The regional Press
Nationalist National is here to stay
Friday 28 November Newsquest is to continue publishing its pro-independence daily The National after sales exceeded expectations during a trial that was due to end today.
The paper has been produced by Richard Walker, editor of the Sunday Herald, with a team from the Herald and Evening Times, but he said he expected to recruit permanent staff now the decision had been made to keep the paper going.
The pilot was announced at an SNP rally in Glasgow last weekend and the first issue on Monday sold out its 60,000 print run. Press Gazette reported that the run was increased to 100,000 on Tuesday.
Newsquest decided to test the market for a daily after the Sunday Herald more than doubled its circulation to 55,000 after coming out in favour of a "Yes" vote in the September independence referendum - the only national to do so.
Scotland's established dailies have a combined circulation of about 270,000. The Scotsman sells 27,208 and the Glasgow Herald 37,728, according to the August regionals ABC figures. The October national ABCs put the Daily Record's circulation at 204,214.
The National has been printing 24 pages a day with a cover price of 50p.
Embley up, editor out in 'streamlining'
Tuesday 18 November Lloyd Embley is to take control of editorial across all Trinity Mirror titles outside Scotland in a shake-up that will see the departure of several senior staff, Press Gazette reports.
Embley, who edits the national titles, becomes group editor-in-chief as part of what is described as a streamlining exercise.
Brian Aitken, the Newcastle Journal editor who was set to become North-East regional business director, is leaving the company as are two other regional executives. Eugene Duffy, group managing editor, and Paul Vickers, group legal director, are also leaving. Duffy had been with the Mirror since 1986 and Vickers joined in 1992. The departure of chief operating officer Mark Hollinshead was announced in August.
50 jobs at risk as seven titles close
Friday 14 November Fifty people are likely to lose their jobs with Trinity Mirror's announcement that it is to close the Surrey Herald, Surrey Times, Woking Informer, Reading Post, GetReading, the Wokingham and Bracknell Times and the Harrow Observer.
The company said that 26 jobs - 17 of them in editorial - would go in Berkshire, but a dozen digital roles would be created as it takes a "bold digital approach" to the area - which means abandoning print and developing getreading.co.uk.
Simon Edgley, managing director of Trinity Mirror Southern, said that the company would be pulling out of the Harrow market, but would seek to develop its West London website.
In Surrey, where 24 jobs will go with the loss of the Herald, Times and Woking papers, the Advertiser will put on an extra print edition for Chertsey and Addlestone next month.
All seven papers are distributed free. Their last ABC figures were published in February, when GetReading had a circulation of 65,000, the Harrow Observer 44,185, Woking Observer 22,544, Surrey Times 21,525; Surrey Herald 18,250 , Reading Post 12,389 and the Wokingham Times 11,045.
SubScribe Why local papers matter
Editor's blog Why does change inevitably mean job cuts?
Read the full Trinity Mirror statement here
Edinburgh papers' staff to be merged
Wednesday 29 October A single editorial team is to produce the Scotsman, the Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday from next March. The move puts 45 jobs at risk.
Scotsman editor Ian Stewart will become editorial director of the three titles and Frank O'Donnell, the Evening News editor, becomes managing editor. Stewart told Hold the Front Page: "This one-team model will enable our editorial team members to work across different titles, delivering quality content and reducing duplication of effort as a result." He added that the changes would include "the opportunity for editorial team members to apply for voluntary redundancy".
HTFP says that the merger is likely to mirror Johnston Press's operation in Leeds, where the Yorkshire Post and Evening Editor are produced by a combined workforce. Senior staff from Yorkshire have been involved in the discussions in Edinburgh.
Read more from Hold the Front Page here
MEN axes freelance snappers
Thursday 9 October Thirteen freelance photographers have been told by email that they will be offered no more shifts at the Manchester Evening News from the beginning of next month. The only freelance to survive is Steve Allen, who is known for snatch photographs outside court.
