1 October 2014

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Five Johnston Press daily newspapers to go weekly next month

Five daily newspaper titles owned by Johnston Press are to switch to weekly publication from next month in what is being billed as a relaunch of its entire regional publishing business.

The Scarborough Evening News, Halifax Courier, Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Peterborough Evening Telegraph and Northants Evening Telegraph will all make the change from late May.

The company says it plans to relaunch of all of its 170 paid-for titles and their associated websites by the end of 2012 to embrace what it calls “platform neutral” publishing.

In an announcement issued this morning, it said the initial phase of the initiative will focus on five centres currently producing daily print titles – Halifax, Kettering, Northampton, Peterborough and Scarborough.

From next month the Northampton Chronicle and Echo will be published on Wednesday, the Scarborough Evening News and the Peterborough Evening Telegraph on Thursday, and the Halifax Courier on Friday.

It is not known how many jobs will be lost overall, but insiders have told HTFP there will be at least nine editorial redundancies in Halifax and six in Scarborough – more than a quarter of the editorial staff in each case.

Announcing the changes, JP chief executive Ashley Highfield said: “In my first few months at Johnston I have been greatly encouraged by what I have seen in our local operations. Our publishing strategy going forward will ensure that we give our local audiences what they want.

“While providing our existing audiences with an even better product, both in print and online,  we will extend our audience by  increasing our online content and making it easier to access in the most relevant ways as technologies continue to evolve.

“Johnston’s focus has always been on local and we will increasingly benefit from that core expertise with the rapid growth in both social media and in demand for access from mobile devices.

“We are committed to remaining a local company: that means local journalists and sales people working across the UK and Republic of Ireland, staying close to the communities and businesses they serve.”

Ashley, who joined the company last November from Microsoft, has identified “platform neutral” content as the key component of a strategy designed to “better monetise the digital opportunity”

He said further details of the strategy would be unveiled on 25 April 2012 to coincide with the group’s 2011 annual results announcement, which was delayed from earlier this month pending further talks with the banks over a refinancing deal.

The daily-to-weekly switch, which is expected to lead to significant job losses across the five centres, will see seven-day publishing online combined with a “bumper print edition” once a week.

At the same time the websites will receive what the company is calling a “light touch re-launch” with improvements to the home page and improved social networking and commenting functionality, with further changes planned for July 2012.

The National Union of Journalists has reacted to the announcement by praising the company for its “boldness” while pledging to fight any compulsory redundancies.

Deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick said: “This is a bold strategy of Johnston Press at a time when new solutions are needed.  But Ashley Highfield must not lose sight of the fact that it will not succeed without quality journalism.

“If jobs are lost, this will happen. We need to know a lot more details.  How will the weekly paper and seven-days-a- week daily digital output integrate and how will it affect the working practices of staff?

“Johnston Press is clearly making savings on print but how will it recoup money lost from cover prices and advertising revenue?  I hope that it isn’t rushing into an ill-thought-out strategy because it is being put under pressure by the banks.”

General secretary Michelle Stanistree said the union would be looking to meet Mr Highfield at the earliest possible opportunity.

“We are not against looking at innovative solutions to changes in the newspaper industry, but the lack of consultation with staff and the union is not the way to go about it.  We will robustly fight any compulsory redundancies,” she added.

Johnston Press has now become the latest regional publisher to go down the weekly publication route following a series of similar changes by Northcliffe Media last year.

The Lincolnshire Echo, Exeter Express and Echo, Torquay Herald Express and Scunthorpe Telegraph all moved from daily to weekly in the second half of 2011 while earlier this year, Trinity Mirror’s Liverpool Daily Post also made the switch, changing its name to The Post.

The five JP titles going weekly are by no means the smallest in its portfolio. Although the Scarborough Evening News sells just 10,637 copies, the other four all sell in excess of the Peterborough Evening Telegraph’s 14,883.

