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Newspaper company heralds fifth generation of family ownership

A local newspaper publisher has appointed a great-great grandson of its founder as its new chairman.

Jason Baylis, who joined family firm Baylis Media in 1993 as an apprentice in the production department, is to take over the chairman’s role from 1 April.

The company, which owns the Maidenhead Advertiser and Slough and Windsor Express, was founded in the 1870s and is now owned by a charitable trust.

Jason, currently the publisher’s IT and production director, is pictured below alongside a company plaque which pledges to maintain its independence.

Jason Baylis, Baylis Media
Jason is the fifth generation of the Baylis family to work at the publisher since his ancestor, journalist Frederick Baylis, bought out the consortium which owned the Maidenhead Advertiser a couple of years after it was founded in July 1869.

The Louis Baylis Charitable Trust was set up in 1962 by Jason’s great uncle, Louis Baylis, to ensure the publisher remained independent and continued what he described as ‘the invaluable tradition of public service journalism’ provided by small local publishers.

The trust receives at least 80pc of the company’s operating profits, which it uses to support charities and good causes in the communities served by the newspapers.

In 2008 the publisher, by then called Baylis Media Ltd, acquired the Slough and Windsor Express series which celebrated its bicentenary in 2012.

Said Jason: “I have really enjoyed working here for 22 years, which have seen me progress through production, IT, and management.

“With the support of the company I have been fortunate to attend college and university courses to develop my career and now look forward to my new role as chairman.

“I am proud to follow the family tradition and continue the public service ethos embodied by Louis’ wishes in the challenging world faced by local newspaper publishers in the digital age.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the directors and staff at Baylis Media Ltd to grow the business and support the local community through the Louis Baylis Charitable Trust.”

Jason will take over as chairman from Jeremy Spooner, who had held the dual role of chairman and managing director since Jason’s father, Gerald Baylis, retired as chairman in 2003.

Jeremy remains as chief executive officer.

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  • January 30, 2016 at 10:44 am
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    Great news for local newspapers. Good luck Jason. A cracking publishing company.

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  • January 30, 2016 at 3:12 pm
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    I seem to remember a certain group called JP was once proud of its family ownership. Hopefully this one will steer a more sane path on a much smaller scale.

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