AddThis SmartLayers

Horizontal Jobs Scroller

Latest Jobs Call 01332 895994 to advertise here

‘Up to 100′ jobs set to go in JP’s UK-wide restructure

Johnston Press logoUp to 100 jobs are set to be lost as part of a regional publisher’s group-wide reorganisation, the National Union of Journalists has claimed.

As HTFP revealed on Friday, Johnston Press told staff to expect cuts to be made in “a number of areas” across its business and promised a series of follow-up announcements giving more specific detail of how individual publishing centres are affected.

It is now understood JP staff in Scotland have been told the company is seeking up to 32 voluntary redundancies across its Scottish operations, which include The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News.

The BBC has also reported that JP plans to cut 13 editorial jobs in Northern Ireland where it publishes Belfast daily the News Letter as well as a chain of weeklies.

The NUJ has put the total number of jobs set to go across the UK as a whole at “almost 100.”

However a Johnston Press spokeswoman said:  “The figures quoted by the NUJ are worst case scenario and we will only know the outcome after the consultation period.” 

As well as the plans affecting Scotland and Northern Ireland, the union claims up to 10 editorial posts are at risk in the North-East of England and eight in the North West.

However it is understood that a number of vacancies which have not been filled owing to a recruitment freeze may count towards the total in these regions.

The union has also claimed that 22 editorial management roles – editors, content editors and deputies – are facing the axe across the UK.

And it says plans to centralise the group’s design hub operation to Sheffield will put up to 15 jobs at risk in Edibnrugh and Peterborough.

The company’s South of England titles appear to have largely escaped the cull with no reporter cuts planned in the region.

However, according to the NUJ, there will be a review of management roles and four current vacancies at Portsmouth daily The News will not be replaced, although the company says no decision has been made about this.

The changes follow a memo sent to all staff from group editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford on Friday morning.

In it he outlined the rationale behind the plans, saying consideration was being given to whether there is the right mix of managers, writers and “those who curate and collate content from our communities”.

Wrote Jeremy:  “We expect the review of our newsroom structures will lead to a reorganisation for some of our teams as well. In some cases that will mean a reduction in team sizes.

“We have identified a number of areas where job reductions will come from and how that may affect different teams directly. Later today a number of announcements will be made about some of those proposals.

“These will set out our intention but it will take some time to work out the detail of those changes and how we want our organisations to operate in future.

“I know, and appreciate, that this is not news you want to hear, especially after such a challenging year. The rate and pace of change is unsettling and sometimes it feels pretty relentless. I wanted to set out the context of why we are taking these actions.”

The restructure comes after the company’s ‘Newsroom of the Future’ initiative, which sees journalists working across multiple titles within the same region, was introduced nationwide after a September 2014 trial.

It is understood that staff have been given a deadline of 29 January to apply for voluntary redundancy.

The NUJ group chapel at JP said in a statement: “Friday’s announcement has caused panic among our members. It is very difficult to see how the company can continue to function after yet more editorial job cuts.

“The lack of consultation also raises concerns that this could be to make short-term savings which will ultimately be self-defeating.

“Newsrooms around the company are already carrying high levels of staff vacancies and we hope the company is fully aware of this.

“Meaningful talks need to happen as a matter of urgency and our members should be involved in any decisions about possible restructuring.”

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “This is devastating news to begin 2016 with. Members are already stretched to cover gaps as a result of jobs not being filled last year and previous rounds of cuts.

“There are big concerns about the content that can realistically be produced under such straightened circumstances. The pressure to meet financial targets appears to be influencing internal decisions, alongside the slowing down of digital advertising revenue growth.

“We would like an open discussion with the company about why they have taken this decision and what has prompted this announcement. We need a meaningful consultation with our members about the way forward.

“There needs to be a proper plan. We need a strong local press with journalists able to do the job they came into it to do.”

Commenting on the Scottish proposals, NUJ Scotland national organiser Paul Holleran said: “It would be an understatement to say that journalists across Johnston Press are shocked at this latest round of job cuts.

“The NUJ will work with local management to mitigate the redundancies and their impact on the quality of titles but we are seriously concerned at this announcement.”