That is more than the Shields Gazette with 14,164, the Hartlepool Mail with 13,387, the Wigan Evening Post with 6,754 and the Doncaster Star with 2,111.

63 Comments

  1. House Rules

    Twitter leaks suggest the number of staff out the door after this move could be more than six

    Report this comment

  2. Spanner

    Is the regional print industry in full retreat and about to be routed ?

    Small ( Former Evenings) Daily Locals go Weekly.

    Bristol gives up its Saturday

    But who will make the first move to Mon,Wed, Fri.?

    Report this comment

  3. Nowayback, Scotland

    Sympathies to all those who are affected and losing their jobs. Hopefully it will be the springboard to something better.

    I find it hard to understand the dramatic change from evening/daily to weekly. Surely twice weekly would be a better or more logical step down?

    The ‘light touch’ to the internet just sounds like change on the cheap. I can’t see it attracting back advertisers.

    Anyone in a paper out twice weekly or weekly with JP, or other groups for that matter, better start looking around for another job.

    Report this comment

  4. Traffic Chaos

    Travesty.

    Report this comment

  5. ScarboroughLass

    Terrible news for the SEN – it did well for the size of the town and will be sorely missed by locals.

    I wish all the reporters well – they area good bunch in Scarborough and gave me my first chance of work ex.

    Report this comment

  6. Ill-informed

    “Surely twice weekly would be a better or more logical step down?” Why? You’d have twice the print and distribution costs, significantly higher editorial costs, but certainly not twice the revenues.

    As for the advice that “anyone in a paper out twice weekly or weekly … better start looking around for another job,” that’s garbage. Sales declines of regional dailies are far steeper than regional weeklies. Weeklies are far more sustainable than dailies and there remain far more reasons why people in local communities might still consume a weekly newspaper than they would a daily.

    Report this comment

  7. Fromthedarkside

    That’s many more people losing their jobs, then.
    Sadly this has been inevitable for some time.
    I took the decision to scarper from JP at the beginning of last year because it was clear there was a lack of commitment and desire from the powers that be to invest in, and resource, quality newspapers and websites. This was the case at a daily level and at a weekly one, where I was an editor.
    The real tragedy is that a quality, well-staffed weekly and proper daily website could work…but JP will be seeing this as nothing more than a cost saving measure. It’s a real shame.
    Good luck to all affected.

    Report this comment

  8. Dave, Scarborough

    As a resident, this is sad, but not surprising news. The paper has being going downhill for years, ignoring stories that impact on it’s readership, not digging into local government, pandering to it’s advertisers and a sloppy website that usually has more mistakes in a day than the Guardian used to have in a week ;)

    Add to that the fact that it’s printed and subbed in Sheffield, carries no real “daily” news as you are can now buy your “evening” newspaper with the morning dailies.

    It’s my strong opinion there is a potential on the Yorkshire Coast for a new publisher to come in and cover news from Whitby down to Filey (which would cover the Scarborough Borough) or further down to Bridlington (which would then cover two borough’s)

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  9. Harold Lloyd

    It took me two years two find a decent job, and even now it’s only part time, but you won’t believe how peaceful life is working under a progressive employer. So bit the bullet and get out when you can because you may as well start planning for your future now if this is what’s happening

    Report this comment

  10. johnsmith

    Just weeks ago, JP were talking about building app platforms to raise revenue alongside ad-supported website and mobile offers, to ensure daily news alongside a weekly paper. How exactly is this supposed to be achieved when all five centres lose staff under the inevitable (announced internally already) deep cuts to reporter, sports and photo staff?

    Utterly appalling news. Local news in this country is speeding down the slippery slope.

    Report this comment

  11. fishyphil, swimming with the fishes

    “Ashley, who joined the company last November from Microsoft, has identified “platform neutral” content as the key component of a strategy designed to “better monetise the digital opportunity””

    In other words, no unique local content. Way to go there.

