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Jobs at risk as Johnston Press outsources more staff to India

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Regional publisher Johnston Press is set to axe around 30 design roles as it outsources more staff to India.

The publisher told staff on Thursday that it planned to outsource the work of its Creative Services staff to Express KCS near Delhi by the end of next January.

The move comes after JP outsourced half its advertising creation work to the company in 2012, with the loss of around 60-70 jobs.

The staff are currently based at Johnston Press sites around the UK, including Leeds, Preston, Portsmouth, Sunderland and London and carry out work creating and designing adverts and other visuals for the company.

But it is understood they will lose their jobs unless they choose to move to India, although one manager position is expected to be retained in London.

A spokeswoman for Johnston Press said: “We have recently conducted an extensive review of our Creative Services function, both internally and from a third party, which has identified an opportunity to better organise and deliver creative services across Johnston Press.

“As a result we are proposing to make a number of roles redundant. We have spoken to the impacted team members today and have advised them of our plans.

“There now follows a period of consultation with those whose jobs may be affected.”

In 2012, Johnston Press outsourced the work of the advertising creation teams based in Leeds, Peterborough, Edinburgh and Sheffield but retained the teams at other sites including Sunderland, Portsmouth and Preston.

Express KCS and the Press Association signed a partnership in 2011 to offer creative production services to newspaper publishers in the UK from production centres in India.

In June this year, JP reselected Express KCS to continue the transformation of their advertising production.

32 comments

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  • September 28, 2015 at 8:58 am
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    If you want to see how far standards have plummeted at JP over the last few years have a look at the Obituaries column of the Sunderland Echo. Place names, spelling, grammar, punctuation are all appalling. So now it seems the display ads are going to reach the same depths. I think JP stands for Just Printable.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 9:05 am
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    I’ve always fancied India as a workplace (handy for the kids’ schools) and I’m sure the take-up will be massive. Well done, JP, for enshrining the essence of localism in your local papers.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 9:20 am
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    Just how cynical can you get…come and work in India and bring your family!
    Never mind failed states, India would be described as a failed continent if we didn’t have to butter them up as our potential military ally against China.
    I’ll write to JP and suggest he nationalises JP if he ever comes to power.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 9:25 am
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    JP yet again dump on the good people still left at Sunderland, and the managers sit back and let it happen. It’s criminal.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 10:20 am
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    Keeping things local eh?

    This sort of thing is the reason across all the main newspaper companies (and they’ve all done it in one way or another) is why I will never again take a newspaper campaign to ‘keep local’ jobs seriously.

    If they don’t do it, how can they lecture to everyone else? hypocrisy.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 10:28 am
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    You really must hand it to the managements of the British regional press. They really know how to make their staff seem a valued part of the business.

    You do not so much have a career path in the regional press these days, it is more of a survival path – a macabre game of seeing just how long you can survive the constantly hovering axe.

    One can only imagine the stress levels endured by workers and their families on a weekly basis as managements unveil plan after plan, each one more insane than the last.

    It must be dreadful to sit and watch your management pen the longest suicide note in history, knowing that it is you future and that of your family on the line.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 10:29 am
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    Hypothetical question. If a JP decides to move to Delhi, would they retain their current salary and live like a maharaja?

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  • September 28, 2015 at 11:03 am
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    If I was a shareholder or indeed the banks that JP owe cash to I would be very worried by this. Rather than keen cost-cutting it smacks of sheer desperation.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 11:06 am
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    I suppose my only surprise here is that it has taken three years before the remaining creative work has gone to eKCS. Having gone down the outsourcing route, it seemed strange to me that only half of the centres were originally axed. My sympathies to all affected; it’s a rotten business. JP advertising has certainly been ‘transformed’, but not for the better.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 11:17 am
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    In my time in a JP design hub, we were left open mouthed, completely gobsmacked by much of the shockingly poor material that come from India – some of it looked like it had been done by a school leaver on their first day, with no training or experience whatsoever. It had no place in a ‘professional’ newspaper. Has any thought been given to the advertisers – the people who pay the wages – and what minimum standards they should expect? I don’t think so. Nothing can be as damaging or infuriating for them as paying for something and then seeing a dog’s breakfast in the paper. Alienate your advertisers and you’ve had it.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm
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    JP top brass should be thoroughly ashamed of such a shoddy decision to ship jobs out of this country. Despicable!

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  • September 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm
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    ex-reader….. maybe JP stands for Just Pathetic !

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  • September 28, 2015 at 12:56 pm
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    You may laugh, but given how so many of us editorial staff rarely leave the office and mostly communicate with interviewees over the phone…. Well…they do have phones in India, don’t they?

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  • September 28, 2015 at 4:10 pm
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    Golan – you’re right. Reporters rarely leave their office (most are now in industrial estates) and that’s the main problem. Remember the JP motto – ‘KEEP IT LOCAL’.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm
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    Was gearing up for a good old rant. Somehow I am lost for words and deeply saddened. Dear oh dear oh dear…….