The email from associate editor Wayne Ankers says that the recent appointment of two staff photographers took the department's strength to ten. Hold the Front Page reports that the paper got rid of its picture desk in December and put photographers under newsdesk control.
The picture of Lincoln Townley above was taken by Chris Bull on his last assignment for the MEN after seven years of working for the paper. It is reproduced with his permission.
See further examples of his work here.
Suspended political editor quits
Wednesday 8 October
The Coventry Evening Telegraph's political editor Les Reid has resigned after almost a year of being suspended from his job.
He tweeted that he intended to take his former employer to an industrial tribunal and that he would be writing more about the controversy over Coventry City's Ricoh stadium, which has just been sold to London Wasps.
Reid's departure coincides with that of his editor, Alun Thorne, which he described as "good news".
Thorne joined the Telegraph from the Birmingham Post three years ago.
News of the two departures on the Hold the Front Page site has inspired a robust set of comments that are well worth a look.
Giving your town - and yourself - a bad name
Wednesday 8 October Is this really the sort of advertisement any newspaper should be accepting the day before a by-election? Clacton has had a rotten press since Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip, portrayed by the nationals as rundown, bigoted, forgotten, not worthy of consideration. Not least in this spiteful and unworthy piece by Matthew Parris in the Times, which was admirably countered by Tim Stanley on the Telegraph website. Jaywick, described as the most deprived bit of England, has been far more under the spotlight than affluent Frinton, yet both are part of the constituency.
When the national mob descends, the first port of call is the newsagents to pick up the local rag. And one glance at this Newsquest offering will have confirmed every prejudice. The editor should have taken the advice offered in the splash head and got on the phone to the ad department pronto.
Referendum sales dividend
Tuesday 30 September Glasgow's Sunday Herald sold more than twice as many copies of its final pre-referendum edition as it did on the same Sunday last year. The paper, which came out in favour of independence in May (left), was the only one to back the Yes campaign.
Glasgow voted 54.3% to 45.7% in favour of independence.
The unaudited figures for the Herald's September 14 issue show a sale of 49,921, a 111% increase on 2013. Editor Richard Walker said the figures were "a testament to the overwhelming support the Yes movement is prepared to give to voices within the media willing to challenge the pro-union stance of most of the Scottish and London-based media."
On the other side of the vote, the Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News also recorded big circulation increases in referendum week - up more than 20% on the previous week - and on polling day the Scotsman's website passed a million page views for the first time.
After the referendum boost, the Herald group came down to earth this week with its annual report, which shows pre-tax profits falling from £12m to £9.2m.
Read more from Hold the Front Page
Weeklies lose dedicated journalists
Wednesday 17 September Johnston Press is reorganising its Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire newspaper teams into three "units" to produce eleven weekly papers in a six-week experiment. Hold the Front Page reports that journalists will no longer work for dedicated titles and a central unit will cover features, arts, sport and community news across all titles.
Titles affected include the Derbyshire Times, Matlock Mercury, Buxton Advertiser and Worksop Guardian.
Read more from Hold the Front Page here
From Pulis Academy to pulp fiction
Saturday 16 August On Thursday morning, all was looking bright for Crystal Palace and the Croydon Advertiser. The club ended last season on the up, Tony Pulis was manager of the year and a special supplement to mark the new season had gone to press, ready for distribution with the Advertiser yesterday.
On Thursday night Pulis was gone and Advertiser editor Glenn Ebrey was left with that nausea of helplessness that overtakes you when you know your story is wrong and there is nothing you can do to stop it hitting the streets.
"Oh bugger!" writes Ebrey in his blog.