    Report this comment

  12. Craig Munro

    How can JP have the temerity to describe potentially significant job losses as a sizeable “investment” (which an old colleague tells me is how they described the move in-house)? That they also announce plans for more “platform neutral” (read ‘generic’) content at the same time as issuing a committment to “local” reporters on the ground, is an utter farce. Clearly these guys need to look up the words ‘contradiction’ and ‘hypocrisy’ in the dictionary.

    Report this comment

  13. Scribbler

    Having been told this morning that my own job is “at risk”, I feel a certain sense of relief that I am in the lifeboat instead of going down with the Titanic. New management brings new ideas but as yet has not solved the issue of how to give the public all the news it NEEDS to know (local government, crime, human interest etc) while axing editorial staff; nor has it discovered how to encourage readers to view advertising on line. Good luck with that, those rearranging the deckchairs…

    Report this comment

  14. DAVE

    Every day I see HTFP and have to do a double-take at the unbelieveable headlines coming out of this once wonderful industry.

    Report this comment

  15. ex-Scarborough

    How many are there at the SEN these days? That’s reporters, subs and advertising.
    This is sad, but feels inevitable.
    No idea what ‘platform neutral’ content is…

    Report this comment

  16. Steven

    Good luck to all the papers who go weekly. It’s not the end of the world – instead it can give you a chance to produce a really great paper once a week.

    Report this comment

  17. ex-ET, London

    It’s a fantastic team and paper at Northants ET, excellent reporters and editor, so it’s a terrible shame to see it go like this. And it is going, the Scunthorpe Telegraph is a dreadful weekly now dying on its ars. Move to weekly is the first step towards not having a paper at all.

    Report this comment

  18. old hack

    And yet still there are thousands of would-be journos being churned out by universities and colleges every year. Just where are these poor young folk going to work? In five years, I don’t think there will be any daily/morning regionals left

    Report this comment

  19. JP Insider

    “We are committed to remaining a local company: that means local journalists and sales people working across the UK and Republic of Ireland, staying close to the communities and businesses they serve.”

    How does that square with last week’s decision to centralise all the classified sales operation into Sheffield ? I wish they would stop treating us like idiots.

    Report this comment

  20. House Rules

    @ex-scarborough, there are no subs at Scarborough any more. About 7/8 reporters and half a dozen snappers

    Report this comment

  21. Mr I

    HTFP should have its headline ready for when JP do the same with its newspapers in the North East. Another disgraceful day.

    Report this comment

  22. Dirk van der Werff, Hartlepool

    I’ve been out of the JP morass for almost 10 years now, bailed out after Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair (allegedly) got ‘involved’ in the politics and news decisions of a good local editor and a good newspaper with 4 and 8 page pull-out editions of the Letter Page, so popular had it become as a campaigning local newspaper.

    My guess is that the Hartlepool Mail where I worked for 25 years will be on the list of the next newspapers, along with others in the north east.

    I’m sure some of my ex-Management colleagues will feel differently, but that was the close-up view of editorial staff

    JP management, across the group and regions, were all so busy ‘making budgets’ and ‘making savings’ to ‘make bonus’ that they didn’t care about anyone who actually cared about the newspaper rather than ‘the product’

    Generally, across the group, very few senior managers lived in the circulation areas, and much less cared about the communities they served.

    Swathes of people and jobs slashed left right and centre by ‘managers’, who made their big fat bonuses and then moved on to the next ‘product’ on the next newspaper to make more ‘savings’ and make more ‘bonus’ for themselves… slapping their collective backs along the way

    Grand ideas about content that should and shouldn’t be on the internet, dithering and vague airy fairy ideas about ‘monetizing’ content at the same time as giving it away seemed way beyond the grasp of many of them who talked a good game, but who never played a good game.

    More ‘out of the box blue sky thinking’ than you could talk about in a month of Sundays .. They all just lost the plot, and lost it a decade ago, never mind recently.

    I dearly hope that local newspapers will rise phoenix like from the ashes of the bonfire they have become, that local entrepreneurs and community businessmen will take it on themselves to create a new generation of hybrid newspapers for a new social media and digital age.

