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Journalist numbers down by 6,000 since 2007 after 300 local papers close

CairncrossMore than 300 local newspapers have closed and the number of frontline print journalists has dropped by 6,000 in the past decade, a report has found.

The report published ahead of a government review into the “sustainability” of the UK’s printed press has also revealed print advertising revenues have dropped by more than half over the last 10 years, from nearly £7 billion to just over £3bn.

The research by Mediateque was commissioned ahead of the review, which is to be chaired by former economic journalist Dame Frances Cairncross.

Looking at the period between 2007 and 2017, the research found the number of frontline print journalists has dropped by more than a quarter – from around 23,000 in 2007 to 17,000 in 2017.

The report also found that the newspaper industry still contributes half of total editorial journalism in the UK – more than online and broadcast news combined – while there are 1,043 local and regional titles still being published.

Dame Frances, pictured, has now issued a call for evidence ahead of the review with a deadline of 7 September for submissions.

She said: “This review is not about preserving the status quo. We need to explore ways in which we can ensure that consumers in 10 years time have access to high-quality journalism which meets their needs, is delivered in the way they want, and supports democratic engagement.

“This call for evidence enables all those with an interest to contribute their knowledge and views so we can build the evidence and make impactful recommendations to move forward.”

The panel in charge of the review is made up of experts from the fields of journalism, academia, advertising and technology and will seek a greater understanding of the state of the news media market, particularly the printed press, including threats to financial sustainability.

Former Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield and KM Group chairman Geraldine Allinson were among the 10 people to be announced as panel members in March.


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  • June 28, 2018 at 10:21 am

    And while we’re all talking about it, more jobs go down the drain in Cumbria. This is so late as to be almost pointless.

    Big groups ought to be reading the figures quoted above and weeping. Instead, I suspect they’re counting up all the money they’ve saved their shareholders by axing staff with smug little grins on their faces. They’ve pawned the future for jam today, or am I being just a tad cynical?

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  • June 28, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Paper days as purveyed by big corporations are almost over, just as horse and carriage days were 110-odd years ago. If there’s any hope it lies in hyperlocal “cottage” industry-type enterprises – but that path crosses terrain wholly unlike the landscape of long-term “careers” and being employed in the traditional sense that we’ve grown up with. The future is a different country.

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  • June 28, 2018 at 10:36 am

    The best way to “….ensure that consumers in 10 years time have access to high-quality journalism which meets their needs, is delivered in the way they want…” is to invest in and support the many new independent local publishers springing up all over the uk,staffer by some of the best ex regional press journalists and supported by the communities and businesses in which they operate,majority turning over good profits on the back of fair advertising rates and providing a first class grass roots news and commercial service, something the bigger groups are no longer capable of or interested in, offering.

    I also find it ironic that Ashley Highfield is on the panel bearing in mind the decimation and losses the major CEOs in the industry have sanctioned and presided over resulting in the industry to the sorry state it finds itself in today, surely far better to involve individuals not associated with the industry and thus able to look objectively an impartially at the issues and causes

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  • June 28, 2018 at 11:10 am

    So, Ashley Highfield to be a member of the panel. A man who presided over a significant number of the job losses during the past few years. I think the word irony springs to mind.

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  • June 28, 2018 at 11:25 am

    My thoughts entirely wordsmith, you beat me to it
    With this blatant own goal,I can’t see how anyone can now take this panel or its findings seriously with AH amongst the panelist’s

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  • June 29, 2018 at 11:50 am

    “Journalist numbers down by 6,000 since 2007 after 300 local papers close”
    It’s taken a report to work that out?
    Well, no s**t Sherlock!
    Hell’s bells, even the good Dame herself is described a ‘former’ economic journalist!

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  • June 30, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Things are more complicated than the equation: 6,000 jobs have gone because 300 papers have closed. Most of those papers were frees which had long since lost their separate staff. The jobs have gone on paid-for newspapers, both weekly and daily, which now probably have on average only half the number of reporters, a tenth the number of subs, a quarter the number of photographers. the management would argue those cuts are the only way to retain profitability; others would say it is hastening the decline…

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  • July 2, 2018 at 8:14 am

    No surprises about the numbers, except that I thought they might have been even higher than that; perhaps if you take a 20-year slice it would be really shocking. The other key point is that those journalists who are left are having to work in a completely different way, in many cases no longer able to do the nuts-and-bolts stuff in courts and council chambers, or simply getting out to meet people. As a result, authorities and agencies are increasingly barring the doors against legitimate access. Not healthy.

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  • July 3, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Andrew Napier

    I’ll bet the commercial and advertising teams numbers haven’t been reduced?
    Not those of their managers who, here anyway, seem to spend most of their time shuffling paper,attending meetings, writing emails and ‘looking busy’ , this is where the big savings can be made and with little or no negative impact on the business.

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