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JPI Media could relocate or merge newsrooms across UK in property review

Johnston Press

JPI Media has put its property portfolio under review in a move that could lead to newsrooms being relocated, merged or see office space cut back, according to an email to staff seen by Press Gazette.

The email, from chief executive David King, said the i and Yorkshire Post publisher would be reviewing its “space requirements” in Belfast, Peterborough, Sunderland and Harrogate and Cavendish Square in London.

King said: “We may seek to move into new offices, reduce the space we occupy or consolidate with other offices as appropriate.”

He said the newly-formed publisher, which snapped up more than 200 titles from Johnston Press in a pre-pack administration deal last November, intended to keep its offices in Preston, Sheffield, Stamford, Edinburgh, Leeds and Derry Street in London where the i paper is based.

Staff were further told that printing press sites in Carn, Hilsea and Dinnington are set to remain while space requirements in Leeds and Edinburgh would be reviewed.

King said: “As you may be aware, all our offices are currently rented from commercial landlords under what is called a license to occupy.

“The Johnston Press lease on all leased offices did not transition over when the business was bought by JPI Media, which offers us an opportunity to review the agreements in a number of locations.

“As a result of this review, certain offices could be relocated or consolidated with others to ensure with optimise our property footprint.

“The interests of our employees, as well as the future of our titles, will be a key consideration in this process. While many staff will not be affected, we will ensure that we engage with those that are.”

He added: “We will continue to occupy all other sites whilst we assess our needs and will engage with staff locally and establish the best way of operating for them and our operations and titles.”

The email was received by staff a day after the publisher launched its #Buyapaper campaign to raise awareness of the local news industry.

A JPI Media editor, who asked not to be named, said: “Come rain or shine, good times or bad times, Johnston Press would take any opportunity to cut costs.

“When the ship sunk and the company was relaunched as JPI Media we were told there would be no change in strategy, and so it has proved.

“We’ve seen so many offices close over the last few years, with many ‘local’ papers run from offices not even in the same county as they are supposed to cover. It only makes working as a journalist harder and harder.

JPI Media did not wish to comment further on its plans. 

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