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Regional daily shuts office with staff to be based at sister title

A regional daily office is set to close with journalists moving to the headquarters of its sister title almost 10 miles away.

The Citizen, Gloucester, will shut its current base at The Oxebode on Friday after the newspaper comes to the end of its lease on the site.

Staff will now be based at the offices of the Gloucestershire Echo, in Cheltenham, and Citizen readers are being advised to contact the newspaper at the Echo’s St James’ Square address.

Both titles are now owned by Trinity Mirror following the company’s purchase of Local World.

Gloucester office

The Citizen had been based at The Oxebode, pictured above, since 2007, when it moved there from its previous St John’s Lane home.

The Echo’s office sits 9.1 miles away from Gloucester city centre, a journey which takes around 22 minutes by car.

The two papers share many of their editorial staff, but still have separate editors in Jenny Eastwood of The Citizen and Matt Holmes of the Echo.

The move was revealed in an story posted on the Citizen’s website on Saturday.

It reads: “The Gloucester Citizen will be closing its office in the Oxebode on Friday 4 March due to the end of our lease.

“All of our staff will continue to work in Gloucester but will report into and have a base at our head office in Cheltenham.”

Added Jenny: “We remain as committed as ever to this city and while our staff may report into our offices in Cheltenham, our reporters and newspaper sales staff will continue to be out and about in Gloucester, the Forest of Dean and Stroud daily ensuring we are capturing all of the latest news.”

24 comments

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  • March 1, 2016 at 7:42 am
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    “We shall remain as committed as ever to this city…” Are they ordered to say these things? Looks like TM is tearing into LW now with a vim and a vigour, as some old blacksmith in Charles Dickens once said.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 8:13 am
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    This has been under discussion for 15 yrs within Northcliffe then local world.

    Watch TM really get stuck into some saving now.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 8:31 am
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    It’s inevitable with the cost of property leases and the downturn in ad revenues and copy sales across all regionals and without doubt there will be more closure as leases expire.
    Much as none of us like it and for all the reasons for keeping a presence, sending out the wrong messages to the community etc
    It doesn’t make any sound financial sense to keep costly branch offices open when the revenues cannot justify it.
    Further signs of the damage done by short sighted policies, lack of investment in print when needed and failure and complacency in the face of emerging new competitor media.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 9:45 am
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    If I was in TM’s Swansea office I would be checking the bus timetables to Cardiff right now.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 9:46 am
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    As a former editor of The Citizen, I’m very disappointed, although the heart was lost with the move out of St John’s Lane. That was a magnificent newspaper office, and had been since the 1700s.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 9:55 am
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    No comment on here about the “presence” of the Echo in Cheltenham, either. That office has no presence – it’s on the first floor of an anonymous office building next to a law firm. You have to get past a hostile front desk – office block security, not client – to get to it, and there is little or no indication in the front lobby of the block that it is there at all. Absolutely no chance, then, of the occasional walk-in scoop; the whole set up says “go away oik, unless you are an advertiser with an appointment”.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 10:11 am
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    Pretty sure it was only effectively a district office with a couple of reps rather than all staff anyway.

    The Citizen moved into the Echo office in about 2005…

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  • March 1, 2016 at 10:44 am
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    JP did exactly this to my local paper. Reduced it to a couple of ad reps calling in, closed reception and shifted reporters out. Its content is not local any more and it is not written or edited nearly as well as it used to be. All this might be financially needed, but no good comes of it.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 11:11 am
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    Taking a leaf outta JPs strategy… JP taking the local out of local press!

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  • March 1, 2016 at 11:12 am
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    That will go down well in Gloucester! Tantamount to Liverpool moving in with Everton!

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  • March 1, 2016 at 11:58 am
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    I understand the economic reason for these things happening, but I just think it debases the newspapers standing in the towns when they physically move out.

    What happens the next time they launch a ‘keep jobs in Gloucester campaign’, ‘keep the library open’ or ‘keep the police station’ open – why the hell should anyone listen when the newspaper company doesn’t practice what it preaches?

    If newspaper are serious about the towns they cover they should show some form of investment in them – and this is why people are becoming alienated from them.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 12:58 pm
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    If I was one of those two editors I would be frantically updating my CV.

    Trinity (and JP to be fair) love a single editor structure

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  • March 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm
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    my local JP rag had a story the other week about someone 40 miles from the patch with no “local”connection whatsoever! Its website seems to have an ever wider remit in the hunt for click bait. Wasn’t their slogan once Life is Local? Life is Loco more like!