66 comments

You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • January 11, 2016 at 10:50 am
    Permalink

    Well, that was expected but still a shocking way for so many people to begin the new year and I wish you all the best of luck. Unfortunately, those of us left in the remnants of local news owned by bloated, cash-gobbling corporations – now existing solely to remunerate execs while the money lasts – face the same end, if not this year then next, or the one after. Minim is a very old man now but if I were 50 or younger a chosen change of career would be on the agenda rather than an enforced one. It’s going to happen, so get busy.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(30)
  • January 11, 2016 at 11:25 am
    Permalink

    Here lies JP.

    RIP – the company that re-organised itself out of existence.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(32)
  • January 11, 2016 at 11:48 am
    Permalink

    So it looks like my bosses are going to be fired and the workload given to me and others with no salary bump.

    Oh JP you win again

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(24)
  • January 11, 2016 at 11:55 am
    Permalink

    Time to get out now before there’s no money left. Good luck to all those affected. There is life after local papers.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(16)
  • January 11, 2016 at 11:56 am
    Permalink

    What is this? Some sort of nightmare competition between the big groups to see which of them can announce the most redundancies by February 1?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(19)
  • January 11, 2016 at 12:09 pm
    Permalink

    Closing local offices, one size fits all rubbish page templates, sacking staff photographers, UGC crap, cover price rises while quality falls, constant ‘reorganisation’ and enslaving staff to the ‘Digital Dream’….. these guys really don’t have a clue. It wasn’t broken but they tried to fix it anyway. Is it any wonder that circulation numbers are falling as fast as the share prices. Print titles were neglected and allowed to shrivel while every effort was put into digital….which dosent work, won’t work and is dragging once proud titles into oblivion all because of Ashley’s dream. Break up JP and sell to small family business’ who actually care about print. Just because its digital, Ashley, dosent guarantee success. You need to realise that and concentrate on the core business…printed newspapers. By pushing digital you’re actually creating competition for your own papers and trying to compete with Facebook…madness! Put out a quality reasonably priced product and people will buy it. Unfortunately Ashley quality isn’t in your vocabulary!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(69)
  • January 11, 2016 at 12:32 pm
    Permalink

    The death of a thousand cuts is nearing its end.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 11, 2016 at 2:01 pm
    Permalink

    So subs based in Sheffield are now going to be working upon pages from Scotland, Ireland and Southern England? Given that the whole of JP is set to be centralised into one single subbing unit?

    We all saw what happened when Newsquest went down that path – it lead to a blanket ban on headline-writing, largely based upon them having a complete lack of local knowledge to help them understand the stories they were working upon.

    It looks as through JP subs in the north are going to be forced into working on stores about Essex County cricket, Scottish legal stories, and Irish politics, I wonder how that’s going to turn out?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(18)
  • January 11, 2016 at 2:08 pm
    Permalink

    I bet over 300 will apply for VR. You’d be an idiot not to. I have been freelance two years now, it’s great, less hours, less stress and my redundancy pot has grown. The only bad thing is seeing my old paper which is a shadow of its former self.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(17)
  • January 11, 2016 at 3:11 pm
    Permalink

    You just know the managers don’t have a clue when they come out with comments such as “those who curate and collate content from our communities”. What!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(21)
  • January 11, 2016 at 3:26 pm
    Permalink

    Things can only get – worse! Best to find jobs elsewhere and starve this company of good staff.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 11, 2016 at 4:17 pm
    Permalink

    “The company’s South of England titles appear to have largely escaped the cull with no reporter cuts planned in the region.” I should hope not.
    The damage has already been done there. Offices shut, not enough staff, poor editing, low quality. Time for those in north to get a taste of the destruction.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 11, 2016 at 4:23 pm
    Permalink

    Re Former regional journo’s comment about ‘those who curate and collate content: According to my dictionary (Collins English) there is no such verb as curate, only the noun curator, a person who looks after a museum or art gallery. Presumably this works on the same principle as a janitor, who does not janit, or an author, who does not auth. Shows how much the big nobs know!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(12)
  • January 11, 2016 at 4:23 pm
    Permalink

    desker. I feel for anyone working for these cowboys. Your load will get heavier but Ashley and Co don’t care.
    Look at the share price? UNDER a penny in real money. Can any company sustain that.
    Rescue bid from small companies needed for all those once-wonderful weeklies that were deliberately wrecked by a foolish policy.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(11)
  • January 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm
    Permalink

    as an ex JP jailbird now freed I can only feel so sad at the ruin of so many once superb local papers, which those in the know predicted six or seven years ago and were called doom mongers.
    If Highfield thinks the future is digital then put his money where his butcher’s knife is and hive off a stand-alone JP digital company for himself and find a more caring home for the print. I know which would make more money, and so I suspect does he now.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(14)
  • January 11, 2016 at 4:43 pm
    Permalink

    It is difficult not to empathise with the views expressed by #timetogoAshley, but the reality is that there is little evidence to show that the audience for printed regional newspapers is likely to grow any time soon.

