Tag Archives: regionals

NUJ Official: Johnston is the “newspaper equivalent of HBOS…”

Well, not really. Johnston isn’t going to be bailed out by any government.

Johnston Press is the “newspaper equivalent of HBOS and Northern Rock”, according to a union official on the company’s Leeds-based papers, where journalists have voted to go on strike for eight days later this month over compulsory redundancies. MediaGuardian

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Johnston Press speculation over its likelyhood of refinancing growing debt. Position described as “perilous”.

Johnston Press share price falls to 6.2p (down from 420p November 2007), possible breach of banking covenants due to large debt, possible collapse of publishing group:


Sunday Herald:

“The lack of an effective digital strategy, few apparent plans aside from further cost cuts, and concerns over refinancing debt are the main reasons cited for the share-price collapse. However, it was the publication of an interim management statement earlier this month that precipitated the plunge. Reflecting the wider industry trends, classified advertising at the company between August and November had fallen sharply year-on-year. The most noteworthy figure was the 48.4% drop in revenue from property advertising.” http://tinyurl.com/57qe8v


Yesterday, Andrew Walsh, a media analyst with stockbrokers, Teathers, was quoted by Reuters, saying: “Whereas we [recently] saw a covenant [repayment undertaking between Johnston Press and its bank] breach as improbable, in the wake of the IMS, this now looks likely on our revised numbers.”  http://www.allmediascotland.com/articles/3313/19112008/johnston_share_price_suffers_another_plunge

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UK News Media Job losses running at c.140 per week

DMGT Associated Newspapers is to make 300 roles redundant in the London area, this equates to 6% of the London workforce. This is part of what is believed to be a 15% budget cut:

Trinity Mirror has warned of potential job losses: (Update: pay freeze for 2009, branch offices closed and reported 1200 redundancies so far)

The publishers of Time Out have announced a cut of 8% of their workforce, 13 jobs:

News Media job losses are running at around 140 per week, detailed in this post by Peter Kirwan of the Press Gazette: (Graph reproduced below)

In a reaction to these figures, Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the NUJ highlights the hidden impact of media organisations simply choosing not to replace staff:

(Update:) Newsquest North East to close branch offices and make 17 redundant: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/nov/21/newsquest-downturn



Graph of job losses

Graph of job losses

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Filed under economy, Regional Press

Aberdeen Press & Journal Security error reveals users details

“Scottish newspaper The Aberdeen Press and Journal inadvertently made it easy to harvest sensitive information about registered users from its site as a result of a basic information security mistake.” The Register http://www.theregister.co.uk/

Details here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/02/scots_paper_privacy_snafu/

Aberdeen Press & Journal website: http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Default.aspx

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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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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: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/aug/01/johnstonpress.pressandpublishing

Johnston Press: http://www.johnstonpress.co.uk/jpplc/investorcentre/

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

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Let Google be your pressroom and a local paper doesn’t need a local site?

Newspapers are in the wrong businesses. They should no longer be in the manufacturing and distribution businesses — which have become heavy cost yokes — and should no longer try to be in the technology business. They’re bad at it.

Jeff Jarvis, Prof. of Journalism, in this Buzzmachine article.
Today’s newspapers invest in their web sites out of vanity and from an inability to get their heads out of the geographically defined markets of the past. They have a “local paper” so they assume they need a “local site.” Bull. Developing and maintaining a web site is expensive and reduces the funds available to support the journalism and community building. All but the largest papers should be sharing their websites, computer technology, etc. If you think you need SQL and HTML people on full-time staff, then you’re probably not understanding what it will take it succeed in the future.
Bob Wyman in conversation with Jeff Jarvis. Bob Wyman founder of Pub Sub, worked for DEC, Microsoft and now Google. LinkedIn profile.
Bob Wyman addresses the missed opportunity by newspapers to develop online classifieds in this post on his blog, as I may think.
Should the newspapers try at this late date to recover the online classified business? No. That would be, I am sure, a hopeless task. The opportunity is lost, the window closed. You can only fight economics temporarily and then only at specific moments in the development of an economy or market. The time for this particular battle is long over. For a newspaper to build an online classified business today would be sort of like someone building a new Internet Service Provider to compete with the phone or cable companies… It’s just not worth the bother unless the technology is distinctly and greatly different.

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Local Matters research website launched

The Newspaper Society (UK organisation that promotes the regional press) has launched Local Matters, a website that allows potential advertisers to tailor their campaigns with greater insight into the readers of the regional press. The online media planning tool was developed from research into how individuals engage with their local community, conducted by Millward Brown. The research continues the “Life is local” theme introduced several years ago by the Newspaper Society, highlighting the unique character of each community across the UK regions.

We have put together case studies to highlight some of the insights we gained through the project and to show just how differently people think, feel and behave in different parts of Britain. In addition to the learnings from the research, these case studies also include insights from people working in the local media in each of the 12 regions. 



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