18 December 2014

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Reporter to be based in library as JP office closes

A newspaper reporter will be based in a local library for three days a week as the Johnston Press title moves offices to a new base out of town.

HTFP reported last month that the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald was one of four weekly newspapers in Scotland where the regional publisher was proposing to close offices and move journalists to work at the centres of neighbouring titles.

The paper has now published an article which says the title will move from Milngavie to Kirkintilloch this week, which is around eight miles away, where sister titles The Kirkintilloch Herald, Bishopbriggs Herald and Springburn Herald are based.

Under the move, community reporter Laura Sturrock will be based three days a week at Milngavie Library and the weekly said its reporters would be “out in the community more than ever” to meet people and get stories.

The article said: “It’s all change at the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, as after many years we are on the move.

“While our office re-location to Kirkintilloch is the end of an era, modern technology means it’s also the start of something bold and new for our newspaper and website.”

Editor Jim Holland told readers: ‘‘We are all committed to making this move work for the community.

“It’s never easy when you are a few miles away, but we’re at the end of the phone, at the end of an e-mail and will be out and about in the area as often as possible.”

The office closure is the latest in a series by Johnston Press as it aims to move its journalists to “more suitable” accommodation and also provide them with new technology such as smartphones.

It also proposed closing the offices of the Linlithgow Gazette, Inverurie Herald and the Glenrothes Gazette but it is unclear if these have gone ahead yet.

Last month Paul Holleran, Scottish organiser of the National Union of Journalists, raised fears that it would result in the loss of community identity for the titles involved.

15 Comments

  1. Biter

    Like it. Cut out the middle man and go straight to cuts.

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  2. Spartacus

    Big-hearted JP are simply joining the battle to keep local libraries open. But the reporters had better keep their voices down when other people are trying to read.

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  3. Voice of Reason

    Last time I went onto the editorial floor of my local newspaper office it was actually quieter than a library and full of cowed figures with the spirit drained out of them. It’s so sad that the very soul of a once vibrant, fun industry is being destroyed.

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  4. Dave up North, Yorkshire

    Nothing new here. JP did same months ago with Malton & Pickering Mercury. No noticeable change. Continued reducing number of readers, website still poor.

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  5. Kendo Nagasaki

    Pity the poor reporter. I’m all for reporters ‘meeting the people’ but in a public library there will be no escape from bee-in-the-bonnet nutjobs ranting about their hobby horses.

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  6. Digger

    I’m just surprised they haven’t recruited the library staff to do the newsgathering – unpaid of course. Whoops! Mustn’t put ideas in their heads..

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  7. Bluestringer

    Can’t wait till they decant a load of whooping and high-fiving sales reps to the local library.

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  8. In Cod We Trust

    Laura’s got the short straw. I used to hold court in a bar which was open from first thing in the morning and where they even took messages and let me borrow the phone occasionally (this is pre-mobile days). I knew everybody on the patch and they, including the non-bar goers, knew where to get me. Vibrant fun indeed, despite the alcoholism.

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  9. Sub up North

    Why not have reporters based in local supermarkets? Surely they are places where far more people gather these days than libraries.
    Also, you wouldn’t have to keep your voice down!

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  10. Ashley

    Commenters seem to have missed something here. The reporter concerned will be ideally placed to lift copy from a wide selection of freely supplied local and national newspapers and magazines, and will have access to freely supplied internet facilities.

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  11. Streatham2, London

    No mention of whether the paper is paying for using the library space; I’d hope that they are. If they’re not, I’d be concerned about the paper not wanting to upset the local authority and tempering its reporting accordingly.

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  12. Hipad

    Why not massage parlours? Reporters could certainly pick up the odd story in there.

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  13. Billy Bewildered

    Presumably the reporter’s phone will have to be on silent and they’ll have to talk very quietly into it?

    Presumably the library’s wi-fi is quick enough to cope with access to horrible Atex, and JP are helping to cover the cost of using it?

    All very bizarre, but not unsurprising.

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  14. Number cruncher

    Library? Luxury!! I can remember having to relocate to a shoe box on the hard shoulder of the M62. But if you tell young reporters about this nowadays, they don’t believe you…

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  15. CONFUSED

    My local library closes for lunch,and has a half day closing on a Wednesday……………………

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