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Newsrooms could merge as part of JPIMedia review, staff told

DavidKing2JPIMedia is set to review the future of five of its offices in a move that could see newsrooms merged or relocated, it has emerged.

The regional publisher, which took over the titles previously owned by Johnston Press after it went into administration, revealed the proposed review in an email sent to staff this afternoon by chief executive David King, left.

The offices under review are in Belfast, Peterborough, Sunderland, Harrogate and London’s Cavendish Square.

At the same time, the company has confirmed to staff that it intends to keep its offices in Leeds, Edinburgh, Preston and Sheffield, as well as London’s Derry Street, where the i newspaper is based, and Stamford, where the company’s payroll department is based.

HTFP understands options on the table include relocating staff working at the offices to new premises or “consolidating” different offices on a single site.

Mr King said:  “As a result of this review, certain offices could be relocated or consolidated with others to ensure with optimise our property footprint.”

The full text of the email is below.


Dear colleagues,

As you may be aware, all our offices are currently rented from commercial landlords under what is called a licence to occupy (LTO). The Johnston Press lease on all leased offices did not transition over when the business was bought by JPIMedia, which offers us an opportunity to review the agreements in a number of locations.

As a result of this review, certain offices could be relocated or consolidated with others to ensure we optimise our property footprint. The interests of our employees, as well as the future of our titles, will be a key consideration in this process. While many staff will not be affected, we will ensure that we engage with those that are.

Our recent acquisition by JPIMedia has secured the business, provided stability to our financial position and ensured that our operations have continued unaffected, allowing us to carry on publishing our titles without interruption. We already operate agile working in many parts of the business. By aligning agile working with the review of our property portfolio, it will help us to sustain jobs and titles for the future.

The review is in progress. At this point, I am able to confirm it is our intention to retain the following offices:

London – Derry Street (the i)
Leeds*
Edinburgh*
Preston
Sheffield
Stamford (Payroll)
Print sites (Carn, Hilsea and Dinnington)

*We will be reviewing our space requirements in both Leeds and Edinburgh

We are currently reviewing our space requirements in the following locations as a priority:

Belfast
London – Cavendish Square
Peterborough
Sunderland
Harrogate

We may seek to move into new offices, reduce the space we occupy or consolidate with other offices as appropriate. We will continue to occupy all other sites whilst we assess our needs and will engage with staff locally and establish the best way of operating for them and our operations and titles.

I ask that you continue to remain patient with me and the new board as we seek to achieve the best solutions for the business and our employees.  We will continue to communicate with you throughout this process and keep you fully informed.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, please email these to internal.communications@jpimedia.co.uk.

Yours sincerely,

David

10 comments

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  • January 18, 2019 at 8:06 pm
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    Are we to understand it then that any rent due to the landlords of the properties utilised by the old JP will not be paid and requests for any money outstanding will have to be made to the administrators?
    If that is the case, the cash cupboard will surely be bare.
    That would do a lot for the mantra that the ‘new’ JPI wants to foster trust and is vital to the well being of the community.
    What a bunch they are….

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  • January 19, 2019 at 10:06 am
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    It will ruin local papers. where it has been tried elsewhere local news has been badly diluted. Nothing good journalistically can come of this, but it will keep the latest team of bean counters happy for a few months.

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  • January 21, 2019 at 8:22 am
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    “…As a result of this review, certain offices could be relocated or consolidated with others to ensure with optimise our property footprint.”
    As we all know, these strategic ‘reviews’ happen long before they are announced to the staff and the resultant action is just putting the predetermined plans into place so , change the words’ “could be ‘‘ to ‘“will be” and you have the result of the proposed review.
    Honesty and openness appear to be long forgotten basic courtesies at the larger publishing groups these days
    Good luck to those about to be affected

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  • January 21, 2019 at 9:11 am
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    We have to face realities, Johnston Press or JPi is going to struggle for a long while.

    Again, it makes you wonder where all the blue sky thinking about making local news pay in the digital age is coming from.

    What will happen is that these big news groups will eventually break up under the strain.

    Part of this is down to cost cutting, yeah for sure, although newsrooms have always been pretty tight.

    Part is down to the quality of journalists coming through (not helped by the nationals taking all the best reporters straight out of journalism college and too often (not always) leaving the worse recruits for locals to choose from.

    Part (a fairly large part) is down to advertising moving online.

    And part is down to the senior managers not anticipating this years ago and preparing for it.

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  • January 21, 2019 at 4:25 pm
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    Percy Hoskins. so right about newsrooms being tight. The cull started about 2011. Some papers were serving communities of 100,000 plus with one full-time reporter and a couple of part-timers. They worked their notebooks off but inevitably quality fell to such a point that if they could they quit because they were dismayed by what was being put on the streets. With hindsight, it was still a lot better than today’s shallow poorly edited and non-local efforts because experience got them through. Now most of that is long gone. 2019 will be a big year for this “new” outfit”. Stand by your beds……

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  • January 21, 2019 at 5:17 pm
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    I’m always concerned when I hear the old chestnut of “ The interests of our employees, as well as the future of our titles, will be a key consideration in this process” being trotted out, nine times out of ten it means “the board and their underlings in middle management “

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  • January 22, 2019 at 2:14 pm
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    Prospectus. I suspect the talentless biz-speak middle managers will be toadies just the same under this ownership instead of fighting for staff. Most JP employees know who they are

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  • January 22, 2019 at 2:25 pm
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    Ah yes the days when editors fought for their paper, their staff and the communities they served, not any longer I’m afraid as now it’s simply a case of keeping their heads down,noddingin the right direction and everyone for themselves.
    Middle managers have always been ‘yes’ men (and women) some things never change

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  • January 24, 2019 at 12:55 am
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    The local newspaper industry now seems to be run by faceless accountants, creativity has left the local newspaper industry and a cost cutting approach is the medicine prescribed. Leaves little hope.

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