Monthly Archives: August 2008

After 63 consecutive quarters of growth, UK economic growth ends in Q2 2008

Economic growth was 0.0% in Q2 2008

Latest ONS GDP report for UK economy.


Household expenditure fell by 0.1 per cent, down from growth of 1.1 per cent in the previous quarter. This follows falls in the consumption of goods, especially food and non-alcoholic beverages and to a lesser extent cars, and net tourism. Household expenditure is now 2.3 per cent higher than the second quarter of 2007.


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Trinity Mirror Midlands: Editorial transformation could lead to 65 redundancies

Trinity Mirror has announced a dramatic series of changes to the structure of their Midlands operation.

A centralised editorial “multimedia” hub in Birmingham and Coventry, covering the production of the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Evening Mail, Coventry Telegraph and Sunday Mercury. This approach has already been successfully established in other Trinity Mirror regional areas such as the Liverpool based NW2 and Cardiff Media Wales publishing centres. A new £7.5m web based CMS (content management system) for the newsroom called ContentWatch, which will enable repurposing of content across print and web media. One hub will be based at the existing Fort Dunlop press site. Editorial roles will be multi skilled which brings both opportunities for personal growth and unfortunately a period of uncertainty and stress for those involved. 


There are potentially 65 redundancies in editorial as part of the restructuring as all three hundred existing editorial roles have been made redundant with staff to re apply for the new multi skilled roles, but with around 65 fewer posts available.


Disposal or possible closure of two paid for weekly titles in Long Eaton and four free weeklies serving the Northampton area.


The Birmingham Post will move from a six day broadsheet to a business focussed Monday to Friday tabloid. (JD 2007 Mon-Sat ABC: 12,549 copies, 3,543 distributed as free) .


Has a tipping point been reached for the traditional individual newsroom silos and token web integration? 

To put it even more bluntly, the internet has contributed to falls in newspaper sales over the years, which means a revenue loss. While we’ve stemmed the level of this decline in recent years at the Mail and on the Sunday Mercury, the current economic climate has exacerbated the revenue loss in the form of less advertising.

I’ve seen the figures, and we can simply no longer afford to exist as sister Midland titles is silos (ie: with the MailThe Birmingham Post and the Sunday Mercury, etc having their own management, writers and production departments working separately).

We have to share content, share production and cleverly approach management of titles’ planning so that we do this while at the same time maintaining brand values. That’s what our plan – referred to in the above link – intends to do.

Steve Dyson, Birmingham Mail editor, in his blog 





Press Gazette:


Hold The Front Page


BBC News Online


Filed under Regional Press, web

Belfast Telegraph’s redesigned website a hit

Page impressions leapt 29% at the INM owned Belfast Telegraph new website – with comments from readers for the first time creating a source of news for the printed edition. The new website has definitely been smartened but does appear to have a thirty foot long home page and a preponderance of orange coloured adverts…

New Bel Tel website home page

New Bel Tel website home page



Hold the front page article.

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Filed under Regional Press, web

Newspaper Society states concerns over proposed BBC hyper local video websites


The plans to create over 60 local news sites by the BBC, funded at around £23m per year for several years is again coming under criticism from the Newspaper Society; which represents the majority of local UK newspaper publishers. The proposal by the BBC comes at a time when the UK regional newspaper publishers are placing greater resources and emphasis on their own local sites and local video content. The BBC proposal is undergoing a formal round of tests against public value against the Charter of the BBC.

Newspaper Society press release:

The depth of concern across the UK local media industry at the BBC’s plans to spend £68 million* of licence fee money duplicating their online news and sport services with a network of 65 local news video sites has been demonstrated by the sheer number of submissions, meetings and presentations which companies have made in the past six weeks, said the NS in its own response to the proposals.
In an unprecedented reaction to the threat posed to local media businesses, companies representing over 80 per cent of the industry have responded directly to the BBC Trust and Ofcom as part of the public value test and market impact assessment processes, said David Newell, director of the NS. Many others have joined them in voicing their concerns through the NS.
 Full press release: Newspaper Society

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Filed under Regional Press, technology, web

Archant profits fall 9.9% year on year

Archant, the largest independently owned regional newspaper group has reported profits down 9.9% year on year, to £13.1m for the first half of 2008.

Richard Jewson, Archant Chairman: “We have entered a period of significant difficulty for the regional press, evidenced by share price movements of quoted peer companies, with both cyclical downturn and structural changes impacting the sector. The depth and duration of the downturn is as yet unclear and we expect the difficult trading conditions to continue for at least the next year.” Press Gazette article

Interim results highlights

Archant’s latest (2008) half-year financial result headlines include:
• Operating profit before amortisation of intangible assets and exceptional items was down 9.9% at £13.1m (2007: £14.5m)
• Turnover down 5% at £93.6m (2007: £98.5m)

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Filed under Regional Press

Johnston Press Evenings move to overnight publication

The Northants Evening Telegraph and the Northampton Chronicle & Echo are moving to overnight press times with morning distribution; continuing the current trend for changing distribution patterns in the UK regional market. With evening newspaper title circulations in decline, the pressure to provide extra on sale time has made the move to overnight publishing more attractive for many publisers. The local presses associated with these titles will close as a result. The restruscturing of printing in Johnston Press will result in redundancies, with reports suggesting between 6 to 70 jobs at risk.


MediaGuardian Coverage:

Johnston Press:

  • Update: Johnston Press has announced further redundancies and restructuring; its London based online ad sales office is to be closed, and the MediaGuardian reports possible redundancies in its Edinburgh based Scottish operations.

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Filed under Regional Press