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From Ecng to Archant

Eastern Counties Newspaper Group has officially changed its name to Archant.

Thousands of staff all over England and Scotland have begun working under the new name.

In February more than 95 per cent of voting Ecng shareholders backed the bid to change the company name to Archant.

Shortly after, the High Court gave the final go-ahead allowing Ecng to rename itself.

The new name has been brought in to help reflect its more diverse and geographically spread nature.

It has expanded on its origins in East Anglia and its scope now stretches from Fraserburgh in northern Scotland to Sidmouth on the south coast of Devon.

It takes in large parts of the home counties, London, the south west, the Midlands and the north of England, as well as parts of central and north east Scotland.

In the run up to the change over more than 150 new signs were erected, 2,000 e-mail addresses were changed, and 250,000 letterheads and 95,000 business cards distributed.

A new corporate website has also been launched. Edited by communications manager Keith Morris gives readers easy access to information about the group, its publications and history.

A “welcome to Archant” letter was also sent to all staff from chief executive Peter Strong, which read: “The change is about much more than a name. It is about our new values of Innovation, Openness, Quality and Commitment.

“Publishing is a people business, ideas are the lifeblood and the values are vital to our future. Everyone has a part to play.”

Geoffrey Copeman, who has worked for the group for more than 40 years, and is currently vice-chairman, said: “The current issues facing newspapers centre on the fragmentation of the media.

“We have more and more radio and TV stations, and magazine and newspaper groups such as ours have now got to consider themselves media groups, which embrace online publishing.

“Ecng has always been to the fore in developing media beyond newspapers and continues to be prosperous and very successful. Our newspapers, at the same time, have shown themselves more than capable of coping with change.

“The name ecng is one many of us have grown up with and loved. And many will be sad to see its passing, while at the same time recognising the need for change.

“The old name does not properly describe the diversity and breadth of the group, and may also suggest to our many staff working outside of the Eastern Counties that they are not a central part of the group, which, of course, they are.

“When people are looking towards us in terms of career potential or business partnerships the old name understates the qualities and vibrancy of the company.

“The change will unlock for us the benefits of all the skills we have across the group for our own development and bring the company more closely together.”

Archant employs more than 2,400 people involved in publishing four daily newspapers, more than 50 weekly papers, 40 magazines and around 40 websites.

Its daily titles are the East Anglian Daily Times, Eastern Daily Press, Evening News (Norwich) and the Evening Star (Ipswich). Among the 60-plus weeklies are the Royston Crow, Weston & Somerset Mercury and the Ayrshire Leader Series.

The newspaper division is now a top ten regional newspaper publisher.

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