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Press agency extends empire north of border

One of the largest independent press agencies in the UK has expanded north of the border with the purchase of a network of Scottish agencies.

The Bristol-based South West News Service has taken over Hard Edge Media – which runs Northscot in Aberdeen, Centre Press in Glasgow and Capital Press in Edinburgh.

Hard Edge Media was founded in 1982 by former Fleet Street journalist Peter Steele, who initially launched the Northscot agency, which was followed by an expansion to Glasgow then Edinburgh.

The network, which was set up to co-ordinate the three agencies, is now a subsidiary of SWNS following its purchase, which is understood to have taken place in January but was not publicised at the time.

Peter will remain on the board of Hard Edge Media and SWNS is recruiting new staff in Scotland to strengthen the existing teams there.

Andy Young, managing director of SWNS, told “We hope to continue Peter’s great service to the local and national media ‘north of the border’.

“We are currently interviewing for news and photographic staff to reinforce the existing teams.

“There will be no changes to key personnel with Peter Steele remaining on the board of HEMedia to oversee the operation. We hope to rely on his vast experience and reputation for as long as he is available to us.

“We hope to build on the good name that Peter and his team have within the Scottish media and, in turn, want to see that reputation grow.”

SWNS is a well-established news agency supplying copy and pictures to magazines, newspapers and broadcasters with offices in Bristol, Plymouth and Leamington Spa, while it also owns Mason’s News Service in Cambridge and PR companies 72Point and Palamedes PR.