Johnston Media announced today that it is converting five of its daily newspapers into weekly publications, with a simultaneous move towards digital as the publisher seeks to provide readers “with an even better product, both in print and online”.
Five dailies – The Halifax Courier, Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, Northampton Chronicle & Echo and Scarborough Evening News – will become ‘bumper’ weekly publications, as well as publishing 24-hour daily news online and launching tablet apps.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) wrote on its website that it fears “a massacre of journalists’ jobs” at Johnston Press.
The statement from The Johnston Press that appears on each site reads: “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.
“Our 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.”
The company has said that this will be the first phase in a series of developments as it seeks to relaunch each of its 170 titles before the end of the year.
David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said on Twitter he was: “Very sad that @ChronandEcho won’t continue as daily paper. It is vital part of town’s community and hope new online edition carries that on.”
In its report, The Guardian suggests that the publisher’s pursuit of a “platform neutral” newsrooms will likely mean further job losses. Their report notes that “Johnston Press reported profits of £54.9m in 2010, but the publisher’s £350m debt threatens to swamp its £40m market capitalisation. Shares in the publisher had fallen about 6% by about 12.30pm Monday, to 6p, bringing the company’s market cap down to £38.38m.”
Source: The Guardian