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Group editor of 14 titles to leave Johnston Press

brian stormontA group editor with responsibility for 14 different newspapers has become the third editor to leave Johnston Press in the space of a week.

Brian Stormont, left, group editor of the JP-owned Angus County Press, has decided to look for a “new challenge.”

His announcement comes days after it was revealed that Jon Rhodes, editor of The Gazette, Blackpool and two sister titles, was leaving the newspaper amid a management shake-up.

And as reported on HTFP last week, Susan Windram, who is responsible for 11 weekly titles in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, has also decided to quit her role for a new post at Scottish Field magazine.

JP is currently in the process of introducing its “newsroom of the future” initiative in three different regions across the UK, including its weekly titles in Scotland.

Titles currently overseen by Brian include the Arbroath Herald Guide & Gazette, Brechin Advertiser, Montrose Review, Kirriemuir Herald, Forfar Dispatch and The Buteman.

Brian began his career with the Arbroath Herald Guide & Gazette in 1989 on an apprenticeship aged 16, where he would remain for more than 12 years.

He then served as chief reporter at the Glenrothes Gazette, before being promoted to deputy editor and later editor of the paper.

Brian returned to Arbroath as editor in 2007 and assumed responsibility for the Montrose Review in 2011.

The following year he was promoted to the position of Angus County Press group editor, and celebrated 25 years with the company in October 2014.

Said Brian: “Having been 25 years with Johnston Press and its associated companies, I felt it was the right time to look for a new challenge.

“I will be taking a short break for a week or two to spend some time with my family and friends before looking for my next opportunity – where that may be I really don’t know, but it is an exciting thought.

“It is not without sadness that I leave something that has been part of my life for a quarter of a century, but it is the correct moment for me to go.

“It has been an honour to work with the reporters I have over the years, but in particular over the past year in the Arbroath, Brechin, Forfar and Montrose titles, where the guys have really displayed a commitment which is over and above what is required of them.

“I leave the newspapers on a firm footing and I hope that they go from strength to strength in the future.”

28 comments

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  • March 16, 2015 at 7:56 am
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    There’s some serious talent in that warehouse, wherever it is.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 8:35 am
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    “Exciting” makes a welcome appearance here and Brian looks like just the adventurous, new-age, globe-trotting type who would throw over a comfortable career at his time of life to go trekking in the jungles of northern Thailand, for example. JP must be distraught that such an experienced hand has decided, using his own free will, on this course of action and is probably offering all sorts of blandishments to get him to change his mind.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 9:04 am
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    Johnston Press’s “Newsroom of the future” probably consists of an almost empty office with one miserable, desperate, isolated trainee sitting alone at his desk looking forward to working 60 hour weeks in return for ¬£16,000 a year.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 9:17 am
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    Editing 14 titles? I wonder how much editing he managed?
    JP have picked off the hacks, subs, sales-distribution, snappers and now editors who “seek new challenges”. I pray for anyone who for personal reasons, and there are hundreds of them, has no choice but to work for this outfit.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 9:49 am
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    No mention of redundancy payments in the spate of JP exec departures. This the JP way ahead – sicken staff so much that they have to get out with no cash. It will soon be filtering down to the over-worked, stressed-out staff at the sharp end. The JP mantra will be like it or lump it.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 9:54 am
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    A country that doesn’t look after its own people is a country that goes down the drain…and that goes for newspaper companies as well.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 9:54 am
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    Another day, another experienced hand for the blindfold and firing squad, and expected to trot out the formula quotes to make sure whatever deal is on the table is honoured. ‘Gladimoutofit’ sums up exactly how I feel but someone has already bagged that handle, so… All the best to those who remain, for however long you think that may be.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 9:58 am
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    They should have a fire brigade of the future – where all the firefighters who’ve ever been in a fire get pushed out, and hosepipes get replaced with watering cans.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 10:26 am
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    Every improved workflow strategy that JP brought in was worse than the previous one and thank goodness I’m long gone. The only surprise to me is that the remaining staff aren’t off with work-related stress. My local paper is packed with stuff I don’t want to read, mostly charity do-dahs and tales from places at the edge of the circulation area that I’ve never heard of. I still buy it every week to read the court stories but as they now only take up a page I might as well give myself an extra 5 minutes and read it in Tesco instead of buying a copy. That’s how dull it has become.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 10:36 am
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    My handle couldn’t be more accurate, right now. Only these days I worry that our emaciated local press is letting the people down by no longer being able to hold our governors to account