    Circulations of such papers have been draining away for decades, and though JP, Trinity Mirror and Newsquest have done little to improve the the chances of increasing the circulations of their printed products, it is an inevitable consequence to changing lifestyles.

    That is what makes the present parlous position of the British regional press so worrying.

    Print is dying and Web can’t pay the bills.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(12)
  • January 11, 2016 at 5:02 pm
    Permalink

    First things first, we should think of those at risk of redundancy. Horrible situation for anyone to find themselves in.

    Some of the comments made on here are quite remarkable. Suggesting that the company should have just invested in papers and not pursued digital is a nonsense. Print revenue continues to decline, and we can only speculate how much that is to do with perceived dip in quality (and, by the way, you’re insulting the journalists who put out these papers, not the company when you criticise quality) and how much is to do the general growth on the internet.

    Some people seem to suggest newspapers being taken over by smaller companies is a solution. It’s not. Ray Tindle is held up as a folk hero of the industry, but he’s no saviour of journalism. Just ask those in London expected to turn out extra newspapers he is launching to fill revenue gaps but without any extra journalists. That’s no plan for the future either.

    The NUJ says it ‘needs’ a meaningful consultation with its members from management. What NUJ members need is a union which has a meaningful relationship with management all year round, something which is common in other unions. The NUJ needs to be seen to active now to justify the £15 a month we all pay for what seems to be very little in return. What staff at JP need is an open door by managers to discuss hopes, concerns and fears on an individual basis.

    Finally, I think Jeremy Clifford was brave last week to be open and honest about the problems ahead. It would have been far easier for him to sit in an office somewhere and let each business make their announcements. He’s not done that, he’s tried to talk to everyone in his department. That’s surely to be welcomed.

    Good luck to all those involved. It’s a horrible time. And as for those who flock here to write poems (see Friday’s stories) and riddles and shout ‘I told you everything was doomed’, have you ever thought your behaviour is in rather poor taste?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(22)
  • January 11, 2016 at 5:31 pm
    Permalink

    confused – I am Confused and I believe I was Confused before you were just confused. And now everyone else is confused too.

    Though I could have happily written most of what you have, including sparing more than a thought for those at risk of redundancy.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • January 11, 2016 at 6:16 pm
    Permalink

    It’s almost as if the once so called big boys have got together and decided to announce wholesale job losses as soon into 2016 as possible so that no one group stands out for attention.
    This is the culmination of years of bad management,lack of proper investment, and chasing a quick buck at the cost of quality and content.
    Commiserations to the poor souls about to face the push as a result but if its any consolation you’ll not be the only ones across the uk facing the same situation this year and probably any time soon.

    Just think what a sorry state of affairs the company will be in with Skelton staffing and sadly most of the good people gone.

    Lunatics and asylums spring to mind

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 11, 2016 at 9:26 pm
    Permalink

    confused. I don’t think the suggestion is that companies should have ignored digital. It was just that they decimated sales of papers alongside it. I know this was true because a JP manager once told me not to worry about falling circulation because printing fewer papers would be cheaper and digital would fill the gap.
    The suggestion was that if Ashley H is so confident about digital let him start a separate outfit.
    I dont think saying that a lot of JP papers are poor quality is a reflection on staff. It is purely a reflection on lack of staff. I once worked for JP in charge of a small office and at times I dreaded a big complicated story coming when I was on my own (fairly frequently) and it doesn’t get any worse than that as a journo.
    I know the rump of staff left are working very hard, but they simply don’t have time and in some the training on the job to do things properly. Go out, buy a few JP weeklies. You will see.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • January 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm
    Permalink

