Tuesday, April 17, 2012

News: New strategy from Johnston Press


Johnston Press, one of the largest local newspaper publishers in the UK, has announced a new strategy for all of its 170 paid-for titles.

The first phase includes switching five of its daily newspapers into weeklies, reducing the amount of print runs required.

In 2007, the publisher of titles such as the Yorkshire Post and The Star, opened a £60m printing facility on the site of the former Dinnington Colliery in Rotherham. It includes state-of-the-art facilities including one of the most modern and fastest presses in the world. It has the capacity to print 192 pages in full colour, 120,000 newspapers an hour in full colour and 75 titles per week.

Ashley Highfield, who joined as chief executive in November 2011, has identified "platform neutral" content as the key component of the group's publishing strategy to "better monetise the digital opportunity."

Newsrooms would see significant investment in both print and digital publishing, enabling "seven days per week publishing online and a new iPad app with news updates around the clock and comprehensive online sport and events coverage." This will be combined with a bumper print edition of a newly formatted newspaper once per week.

Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press, said: "In my first few months at Johnston I have been greatly encouraged by what I have seen in our local operations. Our publishing strategy going forward will ensure that we give our local audiences what they want. While providing our existing audiences with an even better product, both in print and online, we will extend our audience by increasing our online content and making it easier to access in the most relevant ways as technologies continue to evolve."

"Johnston's focus has always been on local and we will increasingly benefit from that core expertise with the rapid growth in both social media and in demand for access from mobile devices. We are committed to remaining a local company: that means local journalists and sales people working across the UK and Republic of Ireland, staying close to the communities and businesses they serve."

The National Union of Journalists stated that the extent of any job losses from the new strategy is not clear, but warned that it could be significant. The news follows the company's decision to combine the editors of the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post and move production of the Yorkshire Post out of Leeds to Dinnington and Sunderland.

Johnston Press will reveal the detailed strategy update on April 25 to coincide with the group's 2011 annual results announcement.

Johnston Press website

Images: Johnston Press


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