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  • September 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm
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    Sounds horribly like the JP death rattle is getting even louder. Makes no sense at all, unless of course you are a shareholder or member of the deluded management ‘team’. No sympathy for any of them but this is truly shocking for staff. Why would anyone want to relocate to India or indeed anywhere else miles away from family, friends, schools etc? Especially as we are hearing standards will drop yet further.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 6:27 pm
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    Feel so sorry for the designers getting the axe, another bad move by greedy people at the top. I’ve seen the quality of “creative services” that are produced by companies like this in India and its beyond poor. It looks like it was created by a child punching the keyboard and throwing the mouse about! Newspaper companies don’t care, as long as its dirt cheap, that’s all they care about. I’ve seen advertisers pull their ads because of the poorly made outsourced ads. No wonder why local newspapers are dying slowly.

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  • September 28, 2015 at 6:49 pm
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    What about the fairly recently appointed Chief Creative Officer? Does he keep his job?

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  • September 28, 2015 at 10:30 pm
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    Oh dear. Life has been found on Mars. Another outsourcing possibility for JP,

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  • September 29, 2015 at 9:16 am
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    Just like the Titanic, another bulkhead has been flooded and the JP ship sinks further at the bow. Those poor unfortunate souls still clinging on need to think about how they are going to save themselves from the inevitable There are no other ships around and the end will be coming soon, oncer the JP ship starts its final fatal plunge.
    Meanwhile, Ashley and his band play sweet music on the tilting deck to those for whom there are no more lifeboats… Nearer my God to thee!

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  • September 29, 2015 at 11:48 am
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    3 month paid working holiday to India?

    Surely they can’t expect people to just move, and a trial period offered…

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  • September 29, 2015 at 12:56 pm
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    We have all been led down the garden path yet again promise new kits designing bespoke artwork and now JP make a massive error and get India to take over STUDIO. JP do not look after their employees and they treat them like mugs.
    Next thing you know the sales rep and reorter will be asked to work in India.
    The only thing i will miss about JP is my colleagues that i have worked with for nearly 20 years.
    RIP JP

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  • September 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm
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    JP sounds like a company to avoid from a journalist’s point of view these days but I don’t think that was always the case. I started my career many years ago as a junior reporter at the Northants Evening Telegraph (Kettering) and now rue the day Emap newspapers became part of JP. Though in fairness those in charge of Emap papers at the time must share the blame. A family-owned (Winfrey) group of solid and relevant local papers lost their way.

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  • September 30, 2015 at 6:44 am
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    This is yet another sign post towards the collapse of true regional publishing, how any business can call itself ‘ local’ when a large part of its ‘producr’ is made thousands of miles away in another continent is pure hypocracy, if I were a local business I would be concerned that my advertising contribution to s local paper was not being spent on the local economy so I hope these business people realise that local jobs are going as a result of this latest dumbing down move and therefore less local money will be spent in the local economy
    It’s also a measure of just how far JP and others are prepared to go to slash costs and reduce overheads.
    Having had experience of this design outsourcing a lot of real and problematic issues are lol sky to happen firstly the time difference between sending the brief and recirvung the job,whilst they usually guarantee and overnight turn round the job Is simply s bog standard template with client babe dropped in , it’s certainly not ‘creative’
    Also the ‘designer’ or ad template picket wil have no local knowledge of the area, the local market it the client so the ad will merely be a stock design, the actual creative element will be there as they’re dropping in or creating the thing but there will be no ‘design’ an ad for a hairdresser will be the same ad wherever it’s published and in time the papers will be filled with clone ads with no individuality what so ever, I could go on
    Suffice to say that this only works on a level wher going for the cheapest route over quality is the prime consideration.
    Another nail in the coffin and one driven in from afar.

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  • September 30, 2015 at 6:52 am
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    …. Hit send mid way through checking the grammar and pre spell checking on the last post ,apologies
    …maybe I should have outsourced that job to India then I could have blamed them as the number of typos will be one they’ll be used to!

    Ps
    I just hope no JP publication runs any ‘keep it local: shop local ‘ campaigns or any editorial about the local economy struggling

    ‘Hyper local’ only if you live on the Indian continent

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  • September 30, 2015 at 11:56 am
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    Shares now a 1.5 pence (if you ignore the consolidation) – nearly half of this years low of 2.9p. JP’s board deserve this, the staff who are losing their jobs however don’t. I just hope they leave with a decent settlement.

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  • September 30, 2015 at 1:13 pm
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    Whilst feeling for the people concerned in this latest JP knife wielding and dumbing down excercise I have to say if the adverts in the local free sheets produced by Archant Norfolk are anything to go by there’s a real lack of creativity being produced. Whether this is down to the sales rep not giving a decent enough brief or the creatives lacking creativity ( maybe a bit of both) the papers are crammed full of god awful adverts that run into each other their together on s page which simply looks a mess. I doubt if it’s unique to Norfolk titles as most other free papers I see across the U.K. Are equally as appalling .
    No wonder so many businesses no longer use these papers, use higher end local magazine instead or supply their own adverts. Real quality has been sacrificed somewhere along the line whether by the creatives not producing the goods or the suits simply taking the cheapest option
    Its effectiveness remains to be seen
    Sign of the times in regional press

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  • October 2, 2015 at 10:32 am
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    Steve – it is a sign of the times in most papers. But we have an in-house designer who knows the area, talks to the customers and creates the ads. How it used to be done. Works a treat and we really are local – town centre office, all local staff with great local knowledge and we are reaping the rewards while our JP and Archant ‘opposition’ are suffering here. Just goes to show . . . .

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