    ‘Confused’ I’m NOT criticising journalists….I’m criticising the straight jacket they’ve been put in by JP. Rubbish templates, non-local offices and UGC. DIGITAL MAY BE THE WAY FORWARD FOR MANY INDUSTRIES BUT I PERSONALLY DONT THINK ITS THE WAY FORWARD FOR local Weekly Newspapers. The inability to monetise digital is a serious obstacle. With mobile devices getting smaller and the new ios9 having a built in ad blocker selling ads on digital is gonna be even harder and that’s after the struggle thus far.. All that glitters is not gold…. Digital clearly isn’t working for local weeklies and probably never will. Pushing it is giving news away for free and creating un-necessary competition for JPs own printed papers. Using UGC is a ham fisted attempt to take on Facebook…. An un-winnable battle.. Then there’s the Kindle v Book argument… Paper v website. Many ppl like a printed paper to read. I personally don’t think websites lend themselves well to local news. Most townspeople see their local paper as THEIR property, much like their local football team and don’t take too kindly to big companies messing things up for greed. NO… Digital does NOT always mean a sure fire winner. Ashley is having to learn that the hard way,. Yet he’s STILL flogging the DEAD DIGITAL HORSE! Vanity or stupidity?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(6)
  • January 11, 2016 at 10:35 pm
    Permalink

    Well said #timetogoashley. As for ‘cull survivor’ – you’re talking rubbish. I was culled along with many of my colleagues from ‘Up North’. No time to be sniping at other professionals who are worried to death.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 11, 2016 at 10:57 pm
    Permalink

    Ashley knows all about digital. Wasn’t it this great man who commissioned the BBC wireless digital system a few years back that cost £100m and didn’t work. Now that he has championed the demise of JP, where will be surface next? Suggestions please…

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(10)
  • January 11, 2016 at 11:31 pm
    Permalink

    I sympathise with the heartfelt views of #timetogo but the reality is that, as bitter a pill as it is to swallow, printed papers are a thing of the past with no future so it doesn’t make sense to throw good money after bad trying to prop them up or hoping for a miraculous recovery , it simply won’t happen.

    Had proper investment been given to the newspaper side of the business rather than pinning all hopes on the digital online revenue streams which have not and will not make sufficient revenues to sustain the level of staff currently employed in the regional press,it might have been different but you can’t undo progress and the way news is accessed means newspapers for news are rapidly dying, instant electronic news as it happens has all but replaced papers and its rapid progress onwards will leave printed papers even further behind.
    Greed, new media and the chance of a quick buck have resulted in the collapse of the regional press in this country as we know it and no amount of wishful thinking will change things.
    There’s no future in daily or weekly news papers so the sooner we accept this fact and move on to areas that have buoyant markets ( hyper locals , quality lifestyle magazines ) the better

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(6)
  • January 12, 2016 at 12:01 am
    Permalink

    @IronBull “It looks as through JP subs in the north are going to be forced into working on stores about Essex County cricket, Scottish legal stories, and Irish politics, I wonder how that’s going to turn out?”

    Have you heard of national newspapers? They’ve been doing this – and more, even international stories – for some time.
    It turns out ok.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • January 12, 2016 at 6:35 am
    Permalink

    Why would any self respecting journo WA t to cling on to the few remaining jobs at JP after this latest cull knowing that it’s only a matter of time before they too are cast aside?
    There’s clearly no long term future at the company and better to seek alternate options now rather than hang on helping them out under more pressure and stress until such time as they have no more use for for and you too get the shove.
    I left regional press ( not JP) three years ago as I saw the writing on the wall even then and it’s the best move I made
    My advice is to have a bit of pride and take VR if offered or actively seek a new job ahead of the time when you’re forced to look for one along with dozens of others
    JP don’t deserve your loyalty

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(16)
  • January 12, 2016 at 9:31 am
    Permalink

    @scoop
    The nationals tend to have fully-equipped newsrooms, a full compliment of staff, including trained subs with specialist knowledge in a particular field. They have international correspondents, regional editors, sports editors and sports sub-editors.

    Personally I find it unlikely that some guy working for the (almost certainly) understaffed hub in Sheffield, who has probably never worked on a Southern, Scottish or Irish title in his life is going to be knowledgeable about Orange Order politics in Northern Ireland, the finer points of the Scottish legal system etc.

