Fresh cutbacks by regional publisher Johnston Press will see the closure of a weekly newspaper office in Scotland with staff relocated seven miles away.
Last week we reported the company had closed three newspaper offices in the Midlands, resulting in the loss of two advertising jobs.
Now the Midlothian Advertiser is closing its Dalkeith office next week with its 14 staff being moved to Holyrood in Edinburgh.
The news was announced by editor Jo Robinson in a letter to readers published on the newspaper’s website.
She said: “I can now officially announce that on June 22 the Advertiser’s office in Dalkeith High Street will close.
“Although our team will be based seven miles down the road at our head office in Holyrood, I can assure you that we will continue to work at the heart of the community.”
“We will continue to represent your interests at public meetings; to visit schools, homes, businesses and community organisations; and to champion the cause of local issues.
“The good news is that nobody will be losing their job as part of the move. We will still have a dedicated team producing newspapers for Midlothian and East Lothian, we’ll simply be working from a different office.”
The letter goes on to say that like many others, the business has been hit by the current economic challenges meaning they had to find ways of saving money.
She continued: “It wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly but, ultimately, it came down to a choice between buildings or people.
“We are currently exploring ways of helping reporters work out in the field, so you should be seeing even more of us, rather than less.”
Neither Jo nor Johnston Press wished to comment further on the closure.
However Paul Holleran National Union of Journalists organiser for Scotland said: “We are concerned about this, particularly with Johnston Press because they always pride themselves on keeping local news local, so this is a move away from normal procedure.
“Although Edinburgh is not far we should have some presence in town. Taking journalists and advertising staff out-of-town is counter-productive.”
He added that while the paper would be losing its local identity the fact that there would be no job cuts had been welcomed.
When staff were informed of the closure union members met with management to discuss finding a smaller office with cheaper rent but they were unsuccessful.