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  • March 1, 2016 at 2:23 pm
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    Hobgoblin, as I understand it, some kind of ‘integration project’ is currently under way in South Wales. We wait to see what the suits decide, but I hear it’s extra staff and pay rises all round.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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    Actually, there was a reporters’ office in Gloucester that was staffed regularly with a couple of journos.. There is no mention, I note, of where Glos reporters will do their reporting now, so I assume that they will all be based in Cheltenham full time. Idiocy.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm
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    @dave
    “…If newspaper are serious about the towns they cover they should show some form of investment in them – and this is why people are becoming alienated from them”

    The sad state of affairs in the regional dailies is that none of them now represent the communities in which they purport to serve, years ago they did when they sold significaht copies and were the real voice of the communities but now they have so little household penetration as to be a lonely voice that’s ceased to be listened to.
    Take norfolks EDP which has fallen to such a new depth that it now only covers around 3% of its potential area,not enough to be a credible voice in its area anymore yet with people rattling around in branch offices all over as they were when revenues justified it . In many ways closing offices,whilst unpalatable, is a logical step and sadly not such a shock to the community as it would have been in previous years.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 4:46 pm
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    I know Pappa S – it was only a matter of time, wasn’t it? I wonder if the ‘integration’ will stretch right up to the top floor? Oh, and whether we have had that result in yet on turkeys and Christmas…?

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  • March 1, 2016 at 5:42 pm
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    Ken makes the most valid points so far around this whole branch office situation.
    As none of the regionals truly truly represent their local communities and as much as they might like to think or believe they do, they don’t .
    All are a spent force when it comes to being the voice of the people any more and moving out or closing an unprofitable ( for that’s all that matters) office is a sound business move to save costs, improve profit and end the false policy of propping up ailing and costly papers.
    Bitter pill to swallow but it does make sense

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  • March 2, 2016 at 8:22 am
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    Very sad to see this news. From being a Citizen paper boy, went on to work as a reporter and sub there for almost 10 years. One of the campaigning themes of the paper in those days was how Gloucester was often overlooked in favour of Cheltenham – and now this! Such a shame.

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  • March 2, 2016 at 10:02 am
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    I thought that the Citizen’s Gloucester ‘office’ was merely somewhere for people to pop in and pay their bills, buy a paper and book an ad anyway? Probably less and less in this day and age. It definitely wasn’t a newspaper office filled with staff.
    Reporters work on the patch and the ad sales guys work remotely. This happened years ago when they closed the St John’s Lane office down when the press moved.

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  • March 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm
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    I am amazed at the number of branch offices still open in the regionals by the big four alone, so many took on leases when the businessrs were well run and booming, now they’re pale shadows of what they once were yet still carry so much dead wood and costs as to make these places almost archaic.
    Apart from the argument that it’s good to have a presence in the towns, as Ken points out so few really represent the towns that the decision to keep them open rather than cut their losses and reduce costs is seen as a luxury that can no longer be justified
    I believe we will see more regional office closures in the coming months with many shut and gone by year end.

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  • March 2, 2016 at 4:29 pm
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    local yokel. Its part of JPs plan to close local offices and prepare news from sort of regional news hubs, often a long way from the area the paper serves. The result is reporters don’t get on the patch, can’t even get anything as basic as road names right have zilch background knowledge and never pick up good exclusives on the patch. So they fill up with anything they can grab. yes, even if its distant news! The websites are worse: anything that can get a click is considered fair game.
    Given JPs share price one can see why they do this. But it spells the end of truly local news gathering. If it ain’t on an e mail, forget it!

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  • March 3, 2016 at 7:02 am
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    Most branch offices these days remain open because the companies are tied in to long leases,no other reason.
    From thriving news, sales and community hubs they’ve turned into tired empty buildings generally staffed by a lone front counter person with a reporter popping in to collect mail and reps working remotely using it as a pit stop for a cuppa.

    When you think of how high the overheads on owned buildings are or the cost of the leases they’re locked into against the collapse in newspaper sales and ad revenues it doesn’t make any sense to keep these open.
    In no other business would unprofitable shops or offices stay open yet when it comes to regional press we express shock and amazement that closures such as this are taking place.
    buildings and staff are the largest costs and when revenues go,these are the two areas that are looked at first so it should come as no real surprise to expect more and more unprofitable out posts to be closed as the financial situation worsens and the plans to move all things on line continues

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  • March 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm
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    Gav. There is no shock and amazement when JP shuts an office. Its routine for this company.
    What’s amazing in this day and age of communications is that the company does not believe in having reporters living and working on the area they are supposed to be covering.
    Why can’t they they employ people who live locally and can feed their word JP factory from home through links to their home computers.
    I know for a fact some workers in JP are allowed to do this and some not so senior involved in ad work.
    I will answer my own question.
    JP wants them in a stupid and sterile news hub well away from the area it is serving so they can use their slaves across several titles.
    By heavens it shows in the superficiality of JPs local papers, skimming the surface and filling with often unedited e mail submissions.
    One can hardly blame JP, or any other company for that matter, for closing offices it cannot afford to run.
    But people like Ashley Highfield should have the wit to replace them with some locally-based staff, even if it was one reporter in each large town.

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