    Perhaps I am wrong, but somehow I have a bad feeling about the whole thing.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(9)
  • January 12, 2016 at 10:13 am
    Permalink

    Cull Survivor’s being a little harsh on the north, surely? I’m among the evidence that the north hasn’t escaped destruction. But even if it had, why wish misery on people who don’t deserve it. Those who are left must be under incredible pressure. They don’t need more job cuts to remind them titles in the south have also suffered.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • January 12, 2016 at 10:26 am
    Permalink

    ‘Analyst’… At the risk of sounding like a Luddite I totally disagree with the notion that printed papers are a thing of the past. Digital clearly isn’t working and can’t be monetised successfully and therefore will wither on the vine. It,s people like Ashley Highfield who are dyed in the will digital-ites who are being stubborn. It ain’t working and forcing it down people’s throats won’t work either. He was so over confident that digital would work that it was promoted (Digital First) vigorously at the expense of printed papers. It’s not a natural decline in printed papers …. It’s total neglect by companies, letting papers fall into decay by cuts and office closues. It’s JP taking the LOCAL out of local papers. If anyone thinks digital will work then they are deluded. Ad blockers will be the final nail in its coffin…. If there are any ads to block. It’s not paying. JP are giving away news virtually for free and creating in-necessary competition for their own products. It’s insane. Those are the facts. What needs to be done now is to rejuvenate ailing papers and put out quality products produced and written locally, not 20 miles away. So despite the ging-ho attitudes of the digi-ites I’m afraid it’s RIP digital. Thanks to Apple no less!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(11)
  • January 12, 2016 at 10:35 am
    Permalink

    I took VR a while ago. Easiest decision I ever made, once I found out about the digital revenue bubble/scam.

    Get out while you can, folks. Haven’t looked back since.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 12, 2016 at 10:37 am
    Permalink

    hacked off. Apologies. I was clumsy in my use of words. I wasn’t wishing it on the “north” just stating the wonderful considerate JP management had decided it was time to spread the misery. The remaining few staff do their best and work very hard, but we know it isn’t good enough as corners have to be cut and the drop in quality is obvious to anyone, not just experienced hacks but, most importantly, the declining number of readers. Best wishes to anyone else earning a crust with JP.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • January 12, 2016 at 10:44 am
    Permalink

    Here’s the challenge Ashley. Convince all the digi sceptics on HTFP by publishing the net advertising income for 2015 from digital against the net advertising income from print.
    My wild guess is that despite everyone’s hard work about £1 in 10 comes from digital. Or to put it another way £9 in every £10 comes from print.
    I am open to correction.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(15)
  • January 12, 2016 at 11:20 am
    Permalink

    On the future of printed media, can I share my experience?
    I am finding an enduring and astonishing response to the business I launched five years ago – small A5 printed handbooks of local trades and services people, going out annually, with photos and stories about each individual. A cross between a local newspaper and Yellow Pages.
    The longer it’s around, the better it is doing, enabling me to double my previous income as a chief features sub on a regional daily.
    The key points, highlighted by readers and advertisers, are firstly quality – of print, writing and design. With 30 years of journalistic experience behind them, the handbooks are so much better than the usual sub-standard booklets going through people’s doors. Secondly, people love local faces – potential advertisers are hooked as soon as they see someone they know in the booklet.
    Although this is not conventional journalism, I am in many ways doing what I would have loved to carry on doing at the Blackpool Gazette before JP started butchering it,
    My experience suggests that print, DONE WELL, still has huge power, even in the digital age.
    My first franchisee, Alan Barnes, former Daily Star chief sports sub, has found exactly the same response.
    Many photos and stories go on the website, which attracts over 600 unique visitors a week through Google queries, so there is still a strong digital aspect. Have a look at http://www.homehandbooks.co.uk

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 12, 2016 at 11:39 am
    Permalink

    Spent six wonderful years in the local press, both print and digital, and still have many fantastic memories and great friendships from that time. But getting out was the best decision I ever made. Since leaving almost three years ago I have worked in a number of different industries and seen my work/life balance improve dramatically along with my salary.

    Thoughts with those affected by these latest cuts, but you’d be amazed at the value put on a journalist’s skills by the wider world, even if the suits running newspaper firms don’t want to recognise it.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • January 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm
    Permalink

    It would a good thing for its newspapers if JP went bust. Shorn of debt, tmost of them would thrive under new owners.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • January 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm
    Permalink

    Print works – you just need the right content, not dumbed down garbage

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • January 12, 2016 at 12:54 pm
    Permalink

    We’ll be left with even more churnalism, more robotic reporting, less doing more etc etc – what a disservice to readers, what a joy to PR companies and politicians …. ugh.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • January 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm
    Permalink

