lost across two DC Thomson Scottish dailies
Eight sub-editing jobs are to go from two DC Thomson Scottish daily newspapers. The publisher has announced it is to enter into consultation with staff on Dundee's Courier and Evening Telegraph titles. Chief executive of publishing, Ellis Watson, said he hoped the cuts, made at a time when "trading is incredibly tough", could be achieved through voluntary redundancy.
Trinity Mirror announced plans to close six free weekly newspapers with the loss of nine jobs on free titles, the Stockport Times, Wilmslow Express and the Advertiser series in Tameside, Salford, Oldham and Trafford. Trinity Mirror shut seven regional titles in Berkshire, Surrey and London at the end of last year, resulting in the loss of 50 jobs. A new Manchester Weekly News would be distributed to more than 265,000 homes in the area, Trinity Mirror said in a statement. On the nine job losses, Trinity Mirror said "a similar number of new digital roles will be created".
Two Trinity Mirror titles – the Formby Times and Crosby Herald – are to close at the end of March. The management also proposes to cut two photographer roles from Liverpool and Chester by merging the two picture operations. There are currently four photographers in Liverpool and two in Chester. The remaining photographers will be based in Liverpool. Chris Morley, the NUJ's Northern and Midlands organiser, said: “The roll call of fine newspapers that have ceased to be gets ever longer with this announcement. It is a loss that everyone needs to sit up and take notice of. When a newspaper goes, another light in the community goes out."
Newsquest's Cardigan-based Tivyside Advertiser no longer has a dedicated editor after Sue Lewis lost her job last week after nearly seven years in the position.
It was a sad week for journalism as Trinity Mirror newspapers carried out plans to close seven newspapers, including the Reading Post and the 159-year-old Harrow Observer, with more than 50 staff losing their jobs. Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists general secretary, said on the last day of the Reading Post: "It is a really sad day. The closure of this award-winning and popular newspaper makes absolutely no sense to the readers or the dedicated journalists and staff who have been serving their local community with news, features, gossip, information and the trials and triumphs of the town's football club for many years. Trinity Mirror's blinkered new plans to make Berkshire a 'digital-only zone' is not what the readers want. It is also a callous way to treat journalists who have been doing a good job." The other papers which ceased publication this week were the Wokingham and Bracknell Times, Surrey Herald, Surrey Times, Woking Informer and Get Reading.
As Local World closed two newspapers, the NUJ has called on proprietors to allow the local community the chance of saving titles. The Burton Advertiser free-sheet published its last edition this week and the paid-for Uttoxeter Post and Times will close in January. Chris Morley, Northern and Midlands organiser, said: "There is also the possibility of opening up use of the titles to others who might be able to make a go of it - a principle the NUJ is pursuing through the Localism Act to allow local newspapers to come under the Community Asset Transfer process whereby local bidders are encouraged to come forward."
Newsquest axed two of its long-serving weekly editors of its Gloucestershire publications. Sue Smith, editor of the Stroud News and Journal and the Gloucestershire Independent, and Skip Walker, who edited the Wilts and Glos Standard and the Gloucestershire Gazette, were made redundant to make way for a single group editor. All four titles, plus the Cotswold Journal, to be overseen by a new group editor. A staff photographer role has also been cut, leaving just one photographer covering all three paid-for papers.
Stourbridge Newsquest NUJ chapel has passed a motion opposing compulsory redundancies. They said NUJ members would not accept assignments normally given to professional photographers. The motion followed Newsquest's plan to cut four photographer roles down to one full-time equivalent on its Worcester titles.
Loss of photographers: Reuters news agency is reducing its number of staff photographers from 18 to 15 as their colleagues at local newspapers in north London and the Midlands become the latest to lose their jobs. Newsquest is cutting photographic staffers at its north London papers by half, from six to three, hard on the heels of news that photographers Richard Doughty and Andy Lamb have left the Northern Echo in Darlington, but will continue to work as freelances. It has also been reported that The Times picture desk has told staff they will have to reapply for their jobs.
Johnston Press (JP) has cut photographers in Yorkshire and in the North West the photographic department has become a mostly freelance operation, with only three photographers remaining across Wigan, Preston and Blackpool, affecting The Gazette in Blackpool, Preston’s Lancashire Evening Post and the Wigan Evening Post. In October JP said 13 jobs would be put at risk of redundancy in its southern titles, including the Portsmouth News, Chichester Observer, West Sussex County Times, and Hastings and St Leonards Observer.
In June, more than 10 photographers working for Local World in the West of England were told they faced redundancy and were told they had to accept zero-hours style contracts if they want any work from the company in future. Companies have been using trainee reporters to take picture without providing them with technical or health and safety training. One Newsquest title is regularly using a nine-year-old boy to provide sports photographs. Already mistakes are being made: one reporter asked to take a picture of somebody leaving a court snapped the wrong person.
Gareth Thomas MP backed the NUJ's call for a for a short, sharp inquiry into the future of local newspapers, following the closure of his local paper, the Harrow Observer. The paper is one of seven Trinity Mirror South titles, including Reading Post and Surrey Herald to close this month with the loss of approximately 50 editorial and non-editorial jobs. Simon Fox, Trinity Mirror's chief executive, recently told staff at the Reading Post that the newspaper had a healthy future.
Johnston Press announced up to 19 job cuts at titles in Yorkshire as the company's "relentless cutbacks" continued. Staff at the Yorkshire Publishing Unit, which has 19 titles, including the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, Scarborough News, Halifax Courier series and Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group, were told the editorial budget would be reduced by eight per cent. Between 15 and 19 jobs could go, equivalent to one per title, by the end of next March. The company said this would be in addition to the seven photographers at risk of compulsory redundancy on weekly titles in Yorkshire. The cuts are part of a plan for more sharing of content between titles.