    Democracy has taken a huge back seat in this country because of the demise of local newspapers .. no one full time keeping an eye on the council, no-one digging into crime stories .. no one making ANYONE accountable anymore, just PR fluff and awful ‘citizen photographs’ taken on an iPhone

    Today, I’m thinking about the many good people losing and about to lose their jobs.

    What a mess JP made, what a mess.

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  23. Ex-JP journo

    It’s time that JP admitted they have made a complete mess of trying to run their ‘newspaper’ empire. They should cut and run and sell off local titles instead of digitalising them. The tradition of newspapers explaining to their readers, and simplifying complicated local government language is now exemplified by young Ashley talking of “platform neutral” content as the key component of a strategy designed to “better monetise the digital opportunity”. What on earth is he talking about? It’s tragic. Bring back the subs!

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  24. In Cod We Trust, All at sea.

    Best wishes to all involved in JPs latest convulsions, particularly in Scarborough where I have very happy memories. Johnston’s have been thrashing about now for years to no effect and with a great deal of calamitous upset to staff, readers and advertisers. I can’t see Ashley’s platform neutral content verticals being any answer to the company’s 350 million-plus problems.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-journalists-no-1-platform-neutral-duty/2011/04/29/AFi1KyGF_story.html

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  25. Scaredforfuture

    “Platform Neutral” obviously means redesigning all the papers to look the same – so that papers can be subbed by the bare minimum of journlalists possibly hundreds of miles away with no fear of falling foul of individual newspaper house style rules. It also means bland.

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  26. Hacked Off

    And meanwhile, the rest of the JP newsrooms around the country sit nervously, awaiting a similar fate….

    Report this comment

  27. Simon

    From a current JP employee of 17.5 years. It’s sad to see things on the slide. The real reason is the credit crunch, the cover price doesn’t pay the bills, if there are less adverts, there is less cash. Do you remember the jobs supplements? A business has to make a profit, if it doesn’t, cuts have to be made. A daily selling less than 15K, isn’t sustainable. Having picked up the occasional one on the cuts list above, can see why they are getting the chop, terrible picture standards.

    Up your game folks to retain the readers and keep your job.

    Report this comment

  28. Cherrywonder

    “platform neutral” publishing????

    Can any bandwagon roll past without the “idea neutral” air-heads in newspaper management jumping all over it?

    Report this comment

  29. Lookingin, outside a newsroom

    It’s a sad day for papers like the SEN and co, but hopefully something positive will emerge from the scraps left behind.

    Not sure what the going is like for JP’s papers like the Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Evening Post, and outside of that company Trinity Mirror and others must be looking at where to slim down.

    I’d worked in weeklies for so many years and I wish the papers well. Hopefully you’ll do better in the new format, but when cover price revenue was outstripping ad revenue – and circulation falling at the best weeklies I knew, there are no answers on the horizon for any of us.

    Report this comment

  30. Ill-informed

    Simon, one of the other financial factors is the massive increase in the price of newsprint. It went up by over 30% in just one year!

    The four Northcliffe titles that changed publishing frequency increased their average issue sale by around 50% on average. If you were a local advertiser, which might grab some of your marketing budget – a daily newspaper selling 20,000 copies or a weekly newspaper selling 30,000? I know which one I’d pick.

    As for readers, no doubt there are those who would still prefer a local daily newspaper but, frankly, they’re increasingly few in number. A weekly with all of the week’s news and views in it fits better with people’s shopping habits and lifestyles and is going to appeal to more people than a 6-day-a-week daily. Reference again the Northcliffe sales figures as evidence.

    Seems to me that going weekly is better for advertisers and better for (most) readers. The painful downside is that you don’t need as many people to produce a weekly newspaper (with associated website) as a daily newspaper.

