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Computerworld UK: Johnston Press sales staff get 800 iPads as part of ’24-hour digital’ shift

May 2nd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Local media

More than 800 sales staff at Johnston Press are to get iPads as part of the local publisher’s transformation to a “24-hour digital operation”, the company’s chief executive Ashley Highfield has told Computerworld UK.

The move will enable remote working from many of the 1,500 sales staff, the article states.

[The] regional newspaper group is deploying the Saleforce.com platform to support ad sales teams selling through new media channels, and adopting Google Apps to support a company-wide, cloud-based email system.

Other media companies using Google Apps include Telegraph newspapers and News International, which also uses Salesforce.com.

Computerworld UK adds:

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield said: “This is the beginning of the transformation of local media to a 24-hour digital operation, and provides our new and existing customers with access to exactly the audience they want to reach, where and when they want to message them.”

Last week Johnston Press reported a £143.8 million loss in 2011, after writing off £163.7 million from the value of its newspaper titles.

In March Highfield signaled a move to “digital first”, later describing the publishing strategy for five titles moving from daily to weekly publication as “platform neutral”.

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Johnston Press delays reporting financial results as it negotiates with lenders

March 28th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Local media

Johnston Press has delayed the reporting of last year’s financial results while it negotiates with lenders.

The local news publisher of around 260 titles, which is based in Edinburgh, was due to report its full-year results for 2011 on Tuesday (3 April).

It is describing discussions with lenders as “constructive”.

In a statement JP says it is changing its preliminary results date to 25 April.

The company has been in constructive discussions with its lenders regarding the extension of its credit facilities for a further three years from their current maturity on 30 September 2012 and will provide a further update to the market as part of the preliminary results announcement.

Last week Ashley Highfield, who started as JP’s chief executive in November signaled that the publisher is adopting a “digital first” strategy.

During the same appearance, at the Guardian Media Summit, he stated that “every one of our newspapers is profitable”, but added that to “make more money out of digital we still have a long way to go”.

He said the local newspaper group aims for profit margins of 20 per cent.

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South Yorkshire Times front page reports on journalist job cuts

June 23rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs

The editor of Johnston Press title the South Yorkshire Times has reported editorial job cuts on its front page, receiving praise from the National Union of Journalists.

The NUJ congratulates the editor – whose own job is under threat – for “standing up for quality journalism”.

The article, headlined “Strike looms over Times job cuts”, states: “Journalists at South Yorkshire Newspapers are to ballot on strike action over a proposal by the company to axe half of the Mexborough editorial jobs at the South Yorkshire Times.”

Speaking to the NUJ, Jim Oldfield, South Yorkshire Times editor said: “This is real journalism in action. The Times is currently fighting a brave and protracted battle to keep its core towns from decimation during this recession, I make no apology for acquainting our readers with the changes being proposed for their champion title.

“I am pleased that the company appear to have had an adult reaction to the story.”

NUJ general secretary-elect Michelle Stanistreet said “This is a great example of our members standing up for quality journalism and we hope other editors will follow the example set by the South Yorkshire Times.”

Related content:

Tindle Newspapers strikes deal with Enfield nine, says NUJ

Johnston Press Yorkshire journalists to ballot for industrial action

Rusbridger: Guardian digital first strategy will involve significant job cuts

Shropshire newspaper staff vote for strike ballot over job cuts

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E&P: Media companies in three countries now using controversial Atex system

Editor & Publisher this morning reports that a total of six media organisations, across three countries, have transferred to Atex’s advertising, editorial and Web content management system in recent weeks.

The controversial editorial CMS is now being used by the Erdee Media Groep in The Netherlands and The Sun in Arizona.

Just this week Journalism.co.uk reported that the NUJ had raised strong concerns over Johnston Press’s move to Atex, which it claimed “undermines the editorial independence of editors”.

Full story at this link…

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Johnston Press: Dismantled paywalls are part of year of ‘discovery’

April 1st, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

We’re sure Johnston Press sub-editors on the brink of losing their jobs and staff enjoying an ongoing pay freeze will be glad to know it’s all part of a year of “discovery” for the company.

Yesterday it was reported by HoldtheFrontPage and Press Gazette that local newspaper pay walls, first introduced as part of a three month trial at the end of last year, were coming down.

The Southern Reporter, Northumberland Gazette and Whitby Gazette are no longer offering paid subscriptions and have opened up their content in full. It is not clear if the other titles in the trial will continue to restrict their content online (Carrick Gazette, Worksop Guardian and Ripley and Heanor News were experimenting with directing readers back to the newspaper after a summary of each story).

There are reports of very low subscription rates indeed. HTFP reports:

[A] a source at one of the titles involved in the trial said it had been a “disaster” and that the number of people subscribing had been in single figures.

But Johnston Press refused to reveal any more details: of subscription rates or its future plans. A spokesperson said:

We are not commenting on the test results. We see this year as one of discovery as we test various ideas and learn from the experience of others.

Last week we noted on this blog that despite the redundancies and pay freeze Johnston Press’ top bosses were taking home rather juicy pay packages for 2009 – significantly bigger than those in 2008.