"We were up until the small hours compiling the supplement, neatly rounded off by a natty cartoon, portraying Mr Pulis alongside his cast of stars in a mocked-up poster for Pulis Academy 2 (geddit?) All very satisfying, until the point where the main focus of this 12-page bonanza leaves the club before it has been seen by a single reader. "
Read the rest of Glenn Ebrey's blog here
Tweeting from the council chamber
Wednesday 6 August Anyone should be able to film, tweet or broadcast from meetings of all councils and public bodies from today under a statutory instrument signed into force by Eric Pickles. The change to regulations covering the reporting of local government comes into effect six weeks after some parish councils told members not to talk to the Press and other authorities tried to ban reporters tweeting from the council chamber. Mr Pickles said: 'Local democracy needs local journalists and bloggers to report and scrutinise the work of their council, and increasingly, people read their news via digital media. The new "right to report" goes hand in hand with our work to stop unfair state competition from municipal newspapers - together defending the independent free press. There is now no excuse for any council not to allow these new rights.'
Don't talk to the Press, parish councillors told
June 19: Parish councillors are being told that they should not speak to journalists without the clerk's permission and that they should not call themselves "councillor" when speaking in a personal capacity.
The guidance comes from the National Association of Local Councils, and members who break the rules could be "investigated and disciplined", according to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
But Eric Pickles, the minister in charge, says councillors should take no notice. Mr Pickles, who denounced council-run newspapers as "town hall Pravdas" is now describing the guidance to parish councils as Stalinist and says it could have a chilling effect on public life.. Peter Barron, editor of the Northern Echo, spoke for many in his blog, writing: "It is completely outrageous to suggested that people who are elected to represent local communities cannot speak to a journalist - not even their local paper - without being stifled by red tape."
Ultimatum to five 'town hall Pravdas'
Thursday 17 April, 2014 Five London councils have been given two weeks to defend themselves against possible legal action for continuing to publish weekly or fortnightly news-sheets, branded "town hall Pravdas" by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
Rules that came into force at the beginning of the month state the publicly-funded news-sheets should be objective, value for money and limited in frequency - with four times a year regarded as acceptable.
Formal letters have been sent to the councils behind Eastendlife, above, Waltham Forest News, Hackney Today, Greenwich Time and the Newham Mag. Pickles said:
“It is scandalous that bloggers have been handcuffed for tweeting from council meetings, whilst propaganda on the rates drives the free press out of business. Only Putin would be proud of a record like that.
Localism needs robust and independent scrutiny by the press and public, and municipal state-produced newspapers suppress that. Town Hall Pravdas not only waste taxpayers’ money unnecessarily, they undermine free speech."
When the guidance was being drawn up, Trinity Mirror ran a campaign comparing its own Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle "your free weekly with free speech" with the council's h&f news "council spin with a hidden cost to you". The h&f news was killed off three years ago. Next week the Chronicle and its stablemates will also die, leaving 150,000 people with no local newspaper and - as Roy Greenslade points out in his Evening Standard column - nowhere for the council to publish its obligatory public notices.
Its only option now, Greenslade writes, is the Standard, whose advertising rates are likely to be rather higher than the defunct weeklies.
The Yorkshire Post's drive to combat loneliness has been voted the local newspaper campaign that has made most difference to its community. More than 12,000 people took part in a public ballot to choose between 30 papers that had backed projects ranging from returning some old photographs to building a children's hospice.
SubScribe on local papers that still make a difference
Highfield in line for £450,000 bonus
Ashley Highfield could earn £850,000 as chief executive of Johnston Press if the group meets targets for digital growth, circulation and good housekeeping. His finance director David King could earn £625,000.
Both have been given enhanced "bonus opportunities", so that Highfield, right, is entitled to up to 180% of his £400,000 salary and King 150% of his £250,000.
The company has just confirmed that it is to move production of the Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News from Barclay House on Holyrood Road to new premises on Queensferry Road, which could save it £1m a year.
Johnston has also axed all staff photographers working for its Morton group of papers in Northern Ireland. Read more from Hold the Front Page
'Harassed' conwoman jailed
Tuesday 20 May
The reporter who was served a harassment notice for trying to talk to a conwoman said he felt vindicated after she was jailed for fraud yesterday.
