The publisher of a Yorkshire newspaper has offered to help journalists who have lost their jobs as a result of Johnston Press cutbacks to launch new titles in their areas.
Danny Lockwood, publisher of The Press, an independent newspaper based in Dewsbury, wants to help journalists who are interested in setting up their own newspapers in towns such as Brighouse, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.
The move follows the decision by Johnston Press to close the offices of the Brighouse Echo, Todmorden News and Hebden Bridge Times and run all three titles from Halifax, as well as making Echo editor Stephen Firth redundant.
Danny said he already has a working business model that just needs the right people to make it work, adding that it was about having journalists who are a real part of the community.
Said Danny: “If any sacked JP staff want to collaborate on launching a low-cost, locally-driven product into Brighouse, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Huddersfield or wherever, they can contact me and I will be more than willing to help.”
He told HTFP that there is room in his Dewsbury offices for sub editors and people to sell adverts, adding that journalists could ‘put feet their on the ground from here.’
He said: “I can provide production, back office, print and distribution if they can provide a bit of local passion, pride and someone on the ground to write stories and flog local ads – at properly affordable prices.
“I’ve wanted to do this in Huddersfield for a while; it’s just a question of getting the right people. There are revenue opportunities for new businesses, we are giving something back to local newspapers and community journalism – it would be short-sighted not to take it up.”
Danny added that daily newspapers such as the Scarborough Evening News which is going weekly had left an opportunity for other titles to start up.
He said: “If you don’t have all the start-up costs and get someone like me who can take care of everything except writing the stories and selling the ads, then we can look at the marketplace and say whether it’s viable.”
Johnston Press has declined to comment either on the Yorkshire office closures or on the decision to make Stephen Firth redundant.
Danny can be contacted on 01924 439498.