    Report this comment

  31. Neutral

    ‘Platform neutral’ doesn’t mean anything. Use it as part of an internal business strategy by all means – but to put it out as a top line to inform readers and advertisers of the most radical (and sensible) change in a title’s history? Did people really think this was a good idea, or was everyone too busy admiring the Emperor’s New Clothes to speak up and challenge the process…

    Report this comment

  32. Aman

    JP will soon have just five newspaper designs, according to which mosaic (market research) section they fit in to. IE affluent rural, gritty urban etc
    Only the mastheads will be different.

    InDesign is likely to be taken away from editors, with ads sold to set shapes and the page planners putting the editorial templates on pages. Reporters then fill those boxes.

    You don’t need subs, more editors will find themselves in charge of two or more “products”, and if this “platform neutral” nonsense takes hold, there’ll be even fewer reporters.

    My job isn’t at risk this time, but my industry is going to the wall.

    Report this comment

  33. Dave

    What has never made sense to me is why they put a digital supremo in charge of newspapers, and why people with a background in newspapers get promoted to head up websites…why not put round pegs in round holes for a change.

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  34. Peter Smith

    Let me explain platform neutral. A platform is a distribution method so in this case newspapers, tablets, phones and the web. What Highfield means is that all of these will be treated as equal within a media brand. It doesn’t mean that there will be generic content across all of their titles.

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  35. Mr I

    @ Dirk. I agree with you totally, though maybe not the “politics”side of it. The Mail is a good example of how a once-proud and well-read newspaper has been destroyed by JP. From the Night Mail to the Weekly Mail. It’s not right.

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  36. Ross H

    No reason why this couldn’t be a good move for quality journalism if people take their personal bitterness at the industry out of the equation. Granted, if jobs galore go then it won’t work, but if they can keep the staffing levels high enough then reporters will have more time to work on quality rather than churning out dull copy on the daily page-filling treadmill.

    Not saying it’s necessarily right but tough challenges call for big decisions. They’ll live or die by this one but I’m certain that the other regional publishers will be keeping a close eye on it.

    Report this comment

  37. Ross H

    @Peter Smith – quite right, but you’ll probably need your tin hat when the HTFP comment trolls have found you!

    Report this comment

  38. Billy Bewildered

    Something has to be done as papers can’t be left behind when it comes to the technological advances we’re constantly seeing. I’m not convinced that moving to make these papers weekly is the best way forward though.

    It’s crucial that journalists aren’t disposed of willy nilly or relocated unnecessarily. JP’s mantra constantly revolves around the word ‘local’ but they’re in danger of making themselves look stupid (again) if they do any more centralising.

    Papers MUST operate out of the towns/catchment area they represent.

    I’m all for embracing the digital age, once the equipment and staffing levels are appropriate to do so, but using jargon like ‘platform neutral’ etc doesn’t help anyone.

    As a JP employee I fear more for my own future than look forward to what ‘exciting’ things the company has in store.

    I have confidence in Ashley Highfield as he seems far more in tune than the two old men who went before him. I just hope the decisions he makes and the manner of them don’t come back to take a sizeable chunk out of his backside.

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  39. Oldhack

    “Let me explain platform neutral. A platform is a distribution method so in this case newspapers, tablets, phones and the web. What Highfield means is that all of these will be treated as equal within a media brand. It doesn’t mean that there will be generic content across all of their titles. ”
    OH! One size fits all…We used to communicate in plain English in this profession..

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  40. Ex-Northcliffe

    Think journalism went drastically downhill when journos were asked to fill boxes on page templates with no imagination, regardless of whether the story quality dictated it.
    Stretching and pulling a story way past its limit makes for awful reading, hence people simply don’t bother paying for the privilege of reading rubbish.
    However upsetting job cuts are, weeklies are the way forward for local newspapers. But how they are put together is another story altogether.
    At the minute, it is simply a case of doing everything on the cheap and not making a lasting first impression of quality which will draw the readers back.
    Same mistakes over and over again. My former paper is doing exactly that as I type. Terrible shame as there are some terrific people involved in newspapers.