Gareth Davies of the Croydon Advertiser, who was named weekly reporter of the year at the Regional Press Awards on friday, said the police had still not rescinded the notice. He was considering referring the matter to the IPCC
Three officers delivered the notice to his office after Neelam Desai complained about his attempts to contact her. It said: “She has stated that she does not wish to be contacted or written about by Mr Davies as she feels harassed by these actions...Ms Desai is feeling intimidated and persecuted." Davies had been covering the Desai case and as victims of her scams contacted him he had approached her for comments.
Desai was yesterday jailed for 20 months at Croydon Crown Court and Davies said afterwards: “While I do feel vindicated to a certain extent, I am extremely disappointed that we have had absolutely no response whatsoever from the police. We are certainly not going to let this matter drop.
“It is a matter of principle. If we don’t pursue this, then what is there to stop the police from accusing all reporters of harassing people, and trying to arrest them, merely for trying to do their job?”
Read more from Hold the Front Page
"Goodbye Pauly D, we never knew you at all.
RIP the old local newsroom
Welcome to the local newsroom for 2014: no staff photographers, reporters producing digital content all day and every day, with print editions picking it up later, and far more stories and pictures provided by readers.
Four editors outlined their plans to the Society of Editors regional conference this week, confirming the transformations predicted by Ashley Highfield of Johnston Press and Local World's David Montgomery.
Trinity Mirror is already moving towards a "digital first" approach, with pilot schemes slated for Newcastle and Teesside, where print deadlines will no longer rule. Instead copy will be produced for the times when most people are online. This would then be reworked for the print editions.
Editorial director Neil Benson said the emphasis would be on building an audience, who would be able to access everything free. "If paywalls worked we would have no problem with them but they patently don’t.”
Jeremy Clifford, editor of the Yorkshire Post and chairman of Johnston's editorial board, also shunned the paywall. His view of the future was "fewer print journalists, more contributed content, better technology, and papers owned by readers”.
Johnston cuts 1,600 jobs over two years
More than 600 jobs were lost at Johnston Press last year as it continued restructuring its local paper group of 200 titles. That took the total to 1,600 over two years - almost a quarter of the workforce. Advertising, newspaper sales and turnover were all down in the last financial year, but digital revenue was up and the group says that underlying profit increased for the first time in seven years, by 2.5% to £54.3m.
Restructuring costs, including redundancy payments, and asset write-downs - reducing the paper valuation of printing presses, newspaper offices etc - meant the company reported a loss of £286.8m, compared with a profit of £40m last year.
Read the company report here
Apprentices are raw and may not hit the ground running and take some time to settle in, but they are ready and willing to be moulded
Police self-publishing exposes legal pitfalls
Torquay police have published their first story on the Herald Express website - an appeal for witnesses to a library bag snatch. This was the first example of David Montgomery's vision of allowing outside bodies direct access to his Local World news media. Was it an appetising taste of things to come? For Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford some of the ingredients stuck in the craw, not least the language - and a legal pitfall.
Read his blog, with subbing highlights, here
Editor leaves over football hooliganism special
Maurice O'Brien has left the Reading Chronicle after an outcry over the paper's special investigation into football, which linked hooliganism to the Hillsborough disaster. Reading FC broke off relations with the newspaper over the issue and a number of complaints have been sent to the Press Complaints Commission. The following week's paper carried a full-page apology on the front, which also appeared at the top of the website.
SubScribe It was lamentable, but at least they were trying
Archant joins the
News production for 25 weekly papers covering London, the South East and East Anglia is to be moved to a central hub at Archant's Norwich headquarters.
The Ham & High, Hackney Gazette and Newham Recorder are among the titles affected by the switch, which puts 24 jobs at risk. The group says, however, that ten jobs will be created in Norwich.