    It’s a nice notion ‘free bee’ but income from advertising has been consolidated for some years – take a print ad, get a digital ad reduced rate etc.
    That way it allows company results to gradually massage digital ‘growth’ while print ads ‘decline’.
    On a separate note . . . the standard of spelling, punctuation and grammar throughout this thread suggests few correspondents re-read their copy sufficiently, or maybe got too used to sub editors’ skills?
    Subs? Soon you’ll have to ask your grandparents!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • January 12, 2016 at 1:04 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve heard all the arguments for local papers giving away their content online for free – really I have. And no matter how many arguments I hear, or how often I hear them, I’m still not convinced it was the right way to go. If you visit a cinema website there’s no option to live stream (immediately and for free) the movie you are considering going to watch. That would be a suicidal business model, yet that’s pretty much what the local press has done with its news coverage, with ruinous effect. I’m not arguing that had the local press shunned digital they would have avoided their ultimate fate, but it might have considerably delayed the inevitable. Too late for a swift, collective change of direction now, I suppose?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • January 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm
    Permalink

    I have to agree with @analyst #timetogo
    Local daily and weekly Newspapers are a dying breed, too much damage has been done already, too much quality sacrificed to profit and too little investment years ago but whether you accept it or not the digital age is here to stay whilst local newspapers will wither and die, much as we all wish they wouldn’t and much as we all long for the golden era you cannot halt the March of progress.

    Local press digital websites are awful and unengaging so it’s no surprise that no ones monetising them and they too will struggle to find an audience unless they concentrate 100% on instant hyper hyper local parish pump type news that’s not available elsewhere.
    News today is accessed immediately by phone, tablet, pad, tv or laptop, not via a local newspaper that’s out of date as soon as it’s printed especially in places where an evening paper is available at breakfast time with regurgitated news from the previous day making a mockery of the word’ evening’

    David Bowies death being a case in point, social media and online news sites had the breaking story whilst the regionals missed the boat and found only play catch up via their on line pages.

    With falling copy sales and a changed modern world accessing news as it happens there’s sadly no place for regional dailies trying to compete on the same level, it’s bi planes competing with jets so it’s a case of embrace and diversify or fold up and close.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(7)
  • January 12, 2016 at 1:39 pm
    Permalink

    Can’t but agree with those defending print because quite apart from anything else, there’s never been a level playing field to assess its relative strength or weakness against digital. If excellent, well-funded local papers had gradually seen their circulations decline in spite of all the effort put into sustaining them, there might be a case to be made that the format was obsolete, but correlation isn’t causation; greedy proprietors starved them of resources and used the inevitable decline in quality to justify further cuts. It’s chicken-and-egg. In fact, it’s amazing papers are still turning in the (often enormous) profits they do given the years of deliberate, sustained neglect by bosses with no experience of or interest in news who would be equally happy selling shower curtains or pedal bin liners or oven chips, and with equal aplomb. Papers aren’t dying; they’re being murdered.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(11)
  • January 12, 2016 at 1:43 pm
    Permalink

    #timetogoashley
    If, as you say ” …Most townspeople see their local paper as THEIR property ” they would continue to buy the papers and we wouldn’t see the whole country’s regional press sales in complete free fall
    The fact is they clearly DONT and are likely not interested otherwise copy sales would be stable or on the up.
    The world has changed and clinging on to how things used to be with heads buried in the sand is fooling yourself.

    Poor quality papers,chasing the elusive digital £ and modern ways of getting news are the real reasons why regional press is in demise and that can’t be reversed by wishful thinking

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 12, 2016 at 1:46 pm
    Permalink

    I think it’s more like 20 to 30 per cent of ad income from digital
    But print is still overwhelmingly the biggest earner despite JP trying its best to kill it!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • January 12, 2016 at 3:34 pm
    Permalink

    A local free paper, staffed by experienced journalists who know the area and how to write a story; with offices open to the public all day and a phone number with the same dialling code as its readers is doing well. Really well. We’re ex JP (most of us) and our title has gone from strength-to-strength over the last three years. Advertisers and readers love it and by NOT giving away all our content free of charge on our website, people pick-up the printed product – all 22,000 of them. There is a market for printed, properly written and relevant papers because you can’t swat a fly or line a litter tray with an iPad.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(16)
  • January 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm
    Permalink

    northernhack, lancashire
    But print is still overwhelmingly the biggest earner despite JP trying its best to kill it!

