2 Jul 2011

SNJ and Gazette to go to Tetbury?

The US newspaper company Gannett is to fire 700 newspaper staff, some 2% of the company's total work force. The job reductions will affect the company's community publishing division, which consists of about 80 daily papers. The implications for our local press are not clear but it is said that SNJ, Gazette and Standard will all be based in Tetbury. How many staff cuts? What will this mean to the quality of the SNJ?

I hope to learn more over the next weeks as this needs to be fought. Next week there is a motion to Council which looks at this very issue.

Looking on the web it seems that Gannett, parent company to the British chain, Newsquest, saw its first-quarter ad revenue decline by more than 7% compared to a year earlier - with, I understand, year-to-year revenue declines of more than 12%. In recent years the company, which also owns TV stations, has had several rounds of layoffs and other cuts, while coping with falling revenue. It finished last year with about 32,600 employees, down from 49,675 employees at the end of 2006. Locally there has also been the competition from Stroud Life and The Citizen and all local papers have suffered from internet competition. 

The competition from Stroud Life has been intense with battles over who carries the best property section, who carries planning applications and who has the largest distribution. Northcliffe Media (which incls Stroud Life and Citizen) is described as a large regional newspaper publisher in the UK and Central and Eastern Europe, owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust.

I consider there is room for two papers in this area - both have carved out a niche - but I have to say, better still, would be an independent newspaper without those ties to other corporations (see here for example links to Gannett).

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