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Journalists fear ‘uncertain times’ after JP puts itself on market

MAtt ElderJohnston Press journalists say they fear “uncertain times” after the company was put up for sale this morning.

Industry figures have been reacting to today’s announcement by the regional publisher, with even journalists on rival titles hoping for a “positive ending” for affected staff.

Others have speculated on what might happen next to the company and its titles, with some suggesting a sale could be a “quick process.”

Current JP journalists commenting on the news this morning include the company’s Scottish weeklies sports editor Matt Elder and the Lancashire Post’s Helen Lindsay.

Matt, pictured, wrote: “Uncertain times for those of us who have survived the numerous cuts in recent years and who work on Johnston Press weekly titles in Scotland.”

And Helen wrote: “Anyone need someone to make the brews or sweep up? I’m fully experienced in doing rubbish tasks and crap wages.”

Former JP journalists, as well as those working for rival titles, have offered good wishes to their old colleagues, including ex-Yorkshire Evening Post editor Nicola Furbisher.

Nicola wrote: “Interesting and not entirely surprising news emerging about my former employers today. Wishing well to all those fantastic people still working there facing uncertain times.”

Kirsteen Paterson, multimedia journalist on Newsquest’s Glasgow-based daily The National, said: “Feel for Johnston Press staff today. Lots of good people at national and local level.

“Hope this story has a positive ending. Have to recognise the importance of plurality of media and safeguarding of (often sole) local titles.”

Elsewhere, speculation has begun among financial journalists about what could happen next.

Bloomberg media and Telecoms reporter Thomas Seal wrote: “Johnston Press has obviously been ‘for sale’ this whole time – it’s a publicly traded company. But triggering this process means it can have talks with any interested parties more easily for a few weeks, without having to make certain stock market statements.”

Daily Telegraph deputy business editor Chris Williams added: “Johnston Press has put itself up for sale. Has a market value of only £3m.

“All about who, if anyone, is willing to take on its £220m debt and whether it can be reduced as part of the deal. More uncertain times for staff but should be a quick process.”

And Sam Jermy, Asia correspondent for the International Marine Purchasing Association, wrote: “Anyone following journalism seriously will tell you it’s the most predictable news ever, only surprise is that the total financial collapse didn’t happen earlier. Shouldn’t be this hard to produce great local stories from top writers.

“If rumours of £3m for the whole group of +200 titles is true, that works out as less than £15k a title. For that price I’ll get myself a newspaper and have a bit of fun.”

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  • October 11, 2018 at 1:36 pm
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    “If rumours of £3m for the whole group of +200 titles is true, that works out as less than £15k a title. For that price I’ll get myself a newspaper and have a bit of fun.”

    Yes – but will come with £1m of debt per title. Quick Maths

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  • October 11, 2018 at 1:58 pm
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    Interesting choice of picture of Matt with a trophy looking like a winner when the wind is clearly blowing in the direction of him holding a ‘booby prize’ and potential being a loser in the process.

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