2 October 2014

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Offices to close in Newsquest centralisation plan

Regional publisher Newsquest is proposing to sell three newspaper offices in Gloucestershire and move staff to a central base ten miles away.

Journalists on four weekly titles, including the Stroud News & Journal, Wilts & Gloucester Standard, Gloucestershire Gazette and Gloucestershire Independent could be moved to new offices on the edge of an industrial estate at Tetbury.

The newspaper’s existing offices in Cirencester and Dursley will be put up for sale this week with the office in Stroud set to be next.

The proposed move is dependent on the company finding buyers for the existing premises.

Local councillors who are due to debate the matter tomorrow have been angered by the plans, but Newsquest bosses say that if the move does go ahead all staff will remain as active in the community as they are currently.

Kevin Ward publisher of Newsquest’s South East, Wales and Gloucester division said: “Newsquest Gloucestershire is proposing to relocate its staff into one building. This is purely a proposal at this stage and it may not happen.

“Our commitment to the areas served by our newspapers for many decades remains as strong as ever.

“If the proposal goes ahead our reporters and photographers, and our advertising sales staff, will continue to be as active in their local communities as they are at the moment.”

Stroud District Council is set to discuss a critical motion condemning the proposals in a meeting tomorrow night.

The motion proposed by Councillor Geoff Wheeler said: “This council recognises that local newspapers are at the centre of their communities. With this in mind Stroud District Council is totally opposed to the withdrawal of Stroud News and Journal and the Dursley Gazette from their communities and asks Newquest to think again about this proposal.”

9 Comments

  1. ex-Newsquest

    “Our commitment to the areas served by our newspapers for many decades remains as strong as ever.”
    ahahahahahahahaha (i despair)

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  2. voice of reason

    As my first news editor used to say: “There’s no substitute for local knowledge.” He must be spinning in his grave.

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  3. whatastate, uk

    spare the management bull. No good ever came out of moving a paper to an industrial estate miles from the community it serves.
    One former evening whose blushes I shall spare went downhill fast after moving out of town to such a news black hole.
    The best stories come from personal visits not strings of re-cycled e mails.
    Anyone been out of the office lately?

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  4. Hacked off

    Would be funny if it wasn’t so daft. By moving out of your home towns and setting up shop on some god-forsaken industrial estate ten miles away in the middle of nowhere, we have once again demonstrated that our commitment to making as much money as we possibly can is as strong as ever. (er, commitment to the local community, surely? Ed)

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  5. GladImOutOfIt

    The folk at Stroud Life must be celebrating!

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  6. Clive Bennett

    Many decades ago I worked for one of the named newspapers and local reporters were out and about in the towns and villages six days a week. Even then the best stories were phoned in by one of your contacts from the little black book that all reporters built up. It seems that now most of the items in local weeklies are from re-written press releases and pieces created out of council agendas.
    What we have now is story creating and not real reporting.
    It will not matter where they are located the telephone and internet will be connected so they will not be completely cut off from the rest of the world.

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  7. Capt. Starlight, Oxford

    I’ve heard a sad rumour that Newsquest’s Bucks Free Press operation in High Wycombe may soon be shifted either to their Watford centre or Oxford as a lot of money can be saved by leaving their newish building in Wycombe. Part of the BFP’s press and features coverage is already run from Watford and some ad work from another centre. Sad times, as until not many years ago there was a thick, thorough and comprehensive quality BFP in Wycombe for very many (100 plus?) years. Pages have been lost and staff reduced as ads have slumped. Editorial and ad. dept are now merged in one room with the rest of the building partly empty. A Midweek edition has recently been ended after many years. Website visits have soared and publication of a Wycombe
    weekly freesheet, The Star, by Newsquest has further gnawed into BFP circulation from well over 30,000 to well under 20,000.

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  8. Ex-locals, London

    Why doesn’t Newsquest change its name to Profitquest? It would be one fib less.

    It’s not just local knowledge that disappears in a move like this, it’s reporters’ rapport with, and interest in, the community they’re covering. When the next big incident breaks out of hours, they’re 40 miles away – and often it’s a big “so what?”.

    Newspaper managers generally should stop trying to treat the local press as an ordinary business: lessons learnt on that MBA course don’t all apply. All these people are doing is hastening the decline of local newspapers.

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  9. CB, Barrow Upon Soar

    SNJ 0 Stroud Life 1

    …i love the line from Kevin Ward, “This is purely a proposal at this stage and it may not happen.”

    Textbook consultancy stuff Mr Ward – we all know the decision is made and has been decided for months!

    long live Stroud Life and its little office above the book store (sorry – slightly biased ;) miss my little stationery cupboard….)

    Report this comment



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