14 November 2014
Seven Trinity Mirror newspapers in the south, including the Harrow Observer, Reading Post and Surrey Herald will close. Approximately 50 editorial and non-editorial jobs will go as TM moves from print to new digital operations. In its statement, TM said its presence in Berkshire was to be digital-only "focusing entirely on developing and growing the digital business around the getreading.co.uk website". The Wokingham and Bracknell Times, Surrey Herald, Surrey Times and Woking Informer were to close with 12 editorial jobs losses.
14 November 2014
Journalists working for Johnston Press (JP) are suffering from dangerously high levels of stress as they are put under pressure to work long hours with few breaks, subject to unrealistic time pressures and not properly consulted when changes are brought in. A health and safety survey compiled by staff across JP’s titles revealed 82 per cent were subject to unrealistic deadlines – with 44 per cent saying this was often or always; 80 per cent said they were pressured into working long hours. Eighty-six per cent of respondents agreed there was lack of consultation on changes at work, with 75 per cent saying that when changes are made they are not clear how they will work in practice. JP owns 13 daily, 154 weekly paid-for and 37 weekly free newspapers, including The Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post, the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph and the Falkirk Herald, and specialist publications.
The National Union of Journalists has written to culture and digital economy minister, Ed Vaizey, calling for a short, sharp inquiry into the future of local newspapers. The call followed a summit at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which included representatives from newspaper groups, industry experts and organisations and NUJ reps. The meeting, chaired by Mr Vaizey and John McDonnell, secretary of the NUJ Parliamentary Group, was also attended by John Whittingdale, chair of the DCMS select committee, Lord Best, chair of the Lords Communications Committee, and Helen Goodman MP, Labour media shadow minister. John Whittingdale spoke of his concerns at the summit. He said: "The great selling point of local papers is that there are at the heart of their community but, for example, my local paper in Maldon no longer has a presence on the high street since the office moved to an industrial estate in Braintree. It also seems the case in newspapers covering the county that there is less coverage of what is happening in local hospitals and councils. Stories are more celebrity driven and investigative journalism seems to have disappeared."
Holdthefrontpage reported that all staff photographers based in Wakefield and Dewsbury, and all those at Johnston Press's Yorkshire Regional Newspapers division, were to lose their jobs. In addition, six of nine photographers in the North West, working across Blackpool's Gazette, the Lancashire Evening Post and Wigan Evening Post, are understood to be at risk.
More than 120 jobs were lost when Newsquest moved its production to subbing hubs in Wales and Weymouth in the past year. As the Oxford Mail announced 25 jobs could go, and production moved to Newport from titles in the city including the Oxford Times, the toll of editorial redundancies reached 120. The figure is much higher if non-editorial roles are included. Jobs have been lost at newspapers in Worcester, Darlington, Bradford, York, Southampton, Brighton, Warrington, Glasgow, Blackburn and Oxford. In addition to jobs lost to the hubs, 8.5 jobs went at Blackburn and two photographers at the Keighley News and Craven Herald -- NUJ Newsquest joint chapel FoC, Bob Smith, and national multi-award winner, Steve Garnett.
23 October 2014
Newsquest editor Kevin Young sent a letter to staff on Tuesday 22 October announcing redundancies at the Lancashire Telegraph. Press Gazette said two trainee journalists, a newsdesk journalist, a long-serving librarian and a number of picture desk staff have been told they are to go and a vacant editorial artist position won't be filled.
15 October 2014
Johnston Press (JP) announced 13 of its photographers in its southern titles, including the Portsmouth News, Chichester Observer, West Sussex County Times, and Hastings and St Leonards Observer, have been put at risk of redundancy.
13 October 2014
The introduction of Trinity Mirror's Newsroom 3.1 at the Liverpool Echo, and Merseyside publications, could put seven jobs at risk.
Around a dozen production posts were put at risk across the Herald and Times group in Glasgow as it sought to transfer more roles to Newsquest’s subbing hub in Newport, South Wales.
Seven roles at Trinity Mirror (TM) were set to go - across the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post, Sunday Mercury and Coventry Telegraph. Those under threat included the picture editor, deputy picture editor, head of sport, cricket correspondent and rugby correspondent. TM said five new roles have been created in the area to add to seven digital roles created there already this year.
Despite posting a £6.1m loss for the first six months of 2014, Johnston Press (JP) has put out an upbeat statement saying it had reduced debt and is increasing digital revenue. The NUJ's group chapel responded to the figures with a statement saying that after years of the staff bearing the brunt of the company's policy to cut jobs, with almost 1,600 going in the past two years, and freeze wages, now is the time to invest in editorial and to give journalists a proper pay rise.
Journalists working for Trinity Mirror titles in the North East were told the company wanted to make seven journalists redundant. The NUJ condemned the cuts, which came in addition to eight other newsroom job cuts at the Newcastle Chronicle and Journal earlier this year. The company is proposing to axe two multimedia journalists (reporters), one specialist correspondent role, a photographer, a multimedia desk editor (sub editor) and two chief desk editors.
Twenty four jobs are at risk on Archant newspapers if the company goes ahead with a proposal to move editorial production of titles in London, Kent, Hertfordshire and Cambridge to Norwich. Archant's 25 weekly newspaper titles in London, Kent and Hertfordsire and Cambrdgshire includes the Ham&High, Newham Recorder, Kent on Sunday, Welwyn & Hatfield Times and Hunts Post.