Miller Hogg, the Archant East managing director, said that papers would still be edited locally, but that pages would be put together in Norwich. Sports staff are not affected and will continue to produce their own pages.
The move coincides with the departure of Malcolm Starbrook, editor-in-chief of the group's East London and Essex papers.
Archant announced in March that it intended to merge its Norfolk and Suffolk operations in Norwich, although a small team would remain in Ipswich, home of the East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star.
Daily up-pages as freesheets close
Thursday 7 August Local World is to stop publishing the Saffron Walden Weekly News, Royston Weekly News and the Huntingdon and St Ives & St Neots News & Crier, all of which are distributed free. It is instead promising extended coverage in new editions of its revamped paid-for daily, the Cambridge News.
The company says the changes will give readers "a greater opportunity to get involved...contributing content and debating the issues that matter to them”.
Editor's blog Will readers love you if you kill their local weekly and ask them to pay for a daily slip edition?
Express & Star set
to go overnighting
Exactly a year after launching its bumper Saturday edition, the Wolverhamptom Express & Star and its stablemates are to be reorganised and possibly switch to overnight rather than on-the-day publication.
More than 70 jobs are at risk, including 12 in editorial, and owners MNA Media is proposing changes in working patterns that could include "continental style shifts" for subs.
Read more from Hold the Front Page
Johnston Press has dropped plans to cut its mileage rate from 45p to 25p after protests from journalists who now have to work from home or in regional centres after the closure of many of the group's town centre offices. The NUJ said the change had been introduced with 24 hours' notice and no consultation.
Regional Press Awards
The North West Evening Mail won the front-page of the year prize at the Regional Press Awards for its "Hear our voices" campaign to save local maternity services. The baby's picture is made up of thousands of mosaics of people who have supported the campaign.
See the full list of winners here
Subs at the Southern Daily Echo have been told that they may lose their jobs with a reorganisation of the production department that will leave only sport with its own subbing team.
Editor-in-chief Ian Murray, above, said in a statement to staff that the revamp requiring all subs to handle all copy for the group's Hampshire papers was necessary because the Brighton Argus was moving its subbing contract from Southampton to Weymouth. The group's Wiltshire papers, which used to be subbed in Southampton, have already made the same switch.
Six jobs are to go, but more may be created in Weymouth
Read more from Hold the Front Page
no local paper
The Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle and its sister freesheets serving Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster are to close next week after Trinity Mirror said they were unsustainable.
This leaves a population of 150,000 with no local newspaper and 15 staff - including six reporters and three photographers - with no job.
The lease on the papers' Uxbridge offices will not be renewed and surviving titles produced there, including the Ealing Gazette, Harrow Observer and Hounslow Chronicle, will move to Watford. Trinity Mirror said it would support remote working or staff could move to other offices in the South if practical.
Trinity, which has already introduced remote working for some staff, has stated its aim to go "digital first" with reporters "producing content all day and every day".
A simple but effective front from the Leicester Mercury to mark the death of author Sue Townsend on Thursday.
The Yorkshire Post is being relaunched with new Saturday sections for sport and personal finance, and more rural coverage. The definite article has returned to the title after an absence of 36 years.
Pay is squeezed, expenses cut, staffing reduced. For all the positive soundbites from the three big local newspaper groups, the atmosphere on the ground is one of fear and dismay. Yes, things have to change, but it may help to remind bosses that local newspapers matter, not only to their communities, but also to our industry and ultimately to our democracy. Read more here
Working from home
Johnston Press is closing the Skegness Standard office, following the group's Hemel Hempstead Gazette and Harborough Mail. Trinity Mirror is also experimenting with journalists working remotely with the closure of the Crewe Chronicle office
Monty's vision David Montgomery's 2,000-word essay on his plans for Local World is a masterpiece of jargon guaranteed to frighten the troops. Read what he said and what it means in plain English. Plus: See some of the the ideas working in practice