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Despite group redundancies and pay freeze, Johnston Press CEO’s pay package nears £1m

Redundancies across the group and a pay freeze for all staff haven’t stopped the Johnston Press bosses taking home rather juicy bonuses for 2009.  As reported by the Times earlier this month, Johnston Press closed five papers last year, and 768 staff left the group in 2009. Pre-tax profits for 2009 were £43 million, a drop of 56 per cent.

But as reported by Johnston Press’ own paper, the Scotsman, John Fry, the group’s chief executive, took home £959,000 in pay, benefits and bonuses in 2009.

The package, reported in the group’s annual report this week, included: £210,000 cash bonus; a £210,000 performance-related bonus paid in shares (deferred for three years); and a basic salary of £525,000.

The Scotsman reports that his predecessor, Tim Bowdler, who retired in early 2009, was awarded £573,000 in basic pay in 2008. “All executive directors waived their right to a performance-related bonus that year,” it says.

Basic salary for the group’s two other executive directors, chief financial officer Stuart Paterson and chief operating officer Danny Cammiade, did not increase but they took home total packages of £655,000 and £590,000 respectively. In 2008 they took home £363,000 and £342,000 in total, respectively.

Here’s the comparison visualised in a chart. This shows the % change in £ from 2008 figures to 2009 figures (we’ve compared Fry’s pay package with Bowdler’s). The middle column at 0 represents the basic salary pay freeze across the group.

Blue: JP CEO pay package / Red: JP chief financial officer pay package / Yellow: chief operating officer pay package / Green: basic pay rise across group / Grey: total group revenue / Dark blue: advertising revenue / Magenta: JP pre-tax profit

Full Scotsman report at this link…

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Regional online traffic compared; Johnston Press comes out top

February 25th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism, Traffic

I’ve had a little play with today’s Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s (ABCe) six-monthly multi-platform report for July – December 2009 and produced a few graphs.

Johnston Press was top of the traffic charts with 384,016 daily unique browsers – partly thanks to the Scotsman which attracted 86,694 daily browsers on average over the past six months. In second place for daily unique browsers (which ABCe now prioritises over monthly statistics as a better measure of site popularity) came Newsquest with 320,975 browsers. Closely behind, Trinity Mirror, which recorded 287,130. Of the bigger groups, it was Northcliffe in fourth position with 256,123. GMG saw the biggest drop-off overall when period-on-period monthly unique browser figures were compared: -17.8 per cent.

For the next multiplatform report, it could be all change: GMG regional titles will be part of Trinity Mirror, following the sale agreement earlier this month; and the effect of Johnston Press’ pay walls, launched in November may well have kicked in. They seem to have had a limited effect on this period’s statistics, but it’s worth noting that traffic had fallen for the Johnston Press network from 6,985,175 uniques in October to 6,161,875 in December 2009: down by over ten per cent in two months. Traffic had been dropping off since July, however, well before the pay walls were introduced and of course, the group has only rolled out the scheme over a few of its smaller sites so far.  Unfortunately, the trialled sites don’t feature in the individual site break-down.

This chart shows the period-on-period change for each newspaper group, July to end of December 2009. (ie. compared with the previous six months)

Unique daily browsers, by regional newspaper group:

GMG Regional Network

Trinity Mirror

Iliffe News & Media Ltd (note that the largest column is its entire network overall, which includes other sites as well)

Johnston Press

Newsquest

Midlands News

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Tracking UK newspaper share prices with Twitter

December 22nd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology

With a little a lot of help from our friends (take a bow Headshift’s Tim Duckett) there’s a new Twitter kid on the block – @jocoukshares.

Following Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press’ exits from the FTSE 250, the aim is to provide almost real-time share price information for the newspaper and magazine publishing groups currently listed on the FTSE.

Below is a key to the company names:

FUTR – Future Publishing

CAU – Centaur

TNI – Trinity Mirror

INM – Independent News & Media

REL – Reed Elsevier

PSON – Pearson

JPR – Johnston Press

DMGT – Daily Mail & General Trust

INF – Informa

NWS – News Corp

Tim’s made stirling progress with setting up feeds of the share prices to Twitter and there’s no reason why this couldn’t be expanded beyond newspapers and mags in the future.

However, suggestions about a ‘front-end’ for the project are welcome. Building a newspaper-share-price-feed-tracking widget will probably be one of my Christmas Eve tasks – any suggestions?

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Local newspaper sees high traffic for online memorial

November 12th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

By creating an online version of the newspaper’s announcements page, the Limerick Leader has made its site the ‘focal point for entire community’s grieving,’ a press release from iAnnounce, the company which developed the page, said.

More than 17,600 people have now visited the Limerick Leader’s iAnnounce page for 28 year old Shane Geoghegan, who was shot dead in Kilteragh, Ireland, at the weekend.

Since the page was set up 36 hours ago, more than 8,500 ‘virtual candles’ have been lit and 2,000 messages of condolence written.

“The unexpected death of such a popular man as Shane has affected this very close community,” said Alex Stitt, the managing director of iAnnounce, in the release.

“It is a sign of the internet age that they have turned to online messaging to express their shock and sorrow at what has happened.”

iAnnounce is  used by various newspapers in the Johnston Press, Trinity Mirror and Newsquest newspaper groups, and was developed to make use social network tools for newspaper birth, deaths and marriages notices.

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