23 September 2014

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Journalists on move as more JP offices close

Regional publisher Johnston Press is planning to close more of its weekly newspaper offices, it has emerged.

The Sleaford Standard has confirmed the closure of its offices in Handley Street in the town with a new base for the title yet to be confirmed.

A story in the paper says it is currently putting the “finishing touches” to its new offices and urges readers to keep looking out in the paper for details.

The Standard’s two reporters Andy Hubbert and Rachel Grafton will only be contactable via mobile phone or email in the interim, with advertising staff now based at Boston.

In addition the National Union of Journalists says JP is proposing to close the offices of the Linlithgow Gazette, Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, Inverurie Herald and the Glenrothes Gazette.

They are the latest in a series of newspaper office closures over the past year which have included five in Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire, three in West Yorkshire, two in the North-East and two in Suffolk.

JP chief executive Ashley Highfield defended the programme in the company’s annual report last week, saying the past year had seen many staff move to “more suitable” accommodation.

However the union has hit out at the proposals citing fears about titles moving out of their communities and the impact on staff who may have to travel further to get to work.

Scottish NUJ organiser Paul Holleran said: “One aspect is the loss of community identity and presence in the town and another is the massive inconvenience for staff.

“Some of the other offices are quite a distance so there could be difficulties for people and that is something we are looking at.”

However, he said that following discussions with the company, there were proposals to allow journalists to either work at neighbouring offices or to work from home with a laptop and smartphone provided by JP.

It is thought around three journalists work at each of the Scottish offices and they are proposed to be closed in the next few weeks.

Johnston Press had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.

Last year, Ashley said that selling off offices would release funds to ensure its remaining ones were “fit for purpose”.

In last month’s annual report, he said:  “Our plans have also seen many of our staff move to far better accommodation – suitable for our future needs.”

5 Comments

  1. Queenie, Sheffield

    We at the Sheffield office are still having to wash our cups in the toilet area, is this considered as ‘fit for purpose’?

    Report this comment

  2. salamander

    Well, I guess the £825,000 has to be found somewhere! Why not
    site journalists in Tesco stores?

    Report this comment

  3. House Rules

    A Trinity Mirror office in Surrey is being changed into a Tesco.

    Report this comment

  4. BILLY BATTY BOY BYFORD, portsmouth

    Cutting costs, way to go Jpr.

    Report this comment

  5. Lucy Lastik, Uranus

    Please do not put JP in the same league as Tesco.
    Think Poundland.

    Report this comment



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