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  41. Neutral

    Peter…you had to explain it. On an industry website. It will mean nothing to the ordinary customers our titles need to reach.

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  42. Cherrywonder

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all know what “platform neutral” means Ross H.

    But it’s all far too little, far too late,

    But let’s face it the internet is properly understood almost exclusively by hip, switched on gunslingers who have a clear view of the future and an IQ that enables them to know what to do to reap the financial whirlwind.

    I dunno how you would describe local newspaper managers of your acquaintance, but I doubt the words “hip” “switched-on” or “clear-visionsed” would be the first you’d reach for.

    Report this comment

  43. Phnurg

    You’ve got me thinking, and not slightly worried, Aman…

    Since the introduction of atex coincided with an increased plummet in circulation, as those skilled in one discipline were expected to also take over the skills of others…and the readers shunned the resultant literal-infested, quality-deficient, error-strewn results…can we also expect the same to happen to what remains of print when purblind templates take over?

    As for taking away InDesign from editors, JP managed to remove (or emasculated) some of the editors who may have put up an educated argument against the Maoist template hegemony, and so ensured the final nails in the coffin could be bought and placed, ready for the hammer blow.

    So reminiscent of the Great War clueless officer class…sacrifice the captains going over the top while the decision-making generals sip cognac miles from the battle-lines…dulce et decorum est por newspaper industry mori.

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  44. Dying breed

    Am I the only one amazed by the lack of joined up thinking displayed by newspapers executives?
    There are so many people in top jobs not fit and proper people to hold them!
    I met with the head of one of the regional publishing powerhouses last year and is lack of foresight was astonishing!

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  45. Daniel

    Every single management post at the two papers I know about has been ‘protected’, even the vacant roles! The only people losing their jobs are reporters, features staff, sports reporters and photographers. There are going to be as many senior managers at at least one of the papers as there are going to be reporters.

    Too many chiefs, not enough injuns. Do we learn no lessons from the past?

    There is also no plan as to what the new paper will look like, or how the 100-odd pages of content will be produced by such a small staff.

    Report this comment

  46. Soon to be Unemployed

    Never thought a career in journalism would end like this. Next stop JobCentre Plus it seems. With JP loyalty doesn’t count for much

    Report this comment

  47. Newshound, Leeds

    When are staff in Leeds going to find out their fate?

    Disgusting that everyone else knows what is happening to their jobs but we don’t.

    Report this comment

  48. furryoldgreybadger

    Sad, I was Circulation Manager at the Northampton Chronicle & Echo from 1978 – 1981 when ABC sales topped 50,000 copies a day! Great place to work, fond memories

  49. Son of Nixon, Somewhere sandy

    Good luck to all Scabbybarbara. Got some good memories of that newsroom.

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  50. worried employee, North East

