Johnston weekly to open new office in Selkirk

Scottish weekly the Southern Reporter will retain an office in the town after owner’s Johnston Press announced its current base was one of five newspaper offices earmarked for closure.

Johnston said last week that its current office was being closed along with those in South Shields, Hartlepool, Berwick, Kelso, but the Reporter has since insisted it is ‘business as usual”.

It said that despite reports the paper was ‘not closing or going out of business, but proposing relocating to more suitable accommodation within Selkirk”. The new office will be ‘appropriately-sized’and staffed by reporters, photographers and advertising staff.

Editor Susan Windram said: ‘Our commitment to the Borders remains our highest priority, and we will continue to be the region’s top weekly title.”

‘We will have a more suitable, modern office, and there will be no detrimental effect for readers and advertisers, as well as customers wanting to place BMDs [births, deaths and marriages] and announcements.

‘There are also exciting plans to invest in an updating of the newspaper and website later this year, to reflect the ever-changing multimedia landscape we are in.”

Johnston plans to relocate editorial and advertising staff to its head office in Sunderland, home to the Sunderland Echo, with the loss of up to six jobs in editorial and nine in advertising.
At the time of the announcement, made following a ‘a detailed review of office accommodation in the North East”, Johnston said it would retain a presence in South Shields, Hartlepool, Berwick and Selkirk with the creation of ‘smaller customer-facing offices with hot-desk facilities”.

Last Wednesday the company reported a pre-tax loss of £143.8m for the 2011 financial year as it wrote down the value of its publishing assets. On an underlying basis, operating profit fell 10.3 per cent to £64.6m on turnover down 6.1 per cent to £373.8m.

The last ABC figures for the Southern Reporter for the last six months of 2011 show circulation was down 8 per cent to 14,373.

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