Regional publisher Johnston Press has closed three of its weekly newspaper offices in the Midlands as a cost-cutting measure.
The offices of the Belper News in Derbyshire, the Eastwood and Kimberley Advertiser in Nottinghamshire and the Eckington Leader near Sheffield were closed a week ago today with the loss of at least two receptionists’ jobs.
It means there are now no reporters based in the three towns with the Belper News’ sole reporter relocated to the Ripley and Heanor News office five miles away.
Readers wanting to place an advert or tell their story at the Belper News office in the town are now greeted with a sign on the door stating ‘We have moved’, instructing them to go to the office in neighbouring Ripley.
National Union of Journalists’ Mid-Derbyshire father-of-chapel Mark Duffy said staff were told the closures were to save money but there had been no consultation with union members.
He told HTFP that Belper will lose a reporter based in the town and that receptionists from the Belper and Eastwood offices had been made redundant.
“From an editorial perspective every newspaper should have an office with a reporter in situ” he said.
For the past five years the office in Eastwood had been staffed solely by a receptionist with a reporter based six miles away at Ilkeston.
The Mid-Derbyshire titles come under the Wilfred Edmunds branch of the company which also publishes the Derbyshire Times.
Managing director Dawn Sweeney said: “The company has undertaken a detailed review of all its local offices. Regretfully the current level of business at the Eckington, Eastwood and Belper premises makes them uneconomical to operate and it is proposed that these workplaces will close. ”
She said the titles would continue to be published and existing editorial and advertising staff would serve the communities from Chesterfield, Ilkeston and Ripley.