    Everyone have mentioned the loss of jobs in Editorial, Journalism, Subs etc, what about us poor telesales who work for JP??? Mr I brought up the North East, they’ve already started up here mate. Telesales, managers etc found out last Thursday…. I don’t know how long it will take to move up the ladder to Journalists in the North East but I think its really sad. We promote “stay local” and “support your local businesses” etc. I’m all for re-launching the local newspapers and the website and usually hit my sales targets in both, I don’t think we do enough promotions for our brand but I definately don’t agree with a call centre in Sheffield!!!! How is Sheffield local to the North East??? Local businesses prefer local offices to place their adverts, they don’t want to speak to a stranger over the telephone miles away who couldn’t care less who they are or what they do, I read HTFP comments the other day and someone mentioned “why not Mumbai” Sheffield might as well be Mumbai, they’re both too far away to call in and can both be reached on the phone. Its all well and good giving Sales Executives Ipads and phones to deal with the larger companies who get full page adverts for peanuts but what about the smaller businesses, the roofers, joiners, garage services, plumbers etc who pay the full ccm rate for their little ads making up for the money lost to the ccm discounts given to the bigger companies. Do you honestly think the Reps are going to visit the “little guys” who cover the costs of the bigger companies. In the last few years JP have centralised the production department to Leeds and the quality of advert design is shocking, and the Accounts department, well, I don’t know (and wouldn’t like to guess) how many customers and advertisers we have lost through bad customer service from the accounts department sending out threatening legal letters to people who HAVE paid their bills.
    When the newspapers in the North East had their own departments, accounts, production etc it ran efficiently and profitably (and with very little complaints and refunds), I’m sure it is the same for the other offices around the country. JP bought the company when it was profitable, they made some really bad changes and purchases and now we’re paying the price for it. Its really sad. If JP lets their newspapers go down the pan and continue to promote online news not everybody has access to the internet or mobile phone so our customers will buy other newspapers or listen to the radio to keep up with the news and the smaller businesses in the area will go back to word of mouth, advertising in shop windows, leaflet distributers or advertising on sites like Gumtree which is FREE OF CHARGE. The North East branches have some excellent platforms, our newspapers are up to date with local news (along with some spelling mistakes unfortunately), we actively promote our magazines, DealMonsters, Reader Travel, Reader Offers etc but our website advertising is not the best in the world and definately needs a revamp. National advertisers seem to take up all the advertising space on our websites, even when our advertisers pay money to appear online they can never see their adverts for ppi claims companies, national advertisers etc or they don’t see any leaderboards, skyscrapers, or videos if their computer system doesn’t allow it so we take their money but don’t some people don’t receive the service they are paying for, at least in the newspapers they can see their advert and monitor the response.
    Like other print companies who thought they would do well and save money online they neglected their other print platforms and their newspapers and circulation/distribution have dropped dramatically, they’ve lost money, give away their print adverts for next to nothing and more jobs are lost through falling profits, is this really what JP and the shareholders want??? I’ve watched Mr Highfields videos and he seems really eager to make positive changes but we are local to our areas and should be left local, a call centre in Sheffied isn’t the answer, maybe try 1 call centre in the North East and 1 call centre in each of the other areas instead of offices dotted around the country may work, it would be worth a try, but putting all your eggs in Sheffield??? what happened to offering Excellent Customer Service and Loyalty to your staff and advertisers when you are planning on taking everything away from them. Once it’s done there will be no turning back. The loyalty will be gone, what then Mr Highfield???.

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  51. ginger whinger

    Has anybody got any retention figures for sales and ad revenue for other dailies that have gone “weakley” …….

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  52. onlooker

    inevitable sadly – daily newspapers are finished – killed by social media

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  53. Erico, Peterborough

    It’s a shame, but sometimes the Evening Telegraph in Peterborough is so thin in pagination, news and ads that it seems a waste of time picking it up. At least a weekly would offer a package that feels like value for money. What’s important is to get the feel of the weekly right – the over-sensationalism of news stories in the daily, just won’t work. Higher story count and less hype please.

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  54. an observer

    Nothing wrong with change and if the revenue is not there then the sinking ship has to be kept afloat somehow.
    However, “We are committed to remaining a local company: … sales people staying close to the communities and businesses they serve.”,
    how does that work with the announcement to centralise sales in Sheffield? Local knowledge, local empathy, worked well for me when I was a rep, a manager, a director and MD. Will that be lost?
    Is what is happening at JP a Flash in the pan? Time will tell but yes be worried, worried employee, North East.

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  55. modernista, somewhereoverarainbow

    dave scarborough; on the subject of mistakes it is “its” not “it’s” in your case.
    I am always wary of having a pop at people for mistakes; make a few of my own too!
    But I wish JP executives on fat salaries would start writing in English and not using crap clever-dick jargon like “neutral platforms.”
    Makes you fear for newspapers..