    It doesn’t help when JP ship all the advert design over to India. The standard has dropped, the sales staff find it harder to sell the advertising because of this. Plus, advertisers are pulling their business from titles as they are getting a lesser quality of service whilst being charged more.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • January 12, 2016 at 5:07 pm
    Permalink

    This is just the start. Trust me. If sales of my old paper (Hartlepool Mail) are any indication of what is happening to sales across the group, there are going to many more job losses and newsaper closures this year.

    Although I have a degree of sympathy with JP staff, I’m afraid you reap what you sow. JPs journalists have allowed fear to dictate their actions. Instead of standing up to Ashley and his execs, they’ve meekly gone along with all the changes preferring to pay the mortgage every month than show some integrity.

    It’s not too late. Go for the redundo. If you don’t get that, spend your days (while JP are paying you) looking for a way out. This company is a sinking ship. Get out anyway you can. There really is life beyond crap local newspapers

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(7)
  • January 12, 2016 at 5:33 pm
    Permalink

    Harry Blackwood sends out a hard-nosed and cynical message but I fear in the case of this company he is right. I wonder if it will still be with us come the end of 2016 – at least find out where the lifeboats are, guys.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • January 12, 2016 at 6:25 pm
    Permalink

    How much of the 20-30% digi revenue is book cooked? ie percentage of print ads put in digi ad revenue column. Lots of reports from ex ad staff being put under pressure to do this.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • January 12, 2016 at 8:07 pm
    Permalink

    From now on all JP papers will follow the Ashley Model to bring them into line with websites. Instead of journos wasting time filling pages with new news, the reporter (two in the case of large titles like the Yorkshire Post) will fill pages one to three with the latest stories.
    It will then be the job of the communities sections to move all the previous issue’s stories on by three pages. Any spaces left by advertisers failing to take advantage of JP’s premium rates will be filled with stuff pasted from Facebook.
    This is the Reoroganised Reorganised Newsroom of the Future.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 13, 2016 at 7:24 am
    Permalink

    Dick Minim, hard nosed and cynical maybe, but based mostly on my experiences of JP management. From the minute they took over our group they were obsessed with the Internet.

    I was taken with the comment earlier about ‘giving content away’. It was obvious to me 15 years ago that this was madness and I repeatedly told senior management this; it didn’t go down well.

    At monthly management meeting I was criticised because the Hartlepool Mail website was lacking in content. That was a conscious decision by me that didn’t go down well with Tim Bowdler and his chums.

    I’m a simple, working class lad and my rationale was equally simple: if you give away your content for free on the Internet, more and more people will stop buying your newspaper.

    I was conscious that sales of the paper paid my wages and the wages of my staff. I regularly asked management why they were hell bent on destroying their products when they hadn’t worked out how the were going to make the Internet pay. They couldn’t answer apart from saying ‘advertising’.

    Now, 15 years on, they’ve almost killed off their printed products and they still haven’t worked out how to make the Internet pay. Share prices are at a catastrophic level, more jobs will go and more papers will move to weekly publication or close altogether. The arrogance and stupidity of JP senior management has been breathtaking.

    It gives me no satisfaction in saying ‘I told you so’ but I did.

    To those slaving away for JP with no job satisfaction, no thanks and the sword of Damocles hanging over them, take heart; there really is life after JP. Getting out will probably be the best thing you ever did when you look back on it.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • January 13, 2016 at 8:43 am
    Permalink

    ‘…they’ve meekly gone along with all the changes preferring to pay the mortgage every month than show some integrity.’

    Harry I’m with you all the way on the probable ending to the JP story – though I think a merger (takeover) is more likely and then just prolonging the agony for remaining staff. But for some people having a roof over their, their wife partner, kids’ heads IS and will remain a priority.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 13, 2016 at 9:41 am
    Permalink

    Harry Blackwood: I too am a simple working class lad, south London council estate. I too asked top brass – 15 years ago – how the internet would pay when I was editor of a financial magazine. I too never got an answer and have never had one since. If you’re not flogging stuff or purveying porn, forget it.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • January 13, 2016 at 11:26 am
    Permalink

    And here’s more evidence that JP senior management just do not get digital as a local medium, or what some of their readers really think about it: http://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/local/680-jobs-under-threat-at-morrisons-1-7156373
    This story, and yes there are times when a national issue has real local impact, is appearing in a top slot across the JP network (Weds)

    Just check out the comments.

