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Keep reporters in community, council tells Newsquest

A local authority is to write to regional publisher Newsquest urging it find new offices in order to maintain a reporting presence in two Gloucestershire towns.

It emerged last week that the company was proposing to sell three newspaper offices in Gloucestershire and move staff to a central base ten miles away.

Stroud District Council passed a motion at a meeting on Thursday night opposing the withdrawal of reporters from towns covered by the Stroud News and Journal and the Dursley Gazette.

It wants Newsquest to find smaller offices in the two towns to enable reporters to continue to be based there, even if it goes ahead with the plan to move the titles to a new base at Tetbury.

Councillor Geoff Wheeler who proposed the motion told HTFP: “My argument was that in order to fulfil their function as local journalists they need to know the people and have facilities were people can see them, rather than having to make an appointment.”

He said he hoped the company could be persuaded to keep the reporters in the towns.

If the plans go ahead, journalists on the Stroud News & Journal, Wilts & Gloucester Standard, Gloucestershire Gazette and Gloucestershire Independent will be moved to new offices on the edge of an industrial estate at Tetbury.

The newspaper’s existing offices in Cirencester and Dursley were due to be put up for sale last week with the office in Stroud set to go the market shortly.

Kevin Ward publisher of Newsquest’s South East, Wales and Gloucester division said last week that even if the proposals went ahead reporters and photographers would continue to be “active in the community.”

He did not wish to comment further.


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  • July 11, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Maybe the council could set a room aside at its offices for some reporters to use – that way they’d be nice and close to the community and could find out what’s really going on in the corridors of ‘power’.

    But, seriously, great community newspapers being bled dry by Newsquest. You have to be part of the community you serve to produce a good newspaper – why can’t they see that?

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  • July 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Serving the community is vitally important to journalists, less so to senior management. I attended many newspaper management meetings. The community was never mentioned.

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  • July 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Ah, but you see you can rewrite a press release or write an adfeature from anywhere, and there’s always the phone and emails…who cares if Mrs Bloggs, 83, with her absolutely blockbusting story has nowhere to go with it because she has no computer and doesn’t like using the phone, and would rather walk into the office and ask to see someone? But they’re all at it because all the big newspaper group managements have fallen prey to the idea begun by the “News Shopper”-type freesheets in the 70s – editorial is just the stuff that fills the gaps between the ads.

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