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  56. Once a journalist, always a journalist

    I was one of the subs cut by JP back in 2009, when the first centralised hubs were brought in. Faced with redundancy or a 120-mile a day commute to one of these hubs, I took a pay cut and returned to my newspaper’s newsdesk as a reporter. Less than six months later those subbing hubs (which, although not perfect, at least employed skilled sub-editors) were axed when Atex was introduced.
    At the end of 2010, increasingly dismayed by poor standards of copy, increased workload and JP’s overall attitude to its staff (work them to the bone, who cares about the product) I quit journalism for a comfortable job in PR.
    I still miss local journalism. But I don’t miss the constant fear of redundancy. And the constant feeling of always playing catch-up with my workload.
    What JP forgets is that readers notice all the literals, poor grammar, sloppy punctuation and headlines that make no sense.
    It also forgets that its remaining staff, while loyal, cannot realistically be pushed much further before they start to jump ship in their droves.

    I sympathise with everyone affected by this move. Sadly, journalism is not the career it once was, and the future for local newspapers does not look good.

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  57. tide-timez

    Ironic headline over JP’s bullish press release in last night’s Blackpool Gazette: ‘Newspaper publisher’s bold vision for the future’ with an even bolder (but grimmer vision) for the future in the adjoining share watch column: Johnston Press: 6 pence. With share price at rock bottom, what’s the betting the creditors will call in the administrators before any ‘platform neutral’ newsroom sees the light of day?

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  58. innocentbystander

    Let’s face facts: regional journalism as we used to know it is in the last thoes of terminal decline. The old model of newspapers in all our big towns and cities is dead. The market moved on some time ago, a reality not seriously acknowledged by newspaper proprietors who until very recently were intent only on squeezing out the last drop of profit.
    The biggest mistake made over the years was acceptance of mediocrity, especially in management, which became the preserve of advertising staff. Sadly, this tendency is also true of editors – with some honourable exceptions, there just aren’t as many truly talented people at the top any more, and the few that get there tend to be dispensed with quickly.
    Equally sadly, and again with exceptions, the content of many regional papers is appalling. Why should people buy poorly written and shoddily presented products? Why would they even want to read it for free on the internet?
    Whatever the platform, content is king, The only way to succeed is by providing products people want – that means supplying interesting information, well-written articles and great pictures. There’s no secret about this, so why don’t more people do it?

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  59. hacked off

    Re InDesign is likely to be taken away from editors: For anyone left it will be like trying to bring out papers with their hands tied behind their backs. For example, imagine not being able to even make a caption box bigger if there are 10 people to name in a particular picture. Anybody with any real knowledge of print-based journalism and how newspapers are put together would not go down this draconian route.

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  60. modernista, digiland

    Simon says up your game.
    Oh how I wish we could! We know our papers are becoming crap but a combination of the hated Atex system and severe staff shortages and an obsession with digital (also under staffed!) makes it impossible.
    Are you listening JP? Invest NOW in more staff (despite the wool being pulled over eyes of the top bosses morale is rock bottom) or papers and digital will perish.
    You didn’t read it here first. JP workers have been saying it for ages.
    No-one is listening.

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  61. Ex JP snapper

    Thank god I left JP some 12 years ago after working at Peterborough, Kettering and Northampton. My thoughts are with the photographers about to become jobless. Many of them have been on these newspapers for their whole working life.

    The best days for local newspapers are long gone, EMAP sold to JP at the right time.

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  62. snappymcsnap

    Interesting that Radio Two’s Jeremy Vice show picked up on the daily-to-weekly change for these papers this afternoon.
    Naturally it was a typical cutting-edge Beeb report, the basis of the story being ‘oh no, the paper boys and paper girls will be out of work.’
    Nuff said mehtinks.

    Remember, it’s our BBC thanks to the unique way the corporation is funded.
    That’s why their websites knock spots of anything the newsprint world can create

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  63. Soon To Be Unemployed

    In response to Simon: “Up your game folks to retain the readers and keep your job. ”

    Thanks for your support mate. It really counts when we are facing redundancy and wondering how we’ll pay our mortgages.
    Is your real name Lord Voldermort?

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