JPI calls early results of Scotland digital-first newsroom restructure 'very encouraging'

JPI digital scotland

JPI Media says its all-Scotland newsroom restructure that split staff into dedicated digital and print teams has led to a 57% boost in loyal users for The Scotsman’s website in just over a month.

The “digital acceleration” restructure went live on 5 October after being delayed for several months due to Covid-19 and has also seen loyal users at the Edinburgh Evening News website grow by 31%.

According to Joy Yates, who is leading the restructure as interim editorial director for Scotland after leading the first rollout in the North East, there has also been a boost to subscriptions.

Most of JPI’s regional dailies, including The Scotsman which gives readers five articles per month for free, are behind an online paywall.

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Yates said: “We have changed everything about how we work – from the way we plan our content to how and when we deliver it.

“What has impressed me the most is the collaboration demonstrated by our teams as we launched an editorial transformation project on a scale we had not previously experienced.

“And the feedback from our users is extremely encouraging – we are seeing increases in page views, subscriptions and loyalty. And there is still more to do.”

Other statistics shared by JPI include a boost in page views from loyal readers at the Fife Free Press of 51% since the start of October, and of 19% at the Falkirk Herald.

The number of online articles created across JPI’s Scottish titles has increased by 30% since the new online live news, specialist news and sports teams launched.

The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News, Falkirk Herald, Fife Free Press and Scotland on Sunday print titles are now created by a separate team under editor Euan McGrory. There is also a third team dedicated to the smaller weekly brands.

The restructure also saw the appointment of a three-strong engagement team in the Scottish newsroom who focus on finding new ways of engaging with readers and driving the number of people registering and subscribing. The publisher said early results were “very encouraging”.

JPI Media editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford, who is overseeing the programme with the company’s transformation director Ian Johnston, said: “We are delighted at how smoothly this has gone in Scotland and with the early results.

“This is a massive change in the way we are asking our journalists to work and in a new Scotland-wide structure. We are confident this will help us to grow our business and reach across Scotland.”

The Scottish digital-first restructure is JPI’s third after launching in the North East, where the Sunderland Echo is the lead title, in April 2019 and South Yorkshire, led by the Sheffield Star, at the start of this year.

Read more about JPI’s subscriptions strategy and how it compares to what other regional publishers are doing here.

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