    PS – and how many JP sites are still running the ‘£53.5 million still to be won on the lottery’ story as the winners are appearing on TV?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • January 13, 2016 at 2:05 pm
    Permalink

    Harry Blackwood. It was deja vu when I read your last piece. I had exactly the same conversation with someone who is now a top level bod in JP. I told this person the paper was being destroyed, had lost quality and we needed ONE (just one) more reporter to help turn it around.
    I was told top level management was not worried about newspaper sales losses because of the push for digital, and that I should not worry about the loss of quality but just get on with the job. Fortunately VR later came to my rescue, but all those still with JP who still care about proper journalism have my best wishes in these difficult times.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • January 13, 2016 at 2:08 pm
    Permalink

    thanks for all those trying to put some flesh on the digital ad figures. Seems to be a lot of smoke and mirrors but I’d imagine 20 per cent might not be far off. Of course in time digital will be 100 per cent….there will be no paper.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 13, 2016 at 6:56 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve heard print is responsible for 87% of revenue at JP.
    I also understand some or many papers have experienced a peak audience for websites as the papers no longer have sufficient staff to put anything decent online.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 14, 2016 at 8:22 am
    Permalink

    Irrespective of whether its 20,30 or 100% of the revenue share,digital money cannot cover costs and overheads,so unless publishers accept digital revenue on regional press websites are not there and has no sign of ever being there,the future of many of them will be bleak and very probably short.

    For those groups focusiing their attention on very local news or specific sectors of the community and accepting that papers are no longer a go to source for the days news,there is still a market,those that carry on in denial are simply foolling themselves and digging themselves deeper into the mire. The first part of any cure is acceptance of the problem,to blindly ignore whats going on around them is reckless and just adds to the problem

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(6)
  • January 14, 2016 at 11:56 am
    Permalink

    Here’s what the markets thought of this latest cull.
    After a five day dance of the dying fly JP shares are at midday 40.25p (.8p pre-consolidation) and with a market capitalisation of £43.6m (or 25 times the CE’s salary).

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 14, 2016 at 3:23 pm
    Permalink

    Confused, I think markets generally are down today but I totally get your point and have mentioned this woeful situation before.

    Every time JP make these cuts they damage the product. In the dim and distant past the remaining staff may have been able to raise their game and keep standards high. Those days have long gone. Now, there are barely enough editorial staff to produce even mediocre products. Indeed. The way JP has treated staff, I’m surprised they have the appetite to do any work.

    When I see my old paper The Hartlepool Mail, I’m saddened and embarrassed. Aside from good sports coverage it’s a disgrace.

    The execs of Johnston Press know nothing about running newspapers and they prove it day after day.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(6)
  • January 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm
    Permalink

    Shares 37.25p today, or 0.745p before the x50. Just saying… How did Ashley and Co manage that? It can’t have been easy to lead so many once great newspapers onto the jagged rocks of greed and stupidity. But remember – THINK DIGITAL!! Still, I’m out of it! (Great sign of relief).

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm
    Permalink

    Sad – and that sorry story continues today (Monday) with shares reaching new lows – currently a . There is some buying activity but surely only motivated by hopes for a modest rise following the now inevitable merger (takeover) announcement.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm
    Permalink

    It’s ironic that in their fervent chase for profit, JP/ NQ/LW/Archant and their like have failed to make profit and have this ended up with unprofitable papers devoid of quality that are losing readers at a consistent and alarming rate. One can’t help but wonder if they had remained calm collected and with a focus on delivering quality content that people are prepared to buy they would have been in a much healthier place than they are now.
    Ridiculous thing is that apart from those that have jumped ship already, the clowns making these damaging decisions are all still in the same positions of power while the ones at the sharp end have fallen victim to I’ll considered policies that have damaged and continue to damage the industry. It’s clear that as each day goes by and as each announcement of job cuts and losses is announced the uk regional press pushes itself closer and closer to the brink of self destruction. What s ridiculous situation to be in when much of its ill fitting found have been avoided.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 18, 2016 at 2:13 pm
    Permalink

    Apologies it should of course read”Ill fortune could have been “

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 18, 2016 at 4:25 pm
    Permalink

    Just when you think it can’t get any worse JP shares drop to their lowest ever level at 35p.

    Then it gets worse still as the redundancy deal being offered to staff is two weeks pay for every year’s service up to a maximum of 20 years.

    Not just kicking staff when they’re down but kicking them in the gonads.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)

Advanced search

View Jobs by Category

Job Alerts