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  • March 16, 2015 at 10:49 am
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    These are astonishing times on JP. No one can recall such carnage. A lot of the best eds and writers have left or been pushed out, which is why the cobbled together papers have no depth or soul. Sure, they get filled up , but there is hardly a human spark present. I can hardly bear to read my own paper.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 11:11 am
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    I feel sorry for the replacements of these editors that are now leaving of their own free will; they will no doubt be made redundant at some point.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 11:24 am
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    JP have turned once superb newspapers into dull ‘eveythings wonderful’ tat. Im sick of my local paper towing the party line and not holding authorities to count. It used to have gritty news on the front, now its only development stories or fundraising success. Boring. All because good inky-fingered reporters and photographsers have now left for good, replaced with trainee graduates who think the local PR company will provide them with their splash. It looks so sad sat there in a pile in WH Smith, the pile never sells quickly, and its still abundant the day before the new edition. JP need fresh investment to turn things around.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 11:38 am
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    Welcome to the warehouse of redundoed or disenchanted editors…

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  • March 16, 2015 at 11:46 am
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    Must be time for some of the senior management to go as they obviously have very few staff to manage now.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 12:32 pm
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    Lady Godiva: JP’s first “fresh investment” could be to keep on Brian, give him a rise, and rehire some of the front-line journalistic talent jettisoned in recent years. Less useless bean-counters and mouse-clickers at head office could fund serious input into what should be the company’s core product. And if Brian read my post above I hope he realises the sarcasm is directed solely at the shoddy outfit that employed him. Good luck for the future, sir.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 1:05 pm
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    I know what Oliver Cromwell would have said to JP senior management: “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately … Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

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  • March 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm
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    Here’s a ‘new challenge’ for the suits at JP. How about treating loyal hard-working staff like human beings. They have the responsibilities for mortgages, families etc. And readers and advertisers also deserve a better deal than the poor newspapers you are producing. The shareholders are bound to cotton on sooner or later.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 4:44 pm
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    Never mind the staff, what about the communities these newspapers (used to) serve? Local democracy will not benefit from this ongoing slash and burn strategy.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 5:04 pm
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    The management mantra that ‘editorial doesn’t matter’ goes back a long way.
    I recall attending an editors’ conference in 1987 when an MD told us, in effect, ‘you are no longer the main men in newspapers, ad managers are.’
    I also recall a junior member of the admin staff being told by a senior manager on the commercial side: ‘Don’t worry about editorial – they don’t count.’
    No wonder, then, that local newspapers are, with a few exceptions, unreadable rubbish.
    Now that the nationals are full of the Kardashians, the Beckhams and Jeremy Clarkson, there is nothing left to read for those of us who have more than a dozen brain cells.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm
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    carts: That would be the last thing on an accountant’s mind and they are the people who run local media companies now. All those old debates about editorial integrity, service to communities, holding the powerful to account and so on have vanished along with the profit margins. Count the ads masquerading as “news” in your local rag and you’ll see what I mean.

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  • March 17, 2015 at 7:41 am
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    I love how the haters are ‘so glad to be out of it’ that they’re still wasting many bitter and twisted hours trawling this site to find a JP story to whinge about. I relish the day that one of you actually has an answer to this industry’s challenges rather than maintaining a ‘stuck in the pre Internet past’ point of view. Incase you’re not aware, Austin Rover went bust some years ago!

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  • March 17, 2015 at 8:45 am
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    To Carts.. The communities have the option of rejecting the trashy papers that JP produce, which they are doing in tens of thousands. Most of the under paid, under pressure staff have no option but to tough it out. We used to take a pride in our work, but no longer.

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  • March 17, 2015 at 6:52 pm
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    Long John. You haven’t a leg to stand on. Well, maybe one. But greedy JP are the architects of their own downfall, shelling our countless ¬£millions prior to the crash on iffy newspapers. We apologise for whingeing in the face of redundancies, office closures, high cover costs, and the latest ‘newsroom of the future’ insanity. I suppose you, LJ, are used to dealing with that bird in your shoulder that parrots every word you say. What a pity whingeing JP staff can think for themselves.

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  • March 19, 2015 at 8:05 am
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    Hacked off – and of course, in those halcyon days when the money was coming in quicker than anybody could count it, you wouldn’t have been tempted to buy some newspaper businesses. Of course you wouldn’t!

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  • March 19, 2015 at 9:38 pm
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    The way in which JP is destroying them, LJ, they won’t be able to give them away in future. The six figure salary brigade is doing a marvellous job.

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  • March 21, 2015 at 10:02 am
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    All you seem to care about Long John are the 30 pieces of silver… Work it out.

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  • April 4, 2015 at 12:58 pm
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    Future headline – Group editor of 50 papers finds new challenge in a call centre.

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