Johnson Press chief executive Tim Bowdler told shareholders at the group’s annual meeting that its high staff turnover should not be seen as a consequence of dissatisfaction with pay rates – especially among editorial staff.
He said staff turnover among the group’s journalists was running at 10 per cent a year and he did not expect it to fall any lower.
Bowdler added: “The regional press is seen as a training ground for those working towards the bigger media.”
He gave shareholders an upbeat trading statement for the new financial year, with advertising revenues up 5.2 per cent in the first 11 weeks of 2004 as newsprint prices remained stable.
The group turned in excellent results for 2003 with the acquisition of Regional Independent Media’s 53 titles, helping profits grow 38 per cent to £128m.
On expansion, Bowdler said: “We are endeavouring to grow the top line and are keen to grow further acquisitions.
We believe there will be more consolidation in the UK regional press.”